Speaker 1: 00:00 Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr . Gundry: 00:16 So welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what to eat. Are eggs healthy? What about fruit? Should you try a keto diet or go carnivore? Well, my guest today wants to put it all to rest for good. He’s Dr. Will Cole. In his new book, The Inflammation Spectrum, he explains why dieting is incredibly personal and exactly how you can find out which foods are triggering your inflammation. Dr. Cole is a functional medicine expert, the author of the international bestseller Ketotarian [inaudible 00:00:56] we’ve had him on this podcast before.
And Dr. Cole, you’re going to talk about personalized dieting, the most important foods to avoid, and the inflammatory habits that might be making our listeners sick. Dr. Cole, welcome back to the podcast.
Dr. Will Cole: 01:11 Thanks for having me back.
Dr . Gundry: 01:15 Good to see you again.
Dr. Will Cole: 01:15 Likewise.
Dr . Gundry: 01:15 So [inaudible 00:01:15] let’s start with your new book, The Inflammation Spectrum. One of the key concepts you explore is something called bio-individuality.
Dr. Will Cole: 01:24 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Big word.
Dr . Gundry: 01:25 Yeah. That’s really too big a word for me. Can you explain to the listeners what that is and why it’s so important?
Dr. Will Cole: 01:33 It is a fancy word to just say we’re all different. And that’s the heart of what we do. It’s the heart of functional medicine. And of course, there’s low-hanging truths and there’s a lot of commonalities of things that people should do to feel better, and things that they should avoid to feel better.
But there’s a lot of nuance. There’s a lot of context. There’s a lot of spectrum, as the title of the book implies, of bio-individuality. And we both know this, seeing patients. What works for one person may not work exactly the same for the next person. There’s a lot of variables to consider on a clinical level, seeing patients, but also on a personal level of just living life and wanting to feel good.
So I wanted to explore that because I think there’s a lot of food confusion and diet disillusionment on just a person level, when they’re on Dr. Google and they’re trying to figure out what the heck to do. So I tried to show them what we do in functional medicine to find out what your body loves, what your body hates, because we are all different.
Dr . Gundry: 02:41 So, paint a picture for how you go about looking at that, what individual dietary responses might be to a food.
Dr. Will Cole: 02:51 Well, there’s the subjective and objective way that I would think about this. So subjectively, I started the book out with a quiz that I adapted just from questions that we ask patients in functional medicine. So we go through the different systems of the body. The picture in the book showing the inflammation spectrum looks at the area that I see clinically impacting patients the most.
So looking at the brain, looking at the hormone system, looking at the detox system, looking at the musculoskeletal system, and allowing the reader to check in with their body: “How is my cognitive function? Where is my mood? Where is my energy levels? Where is my digestion?” for people to see where inflammation or where dysfunction, where imbalance, is impacting them specifically.
And at that point they can find out where they’re at on the inflammation spectrum, how inflammation levels are from a subclinical diagnostic, from a questionnaire/quiz standpoint. And then the person can say, “Okay, what can I do about this?” And I give specific toolboxes based on functional medicine principles. These are things that the scientific literature shows could be beneficial for specific areas.
So, let’s say the brain area was higher. Then I give them things like nootropics and adaptogens to improve brain function or things that improve BDNF, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and then so on and so forth, depending on the different areas on the inflammation spectrum that they’re going through.
But then there’s obviously the diagnostic component, too, that, if you’re seeing a functional medicine doctor, they can run labs to measure the different components in their biochemistry that may be the most pertinent for them. And then the third approach in the book is doing an elimination diet, and there’s two different tracks. There’s the more simple track for people that are lower on the inflammation spectrum and a more advanced track.
Dr . Gundry: 04:48 The 4-track and the 8-track.
Dr. Will Cole: 04:49 Yes, thank you. I’m a sucker for numbers and play on words. If you need any play on words, I’m your guy. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about, “Oh, that would sound good in a book.”
So there’s a Core4 track and Elimin8 track, as you know. So I wanted a simpler elimination diet approach for people that maybe aren’t going through tons of stuff but just want to start feeling better. And then people that score higher on the quiz, I wanted to give them a more advanced track that enables them to lower inflammation, to center themselves on a physiological level but also a mental-emotional level, too. And then reintroduce and see what their body loves and hates.
And, as we both know, there’s going to be certain foods that we eliminated over that time, they’re going to do fine with when they reintroduce it. And then some people, a lot of our patients, they’re going to have problems with those foods. And at that point they have discernment and knowing, “Oh, I don’t feel good when I have that food.” And at that point it’s this transition that we see where it’s not a diet anymore; it’s that I love feeling better more than I miss that food. And it’s just a no-brainer at that point for them because they have that food peace and clarity on what works for their body and what doesn’t.
