In this Episode
- [00:40] – Stephan introduces Dr. Joseph Mercola, a passionate advocate of natural medicine. He is a wellness champion and a visionary who has successfully implemented much-needed changes to our current healthcare system.
- [06:01] – Dr. Mercola explains the many benefits of vitamin D to your body, such as decreasing the risk of common causes of death.
- [12:57] – Dr. Mercola talks about the unfortunate situation with medical students where they get brainwashed with marketing materials from drug companies.
- [18:46] – Stephan shares Hippocrates’ wise proverb; “Let food be thy medicine.”
- [24:13] – Dr. Mercola recalls when McDonald’s stopped using beef tallow for cooking their french fries in the 80s, which is a healthy fat, and switched to vegetable oil because of public pressure.
- [29:57] – How to determine if you are using a good and certified brand of olive oil?
- [35:38] – What is a good score for vitamin D level in our body?
- [42:29] – Dr. Mercola shares an inexpensive biohack to help against osteoporosis and osteopenia.
- [47:07] – What is time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting, and how can it obtain metabolic flexibility in our body?
- [53:57] – Visit Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website at mercola.com to stay updated with health news, and visit StopCOVIDCold.com to know your risk for developing COVID-19.
It’s so great to have you on the show, Dr. Mercola.
Thank you for having me.
First of all, let’s address the elephant in the room, which is the pandemic and Coronavirus. I know you’ve been very much a proponent for vitamin D as something that can help boost immune systems, in particular, against COVID-19. Could you elaborate a bit more about your recommendations for boosting your immune system since we’re heading into another wave apparently of the virus?
Yeah, it certainly seems to be the case; as we’re recording this, they’re locking down many countries in Europe. We haven’t locked down much of the United States at this point. But it seems to be an inevitable recurrence of what they did earlier this year. So that captured most of our attention now. It embraced a lot of what we’re doing and changed the culture in a dramatic way that we never, ever thought or anticipated. So to not have some focus on this as a challenge, I mean, it’s not my desire to do that. My major passion is optimizing the healthspan, which is why you saw me at the Biohacking Conference because I dive deep into that as we progress to it. Unfortunately, I had to divert to this issue because it was so crucial to getting the culture back on board. But essentially, I’ve been a champion for vitamin D for over two decades and have been promoting it. I was one of the first physician journalists in the country to promote it in the last century when at the time, it was just thought to be useful for treating rickets and osteomalacia. We know now that it does far more things. It has epigenetic influences on over 2300 genes in your body. And a large number of those genes are related to immune optimization and functioning.It's usually the wisest, simplest, and least expensive strategies that turn out to be the most effective in taking good care of your health. Click To Tweet
There have been loads of epidemiological correlations concerning vitamin D levels, and the likelihood of you dying from vitamin D deficiency or is half of the suffering severe consequences. Unfortunately, a correlation study is not causation, but those randomized placebo-controlled trials are actually in process. And I carefully reviewed the literature earlier this year, the compiled paper was about 30 pages with 300-400 references, and we just had it published. It’s published in Nutrients and will be, I think, later this month, and it’s probably available online for free. The reason we want Nutrients is the author can pay a little bit more, and then it’s available for free for everyone to look online. So I co-authored it with two vitamin D experts and researchers in the field who are quite well-published. It took us a while to get it in there, the editors were a bit reluctant to do it, but they finally capitulated and published it.
And we put together, actually with your help, a website called Stop COVID Cold, a catchy name, isn’t it? Well, Stephan had something to do with that. It took us many hours to figure out what to use, but it’s a free website, no email capture, or anything. You just go in there and just information. It was my effort to help support the community at large to give them a useful tool that can radically decrease the risk. So what it does, based on what I said earlier, it dramatically enhances your immune system in a wide variety of ways. And you could go into detail if you go to that site because the site allows you to do two things. One is to take a quick two-minute test; the test will give you a nearly instantaneous assessment of your risk factors for coming down with this disease. And based on the way you answer the questions, it will give you some specific recommendations that will radically reduce your risk for developing it. Because we know now that depending on your age and your activities, I mean you can literally even the conservative CDC that says that certain groups only have a 99.99% chance of surviving. And that decreases as you get into an older age group, maybe up to 95%. But the vast majority of people who come down with this illness do not die from it. But still, if 5% of those who come down with it die, that’s a pretty significant number.
You can do many things, such as optimizing your vitamin D level, and then also your metabolic flexibility, or your body’s ability to seamlessly transition between burning fat and sugar for fuel. And if you optimize, you can change that number by 100 fold. So instead of having a .01% chance of dying, it would be a .0001% chance of dying. So I mean, wouldn’t you want to improve your odds by 100 fold? I mean, that’s just crazy not to. And most of these things are free. Now with vitamin D, as we’re recording this, we’re entering the winter season, so unless you’re in a subtropical area. Like I border in a subtropical area in Florida, but even in Florida, a month or two months out of the year, you’re not going to be able to get significant amounts of vitamin D. But in almost every area of the country, that’s for sure you’re not going to. So you’re going to have to use a supplement. But if it was summer, you wouldn’t even need to take a supplement. And that is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D. So we’re designed to have a significant amount of our skin exposed to the sun because there are other benefits other than vitamin D production when you do that, and that optimize health. So even so, if you take a supplement, vitamin D is one of the least expensive supplements, and it doesn’t require any fancy processing.
