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 Timati: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Pushing the Limits. This week I have a fabulous interview. Gosh, it was great. It was a long one. And it's a really, really good one, with Dr David Minkoff, who is just an absolute legend. He is the author of the book The Search for the Perfect Protein. And this is all about amino acids, how your body utilises proteins, why you're probably protein deficient, all the diseases and ailments that it can help with and getting the right combination and explains just stuff that would absolutely blow your mind. It's an amazing book that's really changed the way I look at amino acids for sure and integrating them in my life.
Now, Dr Minkoff is also the founder of the LifeWorks Wellness Centre. He has a huge practice in Florida, in the USA, with over 50 staff, and he does complementary and alternative medicine. And he's an expert who has worked with many of the world's top athletes. He is himself a finisher of 43 Ironmans, including eight Hawaiian Ironmans. He is, I think, 70 years old or— and he’s still doing Ironmans. He's got another one coming up in a couple of weeks. So just an incredible man, both from an athletic point of view and from a medical point of view and is an author and speaker on these really important topics.
In the show we get into heavy metal detoxing, we get into the science behind dealing with cancer, we look at amino acids, we look at toxic environment and we look at the state of our medical world, all of these issues we get into with this really in-depth conversation. So, I hope you do enjoy it.
Before we head over to Dr Minkoff, just want to remind you, please give us a rating and review on the show, if you haven't already. And make sure you subscribe. You can always reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you've got any questions that come up from these episodes, or you want some advice on a certain topic around what we've been discussing, then please reach out to us. And give us a feedback on the podcast as well.
And if you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends and family. It's only through networks and people—ground level movements are people sharing good information—that we can get this sort of stuff out into the world, this great information that we'd love to share.
Finally, I just want to let you know I'm taking on a small number of clients on one-on-one at the moment with consulting around health with that right mindset, if you've got a health journey that you're on, if you're struggling, if you need help navigating your health, then please reach out to me. I have a huge knowledge base and a huge network of people that I can see you to.
If you're needing help, and you can't work out, if you've got a medical problem where you can't work it out in the normal system and you don't know where to turn to please knock on our door, we might be able to help you. Obviously got a huge background in brain injuries, but also in biohacking in general and health optimisation as well as the whole mindset piece of the puzzle which I love sharing and teaching as well.
So, I work with only a very few people at a time because I like to be able to invest time with people and my brain gets occupied with just a few cases, because I tend to go off and if I don't know something, I will go and find it. So, I don't profess to know everything in the world, but I usually know someone who does. So, if you want to work with me, then please reach out.
And the last thing also we are holding every week a webinar either it's on epigenetics one week in on it and the second week it will be on our running programs and how to increase your running speed, how to improve your performance, how to do all that without avoiding injuries and burnout. So, if you want to join us for our webinars for the epigenetics webinar, go to epigenetics.lisatimati.com. That's epigenetics.lisatamati.com and register there for the free webinar. It'll be on a Tuesday in New Zealand time 12:30 and the alternate weeks we're doing it at the same time Tuesday 12:30 New Zealand time for our running masterclass, how to run faster, longer be stronger without burnout and injuries.
So, without further ado, over to the show with Dr David Minkoff.
Lisa: Welcome to the show everybody. I am super excited. I'm jumping out of my skin. I've got Dr David Minkoff, who is one of my role models and heroes, and I'm finally got him on my show. And I'm very, very excited to have you, Dr David.
You're sitting in Florida, and you are an Ironman athlete. Let's start there for starters. You've done 43 Ironmans and you're about to do your 44th. And you've actually been to New Zealand, we just discussed your time in New Zealand and it rained a lot, unfortunately.
Dr David Minkoff: The cold was worse than the rain.
Lisa: The cold. Yes. Lake Taupo, for example, can be very, very cold, the water’s just absolutely freezing. But yes.
So, Dr Dr Minkoff, you have an amazing reputation and you’ve recently written a book called The Search for the Perfect Protein, that for me was an absolute game changer and a real eye opener. And something—as an athlete, I think, unfortunately, I've sort of finished my competitive career now. But if I'd known that information 20 years ago, oh my gosh, what could I've done? Sort of information. So, I'm really, really keen to share a little bit about the book and your background.
