The Power of the Paleo Diet with Dr. Terry Wahls – CHTV 107

The Power of the Paleo Diet with Dr. Terry Wahls – CHTV 107


Dr. Pompa: Welcome to episode 107. First thing you all noticed right away is
Meredith is not here, right? She was at a seminar with me teaching in Ogden,
Utah, so she was still on a plane, but I’m here. I’m here with a very special guest that
was really tough to book because she’s a busy woman. Her name is Dr. Terry Wahls. Dr. Terry, thank you so much for being here. Dr. Wahls:You’re very welcome. I’m honored. Dr. Pompa:Thank you. I know you’re busy, and it was hard to get
here. We are grateful. I want to just read your bio for people. Usually, that’s Meredith’s job, but I’ll
do the best I can. Then I just can’t wait to break into this
conversation with you. Dr. Terry Wahls is a clinical professor of
medicine at the University of Iowa, and director of the Extended Care and Rehab Service line
at the Veteran Affairs Iowa City healthcare system. She is also a patient with secondary progressive
multiple sclerosis, which confined her to a wheelchair for four years, which makes her
story very extraordinary, I’ll tell you. Dr. Wahls restored her health using diet and
lifestyle programs similar to what we do, go figure. She designed specifically for her brain. She also tests these principles in clinical
trials, which I can’t wait to hear about. She is the author of The Wahls Protocol, which
is a radical new way to treat all chronic autoimmune conditions using paleo principles. Gosh, I said before we got on here, Dr. Terry,
that it’s inevitable that you and I have met. I have such a passion for autoimmune and these
brain conditions that are now, I believe, epidemic. Dr. Wahls:Absolutely. Dr. Pompa:Unfortunately, modern medicine is
not going upstream to the cause. They’re just throwing medications at it,
which, at best, put the symptoms off for a little while, but really have no answer whatsoever. Terry, I just want you to tell your story
because I know we have a lot of people watching with multiple types of autoimmune. I want you to tell that story. Dr. Wahls:I’m an academic general internal
medicine doc. I believe very much in the best drugs, newest
treatments, etc. In 2000, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
on the basis of a new problem with my left leg and a history of visual dimming in my
left eye 13 years earlier. At that time, I knew the natural history was
that within ten years of diagnosis, one half would develop severe fatigue, unable to work,
and that one third would have problems walking, needing a cane, walker, or wheelchair. I decided to find the best clinical centers
I could find, so I went to the Cleveland Clinic because they did a lot of clinical research. I saw their best people and took the newest,
latest drugs. I saw the best people here at the University
of Iowa. Still, within three years, my disease had
transitioned from relapsing-remitting, where you can have periods of improvement and worsening,
to the secondary progressive phase, where you expect steady decline and loss of function. I took the recommended mitoxantrone, got the
tilt-recline wheelchair, and then I began reading the basic science, reading about the
analytical models for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s,
Huntington’s disease, and would begin to experiment on myself based on what I was reading
in the mice and rats. Time progressed, and I discovered the paleo
diet. After 20 years of being vegetarian, I went
back to eating meat. Dr. Pompa:By the way, Terry, which I would
argue was part of the problem. Dr. Wahls:I agree. Certainly, the way I interpreted vegetarianism
probably contributed to my illness. In 2002, while I was still walking around,
I discovered the paleo diet, removed all grain, all legumes, all dairy, introduced meats,
and continued to decline. I’m reading the basic science, adding vitamins
and supplements. I’m still declining, but more slowly. The summer of 2007, I’m so weak I cannot
sit up in a regular chair. I have a zero gravity chair recliner at work,
another at home, or I’m in bed. I’m losing my keys. I’m losing my phone. I have a detailed notebook to keep track of
what I need to do. My chief of staff calls me in and says, “I’m
going to assign you to the traumatic brain injury clinic beginning in January. There will be no residents. You’ll be seeing patients’ direct care
along with the team,” and I know I can’t do that job. Then it’s like, okay, it’s pretty clear
that I’m going to have to take medical retirement soon, but a few weeks later, I discovered
the Institute for Functional Medicine. They have a course in neuroprotection, a functional
medicine approach to common and uncommon neurological conditions. I get that course. I go through the presentations and the readings. I go over it and over it. I have a longer list of vitamins and supplements;
now, I’m up to 20 different things. Then I have this brilliant awakening that
I should use this list of 20 nutrients to figure out what kind of foods I should be
stressing in my diet. That’s more research, to figure out what
foods am I going to be doing. On January 1, I start this new protocol. Instead of just taking things out, I’m really
emphasizing what I need to be eating every day. That’s when the magic begins. Within three months, my fatigue is gone. My brain fog is rapidly diminishing. I have to go off Provigil because the fatigue
is gone, and I can’t sleep at night. At six months, I’m walking around without
a cane. I see my neurologist, and I tell him I want
to go off the disease-modifying drugs. He agrees, and we taper and discontinue the
CellCept. At nine months, I get up and I get on my bicycle,