We recommend people to get a test because, like your blood pressure, there’s no way to know what your level is. But if your finances are difficult, and you don’t want to do it, well, typically, a year’s worth of vitamin D supplement cost less than a test. So in many ways, it is almost free, I mean, it’s not free, but it’s one of the least expensive supplements you can get. And then, metabolic flexibility doesn’t involve anything. So my focus, as a natural medicine physician for the last 30 years or so, has been to provide people with simple, inexpensive, low-cost resources as an alternative to drugs and surgery to prevent disease and needless pain and suffering and to die prematurely. Vitamin D optimization is probably one of the single most important treasures you can do not only to beat COVID but radically improve your health overall, such as decreasing your risk for the most common causes of death, which would be heart disease, cancer, then you got the all the other goodies like dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, macular degeneration. So it improves all of those things if you have enough vitamin D, and then you’re metabolically optimized, and you’re not insulin resistant.
Right. How do you find out if you’re insulin resistant?
Probably, I threw out that term without defining it. Many people have probably heard of the term, but they don’t know what it means. Insulin is a hormone that your body produces that causes your body to utilize sugar. Most of us are having too many carbohydrates or processed foods. It’s the processed foods rather than the carbohydrates, and the combination certainly doesn’t help. But there’s a very dangerous, poisonous fat that’s called linoleic acid. It’s an Omega-6 fat, and it’s just pervasive in our food supply for over a century. It’s one of the most important reasons why we’ve had such a dramatic increase, a true pandemic of disease, no question. It’s not an infection. It’s an adoption of eating foods that decimated our health. You say, well, how can it be at the beginning of the 20th century, our life expectancy was significantly lower than it is now? Well, that’s because we’ve had advancements in science that allow us to treat diseases like infections very effectively with antibiotics and hygiene and a variety of other advances that doesn’t address the underlying damages being done by this shift and the choice of the foods that we’re eating.
The ones that are high in this omega-6 is vegetable oil. They’re called vegetable oils generically, and that’s a misnomer because it’s almost a marketing strategy, and you’re pretty familiar with that. Because vegetables, of course, are healthy, so vegetable oil has to be healthy. No, I think it’d be further from the truth. These are the most dangerous poisons that you could intake aside from saying like cyanide that would kill you instantly. These kill you slowly over time, and these are pervasive. Many people watching this probably understand that, but for those who don’t, I’m talking about things like canola oil, soybean oil which the use has increased like 10,000 fold in the last hundred years. Corn oil, all of those are not only industrially processed seed oil, but they’re also genetically modified, so they’re contaminated with glyphosate. But what’s far more dangerous than the glyphosate and the fact that they’re devoid of other micronutrients and the fact that they had these high concentrations of linoleic acid, which just literally decimate your health at a molecular biological level, at the level of the mitochondria. It radically destroys mitochondrial function or might have caused mitochondrial dysfunction by integrating into a really important part of the inner mitochondrial membrane that gets damaged and oxidized because of this fat that’s not supposed to be there.
Because you do need some of this fat, but it needs to be less than 2% of your diet. Most of us are getting like ten times that amount, which is just a prescription for a metabolic disaster. So if you can identify these things and understand them and limit this poison from your foods that you’re eating, which doesn’t cost you anything, well, it does a little bit because ideally, if you want to focus on getting healthier foods, those healthy foods may cost a little more. But essentially, it’s the food you’re going to eat. We’re not suggesting any supplements or magic potions to detoxify, or insulate, or protect you from these things. The simple strategy is to eliminate them from your foods. Foods are simple, basic, free interventions that can radically improve your ability to enjoy life and health and not have to suffer needlessly by eating these types of dangerous poisonous foods. So that’s the reason I went into medicine. Most people, when they go into med school, they’re committed to getting people healthy and get great joy out of doing that. That’s one of their big rewards. I mean, some people go into it for finances, but I think the bulk of them don’t.
Unfortunately, the system has gone through. It will brainwash all the students and propagandize them with essentially marketing material from drug companies. They understand basic anatomy, human physiology, and biochemistry, molecular biology, but they don’t understand that the cure, the treatment for almost every disease they’re going to see in their professional career, isn’t in a prescription bottle. It is not in a prescription bottle. But that’s what’s taught. It’s been taught that way for over a century. Since 1910, 110 years, when Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations went in to subsidize the medical school curriculum. And they had a dramatic shift about 110 years ago, and that just changed. Almost all the nutritional information was removed from the curriculum, and homeopathy was destroyed, and it’s just this massive shift. Of course, Rockefeller, who, actually I live right down the street from where he passed away. So in our little town where he’s kind of like a local celebrity, but obviously at the time he was living, he was the wealthiest guy in the world, but many people understand that he was the associate with the oil industry, Standard Oil. And an out product of the oil industry many people don’t realize is the pharmaceutical industry. Contemporary pharmaceuticals are derived from oil. So he had these massive conflicts of interest and was pretty strategic and wise and sharp to understand that if you can go in there and brainwash the medical profession and convince them and sort of bribe the teachers that this was the way to go. It’s a pretty clever strategy to get to increase your market share for your product and continue that. So that’s been going on for over a century. And the longer these types of charades persist, the harder they are to get over. And I’ll give a few pillar examples of that would be the use of mercury in dentistry.
