464. Dr. Will Cole Functional Medicine Explained: Gut Health, Autoimmunity & Why Emotions Matter

Dr. Will Cole

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional medicine expert who specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease & customizing functional medicine approaches for healing the mind & body. This episode explores how to support and promote optimal gut health.

Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional medicine expert who specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and more. He is the host of The Art of Being Well podcast and author of Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum, New York Times bestseller Intuitive Fasting, and now Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel (Rodale; March 21st, 2023).

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional medicine expert who specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing functional medicine approaches for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders and more. He is also the host of The Art of Being Well Podcast and the author of Keto: The Inflammation Spectrum, Intuitive Fasting and most recently, Gut Feelings. 

We cover a wide range of topics regarding how to support and promote gut health, immunity, and optimal wellness. In this episode, Dr. Will answers explains the gut-brain axis and its connection to the nervous system, unhealed trauma’s impact on our physical health, and his approach to healing the whole human being; starting with addressing the physical symptoms that oftentimes have mental and emotional roots. We discuss the value in simplifying your supplement list, embracing bio-individuality, and reevaluating your wellness routine regularly. 

Dr. Will highlights common toxins and foods to avoid for reducing inflammation in the gut, the benefits and blind spots when using lab tests to help regulate hormones and signal mold in the body, and why inflammation is the root cause of autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Will explains why not everyone needs to completely give up gluten, using fasting as a way to reset the microbiome, supplements and herbs that can support a thriving gut and microbiome, and the very real negative effects of non-native EMF and blue light on sleep. Let's take a journey with Dr. Will Cole on episode 464 of the Life Stylist Podcast and don’t forget to snag a copy of his new book at lukestory.com/gutfeelings.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

00:04:58 —Healing the Whole Human Being: Exploring the Mind-Body Connection 
  • Connecting physical & mental health & the intention behind Gut Feelings
  • Approaching healing from a whole being perspective
  • Trauma’s relation to chronic illness or autoimmune issues
  • Exploring the psychology behind the healing journey
  • How what's going on in our gut really impacts our brain function and our mood 
  • Disconnect between research & practical application in the medical community
  • Simplifying your wellness routine and supplements 
00:28:48 — Optimizing Gut Health: The Gut-Brain Axis, Stressors & Supplements
  • Gut-brain axis & the nervous system explained
  • The far-reaching implications of poor gut health 
  • The most common causes of poor gut health: the inflammatory core four
  • Discussing the differences in our genetic bio-Individual tolerance for stressors
  • The orthorexic spectrum, nocebo effect & how to have food peace
  • Testing for glyphosate & how to heal it’s implications
  • The negative effects of oxalates on gut health
  • The evolution of the human immune system
  • Recommendations for using bitters, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and other supplements
01:08:40 — Exploring the Root Cause of Autoimmune Diseases
  • Diving into Crohn's and autoimmune diseases 
  • The benefits of and blind spots in running lab tests 
  • Supportive herbs for gut health 
  • Causes of histamine intolerance
  • Areas of the country that are more susceptible to mold 
01:28:04 — Fasting, Intuitive Eating & Environmental Disruptors
  • How fasting can support the microbiome 
  • Discerning intuitive eating and anti diet culture
  • How stress is impacting our wellbeing 
  • Improving thyroid function & advice for trying hormone replacement therapy
  • The importance of retinol and copper 
  • Dr. WIll’s perspective on EMF & blue light
  • Support for sound sleep & our circadian rhythm

More about this episode.

Watch on YouTube.

[00:00:00] Will: So I love-- data. I love labs. We run them, but at the same time as someone who runs labs for patients around the world for a living, I will say there's a science and art. Sometimes it's not the labs. It's just having someone outside of yourself because it's hard to be the person that's going through this. You're saying, you have to be your own experiment. 

You had to be your own health advocate. You had to be your own doctor in many ways, like most of my patients. It's hard to be the person going through it, but also have some objectivity because of that mind body connection and nocebo and placebo effect.

And I feel like it's labs plus clinical, someone outside of yourself and the artistry of what we do. So yes, labs are important. But I don't want to overvalue it because sometimes it's not that. Sometimes it's just like, hey, no, let's do this and this and this and maybe some basic labs, but you don't have to run every lab under the sun to, uh, get information about your health. I'm Dr. Will Cole, and this is the Life Stylist podcast. 

[00:01:03] Luke: Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional medicine expert who specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing functional medicine approaches for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders and more. And he is also the host of The Art of Being Well podcast on which I'm soon to appear by the way.

And he is also the author of Ketoterian, The Inflammation Spectrum, Intuitive Fasting, and most recently, Gut Feelings. Here's a few of the topics we discussed in this episode: neurotransmitters and gut health; how to regulate GABA; the absolute worst foods for your gut; the only legit test for glyphosate; the truth about oxalates and kidney stones; digestive bitters; low stomach acid and HCL; Crohn's disease and fecal implants; healing the gut with bone broth and colostrum; herbs that help reduce gut inflammation; using fasting to reset the gut biome; why avoiding carbs is so damn hard; and whether it's even sustainable to stay in ketosis; metabolic flexibility; the role that unresolved emotional trauma plays in chronic disease; defining inflammation as the root cause of most diseases; and why so many people's thyroids are jacked up; fibroids; ovarian cyst and how to regulate progesterone, and why so many functional medicine doctors simply ignore retinol and copper, and the very real negative effects of non-native EMF and blue light. 

Show notes, links, and written transcripts can be found at lukestorey.com /will. And you can snag a copy of his new book at lukestorey.com/gutfeelings.

However, if you want to save yourself the trouble of chasing down all the links and other valuable resources every week, here's a fast and easy solution. Just go to lukestorey.com/newsletter and enter your name and email.

Now, once you do this, I will email you the audio, video, transcripts and links from all future episodes every Tuesday morning. Imagine this, you wake up on Tuesday morning and all the goodies from the new Life Stylist episode are in your inbox. Super easy to do. Again, just go to lukestorey.com/newsletter. Okay, that's all the housekeeping we need to do here. Let's take a journey with Dr. Will Cole on Episode 464 of the Life Stylist podcast.

[00:03:25] Will: Will Cole, let's do the damn thing.

Let's do it.

[00:03:27] Luke: Happy to meet you today.

[00:03:29] Will: Likewise. I feel this is long overdue, and I've told you this before, but I've been standing on the proverbial sidelines just rooting you on, and you're doing amazing things and have for a long time, and I can't believe we haven't met in person. And now finally, the day has arrived.

[00:03:44] Luke: Well that's because you live in a part of the country that's not, uh, well traveled for people like me.

[00:03:51] Will: Exactly. Western Pennsylvania in the country. It is not Abbot Kinney, to say the least.

[00:03:58] Luke: Uh, that's East Coast. Would that be--

[00:04:01] Will: Considered? I considered Pennsylvania. It's one of the 13 original colonies. So it's East Coast, but it is in many ways, geographically and culturally the, uh, gateway to the Midwest because Cleveland and Ohio, not too far. So it's a weird, and it's very-- West Virginia too is culturally as well. So it's a combination. It's a confluence of different cultures.

[00:04:23] Luke: I'm embarrassed to say that I doubt I could point it out on a map.

[00:04:27] Will: My wife was the same way. My wife is from Los Angeles, born and raised, and when we met, she actually pointed to Maine, somewhere around Maine, where Pennsylvania was. No. Yeah. I get it. You're from the West Coast. It's a normal thing.

[00:04:43] Luke: Well, here we are. You made it to Austin. We're going to do the damn thing. Let's start out by talking about your new book, Gut Feelings. What's that all about? I don't have a copy of it yet, but um, I'm going to leave it up to you to give us the pitch on it.

[00:04:56] Will: Yeah. So it is like anything that I've written, and it's born out of my day job. My passion is to help people with chronic health problems. So I've been doing functional medicine telehealth for the past 13-plus years at this point. So basically that's all that I do. From 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM I'm at the telehealth center with my team, and we're holding space, running labs, and giving people the due diligence, in my opinion, that they deserve, people that are struggling with really complex health issues.

What are of-- they're oftentimes labeled as mystery illnesses, things like autoimmune issues, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, brain fog. Those are my people. So Gut Feelings is really a conversation that I have on a daily basis with them that I just wanted to share with the world.

So this issue that I find within our culture that we oftentimes will separate mental health from physical health, oh, that's a mental health problem. But the reality is mental health is physical health. And I love that we as a culture are having more and more, "mental health conversations" and normalizing people getting act care, and support, and tools for their mental health overall.

But I feel like it's incomplete conversation. I feel that you really can't have a full conversation around mental health issues until you reconnected the physiological. But it's bidirectional. And that's why I call it gut feelings. It's gut and feelings, the physiological gut, underlying gut problems, or mold toxicity, or chronic Lyme disease, or environmental toxins.

How those physiological things impact how our brain works and the science around that, but then conversely, how do things like stress, and shame, and trauma, and intergenerational trauma, how do these mental, emotional, spiritual feeling things impact our nervous system? Impact inflammation levels, impact the vagus nerve?

So it really is, in short, it's just a outpouring of my love for people that are struggling with these health issues and wanting this information to be out there more. Because I see people overcome the seemingly insurmountable when they start leaning into these practices.

[00:07:09] Luke: I get a lot of pleasure out of watching people I don't have a direct influence on this in most cases, but seeing someone diagnosed as incurable this or that, and seeing them do all the things and overcome it, I mean, that's the best.

[00:07:24] Will: It is the best.

[00:07:25] Luke: Just to bear witness to that. Just like, yes, you beat the diagnosis.

[00:07:29] Will: It is the best. So you can't really go a day without doing what I do, without being constantly encouraged. Not that these are light journeys or linear journeys. Healing is very non-linear, but it's so powerful. But yet so many people, I realize that we're in this weird bubble of people who realize that this was an option or seeked out functional medicine. Or within the wellness world like we are. We live and breathe this stuff. We're immersed in this stuff. We're still scratching the surface as far as societal awareness of people. They just think that's their lot in life, that they're just broken. Or that's just genetics that they have to have these things like anxiety and depression and they just have to live with it basically and manage symptoms. But there's so much more out there when you give your body the chance to do so.

[00:08:17] Luke: I love that you're inclusive of the whole being system and moving people out of this mechanistic. It's like when you go see a, um, a holistic dentist. They're of the belief that you're-- I'm working on my bite right now. I'm building a new jaw on this whole thing. But just seeing biological dentists over the years, they have this perspective that even just your teeth and your jaw affects your emotional state. Some people in different, um, sectors of health get it, different practitioners, and they have this more global view of the human experience.

And so I love that you're looking at it as the whole being. And how many people have you found that have an autoimmune issue or something of this nature that heal from essentially working on their emotional trauma for example? I mean, I've heard stories of people, oh, they went and did ayahuasca or EMDR or whatever the modality was, and this seemingly incurable pathology was cleared because they went back through their family system and started to uproot those traumas and all that dysfunction. And lo and behold the body responds to that. And in some cases they haven't even done all that much work on the physical body.

[00:09:34] Will: Right. No. That's the truth of the agency that we can have, and everybody's tools within their toolbox is going to be different. Now, if someone asked me, well, what do you think is more important? The physiological stuff or the psychological stuff? Is it more of the healing the gut and dealing with chronic infections or is it the trauma? And it depends on who you're talking to. It depends on everybody's-- and another heart of functional medicine is bioindividuality. 

Everybody's tools within their toolbox is going to look different. But for most people it's going to be a bit of both. It's going to be both the physical, and the mental, and the spiritual because it is such a both and not an either or approach for most humans.

[00:10:13] Luke: Have you encountered clients that you get their labs, you get the diagnostics, and then you, um, get them on a better diet, exercise supplements, doing all the things, and then their labs appear to be clean, for lack of a better term, and they've been unable or unwilling to address underlying emotional issues and they won't get well even though on paper from a medical perspective everything checks out?

[00:10:40] Will: Yeah, without a doubt. And those people will typically hit a plateau, is that they will get to a certain point, let's just say they're ready to-- we run labs and we see they have SIBO, or they see they have mold toxicity, and we do a lot to move them in the right direction. They're going to-- depending on how big that mental, emotional, spiritual puzzle piece is for them, will determine how far they can get with just dealing with one side of the coin.

And then invariably, they may get mostly better. And then for those people, their path is, they have more of a bandwidth when they feel more energetic and their digestion is better, and they just feel healthier, more in alignment with their body. They typically will have the bandwidth to go and handle the trauma or handle the chronic stress or whatever they're dealing with on a mental, emotional level. I've seen that before where they weren't ready to deal with the mental, emotional stuff at the beginning, but as their health unfolded, that bridge was able to be crossed.

[00:11:37] Luke: That's a really good point. That's a perspective that I share, um, because on the show we talk a lot about emotional health, spirituality, and then all of the physical health, the biohacking and all this. But I've always held the perspective that all of the physical health practices, the red light therapy, PEMF, ice bath, saunas, all the things-- and I'm into all of it. I love it. I did two hours worth of all that stuff this morning because I've built a life that enables me to do that.

It wasn't easy, but I got there. But my perspective is that getting your physical vitality in place where you're not ill, you're not drained of energy, you have an abundance of energy or sleep's good, you're feeling good, digestion, all the metrics by which we would measure health, to me, the only purpose of doing that is to do the emotional work and the spiritual work and to find why you're actually here in a body on earth. 

And I know for me and many other people, it's easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel of trying to hack your health into what you perceive to be happiness or fulfillment. But you bring up a really solid point that if somebody's really depleted of energy and is suffering from any chronic illness, try to get them to meditate. It's like, oh, join a spiritual group. Go do breath work. Do yoga. It's like, dude, I can't get out of bed. I mean, I hear from people all the time. So I think that's a really solid point is that, you've got to get to the point where you have enough metabolic energy to go do that work.

[00:13:07] Will: Yeah. And then it'll continue to progress your health. And then I do see people that are-- we have to start with some of the mental, emotional, spiritual stuff to some degree, I think, otherwise they white knuckle the whole process. Let's just say they have a very reactive immune system and having lots of food sensitivities, and a lot of histamine intolerances, for example.

Uh, in a way, it's not the deep stuff per se, but it's profoundly important to get their why, at least to some degree cemented in because it's not a quick fix to deal with these physical health issues. So yes, they've not really dealt with all the trauma and all that stuff, but they at least need to know why they're doing this.

