Welcome to Pushing the Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential. With your host Lisa Tamati, brought to you by lisatamati.com.
Lisa Tamati: Welcome back to Pushing the Limits. Today I have another super interview with Dr Cam McDonald, who you may recognise from previous episodes that we've done. Now, Cam McDonald is the ph360 CEO in Australia. And he's one of the world's leading experts in personalised health and the use of genetics and epigenetics. He really understands when it comes to individuals being able to understand the strengths of the unique biology, and how it gives them an exact pathway to better health in a way that makes it easy for them. He's a leader and educator, a scientist, motivator, and he is a crusader on a mission is what Dr Cam is. And he is a wonderful guy.
Now today we are going to be talking about the stress response, what happens in the body when you are under stress. We're also going to be talking about how that pertains to your specific health type or your body type with your specific genetics, and how different people react in different ways to stressors, and how genetics actually makes a 50% contribution to this whole thing. We're also going to be looking at resilience and stress management and how to build a better, more resilient, stronger you. So I hope you enjoy this episode with Dr Cam McDonald.
If after listening to this episode, you're keen to do the epigenetics program, which were steeped in and have been using for a number of years now with our athletes and with corporates and with individuals wanting high-performance people dealing with very difficult health journeys, then we'd love you to check out what we do here on over to lisatamati.com and push the button ‘Work With Us’ and you'll see our Peak Epigenetics program here, you can either jump on a live webinar with us, we have one every couple of weeks, or just reach out to us or just sign up for the program, it will be life changing for you. It will help you optimise every aspect of your life: not only your your food, and your exercise, which everybody wants to know about and what's right for you, but also everything to do with your mood, behaviour, the brain function, what social environments you'll do well and what physical environments you do well, and we touch on some of these topics in today's episode. So head on over to lisatamati.com, under the ‘Work With Us’ button, you'll see that there.
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Right, over to the show with Dr Cam McDonald.
Hi, everybody and welcome to Pushing the Limits. Super excited to have you with me here again today. I have a repeat offender on the show Dr Cam McDonald, who's coming on for how many times is this? Number three, I think, Dr Cam?
Dr Cam McDonald: I think yeah, it is number three. Yeah, we've done a combo, we've done a solo and now another solo.
Lisa: Yeah. Today we're going to be talking about resilience, stress and immunity, and how to personalise your protocols and your lifestyle interventions for your particular genetic type to increase your resilience and immunity. So Dr Cam, where should we start with this big topic? It's a big, it's something that everyone's talking about at the moment as immunity and lowering stress levels.B ecause when we're stressed when we got lots of stress hormones running through us all the time, which I think you and I probably both do, to a certain degree with our jobs and our lifestyle and our genetics. How do we manage that on a day to day basis? And how do we personalise that and understand that in regards to our own sort of body make-up and health types?
Dr Cam: That's a great opening question, Lisa, that is as broad as your life. So probably, I reckon the best way that we would start with this is, is just by defining these things like stress and resilience and even immunity. So I guess stress can be defined as anything that takes our body away from homeostasis. So we're calm, we're cool, we're collected, we're lying in bed. Waking up and putting your feet on the floor actually creates a stress on our vascular system. Our blood has to start moving harder, because it's now moving against gravity, that creates a little bit of a stress that's taken us away from that resting state. And so if you prolong that, or put the wrong kind of stress on somebody, then it creates damage. But then the really cool thing about the stress cycle is that if you recover, then that, your body learns. So it goes, alright, I've got damaged here. And I'm now going to learn about that, and in my recovery, I'm going to get stronger so that that same stress, when I get exposed to it again, doesn't affect me as much.
And so I guess some examples of stress might be, exercise is a stress. We don't think about it that way, we think what's positive exercise is positive. Yeah, but exercise is actually a stress. It makes us feel, it actually puts a demand on our body. And you will know, running your ultramarathons, that your body is not in its best health at the 90 kilometre mark. It is at its best, they'll probably before the race starts, and then your body is exposed to a prolonged period of stress. But then you do that your body then rests and recovers and you get stronger so that you can get up and do it again.
But then there's other stresses, you know, like our workload, and being underslept, and eating the wrong food, and being in relationships, that great stress. All of these things put a demand on our body and our mind. And this tells the body that there's some sort of emergency. And so in that emergency, we have to take action, we have to cope, which we can expand on. And then we have, then we get very tired and we get exhausted. And then that's when we need to recover. So for me, a stress is really anything that takes us away from that rested state.
Dr Cam: If it's short, and the right kind of thing, and then we recover, we get stronger. If it's prolonged, and there's no recovery, then it can help us deteriorate and lead to very poor health and lowers our immune system as well. And then when it comes to resilience, resilience is about being exposed to stress, but being able to handle it.
Dr Cam: And so, when, it's different to recovery in that you're getting stronger resilience, as in you are in the stress. And generally if you have, I like to think of resilience as having resilience juice. You've got a certain amount based on your capacity to tolerate stress. And so you know, the training that you've put in, the mindset that you have, gives you more juice so than in any given stress, you can tolerate a better and push forward. And I'd have to say that resilience, or stress is essential. And so we have to have stress to grow.
Therefore, we must have resilience to be able to tolerate that stress so that we can continue growing. If we run out of resilience, we don't want to expose ourselves to stress ever. But this doesn't allow us to grow then. So this is where I see those two things into playing. And then the immune system is one of those things that you can have an underactive immune system that isn't mounting a good response. Or you can have an overactive immune system, which has actually been attacking your own body, autoimmune conditions.
And so we're really looking when we're talking about immune health, we're talking about that sweet spot right in the middle where we're aggressively fighting things from the outside, but protecting our own tissues and organs at the same time. So I reckon that's a place to start. We can go from there.
