From the archive: This episode was originally recorded and published in 2018. Our interviews on Entrepreneurs On Fire are meant to be evergreen, and we do our best to confirm that all offers and URL’s in these archive episodes are still relevant.
Dr. Steven Gundry is the author of two NYT bestselling books, The Plant Paradox and The Plant Paradox Cookbook, and the pioneering expert on the lectin-free diet for reversing disease.
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Gundry MD — Dr. Gundry’s website
Dr. Gundry – Subscribe to Dr. Gundry’s YouTube channel!
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3 Value Bombs
1) If you want to live longer, keep your Vitamin D up.
2) To all female listeners, if you think you have a problem, you need to find a practitioner who will take you seriously.
3) Look for DHA in fish oils. Your brain is 70% fat, and half of the fat in your brain is DHA.
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Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: How to Die YOUNG, at a Very OLD Age with Steven Gundry
[01:15] – Dr. Gundry shares something about himself that most people don’t know.
[02:50] – The longevity problem
- The kids of the baby boomer generation will probably be the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
- We’re on track to have old age, but a very poor old age.
- We may be living longer, but we’re actually living less well. Our health span is deteriorating.
[05:36] – What are lectins and why should you care?
- They are plant proteins that are used as a major defense system for plants against being eaten – and more importantly, having their seeds being eaten.
- They are used to do blood-typing.
- The interesting thing about lectins is that they are the major cause of depression, anxiety, arthritis, etc.
[08:49] – It’s so fascinating how Dr. Gundry learned about the evolution of plants, and how certain plants react.
- Dr. Gundry talks about dogs throwing up.
- Dogs never adapted to the lectins in grass.
[10:51] – How long does it take for adaptation to take place?
- A lot of it has to do with the micro biome that lives inside of us.
- Most humans don’t have the bacteria that helps you digest lectins in seaweed.
[13:42] – There are certain plants that do want us to eat them.
- The only animals that have color vision are actually fruit eaters.
- We use the color information to determine when a fruit is actually ripe.
[16:47] – Thanks to our sponsor, ClickFunnels!
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[19:05] – The study about a lectin-free diet.
- Kelly Clarkson found Dr. Gundry’s book. She lost 38 pounds without exercising, gets to drink her glass of wine every day, and she got over Hashimoto’s thyroiditis just by following the principles of Plant Paradox!
[22:15] – How do we do the lectin-free diet right?
- There are certain foods that are not very evolutionary adapted.
- Sprouting grains actually increase its lectin content.
- The newborn baby seed is at its most vulnerable. It produces more lectin to make its predator think twice.
- Kids that drink Casein A1 milk have higher instances of having type 1 diabetes than Casein A2 milk drinkers.
- There’s no lactose in an Italian gelato but there’s Casein A2 in their milk, not Casein A1.
- Every one of us is from Africa, Asia, or Europe. Americans were never exposed to a plant from North or South America until the Columbian trade started 500 years ago.
- Peanuts and cashews have really nasty lectins.
[30:46] – What are the key supplements to take for longevity?
- Every human being should take Vitamin D3
- There’s a study that shows in humans that those who have the highest levels of Vitamin D3 have the longest telomeres. One of the theories of aging suggests that the longer your telomeres—a compound structure at the end of a chromosome—the longer you’ll live.
- If you want to live longer, keep your Vitamin D up.
- Once you get a tan, you stop absorbing Vitamin D.
[34:19] – Key supplements that are important for Fire Nation to be looking into.
- Look for DHA in fish oils. Your brain is 70% fat. Half of the fat in your brain is DHA. People with the highest Omega 3 index as they age have the biggest areas of memory.
- The wonderful thing for vegetarians is they can get algae based DHA.
- Polyphenols can paralyze bacteria’s ability to take some of the meat we eat and prevent those meats from being made into a compound that damages our blood vessels.
- The more olive oil you eat, the better. As the saying goes, “The only purpose of food is to put olive oil into your mouth.”
[40:29] – Dr. Gundry’s parting piece of guidance
- To all female listeners, if you think you have a problem, you need to find a practitioner who will take you seriously.
- You have a gut sense when something is wrong – listen to it!
- Gundry MD — Dr. Gundry’s website.
