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 Welcome to the Dr. Gundry Podcast. Have you ever shrugged off pain because you were just too busy? Or maybe you were just scared about what the doctor might discover? Now, as a doctor, I’ve just got to say, don’t do that. Take two aspirin and call me in the morning. No, that’s actually not it either, but if you won’t take it from me, my guest today is going to tell you how ignoring your body’s distress signals can actually be downright dangerous. He’s Phillip Stutts, an entrepreneur and author who was diagnosed with an extremely rare autoimmune disease that actually I happen to know a lot about because I’ve operated on it many times. That diagnosis turned Philip’s world upside down, challenging his relationships, his health, and his sense of purpose. On this episode, Phillip and I are going to talk about the steps he’s taken to live with his condition and the tools you can use to battle almost any kind of problem in your life. Phillip, welcome to the podcast.
Phillip Stutts: 01:19 Thank you, Dr. Gundry. Good to be here.
Dr. Gundry: 01:21 Let’s start with your diagnosis back in 2012. What happened?
Phillip Stutts: 01:26 Well, the diagnosis was in 2012. I probably had this disease well before that, and I think, as I even said, I probably had it for years and years and there was a deficiency. So I had achalasia, which is an esophageal disease where basically the muscle, and you know this … the muscles and the nerves in my esophagus do not work. They won’t work, they’ll never work again. They basically believe that … The doctors had believed that something in my gut probably attacked my esophagus and caused this. This affects one out of 100,000 people. Most of those people are in their 60s, 70s, 80s. I was in my 30s when diagnosed. I’ve had 15 minor procedures on my esophagus, three major surgeries. The first two surgeries failed, and the third one stabilized me.
I’ll never forget that I was being treated at the Mayo Clinic, they’re the ones who did the last surgery. About a year after the surgery, I went to the doctor and I said, “I know this is an incurable disease, what though is my longterm outlook on this?” They said, “Well, Phillip, you’ve got a big problem. We’ve had to repair you. You’ve had multiple surgeries. You’re not in a really good place. There is no cure. Frankly, there’s a chance in the next five to 10 years we’re going to have to remove your esophagus with the potential of putting a feeding tube in the rest of your life.” This is the moment that I feel like understand a lot of people going through a lot of health issues, because for five, seven years before that I had never even googled achalasia. I just said, “Well, the doctors say to take all this medication.” By the way, all the medication has certain longterm dementia effects, a lot of the PPI pills.
Dr. Gundry: 03:20 Yeah.
Phillip Stutts: 03:20 I was taking a handful of them, because the doctor told me to. I just … I remember driving home from the Mayo Clinic and saying, “Something has to change. I don’t know what that means, but I’ve got to change.” Well, we’ll talk about the process in a minute, but for the first five months I just flailed around without any kind of strategy to fix the problem. I was dumping milkshakes basically, because I didn’t want to eat because it’s very hard for me to eat.
Dr. Gundry: 03:49 Stop there. So, people who have never heard of achalasia, how did you discover that something was wrong with your esophagus?
Phillip Stutts: 03:58 I would be eating food and I was like … It was really hard to get the food down. I couldn’t figure out why. So, I’m chugging water with every bite and at a certain-
Dr. Gundry: 04:08 It felt like it was sticking or-
Phillip Stutts: 04:08 Sticking. Sticking in the esophagus. So, I didn’t know what was going on. I went to the doctor about it and the said, “Oh, you just need to go on some medicine.” Went on the medicine, nothing changed. They said, “Oh, we need to do the balloon test,” where they basically expand your esophagus. That didn’t work. Then they said, “We don’t know,” so they sent me to Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Then, finally, the diagnosis came a year and a half after I first went to the doctor.
Dr. Gundry: 04:36 Wow.
Phillip Stutts: 04:37 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 04:38 You went to multiple doctors?
Phillip Stutts: 04:40 I went to three doctors, yeah. They couldn’t figure out what was going on. So I said, “I have to change,” but I didn’t know what that meant. I had no data, nothing to back it up. I didn’t do any blood tests or anything like that. So, I just started taking dairy-based shakes every day because it hurt to eat, so I just wanted to have meal replacements. Then, I went to … This is how we met, was through Peter Diamandis. Peter Diamandis has a conference called the Abundance 360 Conference. I went to it in January 2017 and he said, onstage, “Pull out your notebook and write down a moonshot. A moonshot is something that people say is impossible and you plan to make possible.” I’m at this business conference, because I have a couple businesses, and I write down in my notebook, “I’ll find a cure to this disease in five years.” Now, this is the ignorance of an entrepreneur, because there is no cure to this disease. It’s a rare disease, so there’s no money behind it.