I’m a physician. I started a website before Google started, literally in 1997. I love technology, and I’ve transitioned away from seeing patients over a decade ago. As a source of revenue, we sell resources and tools to help people help them control their health. And that provides a healthy source of revenue for me, more than enough than I need, so I can donate some of it. And we do donate millions of dollars every year to charities, and one of the charities is the Consumers for Dental Choice. And they have been instrumental at essentially initiating legislative changes to eliminate mercury from dentistry in the entire world. And it’s in the process now. I feel very grateful to have been able to facilitate that. Because no one’s going to disagree that the most effective way to treat a disease is to prevent it in the first place. You can have all these sophisticated and expensive typical strategies and protocols for detoxifying mercury, but the best way is not to put it in there in the first place. Many people may not realize that a silver filling is not the majority silver. The majority of it is mercury, which is a poison. Probably more poisonous than the linoleic acid acutely, but concerning the damage, it causes. I would say linoleic acid is more pervasive.
Not everyone has silver fillings, and interestingly, why would you need silver fillings? It kind of goes full course, you need silver fillings because you have dental decay, right? There are cultures in the world, and I’m sure if anyone realizes that they have virtually no dental decay. And it’s not because they’re biogenetically gifted. No, it’s because they’re choosing to eat foods that don’t catalyze damage in your mouth. So then, if you don’t have dental decay, you don’t need any type of filling, whether it’s an amalgam mercury filling or another safer version. But anyway, one of the targets of our philanthropic efforts is the ability to get mercury out. So mercury is one, and then fluoride kind of goes along with that, which we’ve worked with the Fluoride Action Alert group, Dr. Paul Connett, who has been pretty useful. He facilitated a lawsuit against the EPA, earlier this year, to classify fluoride as a poison. And we’ve shown that science has shown that it causes damage in the brain and lowers your IQ just like lead did. And so this went to trial in a, I don’t know if it was an appellate court, or if some high court viewed it. And if the EPA doesn’t do something, because this is the first time the EPA has been sued in this area, and that judge is going to force some action. We’re kind of excited about that, too. The key is just to prevent these things, to take action before you need it. And that is usually the wisest, the least expensive, and the most effective strategy to take an intervention to help your health.
Yeah. And wasn’t it Hippocrates who said, “Let food be thy medicine?”
I believe so.
And that the whole medical establishment made it almost woo-woo to think about changing your diet as a way to fight or prevent cancer and heart disease and so forth.
Well, the challenge and optimally integrating that wise proverb is to understand what food is. Because essentially, anything in the grocery stores is technically and legally food, but probably less than 5% of it would truly qualify for. Even the food that we think is healthy, like vegetables. Many people are following plant-based diets and don’t eat any animal products. And many of them exhibited a pretty high-level of health relative to the population, but the regular population is eating the worst food that we’ve ever done historically. So it’s not hard to do better than that. You limited those types of foods from your diet, and you’re eating vegetables, so there’s a large level of emerging data in the science that strongly suggests that some of these vegetables can be highly problematic. So integrating more healthy animal-based foods into your diet can be useful. There’s an interesting tangent to that, and not all animal foods are healthy either because there are certain animal foods that are loaded with linoleic acid because of the foods that they’re fed. And this would be things like chickens and pigs.Food is a basic and simple intervention that can radically improve your ability to enjoy your life and health. Click To Tweet
One of the reasons why those are good foods to avoid, not necessarily chicken eggs, but certainly chickens themselves, is they’re high in linoleic acid. I mean, if you go back 100 years, you dial it back. Fortunately, no one ate chicken. It’s modern-day food. It’s used quite frequently because it’s an artifact of the low-fat myth that destroyed so many people’s health. Chicken became very popular because it’s low-fat meat. But the fat that is in the chicken, a large percentage of it is linoleic acid, which can damage your health at a molecular level. It makes it for many people, almost impossible to lose weight. We have ⅔, in some states 70-80% of the population who are overweight, and 40-50% who are obese. That’s insane. You go back 100 years, dial it back, do you think you saw the number of people being obese? No. And in large part, it’s not the high-fat carbs. It was the type of fat that they were eating. So I’m not a proponent of the low-fat diet. The low-fat diet could work, I don’t think it’s as healthy as a high healthy fat diet. But when you have a low-fat diet that was recommended in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, they vilified saturated fat, which is probably one of the healthiest fats you can eat.
And they replaced it with these vegetable oils. So not only was it low fat, but the fact that they were encouraging people to use was the poisonous fat. So that’s one of the primary reasons why people never got better, and we have this explosion of disease. It’s not commonly known that many of the most common forms of death in this country. Like cancer and heart disease were very rare, people did not have them a century ago. And common morbidities such as blindness as a result of aging didn’t exist more than 100 years ago. It wasn’t even known. It wasn’t even written in the textbooks till like 1920. They hadn’t even identified it. It was a rare aberration. Never seen. But now it’s affecting tens, hundreds of millions of people around the world. So all as a result of simply not understanding and applying basic foundational principles of biology.
Yeah, I think a lot of people have an addiction to these things like french fries, falafels, hamburgers, fried chicken, and all that sort of stuff that’s very toxic.