and I pedal around the block for the first time in about six years. I’m crying. My kids are crying. That’s the first time I’m like, “Nobody
knows what’s happening, how much recovery might be possible.” At 12 months, I do a 20-mile bike ride with
my family. Now, mind you, I did have to, every five miles,
stop, lay down on the grass, rest for a few minutes, and then get up on my bike. Dr. Pompa:After all, you’d been sick for
eight years. Dr. Wahls:Yeah, for a long time. That really transformed my understanding of
disease and health. It would change my clinical practice. My chair of medicine called me and said this
is really important and told me to write up a case report. We got it written up. Then he called me in and said, “We’ve
got to do a little clinical trial,” so I wrote up a protocol, wrote a little grant,
and I got funding from a group in Canada, Direct-MS Charity, and we did our clinical
trial, which we’ve published. We enrolled people with secondary and primary
progressive MS, people you wouldn’t expect to get better, and we emulated the same protocol
that I did, the same diet, same stress reduction, and exercise system. We had a large reduction in fatigue and a
marked improvement in quality of life. We had the gait paper changes; that’s under
review. We’re writing up the cognitive changes,
which were also quite remarkable. Hopefully, we’ll be submitting that here
in the near future. I’ve done a couple more studies. The MS Society is reviewing grants for us. The research program in my lab is growing. The VA, in the meantime, took me out of primary
care, took me out of the traumatic brain injury clinic, and we now have basically a functional
medicine clinic that I call the Therapeutic Lifestyle Clinic, where I’m teaching people
who are willing these concepts. We’re seeing very exciting results across
a wide variety of disease states. Dr. Pompa:I’d have to say that if you were
pursuing this in the university, in the hospital setting, or the regular medical environmenl
without your story, you probably wouldn’t have been well-received like you have been. Would you agree with that? Dr. Wahls:When I first started doing this,
when I first changed, I began talking to my vets about the quality of their diet, vitamins,
and fish oil, and not talking much about drugs. My primary care colleagues and my direct brain
injury colleagues started complaining to the chief of staff, saying, “What’s Wahls
doing? This is not FDA approved stuff.” He called me in, and I brought in 85 papers,
and went through this, and said, “I’m just doing the latest science.” My chief of staff did become a huge fan. He said, “If Dr. Wahls hurts somebody, I
need to hear about it, but if she’s talking vegetables and vitamins, she’s fine.” It was then seen as an oddity and tolerated,
but two things happened. One, clinical trials were going on; at research
week, people were seeing the preliminary data coming back with amazing results, then they
started seeing the videos with amazing results. That got more stature. Then the clinical outcomes began to speak
for themselves in the traumatic brain injury clinic and in primary care. Then the next thing that happens, the chief
of medicine comes to see me and says, “I would like to take you out of primary care
and have you run your own clinic.” That was three years ago. Now, we have the Therapeutic Lifestyle Clinic,
and that continues to grow. I’m training two other physicians to be
in this with me. In the pain clinic, we are now emphasizing
functional medicine. I’m sending physicians off there to get
trained in functional medicine. Dr. Pompa:That’s fantastic. Out of my story came greater purpose in leading
people to the truth; there’s so little answers, really. It’s the same with you. The irony is you and I got sick around the
same time. The back of 1999 right into 2000 is when the
bottom of my life fell out, too. Both of us hit the wall at the same time. Unlike you, I was living a pretty good diet
and exercising. I had two amalgam fillings drilled out, and
mercury vapor went, and my life fell apart. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. I had to get that ill, that disabled, in order
to have my current understanding of medicine be completely reevaluated. My prior research program was in diagnostic
care, secondary data analysis. Everything that I knew, that’s all a former
life. Now, I have a very different purpose and mission. Dr. Pompa:Exactly. It redefines us. A lot of your message now, I’m sure, is
absolutely contrary and 180 degrees opposite of what you thought before. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:You were all about a low-fat diet,
right? Dr. Wahls:Low-fat diet. I thought a vegetarian diet was most ideal. I thought diagnose quickly and treat with
medication or surgical intervention procedures as needed. I thought people were wasting their money
on these vitamins and supplements. Now, of course, I realize they’re wasting
their money if they’re thinking that drugs will fix a bad diet and lifestyle problem. Dr. Pompa:I agree. I think we both agree there’s a time and
place for medication, but when we’re dealing with the chronic illnesses that we are today,
it’s symptom-chasing at best, and typically creating more symptoms. Dr. Wahls:Creating more problems, more nutrient
deficiencies, more biologic dysfunction, absolutely. Dr. Pompa:Absolutely. I always say, “Gosh, if there was this world
that you were allowed to use medicine in this acute phase, and if you went beyond there,
then there was a law that you weren’t allowed to be on it, I’d bet we’d save more lives.” That’s another topic. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. If it had gotten sunsetted after 30 days… Dr. Pompa:Yeah, exactly. Imagine that, right? After that is when it goes downhill and we