Dr . Gundry: 05:59 Yeah. Early on in my practice in what I call restorative medicine, but functional medicine is fine-
Dr. Will Cole: 06:05 I like restorative medicine.
Dr . Gundry: 06:06 I had a patient who had a lot of problems and came back and saw me and I said, “So how are you doing?” and he says, “You know, feeling well never tasted so good.” I congratulate you, you’re actually one of the few people in this space, and I count myself in this space, that actually sees patients.
Dr. Will Cole: 06:06 Yes.
Dr . Gundry: 06:30 And actually measures the responses of patients of what you ask them to do. And you base your advice actually on testing and retesting, and I congratulate you.
Dr. Will Cole: 06:43 Thank you.
Dr . Gundry: 06:43 I think we can’t just say, “Oh, I read this and that’s a really good idea.” Because you and I both know that there are individual responses to, you know, “I think you ought to do this,” but then you go, “Oh, well, you know, that didn’t work out so well.” So, you talk about an elimination diet, and that sounds scary to lots of people, and there’s lots of variations on the elimination diet. So let’s go easy here. Give me the “4” one rather than the “8” one. How’s that?
Dr. Will Cole: 07:18 Yeah [inaudible 00:07:19] thank you for the kind words. My passion is seeing patients and, just like you, we wouldn’t replace it for the world, for sure.
So the Core4 are grains. So that’s going to be the gluten-containing grains as well as the gluten-free grains. And then the second would be dairy. The third would be added sugar. And four would be high omega-6 oils, these industrial seed oils, like canola oil. So that’s the Core4.
So for that plan, we remove those foods for four weeks. And we have step-down chapter as well for people that want to lean into it. And then they go four weeks for [inaudible 00:07:58] removing them, and then we have a systematic reintroduction that we do to see, “Let’s test it for ourselves.” Maybe we feel fine with certain grains but not with other grains. Maybe we do fine with certain types of dairy and not with other dairy, which you highlight very well in your book, and so on and so forth as you go through these foods that were eliminated. So that’s the Core4.
Dr . Gundry: 08:18 So do you have any plan for, “Okay, so I’ve done that. I feel better,” and in fact most people definitely feel better. What do you like to bring back first? As you know, in Phase 3 of my programs, I start reintroducing some lectin-containing foods and then, again, find out what ones you react to and what you don’t. Any you like to start with, have you found, through the years?
Dr. Will Cole: 08:46 What I recommend for in the book is for patients, or the reader, patients are my context for this, but the reader, for them to look on that list and see what they actually miss. Because some people, maybe they don’t miss any of those foods and they feel so amazing that they’re like, “What? I don’t even miss these. I don’t even want to bring these back.” And then we know, obviously, there are some people that are like, “I really miss food X,” whatever that food is, and they want to test that in.
So if they want to bring it all back in that’s fine, but I have the conversation in the book to say, “What do you really want to have?” Because these aren’t necessarily things that you have to have on a regular basis. But if you want to, let’s enjoy it. People should enjoy food. And if they miss something, let’s try to bring it back in.
I would say out of those, the Core4, I would say the dairy would probably be the most, you know, thing to try back in. And start with the full-fat dairies, the things like the creams and the butters and fermented dairies, like the kafirs and the yogurts. Start with those first, and then you can go into, and cheeses are a part of that as well, and then after that you bring in the dairy.
And I am very specific in the book about what have I seen, seeing patients, what are generally speaking the least problematic to the most problematic, ending with conventional dairy being on the low end of that list and being what I’ve seen, what you see, too, being the more problematic ones.
Dr . Gundry: 10:15 Yeah, and you mention in your book, if you’re going to reintroduce dairy, there certainly is for some people a difference in their reaction between casein A2 and casein A1 milks.
Dr. Will Cole: 10:25 Yeah. And I appreciate you highlighting that in your book so well because I think it’s hit masses in a way that people weren’t aware of it before your book. So I give you credit for that.
Dr . Gundry: 10:35 Well thanks, thanks. And thanks for mentioning it in your book. And you know, there are people who will absolutely react to all forms of dairy. I know you have tests and I have tests now that can identify those people who even casein A2 is a problem. I mean, even whey is a problem, which has surprised me through the years as these better tests have come out.
And I think some people intrinsically know that they do react to dairy. Many of them don’t want to believe that. You know, dairy, there’s some really cool compounds in milk that are morphine-like compounds, and they go right to your brain and go, “Happy, happy, happy, happy.”