Lisa: Yeah, that's, he just done, he did that so well. So I think so stress, resilience and immunity are all interlinked. And we need a certain amount of stress. And we talk about hormetic stresses, and how good they are for our bodies because they cause a cascade of events. When I hop into the sauna, it's hot and I'm sweating, and that's causing a response in the body. I don't want to be in there for three hours, though, because that's going to kill me, probably. But a small, short, sharp shock can often be helpful in creating a hormetic stress. So what we're trying to do is avoid the chronic stressors, the sort of stuff, excuse me, that builds up over time and the stuff that's going to be negative for our mindset, and our ability to cope.
So when we have our stress response, Dr Cam, what actually happens in the body? So—I don't know—someone cuts you off in traffic, or you get a nasty email from your boss or something like that, or you have a fight with your spouse or, what's actually going on on a physiological level?
Dr Cam: Yeah, awesome. So there's a really beautiful model that talks about the stages of stress and design by Hans Selye. And this has stood the test of time, and it's definitely the way that we need to understand stress. So we have our—it's a four-stage model, with the first stage being homeostasis, when you just chill out, like you're sitting in the car, there's no real stress, you're just driving along. What happens when you get cut off, or the boss yells at you, or says', I want to see you in’... probably the boss saying, ‘I want to see you in my office in 10 minutes in an hour, even better’.
And so what happens in that first stage of stress is you become neurally alert. Alarm stage, it's called. Essentially, all of your senses will become more alert to say, ‘What's going on here? And what kind of information do I need to pick up from the environment to make sure that I'm going to be okay'? So you go to alarm phase, it's like, ‘What's going on? what's happening’? And so that's where we get anxious, which is worrying about the future, it's like what could possibly be coming in our future. And so that alarm stage, and another way to think about it is you're standing on the start of a 800-metre race. So you've got that, that nervous energy, the gun hasn't gone off yet, all in your brain. Yeah. So that's alarm stage one.
Alarms, sorry, and then we go into resistance stage two. Resistance stage is where we are now in the fight. We're now in the boss's office, defending ourselves. We are 500 metres through the race, where our body, it's now no longer a matter of ‘I've got to be alert to the environment', but rather, ‘I've now got to get in and fight. And I've got to cope'. And so this coping thing is something that we're doing all of the time. So, and in the, the great example, obviously, would be yourself in a long-distance run. Your body has to cope with all of the stress of continuing, when your body wants to stop. And genuinely it says, ‘I want to stop. This stress is not fun, I want to stop, please'.
The same thing goes for your—you've had a bad night's sleep for five nights in a row. And now you've got a front up at work. And you have to cope with the tiredness. And so that coping is resistance stage two. What your body does to cope in stage one, our nervous system becomes aware in stage two, our blood pressure goes up, our blood sugar levels go up. Now, blood fats go up. Everything that's going to support energy release in the body, and making sure that we can maintain a very high level of energy, they are going to be the systems that go up. And so you know, because when you're 500 minutes to a ratio of blood pressure, if it drops, you won't have enough blood to pump around your body.
So in order to cope, it has to keep your blood pressure up. If you're tired and underslept your body in order to cope with the workload, it needs to have a blood pressure that's going to allow you to stay awake, you need to have blood sugars that give you fuel, you need to have blood fats that give you fuel.
And so in stress, your body breaks down muscle.
Lisa: Can’t avoid.
Dr Cam: And turns that into carbohydrates for your brain, and it breaks down fat tissue and turns it into fats for your body, your blood pressure goes up. And so now we have this. Essentially, if you have a 500-metre race, it would look, I haven't made the race, it would look like you have sort of diabetes and high blood pressure if you want to take a snapshot of that race.
Lisa: And I'm done that in the middle of things. And it’s like, the individual training sessions and I took, I remember taking my blood sugar. I've been fasting for 18 hours, did an interval training session, took my blood sugar and it was at 9.5 and I had a heart attack. Like, what the hell!
Dr Cam: Exactly. Hopefully you didn't have a heart attack.
Lisa: No, I don’t.
Dr Cam: But you know, looking like a profile, your profile would have. So this is what's so important is that exercise, that under sleep, it makes your body cope. And blood pressure isn't bad, blood pressure is keeping you awake. High blood sugars aren't bad. They are providing fuel for your brain. Blood fats are bad, high triglycerides aren't bad, they are keeping your body fuelled. And so we see these things as bad things but in fact, they are our coping mechanisms. Without them we wouldn't be able to get through the day.
Lisa: Right, in the short term.
Dr Cam: in the short term. And this is the problem is that you'll then persist with this. But before we get there, what happens in your resistance phase? It essentially assumes that you are being chased by something very urgently you need to get away from, like a sabre-toothed tiger, essentially. Yeah, and so on. Your immune system goes, ‘Well, I don't have the energy to tackle these bacteria, to mess with this virus. I just need to make sure that I can supply as much fuel down to my bones and my muscles as I can so that we can get out of here. And then I'll worry about my bacterial infections later’.
And so while we're in this coping phase, your immune system gets suppressed, it goes down. And this is why, in some autoimmune conditions, they actually use very strong immune suppressants and reduce the immune system because the immune system, in stress, depresses. And so in coping phase, if it's really short happy days, because your body can tolerate that, that's what it's designed for. But then it's been 12 weeks of low sleep, lots of coffee, which increases your alarm stage, pushes your blood pressure up, you're working really hard so you’ve got that mental stress as well. And then, over a prolonged period of time, your body hasn't had a chance to recover. And so then you then go on holidays.
Lisa: And what happens? Yeah, you get sick.
Dr Cam: You get sick! And you think that this is your body being even more sick, we think I'm sick. So therefore my body is even worse than it was at work. But what's happened is that you've just delayed your immune system to turn on, even though your body was just as sick, probably more sick. What happens now in stage three is exhaustion phase or recovery phase.