start creating more disease, as you pointed out. I’m a firm believer in, obviously, fat heals
the brain, but society and the media would say the opposite; fat’s bad, let’s run
from it. Here, for you and I, fat was part of both
our healings. Talk a little bit about that. Dr. Wahls:Let’s first talk a little bit
about how fat became demonized. During World War I and World War II, the death
rates for autoimmunity, heart disease, and cancers declined. Epidemiologists looked at that data, and they
saw that fat intake during that time declined, and so they attributed fat to being the problem. Because cholesterol is very loosely correlated
with heart disease, it seemed to make sense. There was a political drive to do something
about the obesity epidemic, and so that seemed to be the right thing. The NIH ended up funding some research and
putting a lot of money into the fat hypothesis. There’s a lot of drug development. If you drove cholesterol down really far,
you do save some heart attacks. You cause increased rates of homicide, suicide,
depression, and dementia. That all caused mortality to not change. Now, that has been reexamined, and we realize
that we can make the same conclusions about sugar. Sugar intake went dramatically down also during
World War I and World War II. People were encouraged to grow their own vegetables
and eat from their garden, so the vegetable intake actually went up during that time period. That’s the history of how we got sidetracked
into the fat problem. Dr. Pompa:Ancel Keys had a big role in that,
remember, in Time magazine? Dr. Wahls:Yep. Ancel Keys was the big epidemiologist who
said fat is the problem; we could take that same data and say sugar is the problem. Dr. Pompa:You could take the same data and
actually say fat was a good thing. The countries that he took in that study really
played a role. Dr. Wahls:Absolutely. Now, if we look at the biochemistry of it,
we need fat. We need cholesterol. We need saturated fat. We need some omega-3 and some omega-6. All of those things are in our cell membranes. If we drive our fat down, we don’t have
as healthy of a cell membrane, which means we don’t have as healthy of a brain because
we need cholesterol, saturated fat, omega-3, and omega-6 fat for all the myelin in my brain. We need those fats, and they act as cell-signaling
in our brain, as well. It’s a huge problem if we fat-starve our
brains as adults, and an even greater problem if we fat-starve our children’s brains. Dr. Pompa:There’s no doubt. The ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 is really
shown to change brain functions. People are eating grain-fed animals with these
ratios of omega-6 that are very high. Dr. Wahls:And all those corn oils, soybean
oils, sunflower oils. All these oils are very high in omega-6. We’re heating those fats, making more trans
fats as we cook with them. Dr. Pompa:Look at all the vegetable oils we’re
heating. Dr. Wahls:It’s disastrous, absolutely disastrous. Dr. Pompa:We’re speaking the same language. Actually, I have something, Terry, that I
teach, called my five R’s of cellular healing. I started teaching it just because I was having
trouble communicating how to fix the cell to doctors, saying this is the key, so I developed
the five R’s. Honestly, how it came to me was divine in
nature, I’m telling you. R number one is you have to go upstream and
remove the sources that drive information. Typically, these are toxic and stressors in
nature. It could be chemical, physical, or emotional. R number two is fix the cell membrane, or
regenerate the cell membrane, to get the R’s correctly. That’s where these fats come in, in the
right ratios, fats like cholesterol and saturated fats, which have been demonized. Dr. Wahls:What ratio do you like to provide? Dr. Pompa:Obviously, in nature, we see from
1:1 omega-6 and omega-3, to 5:1 in nature. For brain fixing, I like a 4:1 ratio of omega-6. Dr. Wahls:Yes. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Terry, I think we unite on this. I think that part of the problems we’re
seeing today – here’s what I see – a lot of my listening audience, they’re all
taking fish oils. Probably 80% of what they’re taking is rancid,
but let’s say they get a good one, okay? In the beginning, because they’re omega-6
dominant from eating all the corn and grain-based stuff, it works and they see a positive. Then they pass that line of that ratio, and
now what we’re finding is a lot of the health enthusiasts are omega-3 dominant. It’s a new problem. It takes cardiolipin out of the mitochondrial
membrane, and it creates all these other new issues. Do you feel that? Do you see that, as well? Dr. Wahls:I think, ideally, you monitor the
fatty acid ratio in cell membranes, so you know you aren’t overshooting. This is the problem: We use supplements as
opposed to food, and we get ratios wrong. We don’t know when to stop, that we’ve
got the tank back in the right direction. Nearly every nutrient has a U-shaped curve,
even water. If you’re too low, big trouble. Nice broad range, we’re going to be okay. Too high, we’ll become toxic again. We’re suppressing the effect of the other
correlate nutrients, in this case, omega-3 and omega-6, or zinc and copper. That’s why people, I think, will want to
talk to you about supplements. I’m like, “I really like talking about
food. I want you to have those supplement conversations
with your healthcare practitioner so they can guide you so you don’t overshoot.” Dr. Pompa:Terry, I love when I unite with
somebody. The 4:1 ratio of six to three, that targets
the brain and the cell membrane, by the way, when we look at the studies – Warren Lyman