Through the years, with my work with the ApoE4-gene folks, the “Alzheimer’s gene,” a horrible term but that’s what it’s called, these folks really should not have a lot of saturated fats, particular animal saturated fats. And [inaudible 00:11:42] I used to laugh because I’d say well over 90% of my ApoE4s cheese is their favorite food. And it’s like kryptonite. I thought of doing a questionnaire, “What’s your favorite food?” and then blindly look at their ApoE4 and-
Dr. Will Cole: 11:57 Interesting.
Dr . Gundry: 11:58 Yeah, so there is this component, and that’s why I think people want dairy back in their lives. But some people are not going to do it.
Dr. Will Cole: 12:08 No, they love their dairy. You’re right, it is a love food. It’s dairy and grain-
Dr . Gundry: 12:12 And grains.
Dr. Will Cole: 12:13 [inaudible 00:12:13] the coveted foods for many people.
Dr . Gundry: 12:16 Well yeah, because there’s so many components in grains, particularly [inaudible 00:12:19] wheat, that are morphine-like compounds. Let’s talk about that. So an elimination diet, I tell people, “You’re going to hate me for two weeks. And then you’re going to start loving me.” And I think the more and more I’ve done this now for 20 years, the more I think that it’s this addictive quality of grains, particularly wheat, that they’re withdrawing from an addiction. Do you see the same thing?
Dr. Will Cole: 12:51 I see the same thing in a lot of people. The lectins, the wheat germ agglutinin, the WGA. It’s like an opioid sort of, opiate-type reaction in the body. For a certain sect of people it is the protein, sort of drug-like reaction that they’re having in the brain.
And then I think the other addictive quality is the sugar. People are addicted to the sugar aspect of it and grains break down into sugar. And I think that when they’re not getting that kindling on the fire, they get hangry and irritable and they need that fix again. So I think it’s both of those reasons that makes it addictive for some people.
Dr . Gundry: 13:31 And I think there’s a third factor that you actually bring up in each one of your sections, and that’s the emotional factor. So many of these, we associate eating with family, with comfort, and you have an emotional mantra, or a mantra, in each of your sections. And I think that’s, particularly coming from your background, an important addition to all this that most of us don’t stress enough. You want to talk to that for a minute?
Dr. Will Cole: 14:04 Yeah. I think it’s easy that, you know, even I don’t stress it enough. I think we all need to be as practitioners and just people should look at the mental-emotional, even spiritual, component to that. Because it’s very easy in our space to get caught up in the stuff that we see impacting people. We deal with the labs, we look at the measurements, we know how food impacts people. We know the different protocols from a clinical, scientific standpoint of how to make people healthy.
But then there’s this more esoteric, ethereal mental-emotional-spiritual component that impacts our physiology. So that was another thing that I wanted to talk about during the elimination aspect of the book because we’re not just eliminating foods. Because it’s not just about foods. And we have to look at stress. We have to look at social media addiction and our screen time. We have to look at poor sleep. We have to look at these sort of things that can drive inflammation levels up as well.
So it’s not just about removing things. I also wanted to give people things to do, acts of stillness, acts of peace, acts of things that activate the parasympathetic system, to lower inflammation levels. So the mantra is part of that, and different practices with that throughout the book people can lean into.
So it’s definitely important, and I know that you see this, too, is that people can have the foods down right. But if they’re serving their body a big slice of stress every day, or they’re in a toxic work environment or a toxic relationship, those are things that people need to realize that’s impacting their physiology, too.
Dr . Gundry: 15:38 Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, in The Longevity Paradox, it’s so important when you look at long-lived people, that their social and spiritual practice, their network is really a huge part of their success. And you can’t stress that enough [inaudible 00:16:00] this emotional component to all of this.
Also, there’s a fascinating paper, you may have seen it, that just came out this week on the effect of blue light on longevity. And it turns out that exposure to blue light from our fluorescent lights, from our cell phone, from our computer, from our TVs, now it’s done in fruit flies but, hey, fruit flies are a really good model for longevity. When fruit flies were exposed to 12 hours of blue light every day, they lived significantly less long than fruit flies who were exposed to less than that period of time.
Dr. Will Cole: 16:42 Wow.
Dr . Gundry: 16:42 And even if they didn’t see the blue light, but they were exposed to that spectrum. So you don’t even have to see it. Your retinas are exposed to it and it actually impacts your brain aging.
Dr. Will Cole: 16:57 Wow, that’s fascinating. I didn’t see that study.
Dr . Gundry: 16:59 Yeah, I’ll send it to you.
Dr. Will Cole: 17:00 Yeah, I want to see it. We see that obviously with patients a lot [inaudible 00:17:05] it’s impacting their quality of life. It’s impacting their sleep. It’s impacting their stress levels on so many levels. So I do things like blue light-blocking glasses. There’s different apps you can download on your phone to prevent that blue light as well.