Dr. Gundry: 05:40 That’s right, you’re not going to make any money on this.
Phillip Stutts: 05:41 Right. Well, there’s no money behind research to figure out a cure to this disease. There’s nothing, right? So, I decide … Diamandis said two things, “Do something immediately to get you some momentum and go out there and try to get some positive stuff.” So, I wrote an article for Ink Magazine about how I planned to cure this disease, because I felt like it would hold me accountable. So, two things happened. That article came out in March of 2017, and a couple weeks later Diamandis had a webinar on a new author who had this diet out called the Plant Paradox. This is true. We’d never met, anything like that. I go, “Well, I’ve got to get my diet in order because I need to get off medication. I need to cure the disease.” So, there were two different tracks I needed to pursue in this moonshot that I decided to undertake.
So, the article produced a lot of flood of people that wrote to me and said, “You’re crazy.” When you say you want to do things like this, most people are negative back at you. But, this one woman read the article, said she had the disease as well, said she knew some doctors, made some calls on my behalf, found a doctor at Johns Hopkins who I got in touch with. He said, “I believe I can help you find a cure. Now, it may not be a cure. It may be improvement, but improvement has never been done before on this particular disease.”
Dr. Gundry: 05:41 Right.
Phillip Stutts: 07:11 So, for the last two and a half years I’ve worked with a team from Johns Hopkins to begin … I call it a clinical trial, because for the laymen it’s an easy way of looking at it, but it’s a single case that they are putting together. They have extracted stem cells out of my thigh. They’ll grow them, they’ll culture them, and then they will insert them into my esophagus to try to repair a lot of damage and then regenerate the muscles and the nerves. Now, that started in April of this year. I just got word that there was a contamination in the lab and we have to start over again. But, the fact is that we’re moving towards this …
Dr. Gundry: 07:52 Treatment.
Phillip Stutts: 07:54 Single-use treatment, which has the potential for a cure. It all started when I just took my head out of the sand, stopped being paralyzed by fear of the disease and I couldn’t do anything, and decided to take action. On the diet side, your book spoke to me in a way that nothing else had. So I, in July of two years ago, started the diet. I no longer take any medications for an incurable disease.
Dr. Gundry: 08:30 Excellent.
Phillip Stutts: 08:32 Through your process, I’ve improved pretty much all my vitals for anything I have in my life. So, this two track approach I have has really been effective in trying to treat and live with the disease I have.
Dr. Gundry: 08:48 Yeah. You know, the longer I’ve been doing this now … I think and I think the folks at Hopkins would agree that this is an autoimmune disease, that you are attacking your esophagus, probably the junction between the muscles and the nerves. The longer I’ve been doing this I am coming to the realization that almost all disease processes are at their base an autoimmune attack, for one reason or another.
Now, let me give you an example of recently. It’s actually a humorous example. There’s a very famous cardiologist in LA, whose name I will not mention. He and I share several celebrity patients, their names I will not mention. This very famous cardiologist thought I was a quack, and celebrities often seek out what people call ‘quacks’ to give them advice. So, even though I was a very famous professor, blah, blah, blah, he just thought my whole ideas were quackery. So, he had a patient about a year ago who was an elderly gentleman with atrial fibrillation, which is where the top part of your heart just wiggles uncontrollably. There is a thought that atrial fibrillation is caused by inflammation of the heart, and there’s now pretty good evidence that that’s true. This guy kept coming into this famous cardiologist saying, “I’ve started this diet, Dr. Gundry’s diet, and I went out of atrial fibrillation and I’m regular sinus rhythm.” The guys says, “That’s impossible. Let’s hook up the AKG, I’m going to put a monitor in you.” Sure enough, he’s in normal sinus rhythm without cardioversion, without drugs. He says, “This is all in your mind.”
So, this guy kind of kept doing that, staying in sinus rhythm. Then, he went out to dinner one night and ate off the diet and woke up that night in atrial fibrillation. He goes into the doctors and he says, “Yeah, you’re back in atrial fibrillation. See, I told you it wasn’t the diet.” He said, “No, you don’t understand. I cheated.” He says, “I’m going right back on this.” A week later he flips out of atrial fibrillation. So, he’s done that now over the past year about four times.
Phillip Stutts: 11:18 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 11:19 So his doc, who’s now a big sport of mine, says, “This is ridiculous.” He says, “You’re right about this. You stopped his atrial fibrillation by getting out the inflammation that was in his heart muscle.” So, we now actually have become colleagues.