But let's start firstly with your story, your life story. You were an emergency physician. Can you pick up the story there and just tell us how you got into what you're actually doing now?
Dr David: Yes, so I didn't really—I was doing triathlons and I was interested in performance and health. But it was sort of a crude viewpoint. My wife's a nurse, and she was always investigating things. And one of the things that she investigated was that she had a lot of mercury amalgam fillings in her teeth. And she learned that the mercury is volatile. Mercury at room temperature is a liquid. Like no other metal is a liquid at room temperature. Like lava, you got to heat it up to a couple thousand degrees, but mercury boils at only 110 degrees Fahrenheit. So hot cup of coffee or soup would be like 140, 150, 160. And it's an amalgam.
So, what they do is they take liquid mercury, and they add to a zinc, silver, copper. And so, it's—the things aren't really amalgamated together. They're separate things that bond. So, if you add heat, Mercury can aerosolise if it's hot, and it will come off. And there are lots of studies in, they put fillings in sheep, and just with their chewing, the mercury gets volatile and it gets in the air and they swallow it, they breathe it. And then they sacrifice them three months later, and they find the Mercury's in their kidneys, it’s in their brain, and it's all over the place.
And Mercury is very toxic. You took one amalgam filling, so, it's about a half a gram of mercury. And you put it in a 10-acre lake, like you grounded up real fine so that you dissolved it in a 10-acre lake. And the natural resources guy came, the Fish and Wildlife Association came to test the levels of mercury in the water. They would put a fish advisory on it, like you can't eat the fish in that lake, the Mercury concentration’s too high because it would be toxic to humans.
Lisa: And that's one filling.
Dr David: So, one filling in 10 acres.
Lisa: It’s equivalent to one filling.
Dr David: Now the square meters of a body is maybe one square meter, it's not very—one and a half. It isn't very much. So, you get these things coming off constantly. And the more you have, the more load you will get, and they can make you sick.
So, she decided that she wanted to get them out. And this was back in the middle 90s, and the dentist that she went to wasn't really proficient in doing this. And he said, ‘Sure, I'll take him out’, and he takes a high-speed drill, and he drills him out and he aerosolises it all over the place with no protection for her. And it went all over the place.
Now, subsequent to that, she'd started to feel bad. She got problems with her thyroid and problems with her liver and the doctors who saw her thought that she was at some kind of an autoimmune condition. But they didn't associate it with mercury. I didn't either. And they just thought, they didn't know what to do with her. She's a nurse. She's smart. She's a triathlete as well. And then eventually, it got to the point where one day she woke up and she had trouble lifting her arm, and her glute muscle was weak. And it looked like she had some neurological involvement. One of the doctors thought, ‘Well, maybe this is a mess’. And we didn't know what to do.
She's a nurse and she has a home healthcare nursing business. And next door, a guy moved in. And the marquee said, ‘Natural Dentistry’. And one day when I was going to pick her up from work, he was walking out of his office to his car, and I stopped him and I introduced myself. And I asked him, ‘What is natural dentistry’? And he said, ‘Well, we're dentists that believe that the mouth is actually part of the body’. It's not a separate thing. And that you shouldn't do things in the mouth that you wouldn't do any place else. He says, ‘For example, you'd never use mercury in a wound yet’, or for a while there used to have this stuff called mercurial, which was mercury liquid, but they found that the mercury—if you were putting it on a wound, it's a good disinfectant but it also will get you mercury toxic. They used to put thimerosal, which is ethyl mercury in your contact lens solutions.
Lisa: Oh, my God!
Dr David: But they took it out because they found that you could put this stuff in your eyes, and you could get toxic from the mercury that's in the solution. So, he said, ‘We wouldn't do that’. And then he told me about some other things, and I said, ‘Well listen to this story’. So, I tell him her story. And he says, ‘Oh, she's mercury toxic’?
Lisa: Oh, well...
Dr David: And he said, ‘There’s no one in this town that's going to help you because nobody knows about this, or they're just not aware of it. But there's a doctor in Seattle, and he trains doctors in diagnosing and treating this with a natural kind of approach’.