Dr . Gundry: 17:20 Yeah, yeah, the apps are out there.
Dr. Will Cole: 17:22 Yeah. People just have to use them.
Dr . Gundry: 17:24 Have to use them. And I just tell everybody, you know, “Buy a pair of the blue blockers, they look like Bono.” And, you know, “You’ll be cool, actually.”
Dr. Will Cole: 17:32 [inaudible 00:17:32] to.
Dr . Gundry: 17:35 It’s an easy way. And it’s something that none of us have really talked enough about. You talk in your book a lot about these disruptors that I talk about in The Plant Paradox, and I call them “7 Deadly Disruptors,” and you’ve got a few more, as a matter of fact. So give me a couple more examples of how disruptors in our environment, in our foods, have impacted us.
Dr. Will Cole: 18:01 Yeah, I mean, I think that when you look at human genetics, research estimates that our genetics haven’t changed in 10,000 years. But look at the time that we’re living in, just in our lifetime how much has changed, just in the last 100 years how much has changed. A lot of good stuff. A lot of advancements. People are connecting to us around the world. That’s amazing. No one’s taking that away from that.
But the other side of the coin is that there’s a growing disparity between our genetics, which remains unchanged for 10,000 years, and the world around us. So I think people in the space of wellness are hopefully voices to this conversation of how do we strike a balance with where we’re at right now in human history? How can we get the best of modernity without falling prey to these potential pitfalls? And looking at our food supply, looking at environmental toxins, looking at what’s happening to the soil, looking at technology, and the impact that’s having on our biochemistry.
So I try to not overwhelm people in the book, but give people practical solutions [inaudible 00:19:09] say, “You don’t have to live in bubble. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to do all the things.” And what I have found is, for most people, if they just lean into these things, if they just do the best they can with the access they have, that’s within their budget [inaudible 00:19:24] even have a vessel for to even receive or do right now, just to lean in to it. Because you don’t have to be perfect.
Dr . Gundry: 19:32 Yeah. That’s a good point. In my first book years ago, I said, “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, wherever you are.”
Dr. Will Cole: 19:39 Yes, Amen.
Dr . Gundry: 19:39 And you’ll be okay.
All right. We’re going to take a quick break, and we’ll be back with Dr. Will Cole talking about The Inflammation Spectrum. Stay tuned.
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Welcome back to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. We’re talking with Dr. Will Cole whose new book is The Inflammation Spectrum. So, Will, in your professional experience, what are the five most inflammatory foods out there?
Dr. Will Cole: 20:54 Well, I would say in all of the foods that I’m going to mention here are foods that some people tolerate and some people don’t. But, generally speaking, what I advise people to avoid at the beginning, especially with the Core4, avoid grains for a while. And obviously, there’s subsets to that and there’s a spectrum with grain sensitivities. Dairy would be #2. Added sugar would be #3. And high omega-6 oils, these industrial seed oils. And if you had to go with five, I would probably say, it’s tough, but I would probably say eggs would be on that list. I love eggs, I think it works great for many people. But that would be my top five.
I go a little bit more with the Elimin8 section of the book, and I add in nightshades and I add nuts and seeds and legumes. Again, all of those eight foods work great for some people, and then you’ll see certain foods that don’t work great. We’re all different. So I want people to explore what they have a tolerance for and what they don’t.
Dr . Gundry: 21:55 Yeah, and I think where you’re coming from with your history, correct me if I’m wrong, you were a vegan for 10 years.
Dr. Will Cole: 22:00 Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Dr . Gundry: 22:02 And you are not a vegan anymore.
Dr. Will Cole: 22:06 No.
Dr . Gundry: 22:07 But you and I both treat a large number of vegetarians and vegans.
Dr. Will Cole: 22:11 Yeah.
Dr . Gundry: 22:11 Many of whom, I think in your experience, particularly some of my vegans are some of the sickest people who come to my clinic. And thankfully they do because, at least in the culture I see, most vegans that I see are pasta and grainitarians and beanitarians.
Dr. Will Cole: 22:33 Yeah, carbitarians.
Dr . Gundry: 22:35 And that’s unfortunately a recipe for disaster on lots of levels. So what was it, after 10 years of being a vegan, that changed? Was there something in your health? Or boredom or what?
Dr. Will Cole: 22:49 Yeah, boredom. I wasn’t bored, but you were vegetarian for many years, too.
Dr . Gundry: 22:55 Yeah, many years.