Phillip Stutts: 11:39 Wow.
Dr. Gundry: 11:40 We actually both send each other patients.
Phillip Stutts: 11:43 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 11:43 So, I’m no longer a quack, because he actually had to see it to believe it. I think there was a famous quote from the Bible about that, but that’s another story. Okay. So, let’s take a quick break.
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Phillip Stutts: 12:30 Well, it’s interesting because I see this on a lot of the message boards for your diet, how hard it is and, “Oh, my gosh, this is overwhelming.” I always say … You say this and it’s true, it’s like, “Just do your best.” This patient is doing his best and sometimes he’s going to … I’m on the road a lot. So, when I’m home it’s 100% compliant. When I’m on the road, I do my best. But, I also can tell in things … I have to get back on my medication when I get off the diet, which is rare but it happens sometimes.
Dr. Gundry: 13:04 Yeah.
Phillip Stutts: 13:04 I don’t beat myself up. I think the other thing is, I didn’t go all the way in on day one. I kind of introduced the diet, and then tested things and tried it out for a while. I always … There’s a good analogy, it’s called kicking the can. If you want to kick the can 200 miles, you’re not going to make the kick in one kick. It’s going to kick at 10 feet at a time. 10 feet at a time. Just kick the can, keep kicking the can, make progress. For me, that has been … If I know I’m doing my best and if I go out and there’s nothing compliant and I try my best, then that’s okay, too. I mean, it’s what you have to do.
Dr. Gundry: 13:42 No, it’s true. Even in my first book I said, “Do what you can with what you’ve got, wherever you are.”
Phillip Stutts: 13:49 That’s right.
Dr. Gundry: 13:51 Sometimes … I’ve tested this on myself. I’ve actually … Into the papers I’ve written … When we first started testing for autoimmune diseases, I obviously tested myself and I came back with a marker called antinuclear antibody. My staff come running in and saying, “Oh, my gosh, you’ve got an autoimmune disease.” I said, “Well, you know, that doesn’t surprise me,” because my father’s side of the family had horrible psoriasis. My dad was on methotrexate, a powerful immunosuppressant for 50 years. I said, “It doesn’t surprise me a bit.” I said, “You know what, I think I’m going to turn this off.” So, I ate absolutely what I tell people to eat, because I’ll occasionally cheat or just can’t find what I want.
Phillip Stutts: 14:39 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 14:41 Within a month, when I retested, it was gone. I said, “Oh, that’s pretty cool.”
Phillip Stutts: 14:46 It is.
Dr. Gundry: 14:46 So recently, last Fall when I was on my most recent book tour, I was in New York City and I said, “You know what, it’s time to test this again.” So, I cheated. I had pasta. I had a piece of bread. I came back to Palm Springs, drew my blood … Bam, it was positive again.
Phillip Stutts: 15:07 Really?
Dr. Gundry: 15:08 I said, “This is really cool.” I said, “Okay, clean for a week. Let’s see how fast I can turn this off. A week later, same lab, negative. When I tell people that this is a fixable problem, and I tell people with autoimmune disease, “You really should not cheat,” I’m telling you this from personal experience. I was on a panel a couple of years ago and a famous thyroid physician, before we started, she said, “I don’t know how you can talk this way. What do you know about autoimmune disease?” I said, “Well, I actually have one.” So, she shut up.
Phillip Stutts: 15:58 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 15:59 Yeah. So, I’m in this game not only for myself, but because I had so much experience in transplant immunology. I gained a lot of experience of how the immune system works and what it’s looking for. A leaky gut, doggone it, is really the cause of all this. As each year goes by and we have more and more sophisticated tests of leaky gut … If you had asked 15 years ago if anybody had leaky gut I’d laugh you out of the room, pseudoscience. It’s not pseudoscience anymore. So, I think it’s fascinating. You know when you can’t be completely compliant and you can feel it.
Phillip Stutts: 16:50 I absolutely can. I mean, the other night we’re at a restaurant with some clients and there’s nothing there. They had a Caesar salad, but I shouldn’t have dairy. There’s dairy interlaced in a Caesar salad, but it’s not meat or non grass fed meat. For me, even a little bit of meat’s tough for me. For digestion purposes, and then for acid reflux. So, if I can just avoid meat then I’ve at least done a little bit better in that particular situation. When it was over, my stomach was on fire. I can just tell. The funny this is … I have a couple marketing agencies and I kind of look at the way that … for normal people to look at this and that are having issues.