- Dr. Gundry – Subscribe to Dr. Gundry’s YouTube channel for more great health tips!
JLD: Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here with an Audio Masterclass that really could change a lot in what you do in your life. There are very few books, I can be honest, that really do that for me, but the guest today, Dr. Steven Gundry wrote the book The Plant Paradox, and I’m telling you, I personally reached out to him to have him on the show and I cannot wait for this conversation. The Audio Masterclass is How to Die Young at a Very Old Age. So, this is just a great topic that we’re gonna talk about today. It was an amazing book; I highly recommend it.
We’re gonna talk about what the heck are lectins and their effect on us, about reversing disease via the lectin-free diet and key supplements to take for longevity. So, it’s just a few of the things we’re gonna be really diving into today. Dr. Steven Gundry is – gonna be dropping some value bombs. You’re not gonna want to miss this. He is the author of two New York Times best-selling books, The Plant Paradox and The Plant Paradox Cookbook, and the pioneering expert on the lectin-free diet for reversing disease. So, right when we get back from thanking our sponsor, we will kick right in.
So, Dr. Gundry say “What’s up” to Fire Nation and then share something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
Dr. Gundry: Well, what’s up to Fire Nation? I talk about this on one of my videos, but I was reminded of it this morning, at a Circuit Pilates course. I used to be a Diet Coke addict, and I actually drank about eight Diet Cokes a day, and I thought that that was really good because it didn’t have any calories, and as I talked at length, it was really one of the dumbest things I did for my health.
And the reason that I just kinda thought about that is there’s a young lady, Nancy, came up to me today, and she said, “You know, I just happened upon one of your videos on the internet,” and she said, “I saw that you were a Diet Coke addict,” and she said, “I usually drink seven Diet Cokes a day. And I wanna tell you that four months ago I went cold turkey, I gave it up after watching your dumb video, and I can’t tell you how much better I feel just doing that one thing.” And then she said, “I can’t thank you enough.” So, there you go.
JLD: Man, I love that share. Awesome. Awesome stuff. So, Fire Nation, if you’re in that category, get up on YouTube, find that video. It’s not dumb, it’s awesome, and make that happen. So, what are we talking about today? Well, we’re talking about how to die young… at a very old age. You see how I kinda paused there because I wanted you to think, “What is he talking about?” Notice, how to die young at a very old age, Fire Nation. So, listen to this interview to pull out some value bombs from Dr. Gundry.
And, I wanna talk first and foremost about the longevity problem. There’s a legit longevity problem that we’re sharing, or that we are experiencing right now. So, share some of the stats about this problem.
Dr. Gundry: Well, you know the scary thing that the National Institutes of Health put out, and other groups have put out, is that, unless something is done soon, the kids of the Baby Boomer generation, Gen X-ers will probably be the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents. And that’s actually been confirmed in several surveys, in several policy statements. And how can you say such a thing? I mean, we’re getting healthier, we’re living longer… Well, not so fast.
As I point out in my current book, The Plant Paradox, if you look at Baby Boomers, my generation, Baby Boomers are actually – you take any year of their life, they’re sicker, less healthy, than their parents. And ours was the first generation that thought we were gonna live forever and we’ve unfortunately found out that’s not true. But we’re on more medications than our parents were at any particular year in life, and we’re on track to have definitely old age, but we’re going to have very poor old age. And that’s one of the things that all – that I’m trying to prevent, and many of us in this area are trying to prevent.
We may be living longer, but we’re actually living less well. So, our health span is actually dramatically deteriorating. And so, that’s happening to the Boomers; the Gen X-ers, not only will their health span deteriorate, but it looks like, if we don’t change course, their lifespan will actually be shorter. Not good.
JLD: Fire Nation, this is not good. And this is a trend that, by the way, isn’t just happening over the last couple of weeks, or months, but this has been happening for the last few years. I mean, I took so many notes going through The Plant Paradox, I actually currently have on my kitchen table right now, The Plant Paradox Cookbook, because this is something that I’m really committed to. I mean, I know that I’ve been dealing with inflammation in my body for years, and years, and years now, because of the foods that I’ve put in.