Dr. Will Cole: 22:56 [inaudible 00:22:56] we [inaudible 00:22:56] a similar story. So I was a vegan from my mid-to-late teens to my mid-to-late twenties. And it was a whole foods-based vegan diet. It wasn’t, like, refined carbs all day long. So I was doing it the “right way.” But I still was predominantly relying on a lot of carbohydrates, whole food carbohydrates, for my fuel.
And I have autoimmune conditions on both sides of my family. I have a double gene allele for the MTHFR C677T, which basically means my body really isn’t good at lowering homocysteine levels and methylating, which we need for healthy detox pathways and lowering inflammation levels. So I noticed over that time I had increased fatigue, slowly. This was incremental. This wasn’t overnight [inaudible 00:23:46] slowly increased fatigue, increased digestive problems. I just didn’t feel as good as I did when I first started it.
So, without a doubt, I was eating better than the standard American diet. But, just because something’s better doesn’t necessarily mean it’s optimal for me. And with my specific genetic SNPs, with my biochemistry, with what I was going through, I evolved my way of eating into a ketotarian approach, which is a mostly plant-centric ketogenic diet, which was the title of my first book on this topic. So I still was, and still am, still predominantly plant-based, but I’m focusing on healthy plant fats.
And then I brought in these non-vegan foods, like organic pasture-raised eggs, with the egg yolks, with the amazing B vitamins and omega fats that are bioavailable, and choline, amazing for the brain, and wild-caught fish. So, fresh seafood, but still predominantly plant-centric. The way that I eat is ketotarian. And then as I mention in Ketotarian, when I have grass-fed beef, I’ll have that as well, but it’s not the main base of my diet. It’s just occasionally. So that’s how I eat now.
Dr . Gundry: 24:57 Yeah, I’m a veg-Aquarian is what I describe myself now. We eat primarily vegan during the week, and then usually have wild shellfish or wild fish on the weekends. And lots of olive oil. Tons, tons.
Dr. Will Cole: 25:16 We eat basically the same.
Dr . Gundry: 25:18 Exactly. With an elimination diet, people now talk about, “Well, Dr. Cole thinks lectins are bad.” There’s other components of plants that are bad that you go into, the phytates, the saponins, that are all a plant defense system against being eaten. And I think, thankfully, more and more people are realizing that plants don’t particularly want to be eaten, although you and I both think that people should eat plants, but know who’s good for you and who isn’t.
One of your points that I think is very well taken, and I talk about it in my book but it often gets missed. People with irritable bowel or gut issues. Raw plants, even healthy raw plants, leaves, cruciferous vegetables are really mischievous for people initially with leaky gut, with IBS. And you talk about this. Can you elaborate on that?
Dr. Will Cole: 26:20 Yeah, thanks for bringing that up. Even those lower lectin foods, these more generally tolerated foods, for people with digestive distress in the GI, gastrointestinal digestive system toolbox, it’s cooked vegetables, even pureed, soft-cooked vegetables, lower FODMAP cooked vegetables. I’m just being specific on the things that I’ve seen work for people.
Just to basically, almost predigest it. Break it down for the body in soups and stews and soft-cooked foods, so when you eat it you’re not having the problems that people are seeing with salads, and people are seeing with vegetables that are even not raw but are not cooked enough. So yeah, it’s definitely a conversation in the book because of seeing patients.
Dr . Gundry: 27:07 Yeah, exactly. And, you know, you and I, I guess if we didn’t see patients, we’d say, “Oh, you know, boy, the more green the better” and “Raw is great.” I was a raw foodist for nine months and I actually did extremely well with it. But it’s not sustainable. You do lose a lot of weight. Anyhow, but yeah, we see, I see so many people that the raw food component is really hard to deal with initially.
Now eventually, once you kind of get the gut healed, then I’m the first person to say, “Let’s get more of this raw stuff into you.” But, yeah. I tell them, “You got to to nuke this stuff,” too, and, you know, “Put them in the pressure cooker and make it just mush.” And your idea of blending these things into a soup, these things make great soups. We forget, you know, soups used to be a mainstay of everybody’s diet, and so make soups out of these things.
Dr. Will Cole: 28:06 Yeah, make soups, especially in the colder months, people can do it. And then in the summer months, like a gazpacho, like a cold-
Dr . Gundry: 28:13 Yeah, cold soup.
Dr. Will Cole: 28:14 Yeah. Or in Palm Springs, it’s always hot.
Dr . Gundry: 28:18 It’s nice right now, come on. So I think that’s important. So, the ultimate elimination diet some people say is the carnivore diet. What say you as a former vegan?
Dr. Will Cole: 28:29 Yeah. So, you would think the author of Ketotarian, like the mostly plant-based ketogenic, like, why would I ever like the carnivore diet? But, seeing patients, I think there’s a clinical place for it. I think there’s a practical application place to consider that for some people.