Well, I wouldn’t include hamburgers as being toxic. I mean, even if it was some CAFO, probably better than a lot of other options. I mean, I’m no fan of CAFO meat. And CAFO is an acronym for Confined Animal Feeding Operations, which is the way most of the meat is produced in this country under awful, inhumane conditions to the animals and just exponential animal cruelty being implemented there. So I’m not an advocate of that. I’m more in favor of grass-fed humanely raised animals that are humanely slaughtered and sacrificed. But even if he had a CAFO hamburger is still probably healthier. Typically, because they’re not fried but the other things like falafel or french fries, of course, or they’re going to be fried. And frying makes it even worse. It didn’t use to be as bad. One of our nemesis, the CSPI, Consumers for Science in the Public Interest, which I could think of another name for the acronym, but they testified before the senate to say that we were snake oil salesmen and they try to get the FTC to shut us down. And nothing happened because we’re not breaking any rule.
But the reason I mentioned them is that they had this campaign, they took out huge full-page ads in USA Today. I think it might have been in the 80s where they vilified saturated fat. So at that time, McDonald’s, which was one of the biggest chains, still is, of course, was using tallow, which is a very healthy fat. It’s beef tallow, it’s fat from cows, and they would cook their french fries or fry them in tallow, and that is healthy. People think beef tallow is saturated fat, and it is mostly saturated, but no fat is exclusively saturated or polyunsaturated. It’s a mixture of all of them. So it has small amounts of polyunsaturated fat. So when you bring it to high temperature, it’s going to cause problems. So it’s not completely safe, but it’s a lot safer for what they recommend that people substitute it with. And they did listen to them, they put this public pressure on them to stop using beef tallow, and they use vegetable oil. The french fries being distributed at McDonald’s and sold there are literally, I mean, they’re definitely tasty. Who doesn’t like the freshly fried french fries with salt, and it just tastes really good. It’s one of the worst things for your body.
Maybe doughnuts are worse, but they’re pretty comparable. And it’s not the salt, and it’s not the carbs. I’m not a big fan of excess carbs. It’s the oil by itself. Even if it was pure oil and it wasn’t heated, it would be a problem. When you heat it, you cause other issues. So people think it’s trans fat where they stick like aldehydes. It’s not, it’s the intrinsic constituent of the linoleic fatty acid that’s in there that is just in its pristine condition, and excess amounts will just screw with you metabolically and destroy your health. And you can prove it in animal studies. It’s just so clear when you look at it. Unfortunately, this concept is not widely appreciated at the level that it’s needed to have people understand to change their health and limit this dangerous poison from their diet. So that’s one of my new passions. And I’m guilty of it too because I didn’t understand this principle until this year. We’ve been teaching people to avoid vegetables for a long time, but it’s far more than that. You need to analyze all the foods you’re eating to limit this fatty acid from your diet because high levels of it are just a recipe for the destruction of your metabolic health.
Yeah, I learned that the more clean looking the vegetable oil, the more likely it’s kind of toxic to you that it’s been bleached, drained, and all these chemical processes that made it even more toxic, just so they look nice and clean to sell more on the shelves.
Here’s the extension of that. And very few people will disagree with that. But the extension of that, if you eliminated all the processing, and you took the seeds from which these oils were extracted, and you just ate the unprocessed raw seeds now eating soybeans does not sound like a wise idea but canola or corn by itself, so it was unprocessed, it’s still going to be highly problematic. So yes, the processing makes it worse, and it leads to other issues but just the very pristine fat all by cells in excess is a recipe for metabolic disaster. It really is. The increased level of awareness of the danger of this issue because people think, well, I don’t eat vegetables, it’s fine. So I have the corn. The grains are problematic. People think it’s a problem because of the carbs. Yes, it can be an issue, but almost all grains are high in linoleic acid, which is far more dangerous than the carbs. Carbs can be potentially problematic but are necessary, I believe, for staying healthy.
Now, if someone’s morbidly obese, it probably is a good idea to avoid carbs for a while until they get metabolically flexible, but once you’re optimized, you need carbohydrates. If you want to be healthy, you need carbs. Many people are advocates of being keto all the time. When they continue along that path, at some point, their health will suffer because you were designed to have carbohydrates. You’re designed to go for long periods without any, that’s sort of a resource of skill set, or body has provided us to do and evolve with because we always haven’t had access to food, as we have now where you can get at the grocery store. People throughout history, most of the time, had to go for pretty significant periods of time without any food. So it’s a metabolic adaptation. And we had this resource, which is why we survived as a species.
Yeah. So if you’re going to replace these toxic oils, or these very unhealthy, industrially processed oils, with healthier ones, like avocado oil, coconut oil, what would be the recommendations?
Coconut would be a better oil if you’re going to use oil. I just don’t think you need to do that necessarily. Interestingly, too, extensively healthy oils, olive oil, and avocado oil are commonly adulterated. Commonly, 80% of them, that’s more than common, right? So you’ve got to be very diligent if you’re going to use those oils from very reputable sources. Usually, for small companies that you know you can trust and certify, because otherwise, it’s not going to be good. So the other thing you can do with those oils or going to use them. Linoleic acid is polyunsaturated fat, and those fats tend to remain liquid even at lower temperatures. So you can put your olive oil in the fridge. Have you ever done that?
No, I haven’t. But it would get solid then, right?