Dr Cam: And so your body, in order to gain growth, like get stronger from a workout, you know, you take a muscle to temporary fatigue when you're lifting weights. And what happens? Your muscle gets exhausted, can't lift another weight, it then rests for 48 hours, and it comes back stronger. So this exhaustion phase is actually really important. But what happens when you get sick, your body, your brain, it's like, as you turn off work, your brain finally dials down that internal stress, that reason to cope. And so now you don't have to cope anymore. And so all of your recovery mechanisms now increase.
And one of the best ways for your body to recuperate as quickly as possible is to lie flat on your back for a week. So I'm gonna make you incredibly sick. I'm going to tackle all these bacterial, these viral infections. I'm going to recover your body; I'm going to try and replenish your nervous system. And I'm going to do that as quickly as possible. And so I'm going to drive a lot of symptoms that help our bodies slow down, so that you do take some rest. Because our body is speaking to us!
Lisa: ‘I’m gonna knock the crap out of you!’
Dr Cam: Saying, ‘Hey, you've been going too fast for too long, you need to rest and recover. I'm going to make that happen now, I'm going to make it hard for you to get up'. Your body is actually on your side. And we see this even at a day to day level where if you get tired throughout the day, so you wake up in the morning, you've got some really important stuff on, you have some coffee that puts you even more alert and coping your system. You’re then pushing hard all day long. You're on your best behaviour at work. Yeah, you then get home and your brain switches off. Yep. And you're not yet sick. But your brain is so exhausted that it switches off, at least the prefrontal cortex does.
Lisa: Yeah, and then you become a horrible person.
Dr Cam: Your control, you become this person who hates their family, all of us don't understand why.
Lisa: Irritable, shifting. Hey, guys last night–
Dr Cam: Exactly. We all do, I think I've stepped out of a few of those myself. And so we have this short-term experience of stress, and then recovery, which is exercise. Short-term stress, recover, get stronger. Short term stress of day to day, you know, but it's probably a bit longer than what our body would like. We get stressed, we have to recover, we have to recover with rest. And if we don't get that rest, then it'll express itself through shortness, we won't have that tolerance that we had at work. Because we don't have that as much cope on, we're exhausted. Yes.
Lisa: Wow, that's just really, that’s so pertinent to what I did last night. Got very shitty, had to go for a very long walk. And because I had a hard, stressful day, and this exactly what happened, you know. I had a bit of a meltdown, and then came home and got my shit together. But I know I should do, I know I should go for a walk.
Dr Cam: Exactly, exactly. And one of the biggest problems just to expand this to one final timeline is that you do this for 10 years.
Dr Cam: And your body says I need you to stop completely. And that's a heart attack. You know, it's like you've been coping for long enough, your blood pressure has been high enough for long enough, your cholesterol has been high enough for long enough, so much that it has created damage because there's been no recovery. So now I'm going to stop you for six months.
Dr Cam: Because it's been so long since we stopped last time. And so the key part of this stress piece is you can expect any stress, but it's about the recovery that is most important. If you recover appropriately, you get stronger, and then you repeat that stress again. And this is where the resilience comes in is because if you see stress as a positive, even stress at work, and you have like a really tough day at work, you go, ‘Whoa! I've learned how my body responds in stress. I'm gonna learn, or I now know how to deal with that situation better’. That resilience mindset right there, that allows you to actually lean into those lessons, recover, and actually get a lesson for next time as well.
But if you've got a mindset that this stress is killing me, then you don't fully recover, and your mind will actually create more stress on top the next time you experience the same thing as well. And so this is where that resilience base in that mindset is not just physical, is how much can you tolerate? How much can you cope physically before your body cops in? But also, how much—how you’re shaping your thoughts around this stressful experience as well. So and just having a better mindset and more presence and more awareness and more mindfulness, essentially, will actually improve your immune system, because you don't go into the same level of stress, because you've got a mindset that is able to… Yeah, exactly.
Lisa: You can see things coming sort of thing and in trying to try to hit it off in the past sort of thing before that, because we you know, we all, I think for years and years, I hear people say, ‘Oh, stress, you know, stress is bad for you, or you're going to have a heart attack'. If you keep going at that rate, that type of talk that you hear, but you don't understand, really, the mechanisms that are at play in this game, and what's actually happening. And the situation with our lives at, presently, you know, what we've got, you know, COVID in the world, which has caused, as a society, a huge amount of stress, and uncertainty and all these sorts of things. So now is a particularly important time to work on these tools and to be able to, you know, build our resilience.
And one of the things I wanted to mention there was that, if you're, as you know, hard charging type A personalities, got a lot of stress hormones anyway. You have, you know, when I was younger, this especially was like, just toughen up, just go harder and just deal with it. And if you're tired, work bloody harder instead of going the opposite. And that works for a certain amount of time, until it doesn't, and then you burn out. And, you know, so let's look at now, how different health types you know, because Dr Cam, as everyone knows, hopefully you listened to the podcast is the CEO of ph360. This is a genetic program that we look at the epigenetics and how your environment is affecting your life and your health. So let's look at how do, and why do, different people react differently to the same stressor? You know, why can somebody have something horrible happen to them, and get up the next day and carry on, and the other person's down for the count? You know, what were the realisation coming in?