So when we see patients that are having reactions to just about everything, a lot of the plant foods [inaudible 00:28:53] are causing problems. We’ve eliminated this and this and this, and they’re still having symptoms. They’re better than they were, obviously. I’m not saying that they’re still where they’re at. They’re light years better than they used to be, but they still aren’t where they need to be.
And at that point, we lean into what I would consider a clean, nutrient-dense, well-formulated carnivore diet, where we are not having dairy during that time. We’re not even having eggs oftentimes, maybe egg yolks, and focusing more on organ meats and wild-caught fish and being sort of a pescatarian and organ meat-centric carnivore diet. Now, this is not meant to be forever and ever. This is to down-regulate the inflammatory cascades to allow the body to start to heal and calm down. So you can start leaning in those soft-cooked pureed vegetables, the pressure-cooked vegetables, the soups and the stews, and lean in from there.
So I do use it as an elimination diet approach for people that need it, but it’s not meant to be longterm. And you mentioned, and as I mention in the book, the APoE people need to be mindful of that. And that’s a catch-22. So if they’re dealing with these food reactions but they have these gene alleles, we have to have a conversation of what makes sense for people. Because that amount of saturated fat, and we both know, obviously, that grass-fed beef isn’t just saturated fat. But they’re going to be getting more than they used to be, probably, doing this protocol, so that may not be right for them.
Dr . Gundry: 30:23 Okay, come on. So why wouldn’t this be a longterm diet?
Dr. Will Cole: 30:29 Well, that’s the interesting thing. I think that some people can get away with it longer than others. I have my concerns from a microbiome diversity standpoint. And largely, our microbiome, all the trillions of bacteria in our gut, they get their diversity, or they get their strength and their robust vibrance, from plant fibers. And that’s what the research shows. The best data is around it. And I would say, from a practical application standpoint, that’s what I see, too.
So, in the short term, it can have some clinical benefits, some health benefits. Longer term, what does the end look like? And, look, most people aren’t going to want to do this long term. It’s just not sustainable. There’s not much variety. So how do we make this wellness thing realistic and practical and sustainable for the average person, not the biohacker? Maybe the biohacker people in the carnivore world love it and they thrive on it. That’s fine. That’s not necessarily every man and woman out there.
Dr . Gundry: 31:31 Yeah. I think it’s forgotten in all this discussion, and I think you and I both see in our practice that elimination diet, however we describe that, definitely lowers markers of inflammation. But the fact that that’s a longterm solution is not compatible with the microbiome research that is well published. This microbiome has to be diverse, and it likes plant sugars and plant fibers that we can’t digest.
And as I write about in my book, people still have not embraced this but it’s okay, it’s published stuff, that this weird sugar molecule in beef, lamb, and pork, Neu5Gc, produces an autoantibody response to the vessel wall in humans.
Dr. Will Cole: 32:27 That’s a great point.
Dr . Gundry: 32:28 A just don’t think this is a longterm solution. And I mean, you know, I’m a boy from Omaha, Nebraska, it just pains me to tell people this.
But I agree with you. I think some people, we really have to kind of go hardcore and get a lot of plant materials out of people. But then, once you get the gut healed, I’ve never yet seen that you can’t, sometimes it surprises how long it takes.
When I started this 20 years ago, I thought, “Anybody’s gut can be healed in two weeks.” And boy, was I naïve. But I’ve found that most of the time, looking at these markers of leaky gut, the longest it’s ever taken is nine months. You have an opinion on that?
Dr. Will Cole: 33:16 Yeah, and I think this is almost the spectrum of healing, is that we have these benchmarks of time where I want to be seeing things, moving in the right direction. Meaning decreased frequency, decreased intensity of whatever symptom we’re talking about, whether that’s digestion, or fatigue, or any other inflammatory symptom. Now, some people move really quickly; some people move really slowly. But even the people that are moving slowly, they’re still moving in the right direction.
And we have to check in both subjectively, how are these people doing, like, I love these people by the time I’m spending months with them, and I really want the best for them, and checking in with where they’re at. But also objectively, we need to be seeing these biomarkers move.
So I agree with you. Six, nine months, we want to see things considerably better, markedly better. But I don’t think it stops there. I think that 18, 24 months, really getting to the place of, what I would say, at optimal function, close to optimal function, allowing their body the time it needs to get as better as it can be, as good as it can be for them.
And I think there’s different studies to show that, that when you’re talking about the gastrointestinal system healing and down-regulating these inflammatory cascades, it can take up to two years for some people. And again, I’m not saying they have to wait that long to feel better, but it’s that, “Okay, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m better than I was, but I’m not where I need to be.” And then we can continue to move in the right direction.