Ideally, and we sell olive oil on our site, we sell a Biodynamic Olive Oil, one of the best in the world. But even that one, about 10 to 20% of the fats in there are linoleic acid. So you can’t go crazy with olive oil, but you could if you revised this. One of the revisions is to put your olive oil in the fridge, maybe overnight or several hours, and let it get cold. And when it gets cold, the healthy fats will turn solid. And the linoleic acid will rise to the top and be liquid. So you take your olive oil out of the fridge, and you either pour that liquid down the drain, or pour it into a container or better yet, and then collect it until you have enough and then give it to someone you don’t like- a relative or neighbor you’re not too fond of. Give them that and say, “Here’s some great olive oil extract.” But that’s the one that’s going to cause the problem, and that’s unhealthy.
So that’s a little trick that you can do with avocado oil, too. Because avocados themselves, I have an avocado a day, but that’s one of my high sources of linoleic acid. I eat eggs too. I have like eight chickens, and they have about half a dozen eggs a day. But that is my highest source. That’s half of my source of linoleic acid because chickens eat grains, and they don’t have the capacity. Unlike cattle cows or lambs who have more than one stomach, they can take that grain, and because they have multiple stomachs, the bacteria in their stomachs can digest it and convert it to other fats. So they’re not high in linoleic acid. The amount of linoleic acid in chicken is ten times greater than a cow or buffalo or lamb. It’s quite dramatic.
Wow. I remember when we were working on the Stop COVID Cold site together, and you’re working on the quiz. That’s when you had first raised this point to me that the processed oils are a key contributor, not just the vitamin D. So if you want to be COVID resilient, you’d not only want to have a high score in terms of your vitamin D levels, but you want to have minimal or no intake of fast foods and these processed oils.There's a hazardous, poisonous fat that's called Linoleic Acid. It's an Omega-6 fat that's been pervasive in our food supply for over a century. It's one of the most important reasons we've had such a dramatic increase in diseases.… Click To Tweet
Yeah, and I’m sure people have heard of the cytokine storm that typically kills people. And cytokines are simply small protein molecules that are signals to different areas in your body or other tissues. But interestingly, the likelihood of increasing the cytokine storm is exponentially increasing of high amounts of linoleic acid. So I don’t want to go deep into molecular biology because it’s not appropriate for this audience. But it’s a major contributor to this. If you limit the likelihood you’re going to be producing these storms and needing things, there are many interventions that you can use that will get you through this. There’s very little reason to be fearful of this illness because there are so many simple strategies.
My favorite is something called nebulized peroxide, so using a nebulizer, and you simply use very low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, about 30-fold decrease from the typical concentration at the grocery store or pharmacy. And just breathe it in. I’ve got a video on my site that tells you how to do that. But it’s been so impressive seeing people use it who were very sick, almost felt like they were ready to die at a fever, coughing like crazy, just had no energy and felt miserable. Within hours, they are pretty much normal. That’s a consistent response to this. The only problem with those is it’s so expensive, because that peroxide, it’s about maybe a quarter to half a penny. But you do need to find the nebulizer, and not all of them work well. But it’s a one-time investment. You can use it for yourself, your family, the whole neighborhood if you want to because you can just easily sterilize the mask that you’re breathing through with some alcohol or peroxide itself.
That’s good to know. So I’ll include the video from your site in the show notes.
Yeah, that’d be good. It literally could save your life. Here’s the key point, if this intrigues you, and I provide a compelling argument because I have two videos. So there’s one to explain the science, the other tells you how to do it. The key to know is that yes, it’s important to understand that this resource is available, but it’s like being prepared for any emergency. You want to have it ready when you’re ready to go. Because if you or someone you love dearly comes down with this. It’s Friday, and you don’t have this, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna wait? You’re not gonna be able to go to the local store and get it. So you have to have it ready to go. This is not something you need to use all the time, but you need to have it locked and loaded. Because I’ve seen so many people, and it’s such a pleasure, like one of our chief editors that reviews our content on the site for grammatical errors. She came down with this, and she believed me she had it, and she started, and boom. It’s just crazy. And it was on the weekend, which typically always happens where she would order it and didn’t get it till like three days later if she can get it at all. So just being prepared is the key thing. I was a boy scout.
Yeah. And what was a good score for vitamin D levels? I checked mine in the summer, and it was a hundred.
A hundred’s a little bit too high. It’s very hard to get your vitamin D to a hundred naturally without a supplement. So you probably were taking supplements. I would lower the dose.
Yep. Which I did.
Yeah, it always would be 60 to 80. There’s no benefit for going over that. And there may be some potential harm, although it’s pretty darn safe, you could probably go to 200 and not be damaged. Why give your body more than it needs? Typically, the threshold you want is about 40. And the reason you want a little higher than 40 is that it’s fat-soluble. And if you don’t get sun exposure, unfortunately, no one does in the winter; it tends to go down. Now, my level is about 60 or so, and I don’t take any supplements, haven’t taken any for a decade and even a two-three month period where I have sun exposure, but it’s not sufficient to cause an increase in vitamin D. It’ll go down but doesn’t go below 40. So that’s the threshold you don’t want to fall below. So 60 is like the buffer that keeps you above 40 because 40 is where you want to always be greater than. And not all conventional scientists or researchers will agree to this. They will say it’s 30, and this is nanograms per milliliter. If you’re watching this from Canada or Europe, the units are nanomoles per liter, which is 2.5 times higher. So instead of 60 to 80, that would be 100-150 nanomoles. But yours was US, so that was nanograms.