For me, there’s a synergy in how you approach this and how we do marketing, which is you’ve got to look at the data first. In marketing, we always look at customer data. I work in politics, too, so we look at voter data. We try to understand what these people care about before we communicate a message. In the process that I’ve worked with you, it’s like you need to get the blood data. “Go take your blood tests, let’s look at that. Let’s see where you have problems.” Through that … Now, when I go to the blood labs everybody knows me by name now, because it’s every six months and there’s a lot of blood tests because of what I have. They’re always like, “How is it possible for you to take this many blood tests?” But I do. Then, we get that feedback. In marketing, we take that and we build a strategy around what we find from the data. For you, you’ve taken my blood work and said, “Okay, here are the supplements you need. Let’s test all these things, let’s see where you can improve and get better.” In marketing, we then run a bunch of tests and then we try to convert customers. What we’ve done on the supplement side is we’ve found the supplements that really work and what we need to up over the years that have worked.
So, I keep doing blood tests and keep getting the data back, and I keep altering and just transitioning a few supplements here and there. I increase some, maybe don’t take as many of other things. Through that, my blood tests that you’ve seen, everything has improved. I’m 45 years old right now and I’m heading in the right direction in every single test. That’s the diet, that’s the supplements. Then, I’ve got this potential cure that I’m trying to fight for. Now I say ‘cure’, but in the medical profession they don’t like for me to say that. I think it’s about progress. This really started two and a half years ago. I didn’t just do it overnight. For the first five years, I stuck my head in the sand and didn’t do anything. A lot of the criticism I get online when I tell my story is, “Well, it’s easy for you. These supplements are expensive,” all this stuff. That’s all true, but it’s your life. I didn’t realize that. I understand how they feel. For five years, I didn’t want to even look at this. Then, I decided I needed to change and I changed gradually. The supplements, it’s your life. It’s your health. If it extends your life 10 years and you have more time with your family, that’s what it’s all about. I didn’t get that for a long time. I get it now, and I’m really grateful for it.
Dr. Gundry: 20:17 Yeah. You know, I used to think supplements made expensive urine. Because we measure so many things on everybody, I could actually get to the point, years ago, that I could tell when somebody was taking a supplement or had stopped it. I could show them on a blood test. “Yeah, I did stop that.” I could even tell if they changed brands.
Phillip Stutts: 20:44 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 20:45 Just actually yesterday we had a blood test, looking for a particular variable. I said, “You’re not taking this anymore.” They said, “Well, I am, but I ran out of the one you recommended.” It wasn’t my product.
Phillip Stutts: 21:01 Right, right.
Dr. Gundry: 21:03 “I got this one.” I said, “Well, look. Here’s your previous tests on the other one and here’s this one.” They go, “Holy cow, you saw that.” I said, “Yeah.” It’s not expensive urine, it really isn’t.
Phillip Stutts: 21:17 No.
Dr. Gundry: 21:18 For instance, I’ll give you … There was a paper published this week of a clinical trial with Parkinson’s disease. There’s a compound called N-Acetyl Cysteine, and there won’t be a test on it. It’s usually called NAC. NAC is one of the ways we make probably the best antioxidant in the world called glutathione. They have a Parkinson’s trial giving people NAC twice a day. The actual clinical trial, they also got NAC IV once a week. The other folks got placebo. The trial now is a year. The NAC people have improved their Parkinson’s symptoms by about 15% against the placebo group. Now, 15% … If you’ve got Parkinson’s, that may be the difference between you being able to walk or even talk.
Phillip Stutts: 22:16 Sure.
Dr. Gundry: 22:17 Compared. I mean, here’s a dumb supplement, which is pretty doggone cheap. I’ve been actually recommending it for Parkinson’s for years, but here’s the first clinical trial. So, this dumb supplement is doing something in Parkinson’s brains to improve things.
Phillip Stutts: 22:35 Right. Well, it’s interesting you say that because my father, who I love dearly, was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s. As most people, I went through this process as well, there’s this confusion. There’s this, “I don’t know what to do. Oh, my gosh. I have to change my life.” My father is 75. He’s never had any health conditions in any time in his entire life, and then boom. Right?
Dr. Gundry: 22:58 Yep.
Phillip Stutts: 23:01 Of course, having my experience I’m like, “Well, you probably need to start putting yourself on at least the Plant Paradox diet, because I think it’ll reduce a lot of the inflammation.” My question back to you is, regarding Parkinson’s, what advice would you have diet wise for people who are either just diagnosed or have Parkinson’s?