Whether it's I want to have the energy to do the things that I'm called for, or I want to be able to play with my kids and not feel like I'm always having to cancel on plans because I feel so miserable. So it is interesting, this psychology and how we as humans work when it comes to healing journeys.

And that's the science and art of what I do. It's you really have to hold space for that person and realize, okay, where are they at clinically, meaning labs and health history and all that stuff. But then where are they at on a mental, emotional, spiritual level, and hold space, meet them where they're at and build a starting point for them that's sustainable for them. Enough for us to get their head above that proverbial water, so then they can start to see, oh, well, I want to keep doing this and get myself out of this woods that I'm in.

[00:14:37] Luke: Let's talk about gut stuff.

[00:14:40] Will: Yeah.

[00:14:41] Luke: I think that this is an area of interest for me because I've healed from all kinds of different things and I would say, I mean, I have a couple Achilles heels at the moment. I have a really bad case of, uh, tinnitus or tinnitus as some call it, uh, which is just horrendous.

Uh, but other than that, I'm doing pretty well 52-year old guy. I feel pretty good. Um, but my gut is definitely my Achilles heel. And if I deviate and start eating weird stuff, um, it's going to have a negative impact and I'll start to feel inflammation and it I just feel out of whack.

Couple days ago, um, it's funny, my wife always looks at the expiration dates on food and supplements and stuff. I never look. I'm just like, ah, well, if it doesn't smell like rotten meat or something, I'm going to eat it.

[00:15:28] Will: That's your litmus test.

[00:15:30] Luke: Yeah. So if there's not maggots coming out of it, we're good.

[00:15:32] Will: We're good.

[00:15:33] Luke: So I go down in my pantry and there's just all kinds of old supplements that I bought or people sent me. And, um, Peak Tea. You're drinking the Peak Tea. They had these little liposomal vitamin C and elderberry packets.

[00:15:43] Will: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

[00:15:44] Luke: And we moved from, uh, from California. Our shit was all in the garage for a year and a half in Texas heat, and all my supplements were out there. And if they looked all right, I kept them and put them in the pantry. So I go to grab one of those and it's all puffy.

[00:15:57] Will: Yes, I've seen that.

[00:15:58] Luke: Yeah, it's all inflated. And I thought, ah, that's probably off. And I thought, well, it's sealed. I mean, what could be in there? I ate it and it was very, um, almost, uh, um, what's the word I'm looking for? Effervescent. Bubbly. And I was like, ah, I probably shouldn't eat this. Did. And it wrecked my gut. I mean, I'm not going to go into details, but it was not fun. 

Um, and then to the point of gut feelings, and I really want to talk about the neurotransmitters and just how emotionally affected we are by our gut health and what we eat, it took me a minute to connect the dots, but the day after, which would've been yesterday, I was just down for no reason.

I was just off emotionally, and there was no other influence or input. Everything in my life is absolutely beautiful at the moment. Things are going well in all ways. And, uh, and at the end of the day I was like, huh, my gut got messed up. I traced it back to that and then I thought, you know what, that probably had something to do with why it was just a little bit, I don't know, I won't say depressed, that would be an overstatement, but just a little gloomy for no reason, which is not typical for me. I get, like anyone, affected if there's some external situation that's going on that's stressful or sad or something like that.

But everything was great and I had that cloudy day feeling. And, um, so it's great that you were coming today because I think this is a really important thing for us to start to understand of like, how what's going on in our gut really impacts our brain function and our mood. So let's just-- I don't know if there's a question in that, but I know that you know quite a bit about this. So let's start to just dive into that whole Yeah topic.

[00:17:36] Will: Exactly what you said is things that I hear all the time with patients. They'll say, I have nothing to be down about. I have a great life. Maybe some more stress, maybe some family stress, but nothing that's proportional to how I'm feeling emotionally. And I would venture to say the vast majority of people out there today, the underlying driver of their mental health issue is an underlying inflammatory process.

And it's really our job and ultimately that person's job to figure out what's driving that inflammation in the first place. And for many people at least the gut's a component to it if not a big piece of the puzzle. Um, the gut and brain are formed from the same fetal tissue. When babies are growing in their mother's womb, it's growing from that same tissue, and it's linked for the rest of our life through what's known as the gut brain axis, or the connection between the gut and the brain. I mean, if you think about it, even physically, the gut even resembles the brain. 95% of serotonin is made in the gut, 50% of--

[00:18:39] Luke: 95?

[00:18:40] Will: Almost all of it.

[00:18:41] Luke: That's crazy. Think about how many people on SSRIs that probably just have a wrecked gut

[00:18:46] Will: Yeah.

[00:18:47] Luke: And just no one put the pieces together.

[00:18:49] Will: Yeah. And that's a great point. It's like, okay, we can talk about that model of neurotransmitter imbalances or a chemical imbalance if you even take that as a component for some people's mental health issues. What caused the chemical imbalance in the first place?

Oftentimes it's a gut problem and or an inflammatory problem that is causing the signaling problems in the first place. So we have to-- and 50% of dopamine is made in the gut as well. So it's a massive part. This isn't just some fringe theory. This is a lot of research being done in the scientific journals looking at this.

The problem is, it's just not as most things within the way that our healthcare system works, the passing it down to this is something that I'm talking with my PCP, just does not happen. There's a disconnect between what things are being researched and then what is actually the practical application.

And the main reason for that is because the model is trained to diagnose the disease and match it with a medication. They don't have medications for all these things, but when there are going to be medications for this stuff, the gut mood axis, the gut brain mood axis, believe me, everyone will be tested for gut health and all of it because that's the tool within the toolbox.

Once they have a pharmaceutical for it, then it's tested for, it's green lit, and it's part of a routine checkup. But that could take a long time. There's so much red tape, there's so many factors beyond my pay grade of the politics of all of it. But we know it's just hugely oversimplified.

I mean, someone's depressed. They're just, take this antidepressant. They don't run any labs. They're not looking at the mechanisms. They're not understanding why we have this problem in the first place. And this is where we're really failing people with anxiety, depression. And I would include brain fog, fatigue, ADHD, and autism. All the neuroinflammatory issues that researchers are calling neuroinflammatory, we're really failing them. Uh, and I feel like functional  medicine is attempting to help these people.

[00:20:55] Luke: I notice if I, uh, if I go off the reservation and eat some funky food, uh, invariably I'll have brain fog the next day. That's usually the thing. Yesterday I was just a little moody, but usually my word recall, I mean, I talk for a living, so I can tell when I'm lesser more articulate and able to just be sharp and on it. And man, if I go out and fall off the wagon and eat a pizza or something, guaranteed the next day I'm going to feel a lower IQ experience.

[00:21:25] Will: Yeah. It's not fun. And I think you're more, with the work that you've done and you living and breathing this too for your life, you're more in tuned with that. Most people are divorced with that and they have just various shades of feeling like crap. And they don't really know. They can't draw connection because there's so much clouds in the air. And it's multifactorial as far as what is contributing to why they feel. But when the dust is settled, like yourself, you're able to see, oh, yeah, my body doesn't love this. This food doesn't love me back. 

[00:21:58] Luke: There's another side of that too. Um, I think just because of the obsessive nature of my personality and just how into all of the health modalities I am, it's also difficult when you're doing so many positive things for yourself, it's actually difficult to track what's doing what and what's working.

People will send me some cool a PEMF device or something and then others will ask, hey, does it work? Do you feel better? Yeah, I feel great, but I did 20 things today. They would all contribute to feeling good. And I've never had the discipline, uh, unfortunately, um, to just isolate. Just live like a normal person for a week and then introduce this input. Um, and a new meditation app or whatever it is, a type of breath work, anything, ice baths, saunas, all that, um, red light therapy. I mean, there's so many things that are scientifically valid and are impactful, but it's difficult when you do so many things to tell what's working.

So it's the inverse of what you just described where it's like you're living the standard lifestyle and there are so many things you're doing that are deleterious to your wellbeing that you can't really pick out what it is until you start to, through the process of elimination, oh, okay, I stopped eating gluten. Holy shit. It's been a month. Oh, I actually do feel better.

[00:23:12] Will: You're right. No, and typically with patients because they are up against so much, we typically start from the ground up. And it's not a perfect science in this sense if we're not testing things once a month. But we typically do phase things in and we try to edit as time goes on.

What are your biggest needle movers? And maybe we'll need more needle movers at the beginning, because there's going to be more factors. You're going to need more tools within your toolbox. But over time I think you're-- you have maybe a bigger bandwidth, but a lot of people get overwhelmed by all the stuff they "have to do".

So over time, my goal is to streamline and edit, and what are the biggest needle movers for you to simplify your life? Um, which is not always easy and takes a certain amount of over time really monitoring this for somebody. But not everybody wants to be doing all the things long term. They want to maybe do it for a season to get to a good place, but over time it's like, what are the most essential supplements? What's the most essential biohacks? What's the best essential ways of eating? And let's just keep it simple. So part of my job is editing because people come in with all the things, the supplement graveyard as I call it.

[00:24:20] Luke: Yeah. I have one of those downstairs.

[00:24:23] Will: Biohacking graveyard.

[00:24:24] Luke: Expired supplements in my case.

[00:24:26] Will: Puffy supplements.

[00:24:27] Luke: Yeah. I'm still going to try it. 

[00:24:30] Will: But the reality is it's all good stuff. It's not like it's bad. It's like, do you want to keep doing it? Do you have the time to do it? Is it within your budget to keep doing it? So that's part of my job. It's just curating a more short list.

[00:24:46] Luke: I mean, that's an amazing service, especially for people that just for whatever reason aren't interested in spending their time doing all the things. I mean, I don't know what I'd do with myself if I wasn't doing this. And I want to circle us back to the gut and the neurotransmitter stuff, but don't let me forget to throw in orthorexia, because I've observed in my own life that all of these positive things that I do for myself and I feel better and better all the time.

I'm aging backwards with the exception of eyes, ears, couple things that are pesky. But it can really be a distraction as well. And I imagine as a practitioner, it must be difficult sometimes if you come across someone like me that's just throwing everything in the kitchen sink at it to reel them in and say, hey, maybe all that you're doing is actually a distraction from you dealing with some of those underlying issues, like emotional issues and resentments you have for people or traumas, these things that exist in the background of our psyche and can cause, or at least add to our general illness or lack of wellbeing.

It's like I have caught myself at times like, wow, I just can't be present. What if I were just to be a normal guy for a day and just not do any of the things? The things are a trap in some cases and can be a distraction from just presence and allowing whatever you need to feel or think about to, um, come to the surface and be dealt with. It's like a way of running away from those things that you don't want to look at. It's like a, um, I got to come up with a word for it, spiritual bypassing. It's like biohacking bypassing or something. 

[00:26:22] Will: Well, and it sounds like for you and for many people, I think that listen to your podcasts that are really aficionados with this stuff and really, uh, are immersed in wellness, that's the fun stuff for them. And oftentimes, many times, the things we need to heal are in the dark corners. And they're not as fun. They're not as easy all the time, and take work. And we all have different areas that we need to go for to really take our health to the next level. But sometimes I'm always telling the people that are a higher level case, which most of our patients, it's like, sometimes it's not adding more stuff.

Sometimes it's just being consistent with what we do have. And the waiting and the fact that it's not a quick fix is unsexy for people. Because they want the next thing. If I edit this and this and this, and next month, it's another thing, then that will be my magic bullet. But the reality is, okay, no, all the things you're doing are cool. You don't need more stuff. You just need more time.

Stay consistent with what you do have. And that's based on labs and experience and monitoring this person. Realizing that, yeah, maybe that next thing in theory is good, but you're doing enough. You're well supported here. You don't need another tool or whatever. You're supplementing your life.

[00:27:35] Luke: And that's where the editor like you comes in.

[00:27:38] Will: Yes. Exactly. And I'm saying, yes, you can try it, but I don't think you do. And we try to prioritize and bring context to it. 

[00:27:44] Luke: Do you find some of your clients, um, have pretty strong attachments to things that they're unwilling to have wrestled from their clutches?

[00:27:54] Will: 100%. And you get to love these people. You know them and you know their quirks and where they're at, and they trust me, so it's fine. Get a baseline. Let's go off of everything even for a minute and just slowly phase things in and see how you feel because they are very intuitive people. And they can realize, oh wow, I was taking 50 supplements, I don't really need that much. I just need this little handful. 

And this other stuff, not that it's bad, it's all makes sense and that's why they started it in the first place because they did their research. But it's just more isn't always better. And then with food specifically, what can we get from food that we don't then need to supplement so much?

[00:28:33] Luke: Yeah. Um, going back to the gut situation, I've heard this term, uh, thrown around a lot, the gut brain axis. And I'm curious what is that, uh, specifically? Are these blood vessels that are going from your brain to your gut? What is the actual axis?

[00:28:50] Will: It's a freeway between your intestines and your brain. It's like the 405. It gets probably blocked out from a lot of traffic. Uh, so no, as I mentioned, the gut and brain are formed from that same tissue. Our nervous system is really the major part of the gut brain access. It's the crosstalk. It's the intercommunication between your gut and your brain and your brain and your gut. So it's a bi-directional communication line, but it really largely what the gut brain axis is, is the vagus nerve, is really what it is.

[00:29:19] Luke: Ah, okay. 

[00:29:20] Will: And it's more than that. There's also microbiome, crosstalk as well through the immune system of the body. So neurotransmitters, the way that the gut bacteria actually influences the way neurotransmitters are expressed. And there's probably pathways we don't even understand, the crosstalk between the microbiome and the mind. But what we understand now, it really has to do with the microbiome, which is really independent of us. It's its own ecosystem, and then our own native nervous system and immune system.

[00:29:49] Luke: It reminds me of the, um, the blood-brain barrier. I've always thought of it like in your neck or something there's a valve that opens up and lets blood in or not. And then one of the smart people I interviewed, and they're like, not exactly, it's more of an electrical signaling thing. That's your calcium, um, gated--

[00:30:06] Will: Chain.

[00:30:06] Luke: Yeah, the calcium gated voltage channels in your cells. It's not an opening. It's just an electrical signal that either allows it to be permeable or not. So I find all this stuff really interesting. I love getting into the weeds and just deepening my understanding because probably somewhat like you, I'm just fascinated by this living, breathing machine of perfection that we've been gifted with and-- 

[00:30:29] Will: It's profound.

[00:30:30] Luke: Learning all the things we do that interrupt its natural ability to be well and getting rid of those things and trying to add some things to it that support it.

