Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 022: Oral Health with Dr. Al Danenberg

Dr. Al Danenberg, Wholistic Periodontist and Functional Medicine Doctor, discusses periodontal disease and the health of the mouth with Dr. Ben Weitz. Periodontitis is caused by microorganisms adhering to the teeth and an overly aggressive immune response. This occurs in over 50% of the US population. 92% have gingivitis, which is an infection of the gum tissue that has not progressed into the bone like periodontitis.  Dr. Danenberg has recently written Crazy Good Living: Healthy Gums, Healthy Gut, Healthy Life. Dr. Danenberg discusses our primal ancestory and our evolution and that it was rare for our primal ancestors to have had gum disease or tooth decay.  This has resulted from our modern diet and lifestyle and toxins that result in chronic diseases, like periodontal disease. And they don’t have toothbrushes or mouth wash or dental visits. The starting point for periodontal disease is the gut.

Eating grains has created a chemical–gliadin–that we cannot digest completely. This protein, gliadin irritates the gut lining, which is only one cell thick. This causes openings in the gut lining, resulting in leaky gut. If this insult just happened once, the gut would heal. But because of our modern diet, we are continuously eating foods that irritate the lining of the gut, creating a chronic inflammation. This may result in the immune system attacking other organs, such as the thyroid. When you have dysbiosis in the gut, the bacteria in the saliva in the mouth change, resulting in a dysbiosis in the mouth.  Thus, the gut is the initiator of many chronic diseases, like periodontal disease.

Rational Wellness Podcast 021: David Foreman on Heart Disease Prevention

David Foreman, the Herbal Pharmacist, discusses strategies to prevent heart disease with Dr. Ben Weitz.  I started the discussion by laying out the American Heart Association position that the cause of heart disease is the consumption of saturated fats like red meat, butter, and cheese. In the last ten years, this theory has been challenged and we have learned that sugar and processed carbohydrates are bigger players as the cause of coronary artery disease than saturated fats, though trans fats are also recognized to be a factor as well. Recently, the American Heart Association published a paper reasserting its position that saturated fat is the true cause of heart disesase, though rather than recommending substituting whole grains, they are now focusing on substituting vegetable oils, like soybean and corn oil. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2017/06/15/CIR.0000000000000510

But a closer look at the four core studies cited by the American Heart Association paper from the 1950s shows that while substituting vegetable oils like soybean oil for saturated fats did lead to a lower rate of death from heart disease, there was an increased risk from cancer so that there was really no decreased risk of death. This shows us that such easily oxidized, vegetable oils can create inflammation that is a factor in virtually every chronic disease, including heart disease. They also stated that coconut oil, being primarily a saturated fat, is bad for your heart.

David explained how he transformed himself from a traditional pharmacist to an Herbal Pharmacist. First he explained that 30% of traditional medicines actually originated from plants. He spent some time with his ex-brother-in-law, who was a professional athlete and he ate really well and he looked and felt great and recovered from sports injuries really quickly, which highlighted the benefits of eating right. He also knew that the majority of the medicines he was prescribing don’t address the root cause of disease but rather just mask the symptoms.

I then asked David what causes heart disease? I mentioned that I had recently been to a health conference where they were serving Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Coffee with butter and coconut oil.  Should we be putting butter and coconut oil in our coffee or should we avoid eating red meat, butter, and coconut oil, like the American Heart Association says and should we be substituting vegetable oils like soybean and corn oil?  David said that he’s not a big fan of corn oil and soybean oil and when the American Heart Association came out with their big endorsement of corn oil again he wanted to bang his head into the sharp corner of the wall. David said that in his household, they eat butter and olive oil and coconut oil and they eat meat, chicken, and fish.  When it comes to coconut oil in your coffee, David doesn’t particularly like it but doesn’t think it will harm you, unless you have a very unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking cigarettes and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Those vegetable oils trigger more inflammation and we know that inflammation is a causative factor in so many chronic diseases.