Dr. Gundry: 23:22 Yeah. So, my father actually had Parkinson’s. He had it for 20 years. He died at age 91. Interestingly enough, my mother and I dove into him as soon as the diagnosis was made. He did not change his medication for 20 years. In other words, his Parkinson’s was stable for 20 years. People hear that and they go, “That’s impossible,” but I now have a number of patients who’ve come to me with actually fairly advanced Parkinson’s and tremors, and they not only have reduced their tremors, but they have not progressed.
Phillip Stutts: 24:03 What do you think is the key dietary part of that? It’s going to work for some, maybe not others.
Dr. Gundry: 24:08 Well, the research was fascinating. So, there’s this diagnosis called a Lewy body. There’s even Lewy body dementia. There’s Parkinson’s dementia. A Lewy body is a dead neuron surrounded by glial cells. Glial cells are actually the body guards of neurons. They’re a part of our immune systems, white blood cells that are specifically designed to guard neurons, protect them. The theory, which it’s more than a theory now, is that Parkinson’s begins in the gut. It occurs in the gut because, in animal models, people with Parkinson’s get constipation. Everybody goes, “Why do they get constipation? That’s weird.” So, they started animal models and they found that next to the gut there’s lots of neurons. They found Lewy bodies next to the gut. They went, “What are those doing down there? They’re supposed to be up in the brain.” So, we now have human data with transcolonic biopsies of Lewy bodies in people with Parkinson’s in the gut.
The latest theory, and again it’s more than a theory, is that Parkinson’s is caused by leaky gut. The first place that this happens is in the neurons down in the gut. Long story short: if these glial cells, these body guards, sense lectins, sense pieces of bacteria, they try to protect the neuron. They circle the wagons. They do such a good job that the neurons starves to death, because it actually can’t get nutrients. It’s kind of like pulling up the drawbridge when the hoards are attacking. The people on the other side starve, because the hoards are outside. What happens then, we think, is that this information is transmitted to the brain via the vagus nerve. The brain says, “Oh, my gosh, nerves are under attack. Circle the wagons in the brain.” So, it comes from the gut. The first thing we do is seal the gut. To me, one of the easiest steps to do is get rid of lectins that are causing the leaky gut in the first place.
Phillip Stutts: 26:37 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 26:37 We’re getting to the point now where almost all research on the brain is actually focused on the gut and leaky gut. Like I wrote about in the books, there’s now two studies that people who had this giant nerve that comes, we thought, from the brain down to the gut to tell it what to do, the vagus nerve …
Phillip Stutts: 26:59 Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dr. Gundry: 27:00 In the good old days, we used to cut the vagus nerve for ulcer treatment. What we now know is that for every nerve heading down from the brain to the gut, there’s nine nerves from the gut heading up to the brain. So, people who’s had a vagotomy in the past have a 50% reduction in Parkinson’s compared to people who have the vagus nerve intact. You go, “Holy cow, have we gotten this wrong?” So, we’ve cut the connection that warns the brain that something’s going on in the gut. So, everything happens in the gut.
Phillip Stutts: 27:38 This is fascinating.
Dr. Gundry: 27:39 Hippocrates said it 2,500 years ago-
Phillip Stutts: 27:41 But don’t you feel like … Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
Dr. Gundry: 27:43 All disease begins in the gut.
Phillip Stutts: 27:44 Right, but don’t you feel like there’s been … Maybe this isn’t it. Maybe it’s the explosion of social media, so it’s so much more prevalent. Do you feel like there’s an explosion of dementia in Parkinson’s now like there’s never been?
Dr. Gundry: 27:56 Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, these were very odd conditions. I mean, I grew up in the 50s and 60s. There was somebody in your neighborhood that was kind of a little off in their 80s and 90s, and everybody kind of knew. But that was the exception. Now, it’s exploded. This is an epidemic. It’s exploding. 50 million people in the next few years are going to have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, or dementia of some sort. You look back and you go, “This didn’t exist or it was incredibly rare. What’s happened?” That’s what I’ve tried to piece together in all my books, is here is what’s happened. The more I look into this, the more I realize that what’s happened is our gut has just become a leaky sieve, because of the things that’s happened to us-
Phillip Stutts: 28:55 Sure.
Dr. Gundry: 28:55 Let me give you one amazing example. The CDC follows the obesity rates in the United States, and they track it every year by state. If you’ve never looked up the CDC data on obesity by state over the last 20 years, it’s the scariest stuff you’ll ever see. It goes from little bits of obesity, to more obesity, to morbid obesity, and the South is the epicenter of this massive obesity epidemic. So, the CDC said, “Let’s start tracking other things.” They started tracking antibiotic prescriptions that were written per state. It turns out the antibiotic prescription rate per state tracks exactly the obesity rates. They have this beautiful graph, anybody can find it on the CDC website, of looking at antibiotic prescriptions and obesity. The most antibiotic prescriptions are written in the South. You go, “Wait a minute, how can antibiotics have anything to do with obesity?”