[00:30:39] Will: Yeah. And so much of people's disease, and dysfunction, and disordered health really has to do with this microbiome mind connection. The microbiome's so influential, and when you start to tend to it and take care of it and nourish it, the microbiome loves us back when we give it the chance to do so.

[00:30:58] Luke: ADMARKER

So you mentioned, um, tons of our serotonin is manufactured in the gut, uh, 50% of dopamine, I think you said. What about, um, GABA, melatonin? What else is happening in there that's critical to our mental wellbeing and sleep and all that? 

[00:31:15] Will: If the gut's not making and storing it, it's definitely influencing it because of the fact that 75% of the immune system being in the gut. Inflammation is a product of the immune system. So even if things like GABA and acetylcholine and things aren't having that much-- the guts not directly impacting it, it's without a doubt indirectly impacting it. 

And there's studies to show that too, because of the way that people have bacterial overgrowth. So these, uh, leaky gut syndrome, increased intestinal permeability, these GI inflammatory processes are linked to GABA and glutamate imbalances, for example, when people have these sort of excitotoxin excess glutamate in their body and decreased levels of GABA, which is the anti-anxiety neurotransmitter, basically. Um, so there's far-reaching implications to poor gut health, both from an inflammatory standpoint, a nervous system standpoint, and a actual gut bacteria microbiome standpoint too.

[00:32:09] Luke: Okay. So let's get into then, uh, I guess we could start with the bad news. Let's talk about some of the-- then we'll get into the solution. Hit them with the bad news first. What are some of the things that most commonly trash people's gut?

[00:32:25] Will: Okay. Let me count the ways. Let me count. Let me break it down for people. I mean, look, we had to start with food. I think most of your listeners probably know that, so I won't dig too deep into it. But it's what I would call the inflammatory core four, or the four foods or food ingredients that are most likely to disrupt that gut microbiome, which is this master governor of your immune system and your neurotransmitters, your health overall. It would be gluten containing grains.

[00:32:52] Luke: When we think-- you mentioned gluten containing grains. I think we typically just think of, oh, bread and pizza. Flour, right? 

[00:32:59] Will: Yeah. And wheat is the biggest insulter, but it's rye and barley spelt, but wheat is typically the most reactive in most people. But that exists on a spectrum. There's celiac disease on one end, but there's that larger gluten sensitivity spectrum. And you could have, and I have this conversation with my patients, is it the gluten itself? Is it the hybridization? Is it the spraying of glyphosate on the-- I think it's a combination of factors, because I do have patients that can go to Europe and have the wheat and they're fine. Then my mind goes to, is it the glyphosate, amount of glyphosate? Or is it the fact that they're less stressed on vacation? And that's the gut brain axis.

[00:33:38] Luke: They're in the South of France, chilling in the sun.

[00:33:41] Will: And that's the impact that stress has on our digestion and our gut brain axis too. So it's not just one thing, but there's enough data to show it's a bit of all that stuff that's really that evolutionary mismatch. It's this epigenetic genetic mismatch that our wheat today is different than what humans would've had for thousands of years. And then it's an over consumption of it. It's like a famine food that we're feasting on year round, and it's not prepared the way that our ancestors would've prepared it as well.

[00:34:09] Luke: To that note, uh, because I just love bread so much, um, I remember years ago going to the farmer's market in LA and there was a purveyor of sourdough goods there. And they had this whole presentation how when they ferment their wheat properly, yada yada, that it eats up all the gluten.

And so, of course, I ate the shit out of it. Uh, and it didn't totally agree with me, but it was much more tolerable than just eating some random bread from the grocery store. Is there any truth to the fermentation like sourdough?

[00:34:40] Will: Yeah, absolutely. It's going to decrease the amount of gluten and it's going to make it more digestible. Similarly to people that can't have dairy, but they can have kefirs, they can have the yogurts, they can have the cheeses, because that fermentation's breaking down some of the dairy protein or casein.

The gluten protein and other grain proteins are fermented and broken down, so it's less assaulting to our gut microbiome. This gut garden that is pissed off because we're eating out of sync with what it's used to.

[00:35:10] Luke: to Right.

[00:35:11] Will: It's like letting us know in the form of the bathroom runs and the inflammation symptoms and the anxiety and the brain fog.

[00:35:17] Luke: Yeah, I interviewed, uh, William Davis, the author of, uh, Wheat Belly some years ago. And that guy scared the hell out of me, man, because I'm like I've known-- my wife for example, I mean, she eats gluten and it doesn't seem to bother her at all. And I've met many people like that. My dad's like full celiac, my brother full celiac.

I've been tested for it. I don't have it, but I'm definitely sensitive to it. And so talking to him, I said, well, how do you explain this? He goes, it's going to catch up to everyone at some point. No one should be eating gluten. And he has a lot of scientific and historical data to support his perspective.

But I mean, after that I really was good for quite a long time because that interview is fresh on my mind and he's such an imposing force on that particular topic. But I do think it's interesting how all of us have our own levels of kryptonite. I have friends that are fine and they can eat all the bread and the glyphosate and they seem to be doing great.

But do you share the perspective that, uh, leave glyphosate aside for a second because I want to get deeper into that, but I mean, do you think some people could eat organic wheat for their whole life and be fine because they're just genetically sturdy enough to handle it?

[00:36:26] Will: Oh, for sure. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's back to that bioindividuality topic. Organic wheat even if it's not sourdough, I see people that do the ancient grains bread that has wheat, a gluten in it. It's even like the iron, corn, ancient wheat. They do fine with it. Better quality wheat. Yeah, absolutely. So it's just like people can drink every day and they live to their 90. Or some people do some random crap. You're like, what? Or you see the video online where it's like, what's your secret to longevity? And she's like, a mountain dew. But she's done it for the of her life.

[00:37:03] Luke: Pack of cigarettes a day. Yeah.

[00:37:04] Will: And we know that's not healthy, but that worked for them. And the analogy that I think of is this mason jar or bucket. Some people have big buckets, some people have smaller buckets. That's your genetic bio-Individual tolerance for stressors, whether that's food, or stress, or trauma, or toxins. Combination of lack of sleep. 

We can't change our mason jar size or genetic tolerance for stressors, but we can change what we put in it. A lot of my patients just tend to have smaller mason jars and maybe your wife, I don't know her case, but I maybe she has a bigger mason jar and she's just able to have the wheat and it's no big deal because in the scheme of life, the human body would not be here if it couldn't handle a little bit of stress.

And I would put wheat under that category. Is it a super food for people? No, but it certainly provides some fiber if it's in this whole grain form. It provides some carbohydrates for people. So there's some merit from a nutrition standpoint that I just would say there's cleaner more nutrient-dense options.

[00:38:08] Luke: How about the power of thought. Sometimes when I eat something like that, I'll have negative thoughts and I will, um, foresee the impact that it's going to have. And then it does. And sometimes I wonder how much of that is your brain sending a signal to your body. Yeah. 

You're causing that reactivity by the staunch belief that you have, that you're going to have reactivity. To that point, um, I interviewed Zach Bush a couple years ago who's a big anti glyphosate advocate and whatnot. And, um, we interviewed and then it was in San Diego with my friend Josh Trent, and we went out to eat afterward and someone picked an Italian restaurant. And we sit down and he orders some freaking pasta and is eating bread and stuff.

And I'm like, dude, you're Zach Bush. What's up? And he is like, I take my-- I think it was called Restore then. It's called Ion. He is like, no man, I took some of this before. I'm good to go. And it repairs the junctions and stuff. I take that stuff all the time. I love it.

And I do use it sometimes to cheat. And I believe it does help. But I remember thinking, even if his body's sensitive to it and maybe his Ion product is helping with that, I guess that it is, but I saw that perhaps it's just his belief. He's like, we just had a great time. We're going out to eat.

I'm not going to be neurotic and orthorexic. I'm going to eat whatever foods here and I'm going to enjoy it. And perhaps his belief that he can handle it is contributing to the fact that he can or seemingly he could.

[00:39:36] Will: No, and that's thatorthorexic spectrum that I see with patients too. And it can be a source of dread and obsession and anxiety around it. And we have to-- that's the feelings, part of the gut feelings is the retraining and relearning a healthier relationship with food in your body. 

It's the nocebo effect basically. I believe even subconsciously that something bad's going to happen when I have it. Maybe something did happen because of past flare up from a food and for my patients is retraining their limbic system, their nervous system, to be able to reintroduce that food without the fear and anxiety around it. Because what came first, the chicken or the egg with this is the anxiety about the food or the food itself? And for many people it is very confusing because it's a bit of both.

[00:40:23] Luke: Yeah. That makes sense. Uh, with the glyphosate issue, um, I've interviewed some folks, I forget who it was. Um, someone was explaining to me that one of the ways that we manufacture wheat and they grow and produce wheat in this country is that they grow it and it's sprayed with pesticides and stuff, uh, including glyphosate. 

But then when they want to harvest it, they spray the shit out of with glyphosate to dry it, to cure it, to make it quicker to harvest. And I've heard it from a few people, so I assume that to be true. How much of the issue people are having with their gut health do you think is the gluten versus the fact that it's loaded with this incredibly toxic substance called Roundup?

[00:41:05] Will: Yeah, I would say-- when I measure labs, I have to say I see high levels of glyphosate in a lot of people.

[00:41:14] Luke: Is there a valid test for that now?

[00:41:16] Will: Yeah, it's a urine test. Yeah. And obviously there's no perfect test out there, it's the best test that we have access to at this point that is very accurate and we can actually see that improve over time too and this stuff clear out.

But a lot of my patients have methylation gene variants. They have HLA gene variants, meaning their bodies more prone to being sensitive to these environmental toxins and biotoxins like mold and other bacteria and viruses. So I think it's a bit of both. But then you could make the argument because there's studies to show that glyphosate increases TNF alpha and increases leaky gut syndrome. It can drive that neuro gut inflammation.

So did that trigger the gluten response? You could probably make the argument that yes, you're measuring gluten antibodies, but the gluten antibodies are a response to the fact of glyphosate increased intestinal permeability and drove the inflammation. So for me, if someone really loves that bread, I want to get the best version for them.

So let's get the gut healthy, let's clear this stuff out. Let's get a baseline and then let's work on reintroduction. Maybe it is that sourdough bread. Maybe it is that ancient grain bread. Because I want them to have that, what I call in the book is food peace. Not becoming obsessive or orthorexic about good things, things that bring you joy. And for some people it's that dang dough bread. But there's great gluten-free sourdough bread, but for them it doesn't cut it.

[00:42:39] Luke: Yeah.

[00:42:40] Will: They need the wheat.

[00:42:41] Luke: I'm telling you, to me there's no better food than some great sourdough bread with melted salty butter. I mean, I could live on that if my body would allow me to.

[00:42:49] Will: Have you ever heard of this brand, I have no connection to them financially, but I think it's called Bread SRSLY. You need to check them out. I don't know how it's spelled. It's spelled branded. But Bread SRSLY, it is really good, gluten-free sourdough bread. Delicious.

[00:43:04] Luke: I'm on it. Show notes, editors take note. We'll put that in there.

[00:43:08] Will: I want a steak in the company please.

[00:43:09] Luke: Yeah. Okay, and then with the glyphosate, I've heard that you can test for it. Surprisingly, I've never done it probably because I don't want to know the answer.

[00:43:19] Will: That might be that people heard me say that and they're like, I want that lab. I want all the labs. And sometimes it's me editing the labs back too, is like sometimes the stress and anxiety around this result isn't going to do you any good, especially if it's not changing what we're going to do. Sometimes not everybody needs that test, but it's helpful for most people, especially at baseline.

[00:43:39] Luke: And how pervasive is this stuff in other foods like oat milk and stuff? I mean, is it just leaking into the food supply in general?

[00:43:46] Will: It's everywhere. And that's the tough part of people that I see that tend to be the more plant-based eaters, have the highest glyphosate levels. Because it's the plant-based foods that they're being marketed to that are convenient maybe, or even fresh whole foods that are the plant-based foods that are of the highest levels. So it's definitely something that people have to be mindful of.

[00:44:08] Luke: Okay. And then what about, um, the negative effects of oxalates on gut health? Is there a relationship there? Maybe explain what oxalates are and what foods contain them.

[00:44:19] Will: Sure. Oxalates. 

[00:44:20] Luke: This is fun because I don't talk a lot about like food and diet stuff usually. Honestly, if somebody wants to come on the podcast and we're talking about that, I'm like, I want some cutting edge quantum shit. Yeah, yeah. Food. But I think this is really important even for people that are savvy, if we can get into the weeds and nuances of this because there's so much, um, hysteria around fad diets and keto, vegan, of carnivore. It just gets overwhelming and boring. But I think there are some key things that are useful probably to everyone listening and oxalates might fall in that category. 

[00:44:50] Will: Yeah. For sure. And they are compounds that are made by plants. They're the plants defense mechanism in a way. And certain foods like spinach and kale, a lot of dark leafy greens are higher in oxalates. Some beans, legumes are higher in oxalates. There's nothing wrong with oxalates. I really don't like the hysteria, the hyperbolic statements around things like lectins and oxalates.

I don't. Because ultimately are some people more sensitive to oxalates than others? Certainly. They are. But ultimately, is it a genetic thing? There are some genes that could predispose, certainly. But oftentimes it's other factors that are causing the overzealous immune response to the higher oxalate plant foods.

So it's not that you have to avoid oxalates at all costs, maybe for a time going lower oxalate and supporting, clearing this stuff out. But for example, mold toxicity can increase oxalate sensitivity. So is it the spinach or the fact that there's biotoxins in your body and then the food's just collateral?

It's stressing out an already stressed out immune system. So I find that we could reintroduce most foods once you deal with these, what we would call upstream root things. And for some people it's trauma. It's the mental, emotional feeling stuff that's impacting their immune system where it's that that they have to deal with in retraining the nervous system and supporting the parasympathetic. Then there's no problem with oxalates or sourdough bread or whatever we're talking about.

[00:46:24] Luke: That's a really good point. Yeah. I'm thinking back to times in my life where I was under, um, tremendous amounts of stress and just trauma responses and it would ruin my gut. I just have all these digestive problems, not from eating anything, not from having a kale salad, but from just being in a lot of fear or anxiety, and not being able to actually digest food like a normal human just because I'm emotionally wrecked.