David talked about how in the 70’s when everybody became fat phobic and we started eating low fat diets and levels of obesity and diabesity started to rise. When you take the fat out of your diet, most people think that what they should substitute for the fat are carbohydrate foods like bread and pasta and rice and potatoes, not realizing that your body makes cholesterol from these carbohydrate foods. This is what you should be worried about, not the cholesterol found in eggs or the saturated fat found in butter. You have far more to fear from inflammation and oxidation.

David talked about why salmon is such a heart healthy food but there are sustainability issues and many families cannot afford to eat wild caught salmon 2-3 times per week to maintain high levels of omega three fats. David recommends eating Krill oil regularly, which also naturally contains the antioxidant, astaxanthin. Krill oil is better digested and better absorbed than regular fish oil, so you don’t need as much of it. David noted that when he started to take krill oil instead of conventional fish oil, he could notice the benefits to his skin and the way he felt and it worked much better for him at a lower dosage than fish oil.

David talked about why oat meal is not as healthy as we think it is. It does contain beta glucan, which is heart healthy. But most people eat processed oatmeal, which is higher glycemic and they add sugar and dried fruit to their oatmeal, so they end up getting a blood sugar surge. So it may be better to take beta glucan capsules than to eat oatmeal.

David explained why drinking red wine, even though it contains polyphenols like resveratrol which is a powerful antioxidant.  But the wine is not the best way to get resveratrol, since you need 100s of mgs of resveratrol to get the therapeutic effect, so it is better to take a supplement.

Being healthy, vitality is really about balance. Eating right, getting a proper amount of exercise, take your supplements, and spirituality are the keys to improving our heat health.

The best way to get in touch with David Foreman is through his web site, the Herbal Pharmacist,  http://herbalpharmacist.com/  and check out his blog there.

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 020: Female Hormones with Dr. Jill Stocker

Dr. Jill Stocker discusses the use of bioidentical estrogen and progesterone hormones to help women restore their youth and vigor and their “juiciness”.  I laid out the topic first by talking about how it was believed for decades that estrogen was protective for the heart, which is why women have a lower risk of heart attack than men until menopause and then their risk increases equal to men’s.  There was however, concern about the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.  When the Women’s Health Initiative study was published in 2002 it shook the field of women’s hormone replacement therapy by demonstrating an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in women who took equine (from horses) estrogen and synthetic progestins (Premarin and PremPro). But these results do not necessarily apply to the use of bioidentical hormones

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 019: Male Health with Dr. Mike Carragher

Dr. Mike Carragher discusses male hormonal health with Dr. Ben Weitz. Symptoms of low testosterone include low energy, low libido, not sleeping well, gaining fat, having trouble gaining muscle, etc. Hypogonadism is not based solely on testosterone levels, but also on symptoms.  Dr. Carragher mentioned that we have seen a 15% drop in testosterone levels in the US in the last two generations.  This is at least partially related to endocrine disruptors in the environment. Dr. Carragher said that he likes to look at free or bioavailable testosterone levels. If free testosterone is low, then he will recommend improving their diet and exercising in a way that will elevate testosterone levels, but in his experience, this is not usually enough without supplementing with testosterone. If it’s a younger guy who is interested in preserving his fertility, he will recommend either clomiphene citrate (Clomid) or HCG, both of which are drugs that stimulate your testes to produce more testosterone and they don’t make sperm counts go down or interfere with fertility.  Dr. Carragher discussed that in order to stimulate your body to produce more testosterone or growth hormone, you should do heavy weight training and high intensity anaerobic exercise, like sprinting or interval training.  He recommends a 20 minute workout 3-4 times per week with high intensity interval training alternating with walking.