Phillip Stutts: 30:11 Sure.
Dr. Gundry: 30:11 Well, we now know that when we take antibiotics or when we give animals antibiotics and we eat those animals, and the run off from those animals gets in our water supply, we have killed off our entire microbiome. Which it looks like is there for a really good reason, among other things, to protect us against obesity. So, here’s just one concrete example from the CDC, in humans, that swallowing an antibiotic is going to make you fat. Don’t get me wrong, antibiotics are life saving, but we have absolutely abused these things. Everyone who comes in for a sniffle or a scratchy throat-
Phillip Stutts: 30:57 Says, “Give me an antibiotic.”
Dr. Gundry: 30:58 “Give me an antibiotic.”
Phillip Stutts: 31:00 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 31:01 When I was in medical school, pediatricians … we used to go through their offices, and they’d just write an antibiotic for every sore throat.
Phillip Stutts: 31:09 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 31:10 I’d go, “But wait a minute, you don’t know that this is a bacteria.”
Phillip Stutts: 31:14 Sure.
Dr. Gundry: 31:15 They said, “Well, yeah. But if I don’t give mom an antibiotic to give to her kid, she’ll go down the block and get it from my colleague, a competitor. So, I’ve got to stay in business.”
Phillip Stutts: 31:27 It’s an economic model.
Dr. Gundry: 31:28 It’s an economic model.
Phillip Stutts: 31:29 Yeah. I mean, I also look at … I grew up in the South, so I recognize everything you’re saying, and I live in the South now actually. Listen, what started seven years ago is something life changing and almost … I really feel like I went into a depression over it. I probably hurt relationships because of how I was suffering through my own health and wanted to avoid it, and all this stuff. I look at it now, and … I mean, you talk about the Parkinson’s and dementia and I go, “This is a blessing,” what I have. It’s a blessing on a lot of fronts, because I am so … I’m going to spend the next 30 years eating organically, taking the right supplements, following what my body needs. I never would’ve thought like that, differently. On the other side, and I think this is the part that effects so many people, especially the ones I talk to through my own path, this is the best thing that ever happened to me. This disease is the best thing that ever happened to me and my relationships.
I now realize there’s a finite time in this world. I’m in my mid 40s now. I can either live an exceptional life and love the people around me and give them everything I have, or I can be in my hole and be depressed and treat people poorly. I did those things before the disease. When the disease gave me clarity in my life, that I have to live for other people, I have to give for other people, and I need to put my health at the forefront of my own life as well. As crazy as it sounds, the blessing is … I mean, the disease is an absolute blessing in my life. If the worst thing that happens is that my esophagus is removed and I have a feeding tube the rest of my life and I’m young, okay. I still have the love of my wife and my little girl and my family and my friends, and that is more important than anything else I’ll do. That’s truly how I feel about it. I don’t know if I … That took a long time to get there, and that’s sort of my advice to other people. Which is, what is the silver lining in what you have, and move forward and make progress.
Dr. Gundry: 33:45 Yeah. I mean, this is the only house you’re ever going to live in.
Phillip Stutts: 33:48 That’s right.
Dr. Gundry: 33:49 Get over it.
Phillip Stutts: 33:49 I get one chance.
Dr. Gundry: 33:50 This is it.
Phillip Stutts: 33:52 But I don’t think I ever thought that way. The disease brought some clarity.
Dr. Gundry: 33:57 Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s amazing. People say, “Supplements are so expensive,” but we’ll go to Starbucks and buy a $5 cup of coffee, which will pay for most of your supplements for that day. You think nothing of a $5 cup of coffee anymore. I mean, it’s just fascinating that we won’t give the attention that this needs. We’ll keep our house painted, we’ll mow the grass, we’ll do all of that.
Phillip Stutts: 34:30 You know why, because you can’t see it. You can see the grass, you can see that restaurant you want to go to, you can see that Starbucks; but what’s inside of your gut, going on right now, you don’t see it every day until it’s too late.
Dr. Gundry: 34:43 Right. The amazing this is, with these new tests, you can actually see what’s going on in your gut. One of the things I tell people … Incidentally, your skin is glowing. When I tell people-
Phillip Stutts: 34:59 “I’m 72 years old.”