Right. So let’s move off of this topic. Of course, listeners, you need to go check out stopcovidcold.com and take the quiz and read the literature about vitamin D and how important it is and take some action.
Yeah, and there are two PDFs on the site, they’re free, and you don’t have to give your email or anything. One is for the layperson who just wants the details, and the other is for people like healthcare professionals. But even the detailed one is formatted in a way that makes it very easy to read. There are lots of graphics and formatting. It’s just optimized for easy digestibility. As opposed to the paper I wrote for the science journal, Nutrients, which if you’re a scientist or researcher, fine, but you don’t want to read that one. You want to read the PDF. It’s much easier to digest than a technical research paper.
Yeah. I had to read plenty of technical research papers in my previous life when I was studying for a Ph.D. in biochemistry.
Yeah. Oh, boy. I love biochemistry. To me, it’s like the resource kit you need to debug health and figure it out and optimize pathways. You have to listen to your body’s feedback, but it gives you some really good clues. I mean, I’m just such a huge fan of molecular biology.
Yeah, me too. All right. Well, let’s move to a topic that I know is near and dear to your heart, and that’s biohacking. I’d love to hear some of your favorite biohack, some of the things that you do and recommend to our listeners.
One of the things we already mentioned was vitamin D optimization. I mean, that’s like the most foundational basic. It’s interesting because if you’re optimizing your health, you’re increasing your resiliency to all diseases, that wouldn’t be COVID-19, but that’d be heart disease and cancer and senile dementia, everything. So that’s the benefit of this. Not only does it increase resiliency, but you improve your ability to function at a high-level while you’re there. Many characteristics that people acquire as they age or typically attributed to aging, and there may be an element of truth in that, but many of those, if not most, don’t even have to occur at all. It’s only a result of aging because people engage in activities that, when they do this over time, it causes that type of damage. So you can really slow down and many times prevent some of these things like the loss of muscle mass or is also called sarcopenia, the Latin term for muscle pain, the “penia” means poverty and “sarco” means muscle, so poverty of muscle. It’s like 20% of people over 60 have it.
Just because it’s common to people, that doesn’t mean it’s normal. It’s typically common because people are not doing engaging activities that are going to limit and stop that. Both of my parents passed away from sarcopenia primarily, that wasn’t in the death certificates, but in my view, that was the primary reason. They had sarcopenia, which resulted in frailty. And frailty is not good. I’m sure your listeners and viewers know or seen or known someone with frailty and to be confined to a wheelchair and not to be able to actually even stand up without holding out or even stand up without assistance is sad. And a good predictor that you’re not going to be on the planet much longer. So you need to be able to engage in all life’s activities in a full range of motion and movement, and that is the key. And once you stop doing that, it’s a rapid downhill decline. So it’s really important to maintain your muscle mass.
I like something called blood flow restriction training, which I engage in regularly. It came out of Japan from a Dr. Sato and developed a system called Kaatsu, which is short for the Japanese word that means additional pressure. So you have these bands that you put on your arms and extremities, your legs and your arms at the same time, and you engage in exercises where you’re using 20 to 30% of your maximum body weight, and you’re doing that large amounts of times. Not just ten reps, but maybe 100 reps like 40, one set, and then 30 and 30. And it only takes a few minutes, but you get the benefits of lifting very heavy heavyweights without the risk or damage. Because when you’re 60, 70, 80 years old, it is a bit of a challenge to use high resistance or heavy weights because of the risk of damaging yourself. So it allows you to use very light weights and gets massive benefits from it. So I enjoy it from that perspective, you can still lift heavy weights, but interestingly, the blood flow restriction training seems to provide greater muscle stimulus, muscle growth, and heavy resistance training by itself through a variety of hormonal factors that gets catalyzed through this process.
Right. And it’s also related to increasing your muscle density and muscle mass and avoiding this frailty part of it, or there’s a related thing to that as people age, especially women, they lose bone density and suffer from osteoporosis. And if they have a fall and break a hip, then that’s also a very quick decline and kind of death sentence.
Yeah, there. Of course, vitamin D can be useful because it gets calcium into the body. But a lot of people were confused and taking calcium supplements. But actually, magnesium is probably more important. Another biohack that I learned recently that’s useful and it’s very inexpensive to help against osteoporosis and osteopenia would be simply to alkalize your body fluids. The simple way to do that is just simple baking soda, which is almost free. And you could take about a quarter teaspoon three times a day, and that will do it. And you know you’re taking enough by measuring the pH of your urine. How do you do that? You get something as simple as litmus paper, you pick it up on Amazon, and it has numbers from like 1-14, and you want to go for seven. Seven is like a neutral pH. Most people have acidic urine, so it’d be a four or five or six. The lower the number, the more acidic it is. But pH seven is pretty good. You can even go to seven, five, or eight. And you just measure urine when your urine is at that level, then you’re taking enough baking soda.