there, completely. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:I love that. The magic is oftentimes in the food, and you’re
right. If you’re going to do this, doing it by
yourself, you need a coach that understands this. Right? Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:There is no doubt about it, and
it’s my goal, teaching doctors around the country. There are these balances that you can just
drive. Listen, think about this, Terry. I know you experienced this. Four things that everyone that you see and
I see, if we just get into a conversation with the public. They’re on a multivitamin, which is typically
more toxic than it is good. They’re on vitamin D that’s not balanced
with K, causing functional deficiencies in vitamin A. They’re typically just taking
vitamin D. Then there’s the probiotic that’s the
same one they’ve been on for a year, which is causing dysbiosis. We’ll get to the microbiome in a moment. Then they’re on the fish oil, driving themselves
in omega-3 dominance, and it’s probably rancid anyway. Am I right? Are those the four things that everyone in
America is taking? They’re typically making themselves worse. Dr. WahlsCertainly, a lot of folks are on
those, and there’s a high likelihood of getting into trouble. Absolutely. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. It’s remarkable, honestly. When I talk about autoimmune, I like to put
it in context of a three-legged stool, meaning that the three-legged stool – if one of
these things isn’t there, you won’t probably get it. If one of these three things isn’t there,
you probably won’t fix it. The one leg is a certain gene gets turned
on. We have to change that epigenetic. We get the autoimmune of our genetic weakness. The second leg is the stressors, physical,
chemical, emotional, that trigger the gene. If we don’t get upstream to removing those,
we typically won’t turn the gene off. The last leg is this gut issue. We know that certain bacteria, when missing,
we can’t even make something called a T regulatory cell that actually turns off our
immune system to say, “Hey, everything’s okay.” Now we have a society that has leaky gut,
exposed to chemicals and things killing bacteria even from birth on. Dr. Wahls:[00:22:30]
Dr. Pompa:Fixing the gut – going upstream and detoxing the cell, and taking the stressors
away, and turning off the bad genes. Those three things is what I identify. Start with the microbiome because you have
a lot of study here, and I want to hear from you on [00:22:47] gut. Why is it [00:22:49] fix it? Dr. Wahls:In the clinical trial that we’re
doing right now, enrolling folks and putting them in either the Swank diet or the Wahls
diet. We’re monitoring their microbiome, so they’re
pooping in a cup for us. We’ll see how the microbiome is before they
get enrolled because we’ll watch them for a few weeks. We enroll them. Then we’re going to monitor how the poop
changes, and we’ll see the changes in the two diets. Some of the observations I have so far is
that there’s a lot of species variation in the census taking that we do. Then there’s metabolic measurements that
we do to see – given the bacteria that live in my bowels, what are all the metabolic functions
that they have for me? I think the problem is when we are – don’t
have enough gut bacteria diversity, I don’t have all of the metabolic robustness that
I should have. We can replace that with the species. Which species I need may be different from
person to person. What I’m really trying to do is fill in
that metabolic hole. If I have 2,000 different species in my guts,
I’m more likely to have a robust metabolic function of my bowels. Dr. Pompa:Right. Dr. Wahls:If I have only 600 species or only
500 species because I’ve taken so many antibiotics, and eat so much sugar, so few vegetables,
I have far less metabolic robustness in my gut, which means there’s less metabolic
activity that gets transferred across into my bloodstream going up to the portal vein,
and my health suffers. Dr. Pompa:Stop there. Diversity, right? I read it in the studies, as well. Diversity is the key. My comment earlier, just taking the same darn
probiotic really isn’t – let’s face it, Terry. It can help in the beginning. Of course, any probiotic, it can make a difference. Then it’s probably the same seven or eleven
species that are in every probiotic out there. How do we gain this diversity? How are you gaining the diversity with the
tools that we have? Dr. Wahls:Who lives in my bowels depends so
completely on what I’m eating. If I want more diversity, I have to have more
fiber, more soluble fiber, more resistant starch. If I’m not pooping two or three snakes a
day, I need more of that stuff. Having more fermented vegetables, having a
plateful of fermented red cabbage or kimchi adds far more diversity than a probiotic,
adds much bigger numbers, and having nine cups of vegetables will do a lot of pooping
for most people. If somehow it’s not enough, then I have
them take more psyllium husk, or chia seed, or ground flax seed, or raw potato starch,
or inulin, or larch. They can sort of take their pick. Frankly, I like them to be diverse. The other thing that I tell people I do is
I work on growing organic soil in my garden. I have a lot of root vegetables. I’ll so out, I’ll pull out my radishes,
my onions. I wipe them off a little bit, get most of
the dirt off, and then I eat them. Dr. Pompa:I want to hug you right now. This is my language. This is what I – you and I are very much
in alignment on the microbiome. Very good. Dr. Wahls:You know, if we look at the hunting/gathering
societies – the Hunza, they’ve got 1,200 different species, 1,600 different species
in their guts. Then we’ve found the Yanomami, and had three