Dr. Gundry: 35:00 Exactly. On the internet, apparently I’m 74 years old or something like that, but I actually just turned 69. We can’t change Google for some reason, so I’m 74. People don’t realize that the lining of our gut is literally our skin turned inside out. What we see happening on the inside of our gut is actually reflected in our skin. You see old people and their skin is frail and fryable, and they’ve got bruises. That’s actually telling them that the inside of their gut is breaking down. You see women with adult acne or rosacea. That’s not adult acne, that’s actually what’s happening on the inside of their gut. If you start looking at your skin, you’ll actually get a perfect view in the mirror every day of what’s happening in your gut. That’s why your skin looks so good.
Phillip Stutts: 36:05 Yeah. Well, thank you.
Dr. Gundry: 36:06 Yeah.
Phillip Stutts: 36:06 I appreciate it.
Dr. Gundry: 36:08 The other thing, I think it’s important, is that these conditions, even yours I think, we can at least stop it. So many times it is reversible. I think I’ve mentioned this before. Recently, we had a woman with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The same thing that Kelly Clarkson had, that she doesn’t have anymore. She saw my PA the first couple times, and then I finally saw her. We measure antithyroid antibodies every time. When I first met her she said, “Now …” I always say, “Tell me about yourself.” She said, “Well, I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and that’s why I’m here.” I looked at her chart and I said, “No, you don’t.” She says, “Well, yes, I do. That’s why I’m here.” So, I pulled out her chart and her most recent labs, all of her markers for antibodies against her thyroid were gone. I said, “You don’t have it anymore. You had it, but it’s gone.” She says, “Well, that’s impossible.” I said, “Well, you’re here because that’s not impossible.” It was just this moment of clarity, “I don’t have the disease.” Just like Kelly Clarkson. She had it, now she doesn’t.
Phillip Stutts: 37:21 My wife has a thyroid issue. She’s been on thyroid medication for years and years and years. Once she got on the Plant Paradox diet, it’s the first time … Once we did the recent blood test, it’s the first time in almost 20 years that she has reduced that thyroid medication. Her head exploded on that, because once you … The problem is, people don’t undertake what this diet … because there’s not an immediate result. She went on it for six months and we did the blood test again, and she saw the result. She went, “Okay, that’s it. I’m on. I’m done,” but you have to be committed. You have to be committed to it. Again, do your best, but be committed to it.
Dr. Gundry: 38:08 Right. Now, normally we have some audience questions, but I guess you have the audience questions for me.
Phillip Stutts: 38:16 Well, you did answer my Parkinson’s questions. I guess the only question is, there’s a great saying that the honest brokers out there that are trying to do good in the world have to speak the loudest and that can annoy people sometimes. There’s a lot of people in the marketing world right now that are screaming from the hilltops, but the most honest sometimes have to speak the loudest, right? Your diet supplements that we’ve worked together on have all improved people’s lives, thus you’ve risen in the medical world of supplements and your story and your books. How did that happen for you in a way that kind of rose above the noise of a lot of people out there that are selling things that don’t help people? I’m a marketer, so I’m always curious of the marketing side of that.
Dr. Gundry: 39:11 The good news is that I’ve been a researcher all my life. So, when I embarked on this new journey 20 years ago I kept my research hat on and I would tell people, “Every three months I want to tell you what to eat, I want you to go get some supplements. Go get them at Costco, get them at Trader Joe’s.” There wasn’t an Amazon back then. “Go to a health foods store. I want to see what happens.” Then, I started publishing my results in the American Heart Association, European Heart Association. It showed that in fact these things happen. It really was … People would always say, “Would you please come out with your own supplements? I don’t want to go to 12 stores.” So, I think I’m the only person who has supplements that the supplements are actually based on my research and the research of others that actually show that this is why you should do this. Interesting, when Vital Reds first came out a lot of my patients were taking it and I didn’t know it. We can look at stickiness of arteries and we can look at flexibility of arteries. Some of my patients, I’d start saying, “This is interesting, you’ve always had sticky arteries. Are you doing anything new?” They’d go, “Yeah, I’ve been taking Vital Reds.” I’d go, “Really?” Then I’d go, “Wow.” That’s what I would predict Vital Reds would do, but I didn’t have any data.
Phillip Stutts: 40:54 Sure.
Dr. Gundry: 40:56 So, we’ve actually stopped some people’s polyphenol supplements because they’re taking Vital Reds, because we’ve been able to prove that we can observe the effects of Vital Reds. So, I think that’s what makes me unique, is that it’s based on research. It’s not just conjecture. The other thing that makes it unique is the program works.
Phillip Stutts: 41:18 It does.