[00:46:48] Will: Yeah. Now, cooking, from average human being back to the ancestral thought of this, humans, for a lot of these foods do lots of soups and stews. And if you think of the Ayurvedic approach or the indigenous approach to a lot of these foods, they would be prepared differently.

Even the grains. They would be soaked and sprouted and fermented. That is, part of the conversation too. Is that the over consumption of a food that's not properly prepared? And even for an average person that doesn't have mold toxicity. I think that's probably a bit of it too, is that just we think because it's a plant food, we should have copious amounts of it in raw form.

There's human beings, even just the nature of the planet right now, we are living in a new world and compared to our great grandparents even let alone generations ago. So the human immune system, I think as a just general rule is more sensitive because of this evolutionary mismatch.

[00:47:44] Luke: Nice. All right. Carrying on. Um, oh, I know what I wanted to ask you about the oxalates. Do you find a correlation between a vegan that's drinking kale juice, or whatever all day and kidney stones? 

[00:47:59] Will: Yeah. 

[00:47:59] Luke: Is there a relationship there?

[00:48:00] Will: It can be. Yeah, certainly. But look, it depends on what type of kidney stone we're talking about, what it's driven by. I would say it's not-- are there people that have oxide formed kidney stones that are driven by lots of plant foods? Yeah, it is.

[00:48:15] Luke: Or cacao. I learned recently cacao has a lot of oxalates. I'm like, what?

[00:48:19] Will: Yes.

[00:48:19] Luke: Come on.

[00:48:20] Will: In the context of a diverse diet, someone taking care of themself, it's low on my list of things to think about. I think that-- I would say the bigger problem that we have with kidney stones and gallstones is hyper insulinemia, excess insulin, and the modern American diet. So I don't want people to be fearful at all about whole real foods. Is it just a pivot of preparing it differently?

And if you really enjoy that kale salad, can't we just make it in a way that's a little bit more digestible, a little bit more bioavailable, less stressful maybe to your gastrointestinal system? So yeah. If you enjoy that green juice, I wouldn't want to be alarmist because I don't think it's a massive issue.

[00:49:07] Luke: Yeah. And the bioindividuality is really true. I don't like vegetables generally speaking and thankfully, so I don't want to eat them, but if I do, I have a very difficult time digesting them. I'm just not a vegetable guy. And I've tried. I talked to people like, oh, the nutrient profile of this. And I'm like, all right, I'm going to start eating the thing. And it's just like, it never fails. I just don't do well.

[00:49:29] Will: Yeah. And that's a lot of people's systems. They have a problem breaking down those foods. But that's why soups and stews, even pureeing vegetables can be good because you can get some of the fiber in it. You get some of the prebiotics for your gut microbiome. You don't need vegetables for that. You can get them from fruits. And even people that have reactions to fruits will start segueing them with a cooked-- almost like a compound like an inside of a pie without the pie part. But that-- 

[00:49:55] Luke: Goddamn.

[00:49:57] Will: I know. Sorry. But that provides polyphenols and fiber and gut bacteria food as well. So yeah, this is the nuanced weird things that I think about.

[00:50:08] Luke: I love it. No, this is cool. Um, what about digestive bidders? Are you a fan?

[00:50:12] Will: Yeah, sure. There's a vast majority of people, especially people that I talk to, which I know I talk to, not your everyday people, but I would assume that we have a massive problem of what's called hypochlorhydria. Even if it's not avert like it's a diagnosable, but it's lower, it's functional hypochlorhydria, which is decreased hydrochloric acid.

So digestive bidders are a good way to support healthy pH of the gut, because you need proper HCL production, stomach acid production to digest foods. Because yes, it's true. We are what we eat. The foods we eat are the raw materials that make up our cells and make up our neurotransmitters and make up our hormones. All that's true. 

But ultimately, we are what we eat because we are what we absorb and we are only what we absorb. And HCL is needed for proper absorption. And many people have things like H pylori or other forms of dysbiosis, bacterial overgrowth, or SIBO. They're not digesting, absorbing foods appropriately. And we can quantify this on labs. So digestive bidders, just like an HCL with pepsin, ox bile can be helpful for proteins and carbs and fat digestion.

[00:51:17] Luke: Do you think if people have low HCL, that they're more prone to parasitic infections and things of that nature?

[00:51:23] Will: Yeah. It makes it hospitable. It's a hospitable environment for overgrowths, whether that'd be SIBO or Protozone parasite issue or SIFO, a fungal overgrowth. Candida overgrowth. So yeah. And it's fascinating, these gut bugs that want to survive, like H pylori has the ability to actually shift and influence HCL production to make it more--

[00:51:45] Luke: Oh no way. It'll shut it down?

[00:51:47] Will: It'll shut it down. 

[00:51:48] Luke: Shut off the acid valves.

[00:51:49] Will: We want to grow and populate. And that's what they do. They're opportunistic. They're opportunistic bacteria that are like weeds overgrowing in this gut garden that we all have some weeds. And that's the other nuanced perspective that I have with these things is that they're not all bad.

They're not all pathogenic bacteria. And I think that's the Western world's way of thinking about it. It's like you see these bacteria, you want to decimate them. Then you end up wiping out the good guys too and the whole ecosystem's off, and it allows reoccurring digestive issues because you've messed up the microbiome.

So I feel like for most people, barring an acute infection, a pruning effect of the microbiome through things like digestive bidders, or herbal antimicrobials, or probiotics, or postbiotics to support a healthy microbiome is a more sustainable approach versus saying that bacteria is a demon and I need to atomic bomb the crap out of it.


[00:52:43] Luke: What's your take on, uh, taking enzymes?

[00:52:46] Will: Think it can be a tool within the toolbox. Yeah, it's on the list of things that some people need and there's what type of enzymes and what do they need. But I see that specifically with fat mal absorption. I see a lot of people need extra enzymes and ox bile can do that too. But a lipase, a good quality lipase or blend of different digestive enzymes, they especially the conversation on healthy fats, then they think more is always better, and more isn't always better. And sometimes it's too much fat for their body.

And we had to lower the amount of fat that they're having, whether it's avocados, or olive oil, or grassfed beef, or ghee, or something like that. But it's also, for someone that's been lower fat for a lot of their life or hasn't messed up-- a dysfunctional gut microbiome, digestive enzymes can be a way to aid the body.

I would say, I don't want them to have to be on digestive enzymes forever and ever because if I'm doing my job, I want enough gut resilience so they can produce their own enzymes to not have to depend on that. But there's no shame for somebody who has to use it for a period of time.

[00:53:56] Luke: Do our, uh, digestive enzymes, um, get depleted as we age?

[00:54:01] Will: It does. Yeah. And that's something you can quantify too, like pancreatic insufficiencies that some people have. I don't want to overly normalize the aging thing because I have patients in their 90s that are fine and they don't need enzymes when they're 90. But do chronic health problems over time can happen and some elderly people probably have an increased need for a overall statistically? Yeah, I would assume so. But I don't think that every person as the age automatically needs it. Yeah.

[00:54:30] Luke: Okay, cool. I love dispelling myths. I'm glad you're doing some of that because in the circles we run in, I noticed this when I research something online. I'll be like, "Hey, our enzyme's good for you." And they'll be 25 different blog posts, and they're all just plagiarizing each other.

There's these thought memes that get out into the natural health sphere. And it's like, well, who's the originator of this idea? And is it actually valid? So something like that, like, oh, as you get older you have to take enzymes or else you're screwed. And then that just becomes a pervasive thought and perhaps isn't further researched or debated or have someone offering to take a part of you.

How are they eating it? I think that's the bigger point is how are they eating. Maybe they are having foods that require more digestion. You don't have to eat that way. And if you're overall supporting your gut health, which may or may not include enzyme, there's many ways to support your gut. Health if you're supporting your gut health, even as you age, I have found people to be able to digest foods just fine. Maybe with some support. Probably not enzymes though.

Okay, cool. Um, more on supporting the, uh, the gut here. You mentioned probiotics. Uh, are there different brands that you like or types? I use one called Just Thrive. It's one of sponsors, a spore-based probiotics.

[00:55:44] Will: They sponsor my podcast.

[00:55:44] Luke: Oh cool. 

[00:55:45] Will: Shout out to just Thrive.

[00:55:46] Luke: Yeah. And you enjoy them or are there others? I recently got another one just because I want to take different ones periodically and not just the same strains. I got this company called Seed, which is pretty interesting and I feel good on those. I'll cycle through different probiotics.

[00:55:59] Will: That's actually what we do with patients. We typically will take breaks from them and we will cycle and rotate them. Because mimicking nature and mimicking what humans would've been exposed to, that's what I'm trying to simulate through getting microbes. Because the decimation of our soil microbiome and the fact that people just live sterile lives are not out in the fields or in nature roaming and foraging a diversity of probiotics, and prebiotics, and postbiotics are a good idea for most people's microbiome. 

Which the goal would-- I don't want people to be fearful about this, but in theory, taking the same strain of bacteria forever and ever in high doses, in theory, could encourage a monoculture. Could encourage someone to have this bacterial overdose too.

For example, I see people-- Saccharomyces boulardii, which is a beneficial yeast. There's nothing wrong with Saccharomyces at all, but I see people that will take it in high doses for years. And then I run a microbiome lab and they have overgrowth of Saccharomyces, and they their digestion's still off.

Am I blaming Saccharomyces for all their gut woes? No, but I just think that that's the point, is that more isn't always better. You don't always have to do all this stuff. So away to mitigate that, and I see this improved people's gut health all the time. It's just taking breaks off of things, cycling things, rotating things. Don't overthink it.

But ultimately use food as a modulator of your gut microbiome too. So make sure you're having good amount of fiber to support bacterial diversity. And I realize a lot of my patients have reactions to lots of fibers. You have to be smart about it, judicious about it.

They're having five map intolerance. A lot of these fiber rich foods really flare them up, but start off low and slow. Even things like psyllium husks, which is so basic, but can be a great tool to support from a food standpoint, uh, and fermented probiotic foods from a probiotic standpoint.

On the probiotic foods, um, do you think there's any-- kombucha over the years has, of course, blown up. I remember back in, it was the late '90s, I used to make my own kombucha. Those big gross--


[00:58:11] Luke: SCOBYs. Yeah. 

[00:58:12] Will: I used to do it too

[00:58:13] Luke: Yeah. 

[00:58:13] Will: It was was fun. I want to get back into it.

[00:58:16] Luke: I mean, it was a cool little science experiment, but then I noticed these, the-- what's the word? Proliferation is that the word? Uh, the abundance of all these companies selling kombucha. There's a whole rack at the health food store. Do think there's any risk in some of them just being random bacteria not being targeted? I mean, do you ever have patients that experience dysbiosis as a result of chugging schwag kombucha all the time?

[00:58:46] Will: Uh, I'll tell you what I see with kombucha, is people that have mast cell activation syndrome, that have histamine intolerance, that do a lot of those things, a lot of the probiotic foods overdoing it. It a modulator to your gut microbiome, just like any food is. But especially those you don't know exactly what type of bacteria you're getting. It's not labeled appropriately. Maybe it's not from a vetted, uh, well-respected company that makes kombucha.

[00:59:12] Luke: Made in some hippy's basement.

[00:59:14] Will: In Spokane. 

[00:59:15] Luke: Yeah. 

[00:59:17] Will: Uh, so no. I don't want to be alarmist about that either. I think it's overwhelmingly fine to have that, but my concern more than the bacteria is the look at the sugar added, grams of sugar from that. Because they're sweet to make them more sellable.

But it's like, you want to get the tangiest tarest, most vinegar-tasting kombucha to really get the benefits from it. Otherwise, it's just glorified juice, which humans don't need more grams of sugar. They've learned nothing out of this conversation. It's that. Look at the amount of grams of added sugar. And this can be a hidden way that's marketed very well to look very crunchy and very green, very healthy.

[01:00:00] Luke: You're drinking a soda in many cases. What I always look at with bottled drinks is the source water. Because I'm a water fanatic.

[01:00:07] Will: That's a good point too.

[01:00:08] Luke: And, uh, I mean I see this all the time and I'm actually this paranoid or this smart, depending on how you look at it. I've emailed companies and been like, your label just says water or carbonated water. What's the source water? And oftentimes they'll say, oh, reverse osmosis. And I think, well, great, that's perfect. I'm like, if you guys are smart, then I'm not the only nerd that's looking. I'm probably few of us. I'm not the only guy looking at the label. Put RO water on there so you know. I mean the majority of bottled and canned drinks, they could be full of fluoride and all nasty stuff.

I think there's something like 400 different toxic chemicals in tap water on average. So it's like you think at the bottling plants of many of these companies, the greatest kombucha out there, and it's just like, turn on the tap and wherever they are in Cincinnati or something, or Detroit, even worse lead.

I mean, it's just like-- I mean, again, you can't be too paranoid, but I do tend to opt for drinks that say at least filtered water and you don't know what the filtered medium is and how well it's filtered. Because filtering not things like fluoride is exceedingly difficult.

[01:01:10] Will: And these are the type of granular things that patients will ask me, oh, it's not on the label. What do you think that? We will call up and find out for them, because it's not in label. You don't always know. And yes, you can "trust the brand", but you don't know unless you ask. And sometimes they'll have papers to substantiate what they're saying too.

[01:01:29] Luke: What do you think about, um, preservatives that are commonly used? I mean, I'm not talking about junk food and things like that, but I'll find like a cool little ketone shot or something like that and it'll have something like potassium sorbate, and these are the things.

Then I'll look online and everyone's saying the same thing, right? It's just copy and paste information on a bunch of different health blogs and whatnot. Is that a, again, we're getting nuanced here and I love your perspective of let's not be psycho about all of this. Do the best you can. I think it's a balanced approach, but do you personally think there's any risk to daily consumption of even trace amounts of preservatives like that?

[01:02:10] Will: I would say that my vantage point is I am with very sensitive systems for 10 hours a day for the past 13 years. So if we see a reaction, we're going to see the reaction. I call my patients lovingly, canary in the coal mine for their family members, because they're the ones that have the reactions.

I don't see immediate reactions to these preservatives in small amounts. And we call and ask them it's-- to me is-- I would say I wouldn't be overly worried about it. But look, I think it's for someone that is sensitive and trying to do the best thing, having something every day for years, could there be accumulative effect? Maybe. But I think the stress and anxiety probably is worse than that.

[01:02:53] Luke: Right. Okay. That's a good point. Same with citric acid. Some stuff's come out recently. TikTok's really the hotbed for the health product conspiracies. And I've always just looked at something like, oh, citric acid, it's orange juice or something. Lemon juice.