times as much, so what are they eating? They’re eating some vegetables, some tubers,
whatever they caught that day, and they’re not washing their hands a lot. They probably have a lot more exposure to
dirt. Dr. Pompa:Yup. Dr. Wahls:I predict there may be a time that
healthcare practitioners will be talking to people about growing dirt, and having organic
dirt that we consume, and that we’re going to rely on our stomach acid to take out the
troublesome bacteria, and that we’re going to shift our thinking on, “Is this bacteria
a pathogen?” to “Is this community well-balanced so that all the metabolic functions I need
are happening. Wait a minute. I’m missing some metabolic function, so
I’m going to go get some more of this fermented cucumbers, or fermented squash, or fermented
beets because they’re going to give me more of those bacterial species that I need.” Dr. Pompa:Boy, I tell you, I’m a big fan
of all the fermented stuff you mentioned and all the dirt. Some of my favorite bacteria products are
dirt. Zach Bush’s new product, Restore – I’m
going to have him on here in a couple weeks. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:It’s from seven layers deep in
lignite. It’s dirt. We [00:28:28] dirt products. Dr. Wahls:We got so excited when we discovered
bacteria and discovered some pathogens, but that’s far too simple. Life is a much more complicated interaction
of all of these life forms, this whole ecosystem that each one of us is. If we want to be healthy, it’s like having
to fix the health of the ecosystem of Flint, now that we have to fix their water. Dr. Pompa:I’m going this Thursday. They’re bringing me out there. I’m teaching doctors –
Dr. Wahls:Ooh, excellent! Dr. Pompa:Yeah. They mayor’s going to be there. I’m teaching doctors on what I do, cellular
detox and how to [00:29:09] Dr. Wahls:Ooh, excellent! Man, I am so glad to hear that! Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:Let me know. I’ll be delighted to promote your being
there. That’s just wonderful to hear. Dr. Pompa:Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. I’m sure we’ll do more, but yeah, they’re
flying me out there. I have a lot of the heads from the hospitals,
the doctors, coming. It’s going to be a great opportunity to
make a difference in a really horrible area. Sorry to interrupt you. I just got very excited about that when you
said that. Dr. Wahls:It’s all about teaching people
the human ecosystem. We have to clean our ecosystem, reduce the
[00:29:40], get more vegetables, nourish our bacterial friends. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. No, absolutely. Our cleanly society, from not – hand washing,
to antibiotics, overuse of antibiotics, to the hand sanitizers that are everywhere, to
the hand sanitizer, antibacterial soaps. It’s remarkable. Then, of course, we’re putting glyphosate
in our food system, which is the number one herbicide/pesticide in the world, that’s
wiping out bacteria, as well. It’s not surprising that the majority of
the population has a leaky gut and a dysbiosis of these bacteria that you and I understand
not only affects your digestion, but affects your immunity, drives autoimmune, and also
affects the brain because you can’t make the chemicals this brain works with without
certain bacteria. This is the [00:30:33], Terry. Dr. Wahls:Absolutely. Glyphosate is in the rain. Glyphosate is in the rain, and so that has
just profound implications for all of us. That’s going to get into the soil in my
organic garden, as well. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. It’s devastating to the gut, microbiome,
and it’s so sad what it’s doing to our children. I have five kids, and when they get in their
thirties, I cannot imagine, Terry, the level of autoimmune that we’re driving. Think of it. Glyphosate turns on bad genes. Glyphosate causes a disruption in the microbiome. All legs of the stool, glyphosate fills, and
it [00:31:23] Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Are you aware of Pottenger’s cats? Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:Yes. For the listeners, Pottenger –
Dr. Pompa:Sorry. I’ve got my dog problem here. Dr. Wahls:We have dogs, too. I enjoy that. He did a series of experiments with cats,
where he observed that if the cats were fed cooked meat, they’re clearly missing some
nutrient, which led to congenital malformations that were more severe with each successive
generations. I believe the fourth generation was the last
generation that could reproduce. The fifth generation was sterile. Now, it’s not exactly a corollary for us. If we go to World War II, that’s when, let’s
say 1950, the use of chemicals in the food supply and in agriculture really became very,
very intensive. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:From 1950 to 2000, two generations,
we’re the third generation. We see with each generation more serious behavioral
problems in our children, higher rates of autism, higher rates of cancers. We’ve been seeing in the young adults higher
rates of infertility, and of course, just higher rates of autoimmunity, obesity. Our fourth generation will be 2050. Will we be sterile? Will we have severely reduced fertility? I think it’s certainly quite possible. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. I do, too. Dr. Wahls:I’d also tell you I tend to be
a half-full glass kind of person, so at the same time, the Internet was invented. It was the Internet that allowed me to make
my personal discovery of functional medicine, the research that I was able to do to create
the protocol which has restored my health and is restoring the health of millions. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:Because of the Internet, the public