Dr Cam: Yeah so, what's so fascinating about how we develop and how we grow as individuals from the womb, and we've discussed this on previous podcasts as well, is that we have certain stressors that will be more stressful for us than for other people. For example, you look at a sumo wrestler, right? A sumo wrestler, if they get pushed by a 60-kilogramme, 15-year-old boy, they're gonna go, ‘Oh. That's not a stress at all. In fact, it tickles a little bit'. Versus then you look at him that 15 year old boy push an infant, that's very, very different to the experience of stress. And so obviously, that's a quite an extreme example, but I wanted to make the point or even if another 60 kilos, 15 year old person, they push them, it creates a different type of stress. So physically, we're different. Mentally, we are also different as well. And behaviourally, we genetics determine over 50% of our personality, or at least 50% of our personality. And so how we respond to different things is built into our biology as well, and into our genetics.
And so what we see is that different people will actually appear in these phases of stress differently as well. And so a person like us, so we've got, we've got Crusaders on the census in the pH360 model. Essentially, the wedges are a quick background. So how we develop in the womb determines which organs and hormones are going to be dominant in our body. Those then contribute to how our body shape and size actually develop.
Dr Cam: So we have some individuals that develop from the layer of the embryo that is more predominant in the nervous system, so the nervous system gets more fuel, the musculoskeletal system and the digestive organs, they get less fuel. And so we end up with a body that has less muscle, less fat, less bone, generally a very fine delicate structure, and hormones that make them—and our nervous system that's very heightened, and hormones that make them very heightened as well, lots of noradrenaline, dopamine.
And so when we look at a very lean, delicate individual. When we think about how they're going to tolerate stress, if they get left out in the jungle, we know that their ability to tolerate that stress is going to be lower because they have less reserves on their body. They have not as much time before they starve because they're fat tissue and muscle tissue just isn't as great as somebody with a much more substantial body. And so these things are being determined very early on in their life.
And so when we talk about stress for this individual, their nervous system is the thing that protects them from stress, because they don't have big, strong muscles that are gonna help them fight. They don't have a big reserve. They have a very hot nervous system. And so they spend a lot of their time in stage one stress. When they go into stress, they immediately start thinking about the future, and where is my certainty in the future coming from. So they're much more prone to be anxious in a stress, because as soon as their environment gets disrupted, they, they start processing neurally to escape. They have to think their way out of trouble. And the things that stress them...
Lisa: They can't fight their way out, so they have to use their brain.
Dr Cam: They have to make a sweet recovery station up in a tree somewhere where they're safe from predators, and set some traps because they don't want to be in hand to hand combat, like they need, really need to be strategic about it. And so what we know is the types of things that stress this person is cold. Firstly, if they're very, very cold, their body doesn't have the muscle or the fat tissue to stay warm. And that really drains their energy levels. And so temperature is huge. So if you put this person in lots of air conditioning, it actually makes them stressed. This is why we have so many people in offices, stressed by sitting in air conditioning, or while wearing three or four scarves. Because temperature is so important to be controlled, but they can't control it, they actually need external heat to control their temperature.
We also know that their nervous system is more heightened, because the way that they protect themselves is to be in stage one most of the time. So they need to essentially be on high alert. So any noise, people doing random things. And when I say random things, lots of people around them, people are a little bit unpredictable. So their brain is alert to unpredictableness or unpredictability I should say. And so we have cold, we have lots of noise, we have lots of people, people touching them, watch all of these things is going to overload their nervous system, which is the thing that they need to be safe. Yeah, and this creates an enormous amount of stress. As a result, this person is going to need to spend more time in the warm by themselves. And this is because that allows them to dial their senses down and come out of stage one. Because any noise, any cold is like an alert to their body saying this environment is not safe.
And when it comes to how they can manage stress, their mind is very, very important. If they can calm their mind, and also have very, very clear dot points on what they're trying to achieve, and very clear outcomes and guidelines, that brings a whole lot of peace to their brain. Because if they're working with known rules, ‘I have my rules. And if I apply this rule, then my future is now certain. And I don't have to worry about the future anymore, because I'm following the rules'. And so everything for their body is very neural inside, how do I create certainty? How do I reduce the amount of mental alertness that I have? And you need to reduce the amount of mental stimulation.
So this will often come along with long, slender bodies with less muscle tissue, less fat tissue. And in order for them to feel best, they need to have a very clear mind, a calm mind with a very calm environment. And so, you can see though, they would spend a lot of time in stage one constantly checking out the environment.
Dr Cam: And that itself can be very exhausting. And so if they're in an environment where they're constantly on like in a really crowded place, or in a nightclub or a festival where there's lots of people and lots of noise, it will, they'll be in cope, just trying to manage all of the nervous stimulation and they'll become exhausted quite quickly because their physical resilience is not as great. They get drained very easily because their nervous system gets tired very easily. Whereas it's very different for other people.
Lisa: So let's for the slender, slight built, not much muscle person, let's go to the opposite end of the scale and look at someone like a Guardian or a Connector, who has a lot of muscle mass, a lot more predisposition to having more adipose tissue and so on. And they've developed in the womb with a lot of energy going into the digestive system.
Dr Cam: Yes, that's right.
Lisa: Yeah. Can you explain the opposite end of the wheel? So what are these people going to, when is it going to be stressful for them? And how do they cope with stressors?
Dr Cam: Yeah, perfect. So this individual, they have more hormones like prolactin, and they are more likely to be insulin resistant. They have a slightly slower thyroid as well. We know subclinical hypothyroidism is very common for these individuals. These are bodies, which are much more like a sumo wrestler, they are bigger, stronger, the most amount of muscle, the most amount of fat tissue, they can accumulate it, they don't have to. They have the strongest bone structure. And essentially, all of these hormones set up, and these metabolic environment sets up for conservation of energy and to protect other people. Prolactin is actually a very protective hormone, it's I need to protect other people. And they respond very well to connection. And so when you've got a body, so the first body that we spoke about is actually quite selfish, I need to look after myself first.