So, I flew to Seattle, I spent some time with him, I learned his methodology. And I came back and tested her and she indeed was mercury toxic. And I did the protocols that he taught me, and she got better.
Dr David: Over four or five months, she got better and her symptoms went away. She was fine.
Lisa: No MS, no all the other things started to disappear when she started to—So what are the some of the...
Dr David: Wait Let me just look. Let me just take it one more step.
So, then we had friends that were sort of watching this whole thing happen. And they said, ‘You know, I've got migraine headaches, and I've got rheumatoid arthritis, and I've got all cervical, I've got that. Will you help me’?
The emergency room work is shift work. So, it's a seven in the morning till seven at night or seven at night to seven in the morning, three days a week, maybe four. And I had some time and she had an extra office in her nursing business. And so, I said, ‘I'll be there Thursday afternoon, why don't you come in? I've got a success of one. I'm not sure I know what I'm doing. This will be—we'll just play, we'll just see what happens’.
Anyway, it started to work. And pretty soon it was I was being inundated when we renovated a space next to her office, 3000 square feet and we set up shop as a natural medicine clinic and I got out of the emergency room. And we got to be very busy with all these kinds of things.
Dr David: Oh, that was 1997. And here, 20 years later, now we have a huge clinic, lots of bright, 50 staff and people come from all over the world for—most of its chronic medical problems. They have cancer or Lyme disease or chronic fatigue or MS or Parkinson's or—they've been around the block. Many doctors, no solutions. So that's mostly what we do now. Occasionally, I saw a couple professional football players today but mostly it's...
Lisa: It's very sick people. So, I just wish you went down the road from where I live and I can come and get the help that... Because your approach—I mean, I've listened to everything that you've got out there and your approach just resonates completely with me. You've gone into the function where natural medicines and you're dealing with people with chronic diseases.
So, just following on now from the mercury story and how you helped your wife and then onwards. Heavy metals are a big problem in our world, aren't they? How do we get exposure? Okay, amalgams obviously in fillings, but I don't think people understand that there's mercury, cadmium, arsenic, thallium—goodness knows what else. There's lots of things that we can be...
Dr David: Lead, aluminum.
Lisa: Lead, aluminum, yes. We're being exposed to toxins and heavy metals, 24/7, and now horrible environment that we're creating for ourselves and our modern world. And our bodies just weren't made for this. were they?
Dr David: That’s right. That's right. I mean, you look at Fukushima, the amount of—I mean uranium is a heavy metal to heavy, it's one of the heaviest metals. So, you got scads of this released into the ocean and into the air, it flows around. When the Iraq War was going on, they used uranium depleted warheads because they were making tanks that regular warheads wouldn't penetrate.
But if you put a depleted uranium warhead on that missile, when that thing hit the tank, the temperatures were so hot that it would penetrate the tank. And so there was— I don't know how many, thousands and thousands of pounds of these things were scattered all over Iraq through two wars, which released a lot of uranium and a fair number of—I know, at least American soldiers started getting heavy metal toxicity and when they were tested, they had high levels of uranium in their body.
So, it is all over and we have sort of dumped this onto the planet, leaded gasoline on the planet for 50 or 60 years saturated the countryside. So, vegetables grown have high lead levels, and it's in the ocean. So, most fish have lots of mercury. And we—our bodies are exposed to it. And we absorb it, we breathe it, cold burning produces a lot of mercury, unless it's filtered right. Some vaccines still have mercury.
Lisa: Do they still have mercury in them? In the time when they’re sold?
Dr David: Yes! So...
Lisa: Yes. And we're giving this to our children and we’re wondering why the heck they've got autism and ADHD and cancers and things that can be a knock on. It's very hard to correlate this but I heard in one of your talks, you were talking, I think, back when you're a young doctor, there was like 1 in 250,000 kids had autism or some great number. And now it was like 1 in 40 or something ridiculous.
We're doing something massively wrong in our environment. And we seem to just bumble along as if everything's fine. And yet, we've got all these chronic diseases that are knock offs, or knock-ons from all of these things and the toxicity that we're involved with.