Dr . Gundry: 34:43 Yeah. I just sent in an abstract this well to the American Heart Association Lifestyle and Epidemiology meeting and I can’t tell you the results, of course, but what’s exciting is using these new markers of leaky gut and also looking at reactivity to such things like gluten or the components of gluten.
We found over the course of about nine months that, not only does leaky gut seal when you take away, for instance, lectin-containing foods, you take away A1 dairy, nightshades, et cetera, but the reactivity of the immune system to these components goes down.
Dr. Will Cole: 35:27 Wow.
Dr . Gundry: 35:28 And it’s actually really exciting.
Dr. Will Cole: 35:31 That is exciting, yeah.
Dr . Gundry: 35:32 And part of the thing that was actually surprising to me is that the microbiome reeducates the immune system. That it’s okay that these things… we’re taking care of it now.
Dr. Will Cole: 35:45 Yeah. Crosstalk.
Dr . Gundry: 35:46 Yeah.
Dr. Will Cole: 35:46 Yeah.
Dr . Gundry: 35:47 And the crosstalk that happens, and the fact that when your gut is no longer leaking, obviously, lectins, NLPs’s, and bacterial particles, and other food particles aren’t coming across to activate the immune system-
Dr. Will Cole: 35:59 Yeah. I love that.
Dr . Gundry: 36:00 But the fact that the immune system, actually the immunoglobulins no longer, they’ve forgotten that they’re interested in these things.
Dr. Will Cole: 36:09 I can’t wait to see that. That is-
Dr . Gundry: 36:10 It’s really exciting. It’s like, again, I’m like a kid in the candy store because it’s like, “Holy cow, I didn’t think this was possible.”
Dr. Will Cole: 36:18 Yeah. I mean this is such cutting edge stuff, but people are really looking for answers and tools to empower their life to see that, not only the clinical and the anecdotal stuff, but now seeing the mechanisms and what the body’s capable of doing. We’re living in exciting times, for sure, and you’re leading the way.
Dr . Gundry: 36:36 Well, Hippocrates led the way. All disease begins in the gut, right?
Dr. Will Cole: 36:39 Yeah. He knew something, I guess.
Dr . Gundry: 36:41 How’d the guy know that?
Dr. Will Cole: 36:42 That’s why he’s the father of modern medicine.
Dr . Gundry: 36:44 Yeah. All right, you talk about inflammatory habits that people have. What are three inflammatory habits that our listeners can try and change today?
Dr. Will Cole: 36:57 So, one would be prolonged sitting. You know, it’s been said, “Sitting is the new smoking,” but I think it depends on the person. But-
Dr . Gundry: 37:08 For those of you who are listening, we both stood up.
Dr. Will Cole: 37:14 But, so, does that mean you can never sit? Of course not. But it’s, move. Get up and move. So many people are sedentary and we know this, but let’s put it into practice in simple ways. So, if it’s getting up and stretching, getting a standing desk, getting out and just walking on your breaks, and moving around. It improves productivity, improves cognitive function. It lowers inflammation levels. So I think that’s one.
I would say having a healthy, balanced relationship with technology would be #2. And that’s going to be… what does that mean? That means setting boundaries, like maybe using those apps on our smart phones that shows you screen time, or locks you out. And don’t try to override the app to allow you back in.
Dr . Gundry: 38:01 Hold that thought because I want to check this. I’m picking up my phone, for those listening.
Dr. Will Cole: 38:07 Yeah. So, both from a blue light standpoint and a visual stimulation standpoint and the FOMO-inducing content on social media of this sort of, “I’m not enough” comparison, this sort of stress-anxiety response that people are having. I mean, a lot of the times in the day people check their phones. The research is staggering how much we check our phones. And then we give practical ways to solve that. I mean, there’s many ways to solve it, but just to have some checks and balances with technology.
And three, I would say look at the products you’re using in your home. Look at the products you’re using on your skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs a lot of what we put onto it. So resources like the Environmental Working Group, or the EWG, with those Skin Deep initiatives and other initiatives, to educate yourself on these things that are largely unregulated. We don’t have a lot of protection as far as consumers are concerned, and there’s really a lack of education, as far as consumers are concerned, because they’re just going and getting this shiny bottle that has good branding. But let’s actually find out what’s on the label and what’s in it.
Dr . Gundry: 39:20 Yeah. There are so many, not only toxins, but endocrine disruptors in our common household products, in our skin products, in most of our sunscreens. And there’s good research that these things are absorbed, I think you pointed out. We just don’t know. The average consumer be wary.
Okay. So, what research has you excited right now? We’ve kind of talked about some of this. And what comes next for you after this book?