Dr Cam: Versus this body, the way that it's built psychologically, and behaviourally, due to the hormones and it has in the genes that are playing out, they will be very protective and very nurturing of the people around them. Why are they able to do that? It’s because they have this capacity, they have prolactin and insulin and growth hormone, and IGF 1, all of these hormones actually help you become bigger.
For any given circumstance, if this person has more fuel, they will put on more weight as a result of that same amount of fuel. They will conserve better, they will add mass better. And so when you've got this really strong body, very substantial body, you are able to protect others and not be at risk of draining your own energy levels, because you have so much more. And so what happens here is, when this person goes into stress, it's when other people look like they're in stress, the people that they care about them closely. If those people are in stress, their nurturing protective hormones fire up and go up, and they go into a worry state. And then they start worrying about everybody else.
And so, but what's really interesting about this, evolutionarily, this body, when the community experienced stress, their body would go into conservation. Because if everybody was experiencing stress, it means the food supply was about to run short, or we're about to go to war, or about to move camp, and we're not certain about our food supply. So the way that I'm going to manage this is I'm going to gain as much weight as possible, so that when the famine does come, I'm going to be able to support everyone and not have to wait. So it becomes this incredible famine protection.
And so what we see when this person goes into stress, they want the opposite. They conserve energy, they actually go into exhaustion phase, they rest and recover more, they eat more food, which puts them into rest and recovery. They do less exercise, because if they use energy when they're stressed, they think, oh but what is everybody else going to have. And so their body instead of going into hyper-alertness and hyperactivity, and use all of your energy to think this through, this body actually goes into laziness, into cravings of food.
And often the stresses that are created, it's not the temperature, this person is very well-insulated. It's not the nervous system, because this body can really tolerate a lot of physical stress, stress and strain, and mental strain, for that matter. It is disconnection from the family. If they feel disconnected from the people that they’re close, if they see stress in their family, they will feel like the community is threatened. And that will create stress for them. If they're eating very high sugar foods in fact, it represents a stressful result all if my blood sugars are high, then I must be stressed and therefore I need to conserve more. And so the body is able, so that actually creates a stress as well. Doing very, very high intensity exercise in the morning can be a stress for them.
Dr Cam: Because this is when prolactin levels are highest when nurturing is going to be most well executed by this person. I guess you wake up in the morning and you nurture the people around you. If you're out there burning all of this very high intensity energy. It actually sends the stress levels, the cortisol levels higher, which is a coping hormone. Yeah, that's stage two. And then this person—they will actually experience a higher level of cortisol for the next few hours, which then makes them insulin resistant and helps them store weight. It's like, ‘I’m spending all my energy and running around in the morning, then there must be something wrong with my family because I'm not looking after them’.
Lisa: And so he put on weight when they do high intensity.
Dr Cam: And it's so fascinating. We'll notice we have people all the time who do 12 weeks of a boot camp first thing in the morning, exactly what they're told, and they don't lose weight, or they gain a little bit of weight.
Dr Cam: And so this person gets stressed from that social disconnection, first and foremost. And then they can actually live faster to quite well, they're very, very good at it. But when they do get stressed, instead of going into stage one, and more alertness, they don't have to be alert, because they've got resilience. They go into late stage two, they go on to cope. But they also crave, and they use less energy, and they conserve. And so without late stage two and stage three is where they enter into the stress cycle. It's, they don't go through this big worry of the future. They go more into reflecting on the past and feeling down, and their energy levels come down as well, which is the recovery state.
And this is why they're able to gain and grow. Because in recovery, you grow and you gain. In stress you spend and you wither. But as these guys grow and gain in stress, and that's because they enter the stress stages at a different place.
Lisa: And they so that's why for the slighter build person actually will lose weight when they're under stress and...
Dr Cam: And bone. Osteoporosis is... Exactly, yes.
Lisa: And the heavier person will actually put on weight when they're under stress, because the same stress hormones, but they come in in different stages, and for different reasons in that person's life. And so the person who's of a heavier build and a heavier bone structure, they are going to be craving more of those bad foods when they're in a stressed out site. So they'll be searching out for the, you know, the deep fried. Because from an evolutionary perspective, that's what's happening, isn't it? We’re driven to find those high caloric, high GI foods, which were very scarce back in the day, and unfortunately, they're not so scarce now. And so that becomes a real problem for this group of people.
Dr Cam: Yes.
Lisa: And then let's look at the third one. The mesomorphs. I’m sort of, I'm a little bit of mesomorph, a little bit ectomorph. But more muscular, high intensity people who do well under that. What's happening in their bodies?
Dr Cam: Yeah, cool. So just to give a bit of a summary right now, essentially, what we've got is different bodies in stress will go towards their safe zone. So those leaner, more delicate bodies will go within themselves, they'll try and be alone, so that they can create certainty. Because certainty in their future creates safety for them, and warmth as well. Versus and so they will crave to provide warmth, they'll go for warm foods, and for high sugar foods that supply their nervous system. Versus the Guardian will go towards safety in, the heavier that I am, the safer my community is. Because I'll be able to protect them for longer. And so if I go for these low end, like if I don't do much exercise, and if I eat lots of food, the brain will actually motivate them to do exercise and eat lots of food. That then creates weight, weight creates stability, stability, creates safety for the community.
And so when we go to the activator, the activator is that the pure, the body that's developed predominantly with their muscular skeletal system, their adrenal glands are very, and their sex organs are developed. And so they are higher in adrenaline. And it's very sensitive to testosterone. And this makes them, when they are thinking about their best form, it’s uncertainty, is high adrenaline, which makes them feel good also, a competition, and winning. Variety also creates uncertainty as well.