I asked about the patient who perhaps is overweight (fat cells secrete estrogen) and who eats a poor diet and get exposed to pesticides and other estrogenic substances, who use personal care products with sodium laurel sulfate and other estrogenic substances, who perhaps have a fatty liver that is unable to filter out toxins appropriately, and if you put them on testosterone, they will likely aromatize some it into estrogen. How do you deal with that? Dr. Carragher said that estrogen that is given to me is actually very helpful for most men, though this is very different than testosterone that is produced peripherally. Dr. Carragher says that if you optimize their hormones with testosterone and perhaps DHEA and thyroid, they will drop fat very quickly. I asked about using nutrients as part of an estrogen detox program? Dr. Carragher said that if he has a patient with gynecomastia, he may use an aromatase inhibitor (an estrogen blocker), such as Arimidex, for a few months.

I asked if Dr. Carragher typically uses injectable testosterone or testosterone gel? He said he loves lipoderm cream, which is very well absorbed. Or he will use injections, esp. if they are concerned about transference to kids or women.  He does not like gels like Androgel, since they are very low in potency and are not formulated well and it is very hard to get appreciable levels in men with these gels.

I told Dr. Carragher about my experience dealing with professional and amateur bodybuilders and saw extreme versions of abuse of testosterone and of anabolic steroids, including guys in their 20’s and 30’s who had heart attacks or whom needed kidney transplants.  And recently I have seen men as patients who come into my office having been prescribed testosterone replacement, but who look like bodybuilders due to very large muscles, and it is clear to me that this is being done for aesthetics and not just for replacement.  Dr. Carragher said that he makes it clear to his patients that he is not in favor of creating bodybuilders. He is trying to help his a patient prevent chronic diseases and the abuse of testosterone will create chronic diseases. The heart has the largest amount of testosterone receptors of any organ in the body.  If you give a patient with the right amount of testosterone, it improves the heart.  But if you give a patient three times the testosterone that they need, the heart will hypertrophy and they’ll get dilated cardiomyopathy and they can die of congestive heart failure.

I asked if Dr. Carragher would give testosterone to a patient with a history of prostate cancer or with an elevated PSA if they have a need for testosterone? He said yes, that he would consider using it, but he would make sure that his urologist goes along with it. He mentioned that Dr. Abraham Morgenthal, one of the foremost experts on prostate cancer and testosterone, is conducting a study using testosterone with patients with active prostate cancer and the preliminary results are that their prostate cancer is growing at a slower rate.

To contact Dr. Carragher or to make an appointment to see him, go to his website,  https://thebodywellusa.com/  or email him at DrMike@the bodywellusa.com or call his office at 323-874-9355

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 18: Sports Nutrition with Dr. Philip Goglia

Dr. Philip Goglia explains to Dr. Ben Weitz how to improve athletic performance through nutrition. Using the correct macronutrient food pattern that fits their metabolism is crucial. This can be determined via a questionnaire and looking at a lipid profile.  If you are efficient at burning fats and carbohydrates and you consume a vegan diet, it will not work very well.

Dr. Goglia will often utilize a pretraining cocktail with athletes that includes D-Ribose, L-Glutamine, Taurine, Cinnamon, Calcium and Magnesium, and blackstrap mollases. We’ll even add citrulline mallate to it. He mentions that when his athletes have an athletic event in the morning, he will have the athletes eat a “mash” in the evening that includes shredded wheat, apple sauce, almond butter and jam.  They’ll wake up with lots of energy.  He may also have the athlete consume this “mash” several hours before an athletic event, such as a basketball game or an athletic event.

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 017: Sleep Apnea Deuterium and Vitamin D with Dr. Joel Gould

Dr. Joel Gould speaks to Dr. Ben Weitz about sleep apnea, deuterium, and vitamin D.  I asked Dr. Gould how a dentist became an expert at sleep apnea?  He found out he had sleep apnea and also discovered that patients did not want to go to a sleep lab to find out if they had it. He discovered that there were home methods of testing for sleep apnea, including using a pulse oximeter for two nights.  He also discovered that the reason he had sleep apnea was because he had a vitamin D deficiency. This means that sleep apnea is both reversible and preventable. Dr. Gould also said that since he looks into patients mouths and shines a light down their throat, he’s in a perfect position to discover the early signs of sleep apnea.