[01:03:08] Will: There's someone squeezing a lemon.

[01:03:10] Luke: That's great. Yeah. And then I've seen this stuff. It depletes your copper and this and that. I'm like, now I'm all paranoid about the citric acid, which is ubiquitous in all kinds of foods, and especially drinks.

[01:03:20] Will: I have some patients that are sensitive to citric acid. That's a little bit more higher in the list for some people immediately. But yes, I mean, look, that's why, ultimately speaking, Whole Foods, unless it's a high oxalate right now, I'm just kidding. Whole Foods tend to be-- let's say this, Whole Foods properly prepared tend to be the best source because you're not thinking about these random variables that are the juries out because there's enough science around it. It's just like you're airing on the side of, I just want to be as "natural". And I know that's a charged word, but as basic as you can be.

[01:03:55] Luke: Yeah. I mean, I think that's a good rule of thumb. That's probably the basis of popularity for the Paleo movement, of shopping at the farmer's market and well, what have we been eating that's served us over the past, however many thousands or millions of years? Let's just try and stick with that.

I think there's some wisdom, and that is also a good way to remove the neuroticism that I'm exploring with you here. It is just, eat whole foods. That's, uh, for me, the farmer's market is the barometer of that food that doesn't come in a package, whether it's plant or animal or whatever it is.

[01:04:25] Will: And then if you make that you're huge basis, it's going to crowd out a lot of these random things that may or not may not be a problem for you. And I think in small amounts, most of those, like the examples that we've brought up aren't a big deal for most people, especially in small amounts.

[01:04:39] Luke: Right. Okay. Um, going on to, uh, gut issues. What's the deal with Crohn's disease?

[01:04:46] Will: Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, they're both inflammatory bowel issues or IBDs. Look, it's part of the larger autoimmune problem we're having. Those are just two examples of it. There's an estimated, I think, around a 100 different autoimmune conditions that science recognizes today, and then at least 40 above that at least have an autoimmune component.

But it's an end stage problem by the time somebody, for most people, that by the time they're diagnosed with something like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, or you look at neuro autoimmune issues like MS or, uh, Hashimoto's disease, it's about four to 10 years prior to the diagnosis when things were brewing on that autoimmune inflammation spectrum.

So the deal with it is just the immune system's lost recognition of self. I talk about it in Gut Feelings because if you even think about that, that phrase of immune system losing recognition of self, and you think about the stress trauma component of that and how that even on a philosophical level, what's happening on a physiological level.

But I mean, it's the combination of these epigenetic factors that are really triggering these genetic predispositions that have been lying dormant for tens of thousands of years, but are being triggered and awoken like never before because of this onslaught of factors like environmental toxins, the foods we're eating, stress and trauma, and all of the stuff that we're trying to really clean up to decrease that chasm between genetics and epigenetics.

[01:06:14] Luke: When it comes to something that's more extreme, like Crohn's or, or IBS as you said, that's downstream, do you ever look at, um, more drastic interventions like fecal implants?

[01:06:25] Will: Yeah. Certainly. And look, the--

[01:06:28] Luke: I mean, it's drastic depending on your--

[01:06:31] Will: That's relative--

[01:06:32] Luke: On your palate. I mean, I have a friend that had Crohn's that's why I bring it up. And he tried everything, lifestyle change, diet change, and he couldn't get rid of it. He found a donor that had never taken antibiotics, um, and had really good poop and spent, I don't know, a couple, a few months going over to his friend's house and collecting his, uh, dewey and uh, and putting it inside him. And he cured himself. Cure, done. No more. Gone. Never came back. 

[01:06:56] Will: Yeah. And it's, uh, I wouldn't call it a risk, but it's definitely not, I would say it shouldn't be anyone's first step, and it should definitely be vetted.

[01:07:07] Luke: Don't try this at home

[01:07:08] Will: Yeah. And it's not a first step either. It's not like, stop eating McDonald's and then go get a poop transplant. It's like, that's down the line. Like your friend, he's exhausted all these options and look, it's being performed by medical institutes for people that have resistant C. diff infections, people that have these flared IBD issues that are being monitored appropriately and clinically.

[01:07:29] Luke: So that's mainstream medicine?

[01:07:30] Will: That's mainstream medicine. And then a lot of people are just DIY putting poop in a blender and doing it themselves . That's not the way that it's done in the clinical setting. But look, I get it. People are struggling and suffering and they're disillusioned because they go to the doctor and they're just spinning the wheels because they give them steroids and immunosuppressants, and that's basically all the options are given.

So, no, I understand. I would do the same thing. I would be looking at these options. And we cross that bridge when and if we need to for our patients where it's like, let's get the best access to this tool for you. But the, uh, the caveats are, it's not for everybody. It's really for more severe cases. It doesn't work for everybody. And it's not one and done either. Like you said, your friend took a few months. It's not like one poop transplant. One fecal transplant and it's check.

[01:08:17] Luke: No, it was a daily thing for some period of time.

[01:08:19] Will: So that's what the evidence is pointing to. It's more of a prolonged period of time, a protocol, if you will, to start to support, a resetting, if you will, of the microbiome.

[01:08:29] Luke: Other tools for gut health. What do you think about, uh, bone broth? Is the hype-- does it live up to the hype of getting all this collagen?

[01:08:38] Will: Yeah. It is. I don't know if it's worth all the hype.

[01:08:44] Luke: Yeah. I mean, specifically to healing a gut that's hurting.

[01:08:48] Will: I love bone broth and I love it being a tool within somebody's toolbox. I don't like people overstating stuff and making it feel like it's going to be a magic cure-all for everybody's woes. I think it could be one really effective tool within a larger toolbox. Um, and you want to make sure that quality is important too, just like with anything else. But yes, look, I think we have a protein problem as a whole and we have an absorption problem like I mentioned earlier. So a lot of people are not having complete proteins, they're not optimizing their protein throughout the day.

They're protein, I don't use the word malnourished, but they're just not optimizing protein throughout the day. And a lot of protein powders and sources of protein from their meals, it's very reactive to people. Because they're having sensitivities to a lot of plant foods. They're having a lot of sensitivities to dairy or to egg.

Hanging out with people that have food sensitivities for a living, that's one of the most well tolerated sources of protein. So I think one of the benefits of bone broth and why people are seeing so much benefits from it is the fact that it's a clean source of protein that's bioavailable and it's not reactive. And it's giving the gut a reprieve for once. So there are caveats to that. I mean, there are people that still have reactions like higher histamine. Slower cooked broth, longer cooked broth tends to be higher in histamines. So I have patients that can't even have that. 

[01:10:13] Luke: Really?

[01:10:14] Will: Yeah, so that's the thing, is even healthy foods, what works for one person may not be right for you. And I love bone broth, but I could tell any healthy food. I could tell you a patient that has a reaction to it. That doesn't make the food bad. It's just about bioindividuality.

[01:10:30] Luke: And determining this bioindividuality, because that's come up a lot and, and rightly so, based on your many years of experience, I mean, it seems like the diagnostics, the lab work of working with a functional medicine doctor like you, that's how you find out what your bio individuality is. I mean, because otherwise it's the-- if you're just on solo mish and you're like, I'm just going to see what foods and supplements I respond to negatively or positively, there's so much guesswork in that. There's so much nocebo, so much placebo to determine if that thing's working for you. I mean, do you think the labs are really the, um, silver bullet of really being able to determine over the course of a period of time what's working and what's not?

[01:11:17] Will: Part of it is labs. I love labs and I love comparing and contrasting data. I love spreadsheets. Our top patient base are, uh, school teachers, engineers and nurses, which I've found over the years, they all have this common love of Excel spreadsheets.

[01:11:32] Luke: Oh God. You guys are aliens. I look in Excel spreadsheet my brain just explodes.

[01:11:37] Will: A lot of biohackers like spreadsheets too. Uh, they have that engineering mind.

[01:11:41] Luke: I need infographics. Colorful shapes.

[01:11:45] Will: We color code it for you.

[01:11:46] Luke: Oh, okay. Well, that's helpful. Red, don't eat. Yellow, maybe, if you really need to.

[01:11:52] Will: So I love data. I love labs. We run them, but at the same time, as someone who runs labs for patients around the world for a living, I will say there's a science and art. Sometimes it's not the labs, it's just having someone outside of yourself because it's hard to be the person that's going through this, you're saying, you have to be your own experiment. You had to be your own health advocate. You had to be your own doctor in many ways, like most of my patients. It's hard to be the person going through it, but also have some objectivity because of that mind body connection and nocebo and placebo effect.

And I feel like it's labs plus clinical someone outside of yourself and the artistry of what we do. So yes, labs are important. But I don't want to overvalue it because sometimes it's not that. Sometimes it's just like, hey, no, let's do this and this and this and, maybe some basic labs, but you don't have to run every lab under the sun to, uh, get information about your health. So I do find that beyond seeing the data improve, which is hugely beneficial, it's also helpful for the person to know I'm on the right path. And it's confirmation for them.

[01:13:00] Luke: Yeah. I've always enjoyed that. Seeing improvements in the lab. For me, getting older and seeing my testosterone get higher, for example, is fun. Things like that. And then it's not so fun when you see things go wrong. Um, in terms of labs though, I've always been curious about, I mean, it seems that if you do stool testing, it is what it is and probably gives you a very realistic picture of the overall, uh, gut health.

But with blood work, I never quite trust blood work because I feel like it's just prone to being so much more variable. If you're looking at hormones or something, I mean, there's so many things influencing that, sleep and just everything. I mean, do you find that if you do a succession of blood-based labs for someone, that you'll get wildly different results and there haven't been any changes in the input?

[01:13:50] Will: Yeah. Labs are snapshots in time, especially blood tests. It's a great point that you brought up. And I have people, for example, I'll see a crazy marker where I've tracked data for years for them, and it's like, this has never been off. That's why the context around when they got the labs is important. Like, oh yeah, I was feeling really down that day.

Or I had a stressful time at work. And then I have them go back the next week and it's completely normal. So you cannot hang your hat on one biomarker. And so you want to put the labs in context with all the other biomarkers around it to see the overall trend of that day. Then also look at their health history, how they're feeling, and put it in context with them and knowing them.

And then over time, put it in context with the trends. So that way you're not treating one number on a piece of paper at 7:59 AM when you went on that Thursday and think that's going to be your mandate for the rest of your life. It's not necessarily the case. So, uh, and that can feed into that sort of orthorexic obsession too, where it's like, they're like, no, that's my number.

And it's like, oh. They're going to be screwed because of that one random number being off. But bringing context and explaining the labs is important and otherwise stressing about this stuff is not good.

[01:15:05] Luke: Yeah. It seems like from the practitioner's standpoint, uh, with what you do, there's a lot of, I mean, experience, of course, obviously just a knowledge base, but there's some artistry in it, where you're not just being myopic about one particular lab, for example, a blood test and you're looking at hormones, etc, but the case history and also how does that measure up against all of these seemingly unrelated labs. I mean, it doesn't seem like an easy job that you have, especially dealing with people that are chronically ill and sometimes very seriously ill.

[01:15:39] Will: Yeah. It's not easy, but it's such an awesome responsibility. And like I said at the top of the conversation, it's so rewarding because when you see people get to the other side or just the unfolding into the other side, because it's a process, it's really rewarding and overall it's great. But it's definitely tough sometimes because there's so much noise.

And both internally and how they feel, when you feel fatigued and having flareups, that's a lot of internal noise, which can make people react in ways they otherwise would not. But then there's a lot of external noises. When people are struggling, they tend to go online and end up in this random, I read this online and I'm afraid of this now.

[01:16:18] Luke: Dr. Google again. What about with, uh, with hair testing? Is that something you work with? It seems that many people are of the belief that you get a longer snapshot. Not just that day, but you have a three month period where you can see heavy metal toxicity, mineral levels and stuff. Is that part of your protocol?

[01:16:35] Will: Not for everybody, but yes it's amongst-- for people who need it, heavy metals are one nutrient deficiencies or other ones definitely has its place. But again, even with that, I wouldn't look at just that snapshot. I would look at the larger context of it.

[01:16:49] Luke: Got it. Um, going back to, um, the good news about gut health, what are your thoughts on colostrum? Do you think that that is a viable option to fortify or heal a gut?

[01:17:00] Will: Yeah. I do. I think it's a great immune supporting tool. Has some, uh, immunoglobulin aspects as far as supporting the immune system. Great way to, even from a prebiotic standpoint, to start support healthy microbiome. Yeah. And it's well tolerated. Even though it comes from whey, I find that people that have dairy sensitivities tend to not react to the colostrum part of it if it's coming from a good source, obviously. But, uh, those are the ones that I'm tracking over time.

[01:17:29] Luke: You mentioned, uh, prebiotics and postbiotics, and I think that's something that's become more widely known and popular. If you go to the health food store, you'll find a bunch of prebiotics. Is there any risk in people just willy-nilly starting to, uh, self-diagnose and self dose those pre and postbiotics, if they have dysbiosis? Is there a risk of, say you have an overgrowth of a pathogenic bacteria and now they're really happy and they're to going to proliferate because you're feeding them?

[01:17:58] Will: Yeah. And they'll know it. The people that is applicable to, they'll know it. So that, oh, I need to get lots of prebiotics and they'll have it and maybe they have SIBO, a more severe case of SIBO. And they'll have a lot of flareups from that. And look, it's modulating the microbiome. It could in theory be impacting some of the good bacteria that's killing off.

Because probiotics are in effect in some ways antibiotics because they're regulators and the bene more beneficial, the higher amounts of the beneficial bacteria, they tend to regulate any opportunistic bacteria or pathogenic bacteria. So is it just feeding the overgrowth? Could be. But I also see the similar [Inaudible] detox die off symptoms from people when we're feeding the good guys too, because they're killing off some of the overgrowths. But yes, be your judicious, start off low and slow. Just because it's natural doesn't mean you should be having it or in copious--

[01:18:51] Luke: Or just because you hear about it on a podcast.

[01:18:53] Will: Yeah. Right.

[01:18:54] Luke: I mean, I think there's so many people that just, you hear about the great things from great people like you and you're like, oh, now I'm going to do that.