I thought that I was eating healthy, and in a lot of ways I am, but just because “healthy food” it might not be reacting healthy for you. And that’s what I learned so much, by the way, for the first time ever, Dr. Gundry, about lectins and what their effect is on us. So, break that down for us.
Dr. Gundry: Lectins are plant proteins that are used as a major defense system of the plant against being eaten, but even more importantly against the plant's babies, its seeds, against being eaten. And lectins are what are called sticky proteins. They were actually discovered in the late 1880s, and they’re used to do blood typing. And we actually introduce lectins in a Petri dish with people’s blood and stir it around and depending on what lectin sticks to the surface of a blood corpuscle, you’re a Type 0, or a Type A, etc. And so, lectins were used in blood typing and that actually one of the principles of the blood type diet, which was a very popular diet a number of years ago.
So, what do lectins do? Like I mentioned, plants do not wanna be eaten. They actually have a life; they were here first; they were here before animals. And if you can imagine, it was really the Garden of Eden for them, because nobody wanted to eat them. When insects arrived, which was the first plant predator, plants had a problem because they couldn’t run, they couldn’t hide, they couldn’t fight, but they had a huge benefit in that they were chemists of incredible ability. So, they use a number of chemical warfare, or biological warfare, against being eaten, and lectins are right up there on the top of the list.
What’s interesting to me about lectins is that lectins are absolutely one of the major causes of leaky gut. They are absolutely one of the major causes of depression and anxiety. They are absolutely a major cause of arthritis. They are absolutely a major cause of autoimmune diseases and heart disease. You choose the disease, I can show you data from animal or human studies that I’ve done, that lectins contributed to that disease.
JLD: So much valuable stuff here Fire Nation. I mean, a couple of things that I really wanted to point out Dr. Gundry, when I was reading, that I was like, “This just makes so much sense.” Because I’ve grown up with dogs, always had them, and sometimes I’m like, “Why are my dogs eating grass until they throw up?” Well, they’re doing that because they want to throw up, because they’re feeling sick, and they know the grass is gonna make them do just that. So, that is a purposeful maneuver by the dogs.
And even more just incredibly intriguing to me was when you were talking about how certain insects would actually start eating a leaf. They’ll take a few bites, and then, guess what, they move on to the next leaf. And because why? Well, that leaf, when it feels itself having a bite or two taken out of it is releasing these toxins. And guess what? That insect knows, “Hey, I have a couple of bites to take here, and then if I keep eating it I’m gonna get sick. So, I’m just gonna take a couple of bites and let the leaf do its thing; move on to the next one, take a couple of bites, and so on, and so forth.”
So, it’s so fascinating when you actually learn this stuff about the evolution of plants, and how certain plants react and why. It just really blew me away. So, what do you wanna add to this whole part, Dr. Gundry?
Dr. Gundry: Let’s talk about dogs throwing up.
JLD: Yes! It’s a great topic for a podcast.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah. So, Ann Wigmore, who founded the Hippocrates Institute in Southern Florida, nearby you, actually wanted her cancer patients to throw up, and she was actually out, watching dogs eating grass, and they threw up. And she says, “Holy cow! What a great way to get my patients to throw up.” So, she actually invented wheatgrass to make her patients vomit. And so, why would they vomit? Because it turns out the lectins in grass – we’ve never adapted to them.
We’re not a cow, we’re not a horse; we’re basically a great ape, and we were adapted to eating certain leaves and trees, but there’s never been an example of a great ape eating grasses, or for that matter, grass grains. And so, we have such a violent reaction to the lectins in grass that we don’t react to, that – dogs do the same thing; they’re not designed to eat grass. So, it’s just a perfect example of your body saying, “Holy cow! There are some really nasty actors in here and I better get them out of my system as quickly as possible.” So, we vomit.
JLD: Fire Nation, one thing when I was reading, I just couldn’t believe about how much I was literally learning about the evolution, A.) Of us, humans, of homosapiens, and then B.) Just about the evolution of the fact that we haven’t adapted to a lot of things, like eating grass, or grass greens, as he was talking about. That’s just not something that we’ve adapted to. And, by the way, adaptation doesn’t happen overnight. I mean, I don’t know if you’ve even mentioned this. I might have missed it, Dr. Gundry. But how long does it take to adapt to something like this? I mean, is there like a random 10,000-year time range?