Dr. Gould described that if you have trouble breathing while you sleep, then you will probably be more comfortable sleeping sitting up in a chair. When he suspects a patient may have sleep apnea, he will send them home with a pulse oximeter to use for two nights that will record how much oxygen is in their blood and if it drops by 4 points or more when sleeping, it indicates sleep apnea.

Dr. Gould also discussed deuterium, what it is, and how much is in the environment.  Deuterium is also known as a stable hydrogen isotope or heavy hydrogen, since while most hydrogen atoms have a proton and an electron, deuterium has a proton, an electron and a neutron.  Thus, deuterium atoms are twice as heavy as other hydrogen atoms.  Deuterium messes up your metabolism and can’t function like regular hydrogen.  More deuterium atoms will mess up the mitochondrial production of energy.  If deuterium is incorporated into your genes, this creates genetic defects.  Deuterium is the cause of aging, thus, deuterium is the rate limiting step of our life!  Deuterium is also the cause of obesity and the reason why vegetarian or ketogenic diets work, because they reduce deuterium levels.

Dr. Joel Gould   http://www.modernamericandentistry.com/

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 016 The Microbiome with Dr. Mark Kaye

Dr. Mark Kaye is interviewed by Dr. Ben Weitz about the microbiome, which is the healthy bacteria in our gastrointestinal tracts and other parts of our body that is crucial for our health. But this microbiome is under assault from the prevalent use of antibiotics, NSAIDs, pesticides sprayed on the foods, disinfectants used to clean our homes and even disinfectants like chlorine in our drinking water, and from other chemicals in our environment.  Taking the right strains of probiotics, which includes both bacteria and yeast (saccharomyces boulardi) can be very helpful for promoting our health and for a number of conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disorders (IBD), like Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis.  Dr. Kaye mentioned that to attempt to heal the intestinal wall in conditions like IBD not only are specific probiotics helpful, such as Lactobacillus plantarum 299V, but so are prebiotics, like glutamine, vitamin A, and other nutrients. We discusses the fact that prebiotics that feed the healthy bacteria may also feed undesirable bacteria, so you need to start with a low dosage and then gradually increase it. If you simply avoid fermentable fiber, which can help short term to control symptoms, long term will reduce the health of the microbiome, which can have long term health consequences for us.

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 015: Flouride Dangers with Dr. Paul Connett

Dr. Ben Weitz interviews Dr. Paul Connett, a former chemistry and toxicology professor, on the possible dangers of flouride toxicity.  To begin with, there is no need in the human body for flouride and there is no disease associated with a lack of flouride.  Second, biochemists have known for a long time that flouride is very toxic and at high dosages it can kill you.  Flouride can interfere with enzymes, hydrogen bonds, and it combines with metal ions like calcium and magnesium, preventing them from the useful functions they have in the body. And these effects occur at low levels.

And then there are the health effects of flouride, including dental flourosis, which is a discoloration of the enamel of the teeth, and this occurs in over 50% of children in the US.  And then we have potential damage to the brain, bones, thyroid, and the rest of the endocrine system, esp. in children. Over 50 studies document that levels of flouride that can easily occur in our children between water fluoridation, fluoride in toothpaste and mouthwash, and other sources of flouride, leads to lowering IQ by approximately 5 points! What an irrational way to deliver a potentially toxic drug to our population, given that there is no way to control the dosage. And we are giving a medication to people without their consent!  

Dr. Connett has written many papers and several books, including his most recent, The Zero Waste Solution  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-zero-waste-solution-paul-connett-phd/1115235807   and  The Case Against Flouride https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-case-against-fluoride-paul-connett/1021577574?ean=9781603582872     Here is Dr. Connett’s website:  http://www.americanhealthstudies.org/index.html    While he is retired, Dr. Connett is available to speak at conferences.


Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 014: Improving Psychological Health with Dr. Hyla Cass

Dr. Ben Weitz interviews Dr. Hyla Cass on how to improve psychological health and help patients with psychiatric disorders with a Functional Medicine approach. Dr. Cass said it was natural for her to look at natural causes of psychiatric disorders, including diet, lifestyle, and genetics, rather than the pharmaceutical approach.  She feels that it is shameful that even very young children are placed on medications, when we don’t even know what effects these meds might have on developing brains.

I asked Dr. Cass why it appears as though we have a rising epidemic of depression, bipolar disorder, and ADHD among young people today. Dr. Cass said that this is due to poor diet–too many refined carbs and sugar, a lack of vegetables, not getting a solid protein–and not running around outside and exercising and they spend most of their time inside playing video games and on their computers. Dr. Cass mentioned the problems with breakfast cereals and milk in the morning, which spike their blood sugar and so many kids have food sensitivities to dairy. And the milk has bovine growth hormone. And the wheat is genetically modified and high in gluten.

We were meant to be eating healthy, natural foods with lots of fiber to support the microbiome. And so many things damage the microbiome, including the antibiotics in the food supply and the chlorine and flouride in the water supply. To help patients we have to feed the brain and the gut with natural, healthy food. Kids need to eat more veggies. We were meant to eat and live a certain way and to interact with our tribe a certain way. And that is gone today, esp. in the cities. We have to recreate that type of lifestyle, starting with the diet.  And parents need to have more meaningful interactions with their children and not just be on their phones.

Dr. Cass likes to look at the root causes of psychiatric conditions, such as blood sugar imbalances, stress and adrenal health, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid, hormonal balance, MTHFR and genetic factors that may affect our ability to make neurotransmitters.

We discussed the recent Institute of Functional Medicine conference on brain health and how Dr. Bredesen has demonstrated reversal of Alzheimer’s disease with a Functional Medicine approach that he refers to as a systems approach.  Dr. Bredesen started with rats and found that it is not just removing plaquing in the brain, because if you remove too much plaque, they get worse. Then he went to studying humans and found that if you look at and treat heavy metals, chemical toxicity, hormone imbalances, etc. You can’t just use these medications, like Namenda and Aricept, which do nothing to reverse the course of the disorder.

Here is Dr. Hyla Cass’s website where you can get her free ebook Reclaim Your Brain:  https://cassmd.com/

Rational Wellness Podcast Episode 013: Optimal Fitness with Mike Mutzel

Dr. Weitz inteviews Mike Mutzel on some of the newest strategies to help you lose weight and get into great shape.  Mike and Dr. Ben both agree that it is best if you can not only teach others how to be more fit and healthy, but also to lead your life that way.  They both walk the walk as well as talking the talk. Mike explains how overtraining, such as doing excessive cardio, has negative consequences.  Mike recommends weight training 4 times per week as well as doing some yoga and some high intensity cardio, such as interval training. Mike explains that you have to beat your body up in order to stimulate it to adapt and get stronger and more fit.

Mike recommends taking branch chain amino acids, specifically L-leucine, which promotes muscle growth signalling.  He also recommends consuming a little caffeine prior to going to the gym, which stimulates fat burning and stimulates their nervous system.  Mike also talks about the importance of getting enough protein through your diet, if you want to improve in your strength and muscle building.

Mike also talks about respecting the body’s natural circadian rhythm and that antioxidants should only be taken at night, since if taken before workouts, it might interfere with the free radical stress that is part of how exercise stimulates our body’s adaptation and this lead us to get stronger. Mike also likes alkaline creatine and beta alanine as performance enhancers.  Beta alanine is a lactic acid buffer.

Mike talks about the importance of brown fat and how taking a cold shower will stimulate the production of brown adipose tissue, which is metabolically active.  Fat is not just inert. It is immunologically and metabolically active.

Check out Mike Mutzel’s website and his High Intensity podcast: http://highintensityhealth.com/ Also order his excellent book, Belly Fat Effect https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belly-fat-effect-msc-mike-mutzel/1119083881?ean=9780991070312