So this body is searching for variety, uncertainty, competition, a bit of risk in order to feel normal, which is very different to the other bodies as well. And so with the things that create stress for them, is the feeling of being trapped. The feeling of being limited, because they like to break out, they like to be free, they like to be in charge. And they don't like to be told what to do. They don't like rules. So anytime that there's a rule in place, they'll be irritated by that look to break it out. And they have to, they have because I have this big adrenal outflow, they get all of this energy just generate very, very quickly and it must come out. And so the thing that creates stress for them is when that energy can't get out, so why don't have someone that I can express with. Or I can't move my body. Movement is actually the way that they can use a lot of this energy as well, because their musculoskeletal system is all tied into their dominant development.
And so when we're talking about this body in stress, it actually kind of likes a bit of stress, because adrenaline is there. And winning is kind of stressful as well, the thing that's going to create problems for them is that if they can't step into this space, they can't step into competition, they can't step into a bit of risk, they are told exactly what to do. They also have more oxidative stress as well, when they do things. They do things at high intensity. And so the body that gets developed out of this is shorter, more muscular than typical. If you look at the top 10 crossfitters on the planet, particularly in the guys, that's a really good depiction of a shorter, muscular, fiery, short and... Exactly. That body is exactly what we're talking about right here. Love a bit of challenge, love a bit of competition, CrossFit is made for this environment, made for this body.
And so what we need to do for this body is not stop it from experiencing stress, because it actually will move towards that in order to get its adrenaline, we actually need to make sure that it recovers appropriately. And so what happens for this body is like it'll be walking around in their day. And they'll say, ‘Oh, hey, we've got this new thing over here, do you want to do that'? They go, ‘Yes, I'm gonna do that'. And then they're at work, and they got all these new projects. ‘Oh, yes, I'll be part of that. Yes, I'll be part of that'. Because their adrenaline is–
Lisa: It’s starting things.
Dr Cam: …’I’m gonna do this, I love this!’ Exactly. So they go high intensity into action, because they've now got so many things stacked up, and they're happy to drop one thing and then move straight to the next. That means that they never get a break from their adrenaline.
Dr Cam: And so when that happens, they get more oxidative stress, their joints start getting very sore, they get pent up and frustrated, and they can just become quite exhausted. And so they enter into stage two with their stress response. So they don't, they don't think about the stress, they don't think about worry, and what's going to happen in the future, they don't go through that alarm phase, they go straight into fight, like I'm going to cope with this, I'm going to get into a fight, I'm just going to take action. And so immediately, they go from doing nothing to doing everything very, very quickly, very high intensity change.
And so when that happens, they need to expel their energy. And they, the way that they can expel their energy is by verbalising it and just talking it out. And they've got to have someone who doesn't argue back. And I'm at fault with this many times with my partner, she's an activator, and to express and I want to just sit there and listen like I should, but rather I fight back. But this, essentially, these bodies generally, they need to expel energy. It can be verbal, but the best is physical exertion. If they do really high intensity physical exercise, it will make them feel a whole lot better. But it only goes for 20 to 30 minutes, and then they have to stop. Then they have to stop completely and turn their adrenals off. And one way that you can do that is by lying on your back for 15 minutes, which actually turns off the outflow of ACTH, which is your adrenocorticotropic hormone. It's the one that comes from your brainstem. It says, ‘You should release adrenaline'.
And so if you lie flat on your back, it allows this body to fully recover. So this body is going to naturally step into stress, it's actually a timebase, is to be in a bit of stress. But what they miss out on is recovery spending time with fun people, calm people. Spending time light, like just absolutely resting, stopping throughout the day, and just allowing their body to calm down. That's actually what this body needs.
And so when we're talking about managing stress, the first thing we need to do for this body is not make sure that everyone's okay like and make sure their social circles, okay, it's not make sure you've got all the rules and the processes of time alone, while you have for the other couple of bodies. Now for this body, we need to make sure that they exert their energy and then eat regularly. So because what eating does is it puts them into a stage three of recovery. And so if they're eating six meals per day, they're putting themselves into many recovery sessions throughout the day because their body has to digest. And what happens to this body when they don't eat is they get very hangry. This is the hangriest body. And so we have this situation where they're acting frustrated or intolerant. And it's not because they're not a good person. It's because they haven’t eaten. And if they eat, then all of a sudden they feel so much better. And they deal with things in such a different way. The same thing goes after exercise. And so we have very, very different strategies. We've only spoken about three type generals, where there are six and then everybody's individual within that. But these give you the major, major types of variations that you see based on how we develop and how our genes work.
Lisa: Just a quick question on that, and the activator, on the mesomorph ther. In regards to autophagy, because we—I think we briefly talked on this last week, but I did a whole session on autophagy with Dr Seranova. And, you know, intermittent fasting is a big thing. But how do we—how does an activator do it then? If they want to get the benefits of autophagy, but they can't go without food for long periods of time when they need six meals a day, which is the opposite of what you would advise for someone on the endomorph side of the wheel?
Dr Cam: Yeah.
Lisa: How are we getting—do autophagy going without causing the hangries? And without...
Dr Cam: Yeah, great question. So the first thing and I guess you can apply this question to all of the groups, like the longest, leanest group are going to do the least well with lots of fasting because they've got a metabolism that just needs lots of fuel to stay up and about. And if you make them fast, for too long, they actually get very, very tired, which is a little bit destructive. The, but short fasts, no problem, you know, like a meal or a day.
But generally, it's still providing some carbohydrates is going to be important throughout their day. But they can get away with it. But it's just going to be for a shorter period of time. The more substantial body can deal with fasting for extended periods of time. And so their body is actually set up to benefit significantly from fasting. Yeah, the third version that we've spoken about the high intensity, high oxidative stress type individual, if they are going to be engaging in using lower food intake or fasting to stimulate autophagy, then they want to be reducing their activity at the same time. And they want to be practising some really calming activities, because they need to make sure that they can dispel the energy or not dispel the energy through like a calm activity, as opposed to relying on the high intensity activity or not be stressed in the first place.