Dr. Gundry: Well, I think a lot of it actually has to do with not so much our adaptation to these things, but it’s actually our microbiome: the bacterial, and fungal, and viral community that lives inside of us. And as I talk about in The Plant Paradox, one of our major defense system – and we have multiple defenses against lectins, after all, we gotta eat something – is our microbiome. And it turns out that species of bacteria evolve to enjoy munching on particular lectins. And we’ve actually seen this play out in recent years in humans in Japan. It turns out that most humans do not have bacteria that are capable of digesting the lectins in seaweed. And, believe it or not, there’s lectins in seaweed.
But the Japanese have been discovered to have specific bacteria that are capable of digesting the lectins in seaweed, and they’ve evolved those bacteria to digest those lectins. And people who don’t live in Japan, interestingly, do not carry those bacteria. What’s so interesting is, there was a recent paper that I mention in the cookbook that suggests that the seaweed lectin may actually attach to the β-cell of our pancreas and be a cause of diabetes unless you have those bacteria to intercept it. So, this is a very modern finding.
I’ll give you another perfect example. There are actually bacteria that enjoy eating gluten, and gluten happens to be a lectin. It’s actually a fairly minor lectin, believe it or not, but when people go on a gluten-free diet, which is a great idea folks, but the bacteria that eat gluten have nothing to eat and they leave. So, if then that person on the gluten-free diet is suddenly eating gluten like, “Oh, I think I will have this croissant today,” then ordinarily they’d have some bacteria to protect them. But they’re gone and what happens to a lot of my patients is it’s like a double whammy; it’s like, “Holy cow! I cheated and am I paying for it.” “Holy cow! It was never like this before.” That’s because part of our defense system left the premises. Cool stuff.
JLD: It is really cool stuff because there is a flipside if I can remember that there are actually certain plants that do want us to eat them for certain reasons, right? What are those?
Dr. Gundry: This was my research at Yale University for my undergraduate thesis on how you take a great ape and manipulate its food supply and its environment created human being and, actually, got an honors award. So, here’s kind of a fun fact, the only animals that have color vision are actually fruit eaters. And your dog, I’m coming back to dogs, doesn’t see in color because, quite frankly, your dog could care less what color a squirrel is. If it’s moving, he wants to eat it. And, in fact, if you’ve ever noticed a rabbit or a squirrel as you’re walking your dogs, they’ll freeze in place, because the dog actually doesn’t see a stationary object, he’s looking for motion. And so, that’s their defense system.
So, back to color. Plants want you primarily to eat the seeds of their babies that they have actually protected with an indigestible outer shell. And they want the fruit to be interesting to you, and they want to tell you when 1.) The sugar content in that fruit is highest, but 2.) They wanna tell you when that baby has the protective shell so that you won’t kill the baby when you swallow it. So, they use that with color. And the color they use are primarily the colors in the red and orange hue. Sometimes it fades over into the purple and blue. But the color they use to dissuade you is actually green. And so, we use that color information to determine when that fruit is actually ripe.
And as I mentioned in my books, it’s fascinating that marketing of snack foods – when you go down the snack food isles, you’ll notice that almost all the coloring is in the yellow, orange, and red hues because your primate eye actually gets a deep sense signal that this stuff is really good for me, and it’s ripe, and I should eat it, and eat as much as I can of it right now.
JLD: Fire Nation, I mean, just the mind-blowing revelations that I had going through this – I mean, I literally don’t look at fruit the same way anymore. I definitely don’t look at grass the same way. I definitely don’t look at dogs the same way anymore. That’s just the reality. And now I’m not gonna look at squirrels the same way because I know what they’re up to when they freeze. I didn’t really know what they were doing. I’m like, “Are you guys just dumb?” But now I get it. So, if you think, the value bombs have been dropped thus far, Fire Nation, more are coming up, including a little chat about Kelly Clarkson – yes, I said Kelly Clarkson – when we get back from thanking our sponsor.
So, Dr. Gundry, we’re back and what I kinda wanna move in to right now are the studies that you have talked about, read, or written about as far as reversing disease via a lectin-free diet. And this is where my little teaser about Kelly Clarkson comes in. Chat about that example as well.