[01:19:00] Will: And when I-- we have these on my podcast that we'll have these case reviews where I'll go over like, this is the protocol, and this is all the science says about this type of case for Lyme disease or histamine intolerance. And then my caveat, I always try to say this, is like, you don't necessarily have to have everything I just said, because I know there's a big chunk of people that would just go buy everything I just said, it's not necessarily needed. So lean into it, find out what works for your body and that's where labs and clinical experience is going to be helpful.


[01:19:29] Luke: Are there any, um, herbs that you would generally recommend that are just supportive of gut health?

[01:19:35] Will: Yeah, I think general, um, cat's claw. So, um, the reason why I'm saying this, and it just popped in my mind is, are some natural antimicrobials. I'm saying this because a lot of people have a lot of bacterial imbalances. So I think a nice light seasonal pruning of your microbiome generally is beneficial, advantageous for most people.

So, cat's claw, uva ursi, goldenseal, caprylic acid, oregano, done judiciously can be helpful to help the microbiome. So a lot of people that have bloating, IBS issues, indigestion, acid reflux, can benefited by these, what I would call antimicrobial or the natural antimicrobials. It's the way to support the microbiome. So I like them.

[01:20:26] Luke: I'm glad you brought up, uh, oregano. I love, uh, oregano oil. I find that my gut really enjoys that on a pretty regular basis. Just one little capsule of the, I forget the brand. It's wild oregano from Italy or something. It's super strong. break one open--

[01:20:43] Will: Much of it.

[01:20:44] Luke: Yeah. And 

I just, I look at it as a tonic herb. It's like, I don't take it every single day, but it's probably in my top 15 little rotation in the cabinet.

[01:20:53] Will: Yeah. It's very effective. All that stuff. It's just overall supporting the immune system. Again, 75% of that's in the gut, so that's typically how it's working. So yeah, that's a great one.

[01:21:03] Luke: What's your take on, uh, I'm just like firing everything that I can think of that people like me and those listening will probably be familiar with or have tried or want to try. What about colloidal silver just as again, a tonic to help keep the dysbiosis in check and give your immune system a break from having to constantly battle all that?

[01:21:22] Will: I think it's a good thing. I wouldn't do it day in, day out for years on end, but yeah, if you're feeling a little run down, I do see it as being a possibility for some people. I would say personally for my patients, it's not the top of my list of things I go for, and that's may just be me and seeing other effective things.

It's not a thing against colloidal silver. Um, my son, who's 16 years old, was feeling a little bit under the weather the other day and he went and grabbed some colloidal silver and he was having lots more than I was recommended on the bottle. And I was like, just be mindful of that. Too much of anything isn't a great thing. But look, he's taking it for a few days. It's not the end of the world.

[01:21:59] Luke: Got it. Okay. And then, um, God, I have so many questions here and I didn't realize there were so many about the gut. I think this episode's going to be in, and in conjunction with your book, mainly focused on gut health, but there're just so many of these little nuanced questions that I had here, so I'm going to go ahead and, uh, get into that. Because I want to cover a little bit of fasting too. Are you feeling energetically up to this?

[01:22:19] Will: I, um, so up for this.

[01:22:20] Luke: Okay. Because I go hard. I won't be done until you feel done. Um, what about, um, histamine? This is something I don't know a lot about, but, uh, I've noticed myself and those that I'm close to will have histamine reactions that seem to be related to something they're eating.

Um, and some people get this bad. And we get into allergies and all this stuff. We have this thing here called, um, cedar fever, which Alyson's had lately. And I mean, it's like she got freaking Lyme disease or something. I mean, she was wrecked. We had to leave town and go to the coast, which by the way, there is an ocean in Texas, which I just learned, which is pretty cool. Three and a half hours away. 

[01:23:00] Will: Like the golf, right?

[01:23:01] Luke: Yeah, I mean, no Malibu, but it's good enough. It's nice there. And there are no cedar trees. But I'm noticing this is a prevalent issue for people where you're just having these, uh, runny nose ,and sneezy, and puffy eyes and things like that. How is histamine intolerance and this issue related to gut health?

[01:23:22] Will: Yeah. Well, certain bacteria can cause the immune system to release more histamines. These bacteria that tend to be higher in these lipopolysaccharides, these bacterial toxins, which the immune system then responds to that dysbiosis. So I see a lot of "histamine intolerance". That excess histamines in the body basically because of higher overgrowths in the gut, that's causing an immune system response because of that.

So my top cases that I see of people who have more severe histamine intolerance are people that have SIBO, chronic Lyme disease, and mold toxicity. And these are not all different silos. You can have more than one of those things, of course. But, um, they also tend, uh, tend to have these HLA, human leukocyte antigen polymorphisms, these gene haplotype variants that make them genetically more prone to biotoxins, which bacterial toxins are biotoxins just like mold or viral toxins or biotoxins.

So that's typically back to that bucket mason jar analogy. They, uh, their bucket's overflowing in that way, where they're just-- we all have histamines. Histamines are a normal part of the immune system. There's nothing wrong with that, but they just have hit their tipping point. They've hit their threshold of just handling too much. And foods can set it over the edge.

Oftentimes, again, the food is just the tipping point. It's not the major problem. And that's why I'm putting that under that, one of many food intolerances that people can have. When you deal with the predominance of the things that are filling up that mason jar then the random kombucha that's higher histamine isn't going to matter so much. Avocados, bone broth, chocolate, coffee can all be reactive to some of these people that have mold toxicity and higher histamines.

[01:25:14] Luke: Oh, interesting.

[01:25:15] Will: Because anything that aggravates or provokes that underlying driver of histamine tolerance, for example with coffee, with mold, um, it's that mechanism that's going on for that person.

[01:25:25] Luke: God don't come after the coffee.

[01:25:26] Will: I know, And chocolate. I'm pissing so many people off right now.

[01:25:29] Luke: Do you think that the microtoxins in coffee and chocolate is a real issue? I mean, do you see that clinically?

[01:25:37] Will: I don't think it's the major driver of their symptoms. But theoretically mold is very territorial. So when somebody's already has a primed, hypervigilant immune response and then you consume different types of mold, even small amounts, and someone that's biotoxin sensitive, yeah, it can be a contributing factor. Do I think that food is the major cause of why people have high mold toxicity? No, I don't. But I think it could be a contributing factor.

[01:26:03] Luke: I looked at the air quality report here the other day because I was trying to get out of the cedar situation. And, um, the marker for just ambient mold levels was in the red high. I'm like, what? I always think of mold being you have a leak under the sink or something. Or you have it in your HVAC system, real mold presence in your home. But, um, it seems like it's just out there in the environment too.

[01:26:28] Will: It is. And that's why even outside, we're talking about this amount, what can we empty the bucket with? Humans would've always been around these trees and everything. I don't think humans had the level of reactions they're having now because of these other variables. But yet the more you're exposed, especially to toxic mold, uh, the more it's going to be reactive. And we lovingly call parts of Texas and Florida our moldy states.

[01:26:53] Luke: Really? That's a known thing?

[01:26:55] Will: It's a known thing. At least my clinic. At least my handful of employees. That you're more likely to have high levels of these mold. And it's not just from the inside. I comes from the outside too, especially like, I have my windows open and everything, but your immune system's really reactive to this mold.

And maybe you have these HLA variants, you're just not detoxing and methylating these molds. And over time really aggravates it. Mold is everywhere. So I don't want to be even fearful about that. Not all mold is toxic and not everybody's going to have the same reaction to molds. So it's about what type of mold are we talking about, and then who's exposed to it, and then how much are you exposed to it? There's a lot of variables to consider there.

[01:27:32] Luke: Okay, cool. Again, I love your balanced approach. It's good information, let's not panic.

[01:27:39] Will: T Don't live in a bubble.

[01:27:41] Luke: Because I'm a bubble panic guy at times, so this is good for me. Just settle down. Um, so you've talked a lot about fasting and this is something, um, I've experimented with and I'm sure many people listening have as well.

It's not really-- I found it just to be difficult to learn the right way to do it. And there's so much conflicting information of whether you're doing a dry fast and a water fast. If you're doing cyclical fasting, ketosis. It just gets to be overwhelming where I just, like you've talked about intuitive eating, I'm just like, eh, I'll take a break. If I have a fatty coffee in the morning, I probably won't eat until dinner or something.

But I'm not on a program. But going back to the gut health, I've heard you speak about, um, fasting as being a great way to do a hard reset on the gut. So how is fasting supportive of gut health?

[01:28:31] Will: Yeah. So our gut microbiome, which we've been talking about throughout this conversation, depending on the study that you look at, we have about a 100 trillion, upwards of a 100 trillion bacteria and about 10 trillion human cells. So we're all about 10 times more bacteria than human. And it's this gut garden, this microbiome metropolis that is all the bacteria, and yeast, and fungus. It's called the microbiome, is the beneficial yeast in fungus.

It is not static. Researchers have found that the microbiome and the microbiome have a circadian rhythm, just like our hypothermic pituitary adrenal axis, or the way that melatonin, our sleep wake cycle basically. The way that hormones fluctuate throughout the day, so does the microbiome. So certain colonies of bacteria are higher in the morning, some are higher in the evening, and this wave-like motion throughout the 24 hours of the day.

So there's some studies that have shown that some moderate, some would call it moderate, light even, time restricted feeding or time compressed feeding has a way to support that healthy circadian rhythm of a microbiome. So what I mean by that is like a-- I think this study was maybe done on a 14-hour vast.

It's really not much. And that includes sleep. So really not that much at all. So it is, uh, a 10-hour eating window. Just allowing a couple of hours in the morning maybe before you break your fast, allow a couple of hours after dinner before you go to sleep, to basically fast through the night, uh, until you break the fast little bit later in the morning.

That's one way to do it. But then from there, I really feel that, uh, vacillating, just like I mentioned with probiotics, not doing always the same thing, is really supportive of gut health and mimics a lot of what our ancestors would've done because of food availability, that always eating, always grazing, always snacking, tends to breed these bacterial overgrowths, especially the opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria.

So being intuitive with it. And I know that's a big word with a lot to unpack, but what that even means, but checking in with your body. And that's why that gut feeling connection that I talk about in the book is so important. Just get rooted in your body to see what actually makes you feel good, what actually loves you back.

And fasting can be a great tool. I hear countless of patients tell me, I feel so amazing. They're not doing it because it's some restrictive, obsessive negative thing. They are just doing it because they feel really great when they're doing it and then they break their fast with no shame. It's not like they're a failure because maybe they meant to do an 18-hour fast but ended at 14. That's the grace and lightness that I think should be infused within everything that we're talking about in wellness. So yeah, that's my take on it.

[01:31:21] Luke: y The fasting thing is interesting because rather than feeling like a failure because I broke it and not that I've ever really, I mean I've done long juice fast and things if I've gotten sick, um, and, whatnot, but I often feel guilty or I'm making a mistake because I just don't feel like eating a lot, especially during the day.

I just don't eat. I mean, my wife's like, dude, eat something. You haven't eaten all day. I'm just like, I'm not hungry. But unfortunately, I tend to get hungry at times when it's probably not optimal to eat. Late at night I crave sweets and that's probably not a great idea. But I think that your approach, and we didn't really get specifically into Orthorexia, but I think just all the obsessing about your food is probably when it gets into the neurotic side, is probably worse than just letting it roll.

Maybe if I don't feel like eating, that's okay. I shouldn't feel like I have to eat or I have to fast. I love that you speak a lot to the intuition which is, I think it's tricky sometimes discerning what is intuitive eating and what is, I'm craving sugar because I have anxiety, so I'm going to pound a pint of ice cream to feel better. Emotional eating and things like that. It's very nuanced.

[01:32:36] Will: 100%. I mean, that's why I just pissed so many people off with intuitive fasting with my past book because the IE, intuitive eating, which my book wasn't about that, it's really been co-opted that even that word police of that word intuitive has been co-opted by a certain group of people where it's the body positivity, there's no such thing as a bad food.

It's the anti-diet culture, that sort of thing. That works for some people. No shade on that. But my point coming from a functional medicine standpoint is exactly what you just said. Is it intuition or is it angriness? Is it intuition or insatiable cravings? Stress eating is not intuitive eating, but a lot of people think, well, I'm being told there's no such thing as a bad food. That's diet culture.

So I can just eat this thing. But they end up feeling horrible many times. So it's not easy, and that's the art. You can't always just science and show that on labs. You can look at the metabolic syndrome on labs, which can feed that hangriness and cravings for sure. But ultimately it takes some time of experimenting to see what really loves you back, what really loves you back.

And people want to feel good. So I think they just be going back to that statement of being your own experiment, I think really. And not letting other people tell you this is what it should look like. And letting them determine your dogma of your life. Because when you get that noise out of the way and really just self experiment, I think people can make that more mindful approach for themselves.

[01:34:07] Luke: That's a really good point because there are so many well-meaning, well-researched intelligent experts in the health space that are diametrically opposed in their views. I mean, I could sit down with someone and by the end of a conversation I'm so convinced that I need to be keto the rest of my life.

And then I sit down with the next person, they're like, oh, you're going to get adrenal fatigue. You're going to be all hopped up on cortisol. You're going to wreck your health. And it's bad for longevity. I mean, you can look at any approach and you can find really solid points of view and evidence to support that.

And I think for so many of us, it gets probably people listening. And I'm sorry for this, for having so many diverse points of view on the podcast, but you can get boomeranged around in all of this dogmatic health guru shit. And at the end of the day, going back again and again to the bioindividuality of just like, no one thing, diet or supplement routine or anything is going to work for every person all the time.

[01:35:03] Will: D D Absolutely. And I would say also what works for you today isn't what you necessarily would have to do for the rest of your life either. And that's when then people feel like pivoting is a moral failure or pivoting is they're a fraud because they did it and now they were a vegan, and then it worked for them, and they thought, oh my gosh. I'm a fraud. 

No, you're not. You evolved. You're in a different season of your life. Your microbiome has changed, so the food you need to be eating needs to evolve or you enjoy different things. And that lack of stressor on the food is therapeutic. So yeah. Hopefully people cannot be overwhelmed by a bio individuality.

I think it's good to have diverse different opinions because people that listening can pick up some things from every conversation and say, maybe it's not even for me, but maybe it's for my aunt that needs this thing right now. Or maybe it's for my friend that's really struggling. I don't have to do all the things, but all of these things have their place within. 

The analogy that I use in the book is we're all different facets. All reflecting light. Facets of a diamond. All reflecting light in our own way, but part of that same diamond. And I see wellness like that where it's like, yeah, keto, vegan, high carb, low carb, fasting, no fasting. They all have their place of helping people, but it's just like, who's doing it? How are they doing it? And then for how long are they doing it? IE context.