So they need to get themselves into a very calm place, environment, with less competition with less things that they can say yes to, with things that allow them to essentially not use their adrenaline energy to jump into things. They need to kind of create a fairly blank environment so that they don't get stimulated by things so that they don't have this requirement for extra energy. So that's essentially we just need to consider the other components to it.
Lisa: Yeah, that really sort of puts it into picture because you want the autophagy you want the cleaning out of the broken proteins and the stuff that you know, that makes us live longer when we do that on a regular basis. And you know, stopping in tour and upregulating your ANPK and all of that sort of stuff. But I was still a bit of a mystery in my head. But how do I do that when I'm an activator, activator Crusader, I'm on that cusp. So for you know, I get it that people on the Guardian side, they can go without. But for me, you know, that's always been. So if I'm going to do a fast, I need to make sure that I'm in a really non-stressed out situation and calm, which doesn't happen very often.
Let's move now just briefly, we will wrap it up shortly. But immunity, we're in, in relation to all of this stress responses and so on. What's happening on a biochemistry level when, when we're under the stress in, right now with COVID. And all the other winter coming down here in the Southern Hemisphere, we don't want to get sick, we want to make sure our immune system’s on fire. What can we do to improve our immune system in regards to these different body types?
Dr Cam: Yeah, perfect. So, and the most important thing here is in order for our immune system to come on, then we have to get into stage three and homeostasis. That may—the stages that we need to be in in order to stimulate our immune system. And so what that means, we have to put ourselves into recovery. And so one of the most profound things that we can do straightaway where all of, most of our recovery happens from the day, our mental recovery and our physical recovery is sleep. We need to make sure that we get enough sleep. There are different things that create sleep for different people. But seven to nine hours is recommended for everybody. And it's very, very important that we get that sleep to stop it. So that's the first piece.
The second piece then is every part of our environment is creating stress. And so we need to make sure that we understand what's happening in the environment and how that's going to affect different people so that we can recover from that stress appropriately. And so if we were to go to the three groups once again, and I'll just preface this by saying that every single person's journey to an improved immune system is actually fully personalised. And it needs to be tailored specifically to you. And this is something obviously—that we work with you on Lisa with ph360, we got personalised immune protocols that actually allow you to do that and get all of this stuff that I'm about to address in principle, but for you specifically.
So we have—if we were talking about the donor, reverse, or from last time, we talked about the activator, and the activator connectors versus a bit of Crusader in there too, that top left of the circle. Essentially, we're going to be looking at what are the things that remind—bring safety to this body movement will support that. So if we do exercise, a high intensity exercise for this individual, and then we have full recovery, what we know from one bout of exercise, you can get increased immunosurveillance, that is your immune system is now more alert to the environment, rather than waiting for bacteria and virus and ready to pounce on them stronger.
We also know that if you're exercising regularly for eight to 12 weeks, you will see less chance of getting an infection, less chance or lower amounts of severity and lower amounts of time sick. So just being physically fitter, has a profound effect on that. However, if you're a Guardian or a Diplomat, and you're doing high intensity exercise in the morning, it actually adds to your stress load. Yeah, so but if you do it in the afternoon, then that's going to really improve your immune function and your recovery throughout the night. So exercise is a stress, it is a particularly potent way of enhancing your immune system. And the same goes to sleep as well. Sleep, just one poor night's sleep can ruin 70% of your immune response. And so having enough sleep, really important. Making sure that you're moving in a way that's appropriate for your body at the right time, very important.
And it's even more important for the activators. Because they're their body is so requiring the release of that pent up stress. Then when we start talking about, if we start talking about guardians, then just to talk about a couple of different sort of topics, the Guardians and the diplomats or even the Guardian, specifically here, they need a really connected social environment. And if they're experiencing a lot of stress socially, like they're isolated from their family, they disconnected from the people that they really believe are very close. Or if there's a lot of infighting and arguments and all that sort of stuff in the family home while they're in lockdown, for example, yeah, that social stress is going to create a whole lot of stress for this individual, put them into cope and then downregulate their immune system.
And you'll know this as well is that if you're in a, you know, stressful work, relationship or social relationship, you don't feel at your best and your immune system is actually being decreased with time. But it's even more for the guardians and the connectors key. And we have, you know, that the senses and the Crusaders, they're very neural in the way that they stress. And so body type. Yeah, exactly the lot of bodies often more delicate. And so some movement is going to be great. But ultimately, sleep is going to be important. Social is not going to be as important for this individual, what's going to be really important is that they can actually calm their nervous system to bring them out of stage one stress, if they're doing meditation regularly, if they're going for slow jobs, either have an evening or have a morning, or they're doing stretches and yoga, that actually calms the nervous system very well, which then takes them out of stress one at stage one and stage two, which allows their immune system to come back on. And so we have these different priorities. We've got, you know, movement for the more mesomorphic bodies, we've got social connectedness, movements also going to be very important here too, as is food.
And then we have the neural calmness and environmental calmness of warmth is going to be very important, but then we get into food, food, you know, it has all of these incredible little compounds that specifically drive your immune system to pick up or push down or to be able to, melylike, you need enough protein to build your immune system. Generally, you need, you need your you know, the right fats to control inflammation, you need the antioxidants to help reduce some of the damage that's going on when we're finding all of these bugs from the oxidative stress. And so activators are going to need lots and lots of antioxidants for that reason because they experienced more oxidative stress.