Dr. Gundry: In March of this year I gave a paper at the annual American Heart Association Epidemiology and Lifestyle Congress, where we took 102 patients with biomarker-proven autoimmune diseases. Things like lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, psoriasis, Crohn’s…you name it. And we put them on our program and followed them for six months. At the end of six months 95 of those 102 patients, that’s 94%, were biomarker free of their autoimmune disease. In other words, it wasn’t detectable by a blood test. They were symptom-free, and they were off of all of their immunosuppressant medications.
And that actually includes me. I carried the main marker for lupus, which is antinuclear antibody, and I was able to turn it off completely. I’m now negative for that antibody. And so, I’m in a study, funny enough, and I actually showed this data including me, and me specifically at the American Heart Association. And so, when people say that, “Oh, my gosh, you’ve got an autoimmune disease, and you’re gonna have to take all these drugs that you see on TV every night to have a life.” That’s just wrong. We showed that taking lectins away from people cured these diseases and we also showed that reintroducing these will actually make the disease reappear. And then, again, removing these lectins, makes it go away.
So, getting back to Kelly Clarkson. I do not treat Kelly as a patient. Interestingly enough, she found my book. And as anyone knows, she was struggling with her weight, and she’s told people she was on thyroid medication for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. And she found my book, and lo and behold, she lost 38 pounds without exercising, and she still got her glass of wine every day. It’s allowed on the program.
JLD: I love it.
Dr. Gundry: And she came off her thyroid medication, and she no longer has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Just by following the principles in The Plant Paradox. And she was kind enough to announce this all over the world.
JLD: I think she has a couple of Instagram followers last time I checked.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah, just a few million.
JLD: So, let’s get to some specifics because Fire Nation’s listening right now. How do we do the lectin-free diet right? Let’s get some specifics there.
Dr. Gundry: What I try to do with people is to get them to understand, there are certain foods that we’re just not very well evolutionary adapted to eating. And we did not eat grains, or beans, or pseudograins, until about 10,000 years ago when agriculture got started. And one of the reasons we didn’t eat these things is that if you don’t heat them and cook them, they are fairly lethal in their lectin content. Now, I’m the first to tell you that heating, and cooking, and soaking will definitely help, but one of the shocking things is that sprouting grains will actually increase the lectin content.
Because think about this, the newborn little baby seed, the first little shoot that pokes its head out is at its most vulnerable because it’s coming out of that encased shell. So, it actually produces more lectins to make its predator think twice. That’s why actually alfa-alfa sprouts have some of the highest toxins found in foods.
JLD: I wondered why their taste is so bitter.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah. That’s trying to tell you, “You stupid idiot, don’t eat me.” So, anyhow, we’re not designed to eat grains and beans. Now, a pressure cooker will destroy all lectins except the gluten lectin. So, a pressure cooker – the modern pressure cooker, you push a couple of buttons and you’re done; it doesn’t blow up in your kitchen, like grandma’s did. So, a modern pressure cooker is a great way to go.
Second in evolution: 2000 years ago, and this continues to fascinate me, Northern European cows suffered a genetic mutation. They began making a protein in their milk called Casein A1. The normal protein in milk is Casein A2. It’s present in Southern European cows, it’s present in goats, sheep, and water buffalo, and it’s actually present in humans. So, Northern European cows, the Holstein cow, that black-and-white cow is an A1 cow, and those are the troublemakers. They’re actually hardier and they give more milk, so they’ve spread throughout the world. They’re the standard cow in North America; they’re the standard cow in New Zealand and in Australia.
Unfortunately, the Casein A1 molecule is a lectin-like molecule that in our gut is turned into an opioid-like compound called Casein β-morphine. It actually attacks the β-cell of the pancreas and causes an autoimmune attack. And there was an amazing agricultural researcher from New Zealand who first discovered this. He couldn’t figure out why kids in New Zealand had a lot of Type 1 diabetes, juvenile diabetes. Pristine place, all the cows are grass-fed, I mean it’s the last place you’d think that you would see this sort of disease, and yet these kids had a lot of it.