Dr. Gundry: 41:19 All of … Through social media … Social media’s propelled this forward. Every day I thank all my folks on social media. We’ve spawned so many sites, Creative in My Kitchen, Lectin Free Mama, just to name two, and there’s lots of you. This is a movement, because it works. Just this morning on Instagram, a woman was writing about her MS and feeling so discouraged. Somebody said, “Well, I cured my MS by following the Plant Paradox. You really need to look up Dr. Steven Gundry.” So, it’s that sort of thing. MS, you can go into remission. You can cure MS.
Phillip Stutts: 42:06 Sure. The other question I had is, you know my condition especially, with my esophageal disease, are all lectins created equally or are there some lectins that you go … Knowing some of my case, feel free to speak freely about it. It doesn’t bother me … Are there things that I should avoid more than others if I’m doing my best and I’m on the road and I don’t have many options? What would you say, “Hey, if you’re going to do your best, avoid this. Do these things?”
Dr. Gundry: 42:40 So, my opinion … One of the reasons my first book was called Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution is my thoughts evolve. To think that I haven’t learned anything in the 12 years since that book came out is kind of … I hope I’ve learned something. I’ve learned a whole lot in the two years since the Plant Paradox came out. One of the things with these new tests, we’re able to see things … I’ll just throw one out, which is a shocker. All plants have lectins. The more we’ve been used to a plant lectin, the more we have a defense system of our microbiome against lectins, the more we have acid in our stomach against lectins, the better we do. With these new sophisticated tests … I’ll just use one as an example, and don’t go running in panic. There is a lectin that is called an aquaporin. There won’t be a test. It’s present in potatoes, tomatoes, soy beans, spinach, and corn. There’s the word spinach. What this does is it actually can cause, number one, leaky gut just by eating it, if you react to it. It causes leaky brain. It actually opens the blood brain barrier. I’ve gotten interested in this because I see a lot of people with movement disorders, like Parkinson’s, like pseudo Parkinson’s, and we’re finding that these people, everyone of them so far, is sensitive to spinach. You could’ve knocked me over-
Phillip Stutts: 44:23 My blood test, you told me I was sensitive to spinach.
Dr. Gundry: 44:25 Exactly. Who would imagine? Because a safe food in a restaurant … Well, I’ll have steamed spinach or sauteed spinach. So, we’ll see … I see a lot of people who absolutely cannot tolerate gluten, and yet 90% of people who can’t tolerate gluten cross react to corn as if it was gluten.
Phillip Stutts: 44:50 Wow.
Dr. Gundry: 44:52 That surprised me as well.
Phillip Stutts: 44:54 So, even over … Let’s just non grass fed … Well, I guess it’s corn and soy fed meat, it’d be the same thing, right?
Dr. Gundry: 45:00 It’s the same thing.
Phillip Stutts: 45:00 Right. Then, my problem is when I go to restaurants and I get a salad, there’s not a lot of organic options. Again, do your best-
Dr. Gundry: 45:08 Yeah, do your best.
Phillip Stutts: 45:10 But that’s always a tough thing for me. You’re wondering, “Well, if there’s pesticides on these greens?” What’s worse? I don’t know.
Dr. Gundry: 45:18 Yeah. Just ask for a sweet potato.
Phillip Stutts: 45:21 There you go.
Dr. Gundry: 45:24 The worst case scenario, when I’m traveling we have this giant bag of nuts.
Phillip Stutts: 45:30 Yeah.
Dr. Gundry: 45:31 Worst case scenario is I fill up on nuts before I’m going to a social engagement. Then, you just-
Phillip Stutts: 45:38 Yeah, your appetite’s suppressed.
Dr. Gundry: 45:40 I have a glass of red wine.
Phillip Stutts: 45:41 Right.
Dr. Gundry: 45:42 So, yeah. Yeah, things are evolving. It’s exciting. I’m going to be looking and looking and looking. Well listen, Phillip, thanks again for being on.
Phillip Stutts: 45:56 Thank you.
Dr. Gundry: 45:56 Thanks for sharing your story.
Phillip Stutts: 45:57 Absolutely.
Dr. Gundry: 45:59 Get some stem cells. Do remember that you can activate your own stem cells by fasting.
Phillip Stutts: 46:07 I do a little bit of intermittent every day.
Dr. Gundry: 46:11 Okay. All right. So, that’s it for the Dr. Gundry Podcast. If you like what you hear, come back again and see us next week, because I’m Dr. Steven Gundry and I’m always looking out for you. 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, Sticher, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to watch each episode of the Dr. Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at Youtube.come/DrGundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry and I’m always looking out for you.