[01:36:26] Luke: In the diversity of thought, there are great little clues if you put them together. And that's happened for me multiple times in this conversation. Going back to one thing you said about how some people, um, don't tolerate different protein powders well, and I've known that I don't tolerate pea protein, all the plant protein stuff, all those protein powders for vegans.

I mean, it just does not work. So I've been on-- my wife actually pointed this out to me. I've been on whey protein. Really clean grass fed whey protein, and that's pretty much my morning smoothie, whey protein, couple raw egg yolks, some raw milk, amino acids, etc. I mean, nothing in there that should be problematic.

Oh, and some collagen, or I'm sorry, a gelatin protein. Powder gelatin. And my wife the other day, we traveled for the weekend and I didn't eat that, and I just ate regular food and she noticed that there was much less flatulence, uh, taking place. It was very noticeable to her. And she pointed out, she's like, have you noticed that when you're not on those smoothies, that you're not making as much noise around the house?

And I was like, God damn it, she can't be right. Because it's so easy just to throw it in the Vitamix and just keep it moving. I'm not hungry in the morning. And I was like, she is right. And I realized it's the freaking whey protein. I don't tolerate it well. Even though I really like it and it's convenient and all the experts, would say, oh, it's great. It's clean. It's easy to digest. It has less casein, whatever. But my body's like, no, eat a burger or whatever.

[01:37:54] Will: Yeah. Exactly. Hey, and there's nothing wrong with whey protein. And it may have worked too for, for a time, but just fed certain bacteria and you need to mix it up a bit. And that's a good point too. It's like, sometimes it's not the food that's necessarily a problem. It's like, are you having-- it's eating too much of that food all the time. 

Sometimes you just need to take a break from it or have less of it and you're fine. I see that a lot with reintroduction of foods. Eggs maybe fine for some people randomly, but if they have it every single day, it can create some reaction for some people.

And I love egg yolks. I have no problem. I eat them all the time. But diversity, I think is the word that comes to mind, mixing things up, which isn't always easy for people, especially for people that are like, look, all this stuff's overwhelming. How am I going to rotate stuff? But do the best you can. Again, don't stress about it, but it is, uh, I think it's what humans would've done for a lot of period. The eggs year round wouldn't always be available. 

[01:38:49] Luke: Right. Nor would, uh, um, a, uh, beehive full of honey. 

[01:38:54] Will: Right. Exactly. 

[01:38:55] Luke: We would have a bunch of sugar for two days and then you wouldn't get any for a month.

[01:38:59] Will: Yeah. But grams and grams of even whole food sugar year round may not be the best for everybody.

[01:39:05] Luke: Um, a couple more things I want to cover here. Because you talk about this, um, the effect of stress. We've talked about emotions and how that relates to your health, but I have a feeling that A, most of us are probably under more stress than we are aware of, and B, that we likely don't realize how much stress is impacting our wellbeing.

[01:39:30] Will: Yeah. It's huge and it's a lot more nebulous in the way, because all the things I've been talking about in today's conversation is more prescriptive. It's like, okay, these foods are more inflammatory. Look out for this stuff. Be mindful of that. It is a lot more gray to say, how do you not stress?

Then they stress about not stressing and they just become-- they have to live in this bubble of just no family, no friends, no work, which is just not a thing. It's not a-- nobody's doing that, well, maybe a few people, but you can't just live in an ashram in front of-- on a hill.

So ultimately I have to give people tools, even within their protocol, prescriptive tools that are just increasing their resilience, that's supportive of their parasympathetic nervous system. Because really human beings would not be here without the ability to handle some stress.

So I'm not anti-stress, stress is good, but the dose matters. And even the conversation on hormesis and the hermetic effects of some good stressors, but it's the chronic stress. It's the stress that goes on in perpetuity with no end in sight. That's the person's nervous system, nerves are able to calm down and in turn their endocrine system.

I see it on labs all the time. Their cortisol is completely dysregulated. Their estrogen, progesterone, testosterone's completely dysregulated. Their thyroid and hormone completely dysregulated because these are biochemical emails and that stress is really throwing off both psychological stress, like life stress.

Then physiological stress, which you've been talking about a lot, like underlying gut problems, mold toxicity, histamine into-- these are stressful too. So both the physiological i e, the gut and the feelings, the psychological are both really doing a number on so many people's nervous systems and immune systems.

And, uh, yeah. So how do we live our life in a way that is sustainable for us? And most people will have this conversation with me, patients will, of saying they'll know this relationship or this job or this situation isn't sustainable. They don't always have the answer of like, how do I get out of it?

But they know something's got to give. It's going to be either me or the situation. And we have to start. Now, I've seen some crazy scenarios in this around people leaving their careers as they get healthier. We get them to a healthy point and they know this is not jiving with my health journey anymore, and they leave their job, career jobs.

I see people leave relationships because they see, wow, I'm getting myself healthy. They're not on board with me, and they're actually feeding into my stress and anxiety and my nervous system's never able to calm down because of this. That's not always possible for all people. It's definitely a personal conversation that I have to have with people, but you either have to get to the point where you have to either change, leave, or accept the situation.

[01:42:29] Luke: Yeah.

[01:42:30] Will: Because the rest will create more inflammation and dysregulation in the body.

[01:42:35] Luke: I love those three choices. One of my mentors years ago when I was faced with a stressful situation, job, relationship, or something of that nature, who'd say, you have to make a decision. That's the lynch pin of the whole thing. Either you surrender to it completely. If you have the capacity to do so, you change a relationship to it. And find a way to make it work within yourself, by you changing your perspective or you have to leave. And I always would lean into, well, I just need to have more acceptance.

I was in my early spiritual understanding. Well, I need to surrender and have acceptance. And then he'd say, sometimes you also have to accept that something is unacceptable. You can't surrender into every situation because sometimes those situations just don't and can't serve you. And the acceptances and the letting go of it and just saying, fuck, I got to leave this relationship or this career, or whatever. And that is a really difficult place to get to for us.

[01:43:31] Will: It is. And it could be-- I mean, and when I'm saying those things, it's not easy for anybody. So that's the thing is like, when your life is on the line, meaning that your health, you know your health is not going to be where you need to be, those are big decisions. So some people that listen to this be like, ah, I could never do that.

Well, those people would say that too, but when you're at the end of your rope, you make decisions. That you need to do that. Considered radical by some. But yeah, I mean, the phrase radical acceptance is radical for a reason. Sometimes it is accepting the unacceptable.

[01:44:03] Luke: Yeah. Totally. Radical acceptance. Yeah. I love that term. I like when any word has radical. And for like radical honesty, I love radical honesty. Just being forthright and straight up. I love people that are able to communicate in that way, hopefully with a little bit of temperance.

[01:44:17] Will: Yeah. A little kindness.

[01:44:19] Luke: Yeah, a little kindness thrown in there to soften the blow.

[01:44:21] Will: A little dash of kindness.

[01:44:22] Luke: You mentioned, uh, thyroid. This is something that seems to come up for a lot of people. Um, do you typically-- let me form my question here. Do you find that thyroid is such an issue for most people that you can just blanket prescribe a desiccated thyroid as just a supplementation? Is everyone's thyroids jacked up, or is the hyper or hypo something that's important to discover the nuance in?

[01:44:49] Will: Yeah. I don't. It's extremely ubiquitous, but I don't think that people should just be randomly taking desiccated thyroid. It's not always needed or desirable. Uh, and you talk about something that's completely transient and variable. I mean, a snapshot on a lab. If you tested thyroid 10 times a day, you could see 10 different answers, the up and down based on that person's life, and stress, and sleep, and foods they ate and all this stuff.

So it is important to look and track, and that's why anybody that is tracking thyroid replacement hormones or tracking someone's thyroid health tends to, in my opinion, should in most cases, retest pretty often, four to six weeks, typically, sometimes shorter, to track over time how they're doing.

Because it's so responsive to so many different variables to make this like, this is my dose and I don't need to change that. It doesn't work like that. It's dynamic. So it's very, very common. I mean, the majority of low thyroid function in the west is autoimmune in nature. Hashimoto's disease is the most common one, or autoimmune thyroiditis.

Graves' disease is the other one. It's hyper. Someone that has Hashimotos can actually have overactive thyroid too. They can have what's called a thyroid storm. And even though it's Hashimoto's marker, a TPO or TGA, uh, thyroid antibodies, they are going to vacillate between hyper and hypo. And I have patients that have both Graves' disease and Hashimoto's disease are different poly-autoimmune issues.

Um, because again, it's not the thyroid that's the problem, it's the immune system's overreaction to it. So for those people, is thyroid replacement hormone needed? Yes, it's needed for many of those people. It should be based on labs and it's going to be a tool within their toolbox, but it's not dealing with the autoimmune response at all.

And that's where we come in functional medicine. It's like, okay, why do you have this immune system that's lost recognition of self in the first place? Or whatever reason it's attacking it because of a virus issue, or an underlying gut problem, or unresolved trauma that's hit a precipice that triggered it, uh, as well.

Any combination of the physiological and the psychological, we have to look at it. It's common, but why do you have the problem in the first place? Is it an autoimmune issue that's attacking the thyroid or is it life stress that raised inflammation levels that decrease the conversion of T4 to T3?

Or is it, uh, mold toxins that blunts the brain thyroid axis? So it's low thyroid, secondary to pituitary hypofunction where it's a brain-based problem. It's actually not a thyroid problem. So it's easy to say, well, it's all thyroid, just give it thyroid replacement hormone. But it's not as simple as that. And that's why many people--

[01:47:28] Luke: I wish it was.

[01:47:29] Will: I know. Isn't that the magic though?

[01:47:32] Luke: Yeah. I just want a pill for everything. I got on thyroid, uh, on just a blind recommendation from a doctor friend of mine, and I feel amazing. I've never had so much energy in my life. We didn't do any tests or anything. He's just like, how old are you? Da da da. Asked me a few questions. He's like, just try it, see how you feel. Which I did, uh, and have continued to feel amazing. Just one of those every morning.

[01:47:52] Will: He probably has you on, or they probably have you on a low dose. Nothing crazy. Yeah. So look, I think there's a time and place for that. And back to your self experimentation, you feel good on it. I see many people that are like, I don't feel any different on this. So at that point, it's not the right dosage, it's not the right medication for you, or it's not actually dealing with why you have the problem in the first place, um, or a combination of those things. 

Uh, or I see for some people it is like this honeymoon period where it's good for a while, but it's like, uh, then it wears off. Or people that feel horrible on it because it's not dosed appropriately. Or sometimes it's the fillers or the additives in it. They should be on a thyroid replacement hormone, but their body's reacting to some added ingredient to the medication.


[01:48:38] Luke: In a similar, uh, line of questioning, I know many people also just use progesterone, willy-nilly, progesterone creams. I mean, I know a lot of women just hear something online and, and use that as-- is that in a similar realm where it really requires deeper investigation before using that as a general part of your routine?

[01:49:01] Will: I think that you could make the argument, like you said, a low dose for most people. You probably could, uh, make the argument, you could see a net benefit for a lot of people, especially based on that demographic and clinical experience that the doctor's basing it on. I would say, I would want to base it on labs and see if what you're doing is effective or not.

How much of a needle mover is it for you? You could use it just based off of subjective symptoms and experience. There's merit to that certainly. But I think if somebody's-- most of the time people-- no, I can't say that. If it's a massive needle mover for you, people will take it just because it's a massive needle mover.

It just changed my life. Whether it's progesterone or thyroid or some other supplement or hormone replacement therapy, they want to feel good and that's all they care about. But I think that the group of people I'm thinking about are the people that had a honeymoon period with it, then it wore off, or people that you would assume they need to be on it, but it's not making a difference.

Well, maybe you're not dosing it high enough and it, maybe it moved a little bit, but if you up the doses more, you could get it to the optimal level. So I think that labs for a lot of these hormones is are going to be helpful for most people long term.

[01:50:13] Luke: All right. Uh, onto another question, and you may or may not have, uh, a perspective on this, but I've noticed, because I love functional medicine doctors. I have a few that I've work with, um, and they've been very helpful. One thing that I see largely missing from their protocols and just understanding is the importance of retinol and copper.

These seem to be just two vital nutrients, especially as related to mitochondrial function that no one's looking at, not recommended supplementing. And I find that strange. Are those two that you you've looked into, you have an awareness around. Where do they fit in your hierarchy of importance?

[01:50:53] Will: Well, my people tend to be people with autoimmunity. So I don't think you can be around those people for as long as they have and not look at the importance of-- it's true vitamin A and copper. So both are important. You're right in the conversation though, especially the larger conversation online. I've written about both, but it's not talked about enough certainly. True Vitamin A, some people are taking, uh, beta keratin.

[01:51:19] Luke: Carrots.

[01:51:19] Will: Yeah. It's the bioavailability is really poor in a lot of people, especially poor GI absorption and different polymorphisms gene variants that make the activation or conversion of beta keratin to retinol more active, which you need for dendritic cells and the immune system, the way the inflammation is expressed.

And same with copper. Uh, and I find even with some nutrient deficiencies that when you get copper optimized, it helps a lot of other nutrients. It can help with iron, it can help with other micronutrient status. So it's needed and we typically don't need to supplement with it though. And why that is--

[01:51:58] Luke: Which one? Copper or retinol?

[01:51:59] Will: Both. But we have people really focus on organ meats, which have both. And I find that somebody that's really doing that multivitamin, that nature's multivitamin weekly, a few times a week, that they are sufficient enough for vitamin A and copper. Now if somebody is not focusing on that food, they hate that food or whatever, they're not focused, then that's fine. No shame. Then we'll supplement them.

[01:52:24] Luke: Got it. What are your thoughts on, uh, for the retinol, cod liver oil?

[01:52:28] Will: I think that's great too. And that's another good example.

[01:52:31] Luke: It has loads of retinol. It's crazy.

[01:52:32] Will: Tons of retinol and you don't need that much.

[01:52:35] Luke: Yeah. Okay, cool. Thanks for covering that. All right. Um, I'm going to leave a few of my questions off because I realized it's a four-hour interview if I don't do that. And we've gotten a lot of value out of your expertise here today, but I would be remiss if I didn't, um, get your perspective on EMF.