Dr. Will Cole: 39:54 Well, what comes next for me is I’m back to seeing patients [inaudible 00:39:59] a couple days. So I’m out here for a book launch right now but my day job as you know [inaudible 00:40:05] same for you, is consulting patients online, primarily, via webcam. And then just getting back into seeing patients and focusing on my clinic, and that’s basically it. And I’m hosting a podcast, GoopFellas, which is exciting, and we’re going to have you on.
Dr . Gundry: 40:24 Oh, thanks.
Dr. Will Cole: 40:25 And, yeah. So that’s really… and hanging out with my kids and my wife, doing family stuff.
Dr . Gundry: 40:30 How old are the kids?
Dr. Will Cole: 40:31 13 and 10.
Dr . Gundry: 40:32 Oh, you poor guy.
Dr. Will Cole: 40:33 I brought my son out with me for this trip, so he’s hanging out with me on this trip.
Dr . Gundry: 40:38 Very good, very good.
So, how do people find you and the new book, The Inflammation Spectrum?
Dr. Will Cole: 40:46 Everything’s at drwillcole.com. It’s D-R-W-I-L-L-C-O-L-E.com. And yeah, on Instagram, it’s @drwillcole, too.
Dr . Gundry: 40:56 And anywhere where books are sold?
Dr. Will Cole: 40:58 Yeah. Amazon, Barnes & Noble [inaudible 00:41:01] all that stuff.
Dr . Gundry: 41:02 Great. All right. Thanks again for coming on.
Dr. Will Cole: 41:05 [inaudible 00:41:05].
Dr . Gundry: 41:04 Appreciate it.
Dr. Will Cole: 41:05 [inaudible 00:41:05] see you.
Dr . Gundry: 41:05 Good to see you.
Now, don’t go away because we have an audience question. And I think both of us are going to chime in on this one because I think this is right up everybody’s alley.
Okay. Jean-Marc Halbot asks, “So Dr. Gundry, how do the French, who eat bread at every meal, do it? Is the bread in France different, and would it contain less lectins than ours in the US?”
That’s a great question. I’ve actually talked a lot about this before. But you want to take it first?
Dr. Will Cole: 41:40 I can take it first.
Dr . Gundry: 41:42 Okay, you take it first.
Dr. Will Cole: 41:42 I think we may say similar things, but I see this a lot with patients. They’ll go on vacation and they will say, “I had this baguette, I had this bread. No problem.” And they had the pasta, “No problem.” I think it’s a mixture of a few things, just my opinion from clinical experience. I would say it has to do with the quality of the grains in Europe versus the United States, that when you look at the hybridization of the wheat supply, which you talk about very eloquently, and glyphosates [inaudible 00:42:15] on the grains as well.
And I think there may be, at least for some people, a component of, they’re just less stressed on vacation. And the impact that stress has on their biochemistry, too. So I think it’s those three factors. And they can’t get away with that when they come back home.
Dr . Gundry: 42:33 Yeah, they really can’t. Yeah, I see this all the time. First of all, you know, the French and Italians and Swiss aren’t stupid. They don’t have whole grain baguettes. They don’t have whole grain pasta. Well, they do now in the tourist places, but they just cringe that they actually have to serve this stuff because who in the world would do this?
So they’re really removing a lot of the lectin components in wheat. The more and more I look at this, I do think that RoundUp or glyphosate is a big factor in this. I just had a patient who had horrible psoriasis, a young woman from the Bay Area, who we got her psoriasis gone, everything’s good, off of her immunosuppressants. She and her husband went to Italy for a month and she said, “We are going to enjoy ourselves.” And they ate pasta, they ate bread. She did not flare. And she said, “Great! I am cured!” and came back to the Bay Area and within a week, you know, was eating the pizzas and the pastas and the breads, flared.
Dr. Will Cole: 43:46 Wow.
Dr . Gundry: 43:48 She called me on the phone, she said, “What the heck?” And I said, “Well, it’s different. It really is.” And right now, luckily, there are movements in Europe to ban glyphosate completely. Belgium has a law. Germany will have a law that takes effect next year. But it is legal in Europe now, thanks to Bayer. So we got to be careful out there.
But it is different. I talk about it in all my books [inaudible 00:44:18] people who have gotten in remission of their autoimmune disease or their IBS, and then go back home to Poland or Hungary and eat their traditional foods, think they’re cured, come back, boom.
Dr. Will Cole: 44:34 Yeah. It’s so common that we see that, for sure.
Dr . Gundry: 44:38 All right. So that’s it for the Dr. Gundry Podcast, and we’ll see you next week. Thanks a lot.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
And, if you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you can always find me on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrGundry. Because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.