is able to learn [00:33:37], stay current with the latest science. The government will never fix this. Insurance companies can’t do it. Businesses can’t do it, but we, the public,
as long as we have access to the Internet, we can do these podcasts, do social media,
tell our story. The people, some of us, at least, are going
to figure this out. Dr. Pompa:Hey, Terry, as long as we keep our
freedom, right, in this country? I always worry. You’re right. You’re right. I’m with you on that that it is this freedom
that we’re able to enjoy. Dr. Wahls:As long as we can publish and talk
to each other about our own personal experience – and I’m careful to always disclose my
story. Research is ongoing. More stuff has to be answered. If these interventions sound pretty low-risk,
vegetables and fiber, removing a few things that are not so good for you, try it, and
see what you think. Dr. Pompa:[00:34:35] good fats that everyone’s
telling you stay away from, the high fats –
Dr. Wahls:Go have bacon and greens. They’re like –
Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:One of the favorite things I get
to say to vets in my class is my daughter and my kids had a favorite saying, “Bacon
will fix any vegetable.” I tell the vets, “Yes. Cut up a couple pieces of bacon, fry them
up, leave the fat in the skillet, add your vegetables, cook two minutes, and eat. If you don’t like it, add two more pieces
of bacon the next time you make that dish. Keep adding it until you’re feeling good. You just need enough fat to cut the bitterness.” Dr. Pompa:It’s funny. I agree, totally. When you mentioned the Hunza people, it’s
remarkable. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:I’m going to put this in your
head, and you can ponder it. I wrote an article called Diet Variation. I love to change the diet. I believe that it emulates what our ancestors
were forced to do. When you look at the Hunza people, the British
would go there. They would think that they were vegetarians. They would go in the summer, and they were
just gathering some berries, and eating vegetables, and things. “Surely, they’re vegetarians.” They never went in the winter when all they
were eating was lard, cheese, their fermented products that they could keep in the winter. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Dr. Pompa:They weren’t eating vegetables. Something remarkable happened in the spring. They didn’t have food. They were in between. They ran out of meat and lards, and then they
didn’t have their vegetables yet. They called it starvation spring. Terry, I emulate those cycles when I work
with people. We do periodic fasts. Dr. Wahls:Oh, yeah. Dr. Pompa:We do even [00:36:12] fasts. We change the diet around at times because
it forces this – the body to adapt, and bad cells have trouble adapting. Yeah. Check out my article. Dr. Wahls:Oh, that’s excellent. Dr. Pompa:When we study these tribes and these
cultures that have just done so well, the variations that they were forced into really
made them a stronger people. Dr. Wahls:They also have 200 different species
that they eat. I talk about keep track. It’s sort of fun to do. Little notebook of the various plants you’re
eating and the animals you’re eating, and are you going to make 200? When I started doing that, then I noticed
my thinking changed. I go to the grocery store. There’s a new food that shows up. I’m like, “Oh, my god. I got to try that out because I’m working
on my 200.” Dr. Pompa:Yeah. That’s great. Dr. Wahls:Then when I go down to the tea and
spice aisle, it’s like, “Man, I got to try” – I try new teas, new spices because
I’m very intentional. I want to be well beyond 200 different species. Dr. Pompa:It’s interesting. We’ve lost our relationship with plants. Not just plants as we think them, but herbs. Dr. Wahls:Yes. Yeah. Dr. Pompa:Think about it. Cultures were – herbs, and they were gatherers. Half of their vegetables – maybe not half,
but a certain – a larger percent of their vegetables were actually herbs. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:They utilized herbs. Dr. Wahls:They’re probably our original
super-food. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:They’re so powerful that the societies
appreciated the tremendous healing capacity of those herbs, those plants. They became a part of their culinary tradition. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Talk a little bit about methylation because
you were a vegetarian. Dr. Wahls:Okay. Dr. Pompa:You said it, and I agree. Parts, not all – it was the vegetarian diet
that possibly – methylation, the low fat, all that was part of it. Methylation, we know today, can turn off bad
genes and protect genes, and surely, you and I both, at one point, were methyl depleted. Matter of fact, I said I have my 5 Rs. R number 5 is reestablishing methylation. So many people today are methyl depleted because
of stress. Whether it’s emotional, chemical, physical,
it all depletes methylation. Talk a little bit about that because I know
it’s part of what you do. Dr. Wahls:There’s the methylating factors
in the B vitamins. For certainly vegetarians, they’re going
to be low on B12. As we age and mature, get over 50 – I passed
that a few years ago – again, your ability to make intrinsic factor declines. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:We so commonly prescribe medications
that lower stomach acid and also for the compromise your ability to make intrinsic factor. Organ meats, great source of B12. We don’t eat nearly enough of that, as well. Dr. Pompa:The Hunza [00:39:19] a lot of it. Yeah. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:[00:39:20] a lot of it. Dr. Wahls:Our ancestors knew – would have