The problem is it tastes kind of bad. You can hide it in smoothies. If you are having smoothies, it’s easy to do it that way, or you can put it up as a capsule. I like potassium bicarb instead of sodium bicarb better. So I take about three-quarter teaspoons a day, and that’s been enough. So why do I talk about that in osteoporosis? Well, when you’re acidic and you have acidic urine, your body doesn’t like that. So it needs to neutralize the urine. And the way it buffers that urine and neutralizes is by taking the minerals out of your bone. So if you have neutral urine, then you can preserve the minerals in your bone and keep a healthy bone density. So it’s a simple hack. And that one that’s commonly appreciated, it’s just to alkalize your body. And if you eat a lot of plant foods, they will alkalize your body, so that becomes less of an issue. That’s why you measure your urine. It’s not a generic recommendation. You have to customize it for your own body because some people are going to need a lot more. Like when I fast, I just fasted last week for four days, and fasting, you generate ketones, and ketones are acidic. So I had to double the dose of my bicarb just to keep my urine neutral.The treatment for almost every disease isn't in a prescription bottle, but that's what is taught. Click To Tweet
Interesting. How often are you doing multiple days of fasting?
I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, I mean, unless they were in the beginning state of acquiring health, and they were morbidly obese and needed to lose weight. They may need it a lot more frequently, but if you’re already healthy, I think once a quarter is more than sufficient. And probably the fascinating aspect of longevity medicine is something called Senolytic therapy. Have you heard of that before?
I have not.
Okay, so you know what a senescent cell is?
Okay, well, for those who don’t let me explain. That describes a cell that is kind of like an aged geriatric cell. And when your cells get into state, they stop reproducing. Now, you say, “What’s wrong with that just hanging around?” Well, that’s not the issue. The issue is when it gets into the state, it starts producing these inflammatory, like cytokines that diffuse out of the cell and contaminate all the cells around them. It’s like having a rotten apple in a barrel, like a bucket of apple. So it contaminates it, it secretes these chemicals that essentially causes it to go south. In my view, probably one of the most exciting aspects of anti-aging medicine is the optimization integration of Senolytic therapy, and these senescent treatments can be simple things like Quercetin or Fisetin that can be done and essentially cause your body to remove them selectively identify and eliminate the cells from your body. So that’s the only reason I did the fasting was to implement some Senolytic therapy because I was trying to target a specific health challenge I was having. I did high dose senolytics during it because it tends to work better when you’re in a fasted state. After all, Senolytic therapy is a sort of a derivative of refinement of a process called autophagy. Autophagy is self-eating, so it’s a removal of damaged cells. It should normally be occurring.
One of the other primary strategies that I would recommend and to obtain metabolic flexibility is something called time-restricted eating. Many people refer to it as intermittent fasting, but that is a more generic term. But time-restricted eating is where you eat within a window of about six to eight hours for most people, especially if you’re older. I used to go lower than that, like to eat within two hours even, like one meal a day or four hours. But I think as you get older your body, if you’re over 60-70, you’re going to want to not go much lower than that on a long term basis. Short term, you can do fasting for days, but just to give your body the resources. So when you do that, it just activates all these magical metabolic benefits. So that’s something I do pretty much every day. I typically have an 18-hour window where I’m not eating. So I’m eating within six hours. And ideally, you want to have that window of the last meal three to four hours before you go to bed. And then you can optimize. You were not designed to be digesting your food when you’re sleeping. And if you’re eating before you go to bed, you’re just hurting yourself and maybe not even being aware of it. But it’s not a good strategy. And it’s so simple to do. Maybe less easy for people with families who go to work, although many of us are not physically going to the job site anymore. We’re staying at home and working. So we have a lot more flexibility. So if you’re feeling fortunate in that circumstance that you have some control over when you’re going to eat with your family, just dial that time back rather than seven o’clock, go to five, or in my case, I stop eating at three o’clock. Today, it’ll be two o’clock is the last meal I have. And then I’ll eat at like eight o’clock the next morning. And that gives me an 18-hour window where my body has not seen any food. And that will make it so easy to achieve ideal body weight. Because getting healthy is not that hard if you understand these basic biological principles, and one of them is this restricted eating window.
The other is avoiding linoleic acid and then avoiding processed foods in general, which is not a Nobel Prize concept. It’s just a simple strategy. So you do those, avoid linoleic acid, don’t go crazy with carbohydrates, and just eat healthy carbs, like fruits. Keep that window short, and your body will develop metabolic efficiency over time and become very resilient to almost every disease. It happens slowly if you’re sick, and you haven’t been eating this way for many decades, it’s going to take a while to have your body recover. But it will go towards health by itself. It’s designed to be healthy, and it’s not designed to be sick; it’s designed to be healthy. That’s what your body is if you give it what it needs. You don’t have to like direct it. It’ll do it by itself. Fasting is a way to kind of speed up the process. It’s not a simple strategy that requires some willpower and discipline but especially the first two days because it becomes more of a challenge the second day. You start to become hungry. But after the second day, your ketone levels arise, which is a water-soluble fat that your liver makes when you’re in a fasted state to give your body energy instead of carbohydrates. Then that suppresses your appetite quite dramatically. So you’re not hungry, you might psychologically miss the food, but you don’t have hunger pains or anything. And you could easily do it and forget about food, like, “Oh yeah, I haven’t eaten for three or four days.”
Is this like a good measure to deal with, let’s say, fatty liver? Because that’s pretty common.
Well, we used to think that the fatty liver was due to carbohydrate excess. Now I’m convinced there’s no doubt in my mind that NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is an excess of linoleic acid. That’s exactly what it is. You eliminate that fat from your diet, and NAFLD will disappear overnight. Maybe not eliminate it.