So, he started to say, “Gee, I wonder if it’s our cow?” So, he did a survey of the incidence of Type 1 diabetes in all countries, and lo and behold, he found a very significant association between Casein A1 cows and Type 1 diabetes. And there’s just been a study that’s been completed in China that confirms this, that kids who drink Casein A1 milk have a much higher incidence of Type 1 diabetes than Casein A1 milk drinkers.
So, the problem with Casein A1 is that people think that milk gives them mucus, that milk gives them sinus issues, that milk gives them gas or bloating… it’s actually not the lactose in milk that’s causing it; it’s Casein A1. And I see this so many times. I have patients who think they are lactose intolerant, and they go over to Italy, and they come back and say, “It’s amazing. There is no lactose in Italian gelato because I can eat Italian gelato all day. And then I come back here and think I’m cured. And I eat American gelato or American ice cream, and I react on lactose.” And I go, “No, you moron –” No, they’re very nice people “– there is lactose in Italian gelato, but there is Casein A2 in the milk, not Casein A1. And you’re reacting to Casein A1.”
And so, we take Casein A1 away from folks and it’s really amazing how much better they get. So, that, No. 2. No. 3. Probably the biggest thing that I think we give short shift to, and that is, all of us in the world are actually not from America. We’re from Africa, Asia, or Europe. And so, all of us Americans were never exposed to a plant from North or South America until Columbian trade started 500 years ago. And getting to know a new lectin that we have never encountered in 500 is kinda speed dating in evolution. And I don’t think it can be done.
And unfortunately, some of our favorite foods are North or South American lectin-containing foods. They’re, corn, for instance, they’re quinoa, they’re the nightshade family, that includes potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and even the beloved goji berry. Goji berries are not from China; they’re from America. They were called the wolfberry in America, and they were taken to China in trade, where they actually flourish. And then there’s the two beans that everybody thinks are nuts from America. Peanuts are a legume, and cashews are a bean, they’re not a nut at all. And peanuts and cashews have some really nasty lectins that –
JLD: That was kind of devastating for me, by the way, that – the cashew thing. But guess what, I’ve moved to macadamia nuts because of you.
Dr. Gundry: Perfect, perfect. And the macadamia nut is perfectly safe because the macadamia nut, like most true nuts, are enclosed in an impenetrable shell. And so, the plant says, “Ha, ha, ha, you can’t get to my baby. So, I don’t have to arm my baby to the teeth to prevent you from eating it.” Now, it had no idea that we’re gonna invent a hammer. But it’s fascinating. I used to – back to squirrels – I used to study squirrels.
Why the heck does the squirrel go and bury all those nuts? Stupid squirrel, you’re gonna forget where they are. Well, the plant never anticipated that their predator would be smart enough to basically soak their nuts in soil for a year and soften up their outer covering and – even if it forgets where half of them are, he’s still a big winner the next year.
JLD: I mean, Fire Nation, this is just a few of the things that are going to blow your mind. And sometimes it’s these tiny little shifts, like me going from eating a quarter cup of cashews a day to a quarter cup of macadamias a day, can make a massive impact, positively for me, over the course of days, weeks, months, years. And that’s kinda what I wanted to really finish up with Dr. Gundry, is your take on supplements.
I remember when you were on the Lewis Howes Show, you were talking about how you hated supplements – no, no, I don’t wanna say you hated supplements. I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but that you didn’t really, necessarily believe in them, that supplements are just made from a really expensive pea and things along those lines. But you have shifted your mindset. So, talk to us what you think the key supplements are for us to take for longevity.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah, I really used to think that the stuff was junk, but with the sophisticated blood tests that we now have available to us, I can actually tell when somebody’s actually changed a brand of supplements and it actually shocks my patients. I can tell when they’ve cut back when they’re doing great… And they go, “how did you know? I ran out three weeks ago.” And I said, “Yeah, it is right here.” And they go, “Oh, my gosh, you wizard, you.”
So, here’s the deal: every human being should be taking vitamin D3. And I think as a general principle a good place to start is 5000 IU a day. There’s a very good study that was done in humans a few years ago that found that there was no toxicity yet found in humans taking 40,000 IU a day of vitamin D3, and this study actually suggested that the average amount a human being should take is 9,600 IU. I have not seen vitamin D toxicity and I’ve been at this a long time. I have patients who routinely round their vitamin D-s over two levels of 270 ng/dL. I personally round mine greater than 120 for the last 11 years to prove I’m not dead. And I’m not, I’m speaking to you live.
There’s a really cool study that shows, in humans, that the humans who have the highest levels of vitamin D levels have the longest telomeres. And one of the theories of aging is, the longer your telomeres, those little things stuck on the end of your chromosomes the longer you’re going to live. So, hear this again, people with the highest levels of vitamin D have the longest telomeres. Do you wanna live longer? Keep your vitamin D up.
JLD: Now a real quick question on that before we move on. So, I live out here in the Caribbean’s, so I’m below the 37th parallel. I really focus on getting at least 30 minutes of the morning sun, every single morning. Is that as critical for me?
Dr. Gundry: Yes.
JLD: Is that vitamin D from the sun – It is? Okay, can we talk about that a little bit?
Dr. Gundry: Yeah, because once you get a tan, you’ll stop absorbing vitamin D.
JLD: Oh, and I am tanned right now.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah, I see so many of my patients assume that if they can get enough sun form – I mean, vitamin D from the sun. And Joseph McCullough and I have become friends, and Joe walks basically two hours every day, in a speedo on the beach, because he can. And he keeps telling everybody to get their vitamin D from the sun. And I said, “Joe, you live in Fort Lauderdale and you got year-round sun and the guy in Chicago is not gonna walk on Lake Michigan two hours every day in the middle of winter even though it’s frozen.” So, I said, “That’s impractical.” And he runs his vitamin D only about 60 to 70. And I actually think, particularly with people with autoimmune disease, or leaky gut, vitamin D is – getting your vitamin D level up a 100 is critical to help seal your gut.
JLD: And what’s the best test to run to really identify where your vitamin D’s at?
Dr. Gundry: So, just about anybody can run a vitamin D level on you. It’s about an $8.00 cost. Any doctor can run it for you.
JLD: So, Dr. Gundry, we have a lot of directions that we can go with this, but let’s kind of maybe talk about one or two more really key supplements that you think are really important for Fire Nation to be looking into.
Dr. Gundry: Okay, second supplement is some form of fish oil, whether it’s algae-based DHA, or if you’re vegan or vegetarian, or high-quality fish oil. And the stuff you’re looking for in fish oil is you look on the back of a label and you look at DHA, capital D, capital H, capital A. And it turns out that your brain is about 70% fat. And so, if you’re in an argument with a friend and wanna call him a fathead, I’ll back you.
So, half of the fat in your brain is DHA. So, your brain is DHA. And there are some gorgeous studies now in longevity that people who have the highest – what’s called the Omega 3 index, which looks at DHA and EPA, the other long chain Omega 3 fats over a two-month period – people who have the highest Omega 3 index as they age have the biggest brains and the biggest areas of memory, called the hippocampus. And here’s the scary part, people who have the lowest EPA – Omega 3 index have the most shrunken brains and the smallest areas of memory.
And for my vegan friends – and I have lots of vegan friends, and I take care of lots of vegans because of my experience at Loma Linda University as a professor – vegans, when they walk through the door have almost undetectable Omega 3 indexes because they’ve been thinking that they can take flaxseed, which is a short-chain Omega 3 fat, and convert it into long-chain Omega 3 fats, EPA and DHA, and they do not – we are not salmon, we are not fish, we do not have the enzyme system to accomplish this.
The wonderful thing for vegans and vegetarians is, you can get algae-based DHA. There’s about – gosh, I don’t know – 12 companies now that make it. So, there’s no excuse for my vegan friends or vegetarians not to have big brains and big areas of memory.
JLD: So, vitamin D3, some type of fish oil, Omega 3 fats – and look for the DHA on the back, Fire Nation, that’s key. And is there one other one you wanna chat about?
Dr. Gundry: Yeah. So, polyphenols, my probably favorite subject besides lectins. So, polyphenols are plant compounds that are actually made by the plant primarily as a defense against sunburn. So, polyphenols are, we now know, eaten by our friendly bacteria, and they’re changed into bioactive compounds that are probably some of the most important factors in reverse aging, or preventing aging there is.
We all know that polyphenols can paralyze the ability of bacteria to take some of the meats that we eat and prevent those meats from being made into a compound that damages our blood vessels, which actually explains why the Mediterranean diet people can eat meats or salamis and not die of heart disease like we do here in the west. So, the more polyphenols, the better.
Where do you find polyphenols? One of the best sources is extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressed. You can find a great variety at Costco that comes out of Tuscany, Italy. I’ve actually toured the plant. You can get some great American olive oils at Trader Joe’s. There’s a good American olive oil company called California Olive Ranch. The more olive oil you eat, the better. In fact, as you may know, one of my favorite sayings is, “The only purpose of food is to get olive oil into your mouth.”
JLD: I love that. I actually showed my girlfriend Kate that quote, “See, that’s why I’m dumping this olive oil.” Now, a quick question. Costco has a brand called Kirkland that is first cold pressed, but it doesn’t say organic on it. Do you have any idea about Kirkland and the quality on that?
Dr. Gundry: Get the Kirkland one that has the Toscana label. It’s the square tall bottle.
Dr. Gundry: In Italy, organic – the certification for organic is hard to get and what happens is, a lot of small producers, absolutely, can’t get the organic certification because it’s too costly. But nobody fertilizes olive trees or sprays olive trees in Italy. In fact, the Italians, because of the pests in olive trees – over the last five years there’s been two outbreaks – rather than spraying for those pests, they’ll just throw the olives away that year, and wait for the next year. They’re that fastidious about it.
JLD: So, this is the Toscana on it, we’re good.
Dr. Gundry: Yeah. Yeah, you’re good.
Dr. Gundry: It’s a great olive oil.
JLD: Yeah, I love it and so I’m really glad to hear that. Well, listen, we could talk all day about this great stuff. And of course, in the intro, Dr. Gundry, I talked all about your books, The Plant Paradox and The Plant Paradox Cookbook and it has become a big part of my life and I’m really excited to have you on here today. So, it’s actually a pretty cool thing that I reached out to your assistant and I was like, “Oh, I’d love to have Dr. Gundry on.” And she’s like, “Hey, we emailed you a year ago and you ignored us.” And I was like, “Oh, yeah. I didn’t know how awesome he was back then.” But now I know, so it’s really cool to have you on.
And why don’t you maybe take just a minute, I’m gonna pass the mic over to you, and share maybe one major takeaway that you wanna make sure our listeners get from all that we talked about today.
Dr. Gundry: The major takeaway – I’m gonna talk to your female listeners. I’ve learned through the years now – and I should have known because I have a wife and two daughters – that if a female – if you female listeners think you have a problem, you need to find a practitioner who is actually going to take you seriously. This is not in your mind, you’re not crazy, you’re not normal – all your labs are normal and you’re just crazy. There is something going on and you gotta find a person, like a functional medicine doc, who will take you seriously. There are good tests now to find out that you actually are not crazy. And really you guys have a gut sense of when something’s wrong.
And the medical profession, speaking as one of those people, ignored you for many, many years because, quite frankly, we’re trained to ignore you. To this day, believe it or not, if a woman coming in with chest pain in the emergency room has a female physician, she is much more likely to have a heart attack diagnosed properly than if she had a male physician who will dismiss her claims. Yeah, it’s a new paper that just came out. That’s really scary stuff. The sisterhood has got – this is the #MeToo movement in medicine. You’ve got to take power over your medical health and you’ve gotta insist that somebody listens to you. they’re out there, you just gotta find them.
JLD: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the fine people that you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with Dr. G and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type Dr. Gundry in the search bar and his page is gonna pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. I mean, timestamps, links galore to his books, to his store, to his website, it’s all gonna be there. And Dr. Gundry, if you could just send our listeners to one place to learn more about you, where would that be?
Dr. Gundry: Go to GundryMD.com. You can sign up for my daily newsletter, you can read my blogs… Also, Gundry MD YouTube channel. We have a complete channel with all sorts of health tips, I cook recipes – all the recipes in my books, I designed – and it’s kinda fun to watch me cook.
JLD: It’s fun to watch you cook. Well, Dr. Gundry, thank you. Honestly, thank you for sharing your truth, your experience with Fire Nation today. And for that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Dr. Gundry: All right, thanks for having me.
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