had about 1/3 of their meat be organ meats. I have this lovely, lovely cookbook from my
great grandmother, The Compendium of Cookery and Modern Book of Knowledge from 1857. They’re talking about eating the whole animal,
eating the organ meats. That was a vital part of how you took care
of your family. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:Growing up, we had liver and onions
every Friday night. My family eats liver and onions and organ
meats quite regularly. Both my kids know how to make liver and onions
in a very delicious way and boil bacon-wrapped chicken livers. That’s what we call our surprise yummies. We makes it for guests coming over. Don’t tell them what they’ve eaten until
afterwards. They’re like, “Oh, my god. That was delicious.” It’s very common to have nowhere near enough
B12. If you’re a vegetarian, you’re very likely
to have not enough B12. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:You might have enough folate, but
you need both the B12 and the folate to do really well. Dr. Pompa:Creatine plays a big role in methylation,
which people don’t realize. Dr. Wahls:As a vegetarian, I think it would
be pretty tough to have enough creatine. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. What’s your feeling on – it’s kind of
in vogue right now. I probably get questions every day on it. A few years ago, I was really excited about
it, and I’ve become a little less excited about it. All the SNPs, what value do you think is in
it, or not? Dr. Wahls:At the most –
Dr. Pompa:I said, “Snips”, so I probably lost people. If I put the word M-T-H-F-R genotype, then
maybe I pulled people back in. That’s called a genetic SNP, folks. Terry, answer – with that. Dr. Wahls:A SNP is single nucleotide polymorphism. It’s how we get variation. We’ve identified at least 10 million variations. It’s not so pricey. I could get my entire DNA sequence. I could take my report in to my doc and say,
“What does this mean?” They’re like, “Oh, my god. I can’t deal with that.” You could give your report to another company
that does an analysis to say, “Based on your SNPs, we’re going to recommend – you
have five variations that say you need to take methyl B12, curcumin, and Resveratrol. To go further down the report, it says that
you have seven SNPs that you should not take any Resveratrol. You cannot metabolize curcumin, and you’re
at risk of becoming B12-toxic.” The observation I make is this is far more
complex that we realize. Our ancestors handled those SNPs pretty damn
well. Dr. Pompa:That’s my opinion. Dr. Wahls:They were out eating food, moving
around, being exposed to daylight, going to bed when it was dark, having sex with people
that they liked, hopefully, and having social networks that were supportive. Our problem is not likely our SNPs. Our problem is far more likely our diet and
lifestyle choices. It’s true, I could have a very resistant,
difficult disease. I’ve been doing all the right diet and lifestyle
stuff. I could do a genetic analysis, get some SNPs,
and it could tell me that I don’t have wild-type genes for how I handle B12. I have four SNPs, but it won’t tell me if
those SNPs make my B12 enzymes more efficient or less efficient. Dr. Pompa:Absolutely. Absolutely. Dr. Wahls:I would have to do nutritional assays
to figure out, “Do I have a B12 problem or not? Have I compensated adequately with my dietary
change or not?” My feeling is for most of us, SNPs are not
going to give [00:43:37]. A detailed nutritional metabolic activity
certainly could. A detailed poop analysis, metabolic activity
might. That’s really more of a research question
yet. We’ll probably get it to a point where I
could understand that. People with a lot of money and want to spend
it on stuff, I’d rather they spend it on organic –
Dr. Pompa:Yeah. I agree. It’s sort of coming out. I put a lot of time into it, looked at it,
and started trying to find more clinical benefit. At the end of the day, I said, “It’s really
not changing my clinical outcomes or my doctors’.” I think there’s some benefit to it. I think we can look at certain weaknesses,
but you answered the question. You said, “Yeah, okay, great. You may have the M-T-H-F-R gene, but what
other adaptations that we haven’t discovered yet are turned on to make you more sensitive,
more absorbent of B12 and folic acid and utilizing it differently?” We genetically run around other weak pathways,
and we haven’t even figured it out yet, honestly, because that answers the question
of why you can have the worst genetic types, and yet they have no problem with methylation
or folate. Dr. Wahls:We already know that their ancestors
had reproductive success. Dr. Pompa:Yep. Dr. Wahls:At some point, those SNPs worked
well in our past, or worked well enough that you could have sex and have kids. Dr. Pompa:Absolutely. Just because you have this SNP that we think
is bad, I promise you, there’s probably two others that go with that one that – why
you’re here, and you’re successful. Dr. Wahls:Correct. I think it’s far more important to help
people understand diet and lifestyle choices and how to do them more effectively. I have plenty of people who are still pre-contemplative. They can’t quite get their head around our
approach, but we also have plenty of folks who are able to dive very deep in this remaking
of their lives. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. One more, perhaps, controversial question. We’re both big into the microbiome. What’s your feeling on – and I don’t
want to get anyone in trouble here. The FDA could be potentially listening – fecal
transplant for [00:46:04] as far as bringing in – because I’ve seen miracles happen
here. Dr. Wahls:So have I.