You need a small amount.
Well, that’s what I was going to say is that it’s thought of as essential fat. But there’s newer research that suggests it may not be. Here’s the key, so how much do you need? You don’t want to ever go more than 2% of your diet. So there’s an application called Cronometer, cronometer.com, it’s free, you can very carefully enter your diet and all the foods and measure it, so you know how much you have with the scale. And that it will tell you how much omega-6 you have in your diet. And so in my case, it’s eight grams. So in every gram of fat, there are nine calories. So that’s 72 calories of omega-6 fat. So you take that 72, and you divide it by the total calories you’re eating. In my case, it might be 3500 calories, 3800 calories. So you do that calculation, you get a percent. So ideally, the percent should be under 2%. So most people are about 20%. So that is the goal because that’s more than enough. And then you want to have some omega-3 in there, but there’s a lot of confusion to this, that omega-3 to 6 ratios. And the biggest one that is dangerous is that “Oh, I’ve got a lot of omega-6, this may take a lot more omega-3,” that is not going to work. That will even get worse. You need some omega-3, but the solution to a distorted omega-6-3 ratio is to lower your omega-6, not increase your omega-3.We need to understand what food is. Everything in the grocery store is technically and legally food, but probably less than 5% of it would genuinely qualify as healthy. Click To Tweet
Got it. Okay. Well, this has been phenomenal and eye-opening and a lot of stuff. I’ve been biohacking for a little while now, and I learned a lot of stuff. And I’m sure our listeners, you’re gonna save some lives with this information. So thank you so much.
That’s the intention. I haven’t traveled, the last time I traveled was in March, and I went to Mexico. I had to cancel three biohacking trips, Dave Asprey is one in this year, and then one in London, I had to cancel. But I’m speaking about biohacking events to select people, people that pay $50,000, to attend this event to see me and Dave speak, and some other scientists. And it’s not a big group, so I get to speak for six hours and give them all these details. So you got some of the highlights of that event that people pay $50,000 to attend. I’m not kidding you. This is not like blowing smoke up your butt. This is a real art in biohacking, we started the event, and we wanted to get the top experts in the world and just brainstorm every quarter about the things they could do to optimize ourselves. So I still haven’t finished my six-hour PowerPoint for this yet. But those are some of the highlights that I shared with you.
Amazing. Thank you so much. I thank you for all that you do to help make humanity better. And keep it up; you’re doing a fantastic service to humanity.
Well, thank you. Yeah, it’s fun. It’s easy and fun when you love what you’re doing.
So, where do we send our listeners to learn more and buy supplements and all that sort of good stuff?
Well, especially the hydrogen peroxide video, I think you’re gonna have it linked here. But if they can’t find it, just go to my site, mercola.com, it’s really easy. As I said, I started at 97 before Google did, so it was easy to get my last name as my domain. Because there weren’t many websites back in 1997, there were some surely. So you go to mercola.com. We have a daily newsletter, or weekly newsletter, whichever you prefer. We have a lot of research there and tens of thousands of articles. You just go into our search engine at the top, and you can look back to see what we’ve written in the past if you want to search for a topic that you need some information on. And then stopcovidcold.com, a great place, a great site, has helped a lot of people and take it from there.
All right. Awesome. Thank you so much, Dr. Mercola. And thank you, listeners. Now get out there and make a difference in the world and help some people to return to health.
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- Stop COVID Cold
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- How Nitric Oxide Combats COVID-19
- Vitamin D
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- Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths – Research
- Linoleic acid
- Rockefeller Foundation
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- Dr. Paul Connett
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- Nebulized peroxide
- Senolytic therapy
- Senescent cell
- Dave Asprey
Checklist of Actionable Takeaways
Be more critical of the food I eat. Start prioritizing my health by first changing my diet. The mindset that health and medicine rely heavily on doctors’ prescriptions should be shifted to preventing disease through a healthy diet.
Be more aware of my vitamin D levels. According to Dr. Mercola, acquiring levels around 60 to 80 is what’s healthy for my system. Getting enough daily sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D. However, if an area isn’t as sunny, taking supplements is the next best thing.
Maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It’s the best way to strengthen my immune system in fighting viruses and diseases. Be mindful of the food I eat, how physically active I am, what I consume mentally, and how many hours I sleep.
Run through tests that will let me better know the status of my health. Having these types of results can help me make better decisions about my body moving forward.
Eat organic and avoid eating processed foods and GMOs. If I go through the ingredients list and there’s an ingredient that’s difficult to read, it’s probably not good for my body.
Practice ethical eating. Go the extra mile and research the brands I currently buy. Find out if their production has a negative impact on human rights or the environment.
Beware of Linoleic Acid. This component is commonly found in vegetable oil, chicken, and pork. These are foods that are high in Omega-6 and can deteriorate my health immensely in the long run.
Limit my carb intake and make sure that these are natural carbohydrates that are healthy for my metabolism.
Visit www.Stopcovidcold.com to learn more about the latest research on COVID-19.
Visit Dr. Mercola’s website for more information about natural health and tips on improving human life longevity.
About Dr. Joseph Mercola
Dr. Joseph Mercola is the founder of Mercola.com. An osteopathic physician, best-selling author and recipient of multiple awards in the field of natural health, his primary vision is to change the modern health paradigm by providing people with a valuable resource to help them take control of their health.
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