Guardians are going to be better served to do some fasting and the fasting will really support them in bringing their blood sugar levels down, helping them go into recovery, really supporting their digestive system, controlling their blood pressure in many cases as well versus—and so, versus the the sensors and Crusaders are going to actually need a bit of carbohydrate. I’m going because the carbohydrates provide mental calm for them. Because if they don't have carbohydrates, their brain can go into a stress state to provide fuel breaking down protein turning into carbohydrates, with lots of cortisol. And so the compounds that you need specifically are individual. But we have these general principles that govern what different people need. And this is why, if you know, you say ‘I'm going to improve our immune system through this generic program, right here’, there's a very good chance, it's not going to be appropriate for you. And so you really need to understand what your body needs so that you can get the best benefit.
And most people will benefit from low calorie intake for a few days, at least, you know, activators, any five days of no protein, no fats, fats versus guardians will actually do very well on broth only, fluids only, non-caloric fluids only for 10 days. Whereas the diplomat will need 10 days of just fruits and vegetables, but very little protein, very little fat as well. So there's a different protocol for different individuals. But the lower calorie really helps to reset the immune system in many ways. And there's been some lovely research by Professor Longo on that stuff around fasting and how it stimulates stem cell production of your immune cells.
So if you're taking care of the whole body, you're understanding, you know, what kind of environment you need to be, what kind of movement is going to be appropriate, what kind of social environment is essential, then you put the right types of foods in as well, you're going to see a whole system wide increase in your immune system. And then the studies that we ran last year, we looked at very detailed immune markers. And we saw significant change applying the protocols that are found in pH 360. We show significant change in the immune aggressivity and readiness in 10 days. So you can really change these markers very, very quickly. And really, the only thing that we have is a strong immune system. That's that's the thing. That's what vaccines lean on as well. Yeah. It leans on your ability as a non response. Yeah. And this is why vaccines are effective as effective in some individuals with suppressed immunity. So we definitely, we need a strong immune system, irrespective of what path you take with this.
Lisa: Yes, absolutely. And that's just so important right now, and to understand the nuance between the different types of detoxes, and the different types of ways of dealing with the different body types is just so, so crucial. And autophagy and cleaning out, and it's like taking out the garbage regularly. I can put in all my antioxidants and all my good vitamins and all my good nutrients. But if I'm not taking the garbage out on a regular basis, and doing that appropriately for my body type, and then you know, you're going to have suboptimal performance and suboptimal immune system. And yes, so stress, resilience, immunity, huge pieces of this giant puzzle that we're all trying to put together. And we're very complex. It's not, it's not easy, it's not easy. But giving this framework to the whole thing with the different body types. I've never seen this in any other system that that I have learned and or researched or read about where it's actually personalised, you know.
And that's why I think it's so powerful, because you can read a book on fasting and go, Well, I'm going to do that. But you need to know how to do it best for your body. And that's, you know, and how to detox for your body, and how to do all this. Dr Cam you’ve been brilliant today, again, as usual, a mine of information, and just brilliance. So thank you very much for jumping on again, I really appreciate your time, and the work that you do. And if anybody wants help with understanding what health type you have understanding this specifically to you, then that's what we do, please reach out to us. I'll have all the links in the show notes. But just head on over to lisatamati.com, hit the ‘Work With Us’ button, you'll see our peak epigenetics program. And this is the sort of people that we're working with Dr Cam, the CEO of ph 360, in Australia, and he's one of our great teachers. And this program is really, really beneficial for people who are wanting to optimise the genes, not just for stress and immunity and resilience, but also an optimal performance in every area of your life.
So thanks very much, Dr Cam, anything to add today before we hop off?
Dr Cam: Yeah, I will say one thing and that is your body is always on your side. Som and the thing that we think is that our body is fighting us or not cooperating with us or essentially our response to stress, whatever we think in our brain doesn't really matter what's going on in our body. And the information we take from that is very, very Very important. So when your body is genuinely tired, it's saying, ‘Hey, I don't have quite as much energy as what this activity requires, I need rest’, it's actually speaking to you and saying, ‘I need rest’, I'm saying, ‘Oh, my body sucks, I'm going to get better at not being tired’. Yeah, and I'm just going to have more coffee'. Your body is not deficient in caffeine, it's, it's actually deficient in the appropriate recovery for it.
And the biggest realisation that I had is that your body is always trying to do the best for you. And if you start listening, you'll find that that stress-recovery cycle is far easier to manage. And we didn't even get into resilience, which I'd love to talk about another time. Yeah, know how—when you're in that state of that balance between stress and recovery, you are able to mount an attack on anything that you want, from a very, very strong place. And so the—know that your body is always, always on your side, start listening to it more. Because you'll start getting keys into when you need rest, when you can push. There's a bunch of things that you can do around that. But I just want to really get you to start listening a lot more, because that's where this can, this can all start.
Lisa: And I think you know, especially for some of the audience, who are athletes and hard charges, and people that you know, go go go, it's all very well and good. But just remember, you still made of flesh and blood. And you need to respect the biology. And there are times when we can push outside the norms and do crazy things and amazing things. But then afterwards, you need to go into that recovery phase, and you're not bulletproof like you think you are. And there was one a good analogy, you know. Your body will give you a little tap on the head saying, ‘Hey, I need a raise, or I need something from you, and if you ignore it', then it will be a real hit on the shoulder, ‘Hey, I need a rest'. And next time it will be a mech truck that comes in flattened shoe. And it will be something major. And we don't want that. So listen to the little tests. Before you have to get a mech track to put you on your back.
Dr Cam: Absolutely. Just being a little bit fatigued after two hours of work is a little whisper in your ear. It's, yeah, very, very good to listen at that point. Absolutely.
Lisa: Yeah. And I'm going to do that just now go and go out for a walk in nature for 15 minutes and digest this wonderful information that you've given us today. So thank you, Dr Cam, really appreciate it.
Dr Cam: Thanks for having me on. It's great to be able to talk about this stuff.