Dr. Pompa:Of course, I’m [00:46:10], but I’ve seen miracles happen and have heard
of the miracles. Dr. Wahls:Certainly, if we go in the US, the
FDA has determined that the only thing that they’re not going to hassle people over
is refractory c diff. Dr. Pompa:Correct. Dr. Wahls:If you’re doing [00:46:28] for
another reason, you’re going to be in trouble with the FDA. We’ve certainly seen many people going over
to the Taymount Clinic in London. They’ve now opened a branch in the Bahamas. They do a nice history, evaluate do you probably
have a high risk of having diminished bacterial diversity? They’ll tell you that they can give you
10 fecal transplants over 10 days that will greatly enhance your diversity in your gut,
likely reduce any gut symptoms. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:We don’t know what effect it will
have on your other chronic health issues. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. Dr. Wahls:It may have no effect, or it may
have a [00:47:09] effect. Dr. Pompa:By the way, I’ve seen just that
when [00:47:13] gotten them done. Dr. Wahls:Oh, yeah. Dr. Pompa:Dramatic – shuts down all their
autoimmune, and I’ve seen – Dr. Wahls:Parkinson’s, MS, people who are
in wheelchairs, who are walking again – so it is, for some people, very dramatic. Now, if they don’t radically change their
diet – Dr. Pompa:They’re going to kill it. Dr. Wahls:They can’t keep their friends
around, and they’ll lose their diversity and their autoimmunity. Dr. Pompa:Dr. Terry, I’ve found the same
thing, too. People that are very toxic and keep moving
toxins out of their body, they can just keep killing all of the new guys, the good bacteria
that they keep putting in. It’s that three-legged stool. We have to fix the microbiome, the gut. We have to get rid of the stressors, and ultimately,
that will change the genome. Dr. Wahls:Yeah. Dr. Pompa:Of course, I give nutrients here
that focus on the genome and protecting the genome. That’s really where my 5Rs interplays. You know, Terry, time just flew by. I feel like –
Dr. Wahls:Oh, goodness. That was lots of fun. Dr. Pompa:I know, right? I could just go on and on. It’s remarkable that you and I have never
met like this, yet we agree so much. I’m going to fly out there one day and see
what you have going on. Dr. Wahls:Every summer, we do a seminar for
the public, three days, talking about the Wahls Protocol, teach them what’s the latest
research, what we’re doing the research on. This year, we’re adding a health practitioner
workshop day, and I’m adding a certification program. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. That’s great. You know, [00:48:49]
Dr. Wahls:We’ve got to train more people to think the way we think. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. That’s been my passion now. I take some clients on virtually, not as many
as I used to. My passion is really training more doctors
to do what we’re doing, the things we’re talking about here. Dr. Wahls:Absolutely. Dr. Pompa:Everything that we’ve spoke about,
people need coached. I always say, “You don’t need more treatments. You need to learn, folks listening, what Terry
and I are talking about.” We’re both passionate about training up
a new type of doctor that understands this. Dr. Wahls:A new generation of health professionals
that will [00:49:24] us. Dr. Pompa:Absolutely. Thank you for your service. Thank you for coming on this show because
I’m telling you, you’re changing lives. We reach a lot of people through this show. Give your website again so people –
Dr. Wahls:Sure. TerryWahls, T-E-R-R-Y, Wahls, W-A-H-L-S dot
com. I’m on Facebook, Terry Wahls, MD, and on
Twitter, Terry Wahls. Come check out what we’re doing. Sign up for the newsletter. Come to our seminar. Learn a lot. Change the world. Dr. Pompa:Yeah. I’m behind everything that you’re doing
there. Keep us abreast of more of the clinical studies
and trials because we’ll put it to practice. We want to teach and do what’s working. Dr. Wahls:Sounds like a plan. Thank you very much. Dr. Pompa:Thank you. Thanks for, in your busy schedule, making
it happen. Thank you, Terry. Dr. Wahls:You’re welcome. Bye-bye now. Dr. Pompa:All right. Bye-bye.