So how can we—if we're looking at the heavy metal situation, if we don't have access to you, because we don't live in America, and we can't come to Florida, which is a real shame. How do we get ourselves detoxified from some of these heavy metals? Or how can we test for it?
Dr David: So I think, to detox someone from heavy metals, it's really important that you make sure that they're in a position where they can be detoxified. So, the body tries to keep electrical balance, you have to have as many negatives as you have positives.
Many people are mineral depleted, they don't have enough magnesium, or zinc, or selenium. Okay? And so those are all positively charged metals, like its mercury and lead. And if you get someone who's depleted in these things, and then you try to detoxify them, some of the things that are holding on, that the body's holding on to, will be the bad heavy metals, if it doesn't have the good minerals in those places. And so, the body doesn't detoxify very well when you try to pull it off when it's mineral depleted.
So, you have to make sure that they're mineral good. You have to make sure that their gut is good, they're not full of parasites, and mercury, and yeast, and bad digestion. And because then they have a hard time.
They have to make sure that their amino acid levels in their blood are okay because if they're not okay, all the detox systems are based on amino acids. And so, if you don't have that sort of ready and waiting, you can get into trouble. You can try to move a metal, which the body is stuck somewhere that it feels is relatively safe. It's in the fat somewhere. It's at the periphery of an organ, and it isn't really causing toxicity.
But then if you give a binder, like a chelator, when these things bind heavy metals, and you pull it off of there. And it gets to the person's liver and the livers already overloaded with the plastics and the Tylenol and the rest of the stuff they’re taking...
Lisa: Yes, the crap we’re taking.
Dr David: It won't move it out. And it will circulate around and it can end up someplace worse.
Lisa: Like your brain or your heart.
Dr David: Like I had a patient here not too long ago, she went to a doctor. He did a test on heavy metals for her, she was indeed very high in lead. But he didn't understand that you have to set them up—their hormones, their gut, their nutrients have to be sufficient so that you can detoxify them, and she wasn't set up. And so he put her in an IV room and he gave her an IV medicine, which will bind lead. And she ended up pretty much—I don't know if you have that expression in New Zealand — she's a bag lady. Like she wears earphones, she listened to religious music, she carried two paper bags around, and she was really like, totally out of it.
And she had been one of the most successful realtors in the area. And she turned into someone that couldn't even really take care of herself, talks to herself, and she was—her brain, the lead in her bones got transferred to her brain.
Lisa: Oh my gosh.
Dr David: And it took us a couple years to get her to the point where we could get the lead out of her brain and that she could actually wake up and get normal. But it was a medical error at the original time.
Lisa: And this is very, a dangerous—like because it would be EDTA IV, wouldn't it?
Dr David: Right. Right.
Lisa: Because I've got a case. So, my mum who had an aneurysm four years ago, and I've rehabilitated her back from massive brain injury to being now completely normal. And I've written a book on it, called Relentless, which I'll send you a copy of. And one of the things that I identified was mercury poisoning. And I've been too scared, though, to go and get EDTA chelation in her case because she's a 79-year-old with fatty liver disease, kidney.
So, for someone like, who doesn't have a doctor who is a real expert in the area, to do something like this, I can sit her body up the best I can with the right vitamins and the right minerals, and selenium and zinc and things and vitamin Ds and all of those things that are have here on. Is there any—and vitamin C is a big player.
Is there anything that I can give her without—obviously, you don't want to do something like that and cause a really, a big detox reaction. And with someone who's fragile should say, is there a safe way of doing it?
Dr David: An easy thing, chlorella is a pretty good chelator.
Lisa: Oh, brilliant. I had her on that.
Dr David: Chlorella. So, you could add like, three, four capsules of chlorella with each meal.
Lisa: Wow. Okay.
Dr David: It will help find the mercury that's in the food. And it's not really absorbed. And the chlorophyll in there is good for her and you can just start to tease it out with that
Lisa: Very smart.
Dr David: There is a product called Metal-Free—I have a nutrition company—that we make, it's called Metal-Free. It's very safe, it's natural. It's a spray. So, you can start with a little bit, and in someone like her, start with just one spray underneath her tongue once a day. Do it for a week or 10 days, she's doing okay, she’s not getting sick with it, she's tolerating it. Okay