This is something that's gaining awareness, but I'm also often shocked. I mean, in the medical industry in general specifically, but even within the functional medicine world, it's not something that's heavily emphasized. And, um, based on my own subjective experience of just having researched this a lot, um, I believe that you could be on the best diet for you, getting all your labs, doing the functional medicine thing, and if you're sleeping next to your Wi-Fi router, you're going to be ill eventually. Do you have any knowledge of this? Is this something you work with clients?

[01:53:30] Will: It is. Again, we're used to this more sensitive systems of people that are already going through health issues. Um, they are the canary in the coal mine for that too, for the family where I don't think it's healthy for any of us. It's just showing up more acutely in the now for them.

But who knows the long-term effect it's going to have on the lessons to people. We mentioned earlier with, uh, William Davis and gluten, are people going to pay for it later on in life with-- even things like mold toxins? The whole family's not having reaction to it, but is it healthy to have high levels of toxic mold in your body even if you're not having symptoms?

No. And I think EMF is that same "environmental toxin" that we're all exposed to low and slow in many ways, and some in higher ways depending on sleeping. One of the questions we ask on initial consultations is, do you live near power lines? Do you live near these high emitters of EMFs?

Because it's important, especially for our patient base. So then it's a matter of how much do you want to deconstruct their life? How much do you want to-- honestly, that you had to do in your life. Not everybody's willing to go to that length, so we have the, if you heard of Selma Avdic.

[01:54:45] Luke: Yeah. Sure.

[01:54:45] Will: Yeah. So even tools like that can help to empty that mason jar a little bit for them where it's not completely Wi-Fi free. They're not completely EMF free, but it's something to mitigate and buffer that exposure they're getting on a continual basis. So yeah, it's a factor, especially amongst the people that I talk to.

[01:55:04] Luke: Yeah. I mean, I think some simple intervention, I mean, because like you said, not everyone's going to be like Mr. Tinfoil hat like me in Fair Day, our entire house. But one of the recommendations, just a blanket recommendation. If people are unwilling to let go of the convenience of wireless technology, which I get, it's really convenient to be able to just open your iPad and laptop whenever you want, but at least just put your, um, Wi-Fi on a timer at night.

[01:55:30] Will: Yeah. I turn it off at night. We do. Yes. We recommend that.

[01:55:32] Luke: At least when-- to me it's like, do whatever. But when you're sleeping, man, that's when your body's going like, all right, we're going to recover from all of the assaults that we've been facing in the world, and that's when we're going to regenerate. And it's like, if there's still that irritant of that RF field or even sleeping against a wall with wiring in it, you're getting this 60 hertz electric field just blasting you, aggravating your nervous system all night, man. I'm like, at least deal with your bedroom and try to make your sleep sanctuary as harmonious as possible.

[01:56:03] Will: A Yeah, I find that that action step, which is a really good low hanging fruit for many people, it's just trying it off at night is it's doable for most people.

[01:56:13] Luke: Yeah. It's not that crazy. You can habituate your-- and putting your phone on airplane mode or keeping it out of the bedroom. I mean, I think those things can be really impactful. And it's not a huge interruption to your lifestyle. It doesn't require--

[01:56:24] Will: That's those things like phone out of the bedroom, airplane mode at night, turning off Wi-Fi is baseline for most of our patients. Not all listen to us.

[01:56:32] Luke: Yeah. I bet. All right. And then the last one is in a similar vein is, um, blue light exposure. To me, I mean, having done a lot of research with neuroscientists and really smart people that have picked this apart, that this is, um, is a way bigger issue. And that's not just because I sell a blue block and eyewear line called Gilded. You can find it at gildedbylukestorey.com.

Halfway kidding. But, uh, this is something that's really improved my house. We changed all the lighting in the house to amber incandescent bulbs. I have different light setups where there's red lights on certain switches, so after dark, it's just very calming. And, um, my sleep metrics have verifiably improved from starting to integrate some of this.

And I'm always shocked when I go into not only hospitals, but even wellness centers and things. They're just blasting these really narrow bandwidth, um, LED lights, fluorescent lights, and people are not only at night, but just in the day, not going outside and getting true full spectrum, all the colors of the rainbow light.

And, um, you were speaking about the gut biome and all these microbes, how they have their own circadian rhythm. And as you were saying that, I'm like, wow, think about how dysregulating it is to your gut to have bright lights, like our studio lights here are on in your bedroom, and then you just go to sleep.

Your gut biome thinks it's noon. It's this circadian mismatch. The circadian biology piece, I think it's way understated and undervalued. Again, because EMF, it's one of those things that's cumulative over time and you can't really see like, oh, I left the lights on last night and I feel sick today. What's your take on that whole blue light issue?

[01:58:12] Will: When we track all this on data too, I mean, we get su-- I mentioned the spreadsheets. We look at REM and deep sleep and when people start implementing these practices like blue light blocking glasses and light bulbs and it's making their room-- why can't I think of the name of it, with blackout curtains.

Yeah. Uh, really protecting and nourishing that sleep wake cycle and allowing that cortisol to calm down in the evening, allow serotonin to convert into melatonin. All that stuff went consistently, like you said. It's not like, well, I did it one night. And it's like people going to the gym.

[01:58:43] Luke: Yeah. It does take a while.

[01:58:44] Will: It takes some time. Now, some people will notice, I feel more alert in the morning, but the real health benefits come from cumulative supporting that parasympathetic over time, which back, if I could say really the overarching combination of all the things we're talking about here is supporting the autonomic nervous system to be more in balanced because so many people are in that hypervigilant sympathetic state all the time. 

Even when they're sleeping, they're in a low grade stressed state because of these factors. So when people are consistent with these practices, like blue light blocking glasses, you could see the REM and the deep sleep improve tremendously. And we track it on--

[01:59:21] Luke: So you see that clinically too, huh?

[01:59:22] Will: Oh yeah, all the time. WHOOP uh, WHOOP band, Oura ring, anything like that.

[01:59:28] Luke: Cool. Awesome. Well, thank you for being aware of that. It always frustrates me when even just really talented and brilliant functional medicine doctors ignore both of those pieces. It's my little, uh, it's like a thorn in my side.

[01:59:41] Will: It's fundamental. Just one night of poor sleep, meaning REM and deep sleep are impacted and will impact high sensitivity, you see reactive proteins spike, these inflammatory proteins. That's just one night, studies have shown. Let alone years of people's lives where they wake up feeling so exhausted and they think they slept through the night, but their quality of their sleep is really poor and it's not something they have to settle for.

[02:00:04] Luke: I think that-- because looking at our diet, the food that we're consuming, and we know that our modern diet is full of all these toxins and devoid of all the nutrients that our bodies need, I think it's just because that's more tangible, that gets a lot of attention and just the general, um, ill health that we're experiencing.

But I look at it zooming back, almost paleolithic living environment. That we would've been outdoors, we would've been around firelight, there would be only natural EMF, the sun, the magnetic field of the earth and so on. It seems to me that living and working inside structures that are not biologically compatible is maybe even equal to the food we're putting in our body.

It's like the nutrients that we're missing from our environment, the ambient nutrients, fresh air, mold-free air, etc, and also the stuff we're putting in. So I'm excited to see more emphasis being put on just the environmental impact from being so far removed in our domesticated city dwelling, urban lives we've created.

It's wonderful to have air conditioning and heat, and keep the rain out and everything, but the cost of that has been our disconnection from these elements of nature that are so supportive. Grounding, being barefoot on the earth and all of this. It's not as sexy and the impacts, as you said, take some time when you start to make adjustments like that. You don't see the change overnight.

But as someone who's been doing this for a long time, I can guarantee you that avoiding EMF blue light, grounding, getting outside, getting sun-- I mean, we've been brainwashed into thinking the sun is out there to kill you. The sun is the reason there's life on the planet. I mean, safe sun, obviously you don't want to go get burned, but--

[02:01:52] Will: Don't get burnt, but--

[02:01:53] Luke: Yeah. So I'm just an advocate for the concept of making the interior of your home as close as you can to the exterior world.

[02:02:03] Will: Yeah. And there's studies that I've shown even, and I don't think this is good as the real thing, obviously, but even pictures of a sunset can impact a circadian rhythm.

[02:02:14] Luke: Oh, no way. That's cool.

[02:02:16] Will: So the body, it's doesn't take much. So if people are like, can't look at a sunset, just bring nature inside as much as you can, plants into your house or things that are supportive, I think are helpful. The technology where people have the PEMF or the grounding mats. If it's hard to get to the park, do as much as you can to bring outside in.

[02:02:38] Luke: Yeah. Excellent. All right. I got one last question for you. Who have been three teachers or teachings that have influenced your life or your work in any way, the meaningful touchpoints of your life that have really made you who you are today?

[02:02:51] Will: So you want the person and the teaching?

[02:02:53] Luke: Either. Whatever comes to mind.

[02:02:55] Will: Okay. Let's think about this. Uh, in no particular order, I would say my wife would be number one. We got married very young. We've been married nearly 19 years, 20 years at this point. We've got married at 20, yeah, 20 years old. So I thought I knew everything at 20 years old.

[02:03:14] Luke: We all do.

[02:03:15] Will: But the amount I learned from her and got to, in many ways grow up from 20 to 39 is insane. To be able to look back in time is such a freaking vapor. I can't believe the years just flying by and it's so cliched, but I'm just like, I see it now more than ever.

And my kids would be number two, 16, 13. Really, they've taught me so much and they're extremely just amazing people. And third is not a family member, but it's Eckhart Tolle, Eckhart Tolle's books and thoughts. And he was my first, and I was a teenager. I was a weird teenager, but I was into like biohacking before it was called biohacking.

But I worked at the finish line at the mall, selling shoes at 16 years old. And I'd go and, uh, use my paychecks to go to the health food store and buy the random super foods and tonics, and I just read about it and I thought it was interesting and there wasn't the variety that we have now. This is a small town in Western Pennsylvania. This was not Air1.

[02:04:16] Luke: The bulk bins of granola.

[02:04:18] Will: Yeah, exactly. So that and wheat--

[02:04:21] Luke: Wheat germ. Bags of wheat germ instead--

[02:04:23] Will: Oh yeah. It had a certain smell.

[02:04:25] Luke: Yeah. I know. I just know exactly what you're talking about. Yeah.

[02:04:28] Will: But it, uh, but Eckhart Tolle, those years, being like a teenager, early 20s, reading his stuff, uh, really got me thinking, in my opinion is sane living. The world's just so mad. But like, how can you-- and what he's using is he was teaching in a modern way. These ancient teachings is nothing new. He's just was teaching these ancient mystery schools that are really not so mysterious at all. It's just logical living.

[02:05:00] Luke: Yeah. Thank you for that. Yeah. I love his stuff. Absolutely. Yeah. I'd want to interview him some days. He's on my list. If you always ask me, who do you want to interview? It's always people that are difficult to get. In some cases I don't think he does a lot of podcasts.

[02:05:12] Will: Yeah. He's somewhere in the middle of Canada. 

[02:05:14] Luke: Yeah. That, um, when that book, The Power of Now came out, that was a huge awakening for me too. I mean, I got the CDs, I had the book. I mean, I listened to that thing probably hundreds of times. 

[02:05:25] Will: I still do. I used to have the CDs, but now I just listen. His voice even, it's like a meditation in and of itself, just hearing his very calm, centered voice.

[02:05:34] Luke: So it says a lot about your mindset because over the years, I mean, it's been some time, but when I was really hyped on that, I would turn people on to the CDs burn, um, MP3s, don't tell anyone. 

[02:05:44] Will: Those like Napster. 

[02:05:45] Luke: Yeah. Torrent sites. But I'd give it to people and they're like, ah, it's cool, but I just can't stand his voice. It's so annoying. And I'm like, really? That's the thing that's going to hang you up on a profound teaching that could positively impact your life in very meaningful ways? Really? Someone's voice? Talk about the messenger versus the message. I always thought that was funny.

I mean, I get it. Whatever. There's certain people that probably grate my nerves too, but I could never understand that because the potency and simplicity of the teachings so meaningful to me. Such a profound change took place that I always thought that was funny. But yeah, never bothered me. I don't really care what someone's voice sounds like or their accent. I'm like, what are they saying? What's behind the words.

[02:06:26] Will: No, I think it's-- I could talk about Eckhart Tolle's accent all day long. I like it. It's like this mysterious endless German--

[02:06:32] Luke: Yes. It is strange. It is a strange, uh, amalgam of sorts. Yeah. Well, man, thank you so much for, uh, thank you for giving me so much great energy and information here today, and sharing your wisdom with the audience. I feel like we've only just scratched the surface, but it's really fun to talk to someone who has the clinical experience, a, but also still has the passion for that experience and helping people like you do.

So thank you for your commitment to service and your commitment to helping people that, from the sounds of it, are some of the most difficult to help. And the ones that probably need it the most. Not like, oh, I want to optimize. It's like, these are people that are really hurting, so thank you for spending those 10 hours a day and what you do.

[02:07:19] Will: Seems long, but it goes by quickly.

[02:07:20] Luke: By the way-- no, it does. When you're of service, there is no time. I mean, you're in the quantum space of love. But what is interesting about that, um, too, is going over your website, just doing some more research on you. I mean, you have all these blog posts, you have your own podcasts. The amount of content that you and/or I'm assuming your team is churning out, I was looking at it going, wait, you're still doing consults for the people? And you have this brand and your supplement line. It's like, dude, you're a force of, uh, nature, a force to be reckoned with.

[02:07:52] Will: Thank you. I love writing and I love talking about this, so it's all a normal thing for me. But thank you. I appreciate that.

[02:07:58] Luke: Yeah, for sure. Well, thanks for coming by.

[02:08:00] Will: Thank you.

[02:08:00] Luke: SEGMENT GAP

All right, roll the credits. The show has ended, folks. Thanks for joining me and Will on this exploration of health today. And make sure to keep an ear bent for my upcoming appearance on his podcast, The Art of Being Well, coming at you real soon. Next week's episode number 465 features a super popular guest of ours named Ian Mitchell.

This one's called a Wizard of Science on Brain Health, Oxygen, Water, Hair Loss, and Superhuman Strength. If you dig, the deep dive geek out Life Stylist episodes, you definitely don't want to miss that one. And to make sure you get the alert next Tuesday morning, again, add yourself to the Life Stylist email list at lukestorey.com/newsletter.

And if you want to learn even more about gut health, you'll find Dr. Cole's new book at lukestorey.com/gutfeelings. All right, I'm Audi 500. I'll be back in your head next Tuesday with Ian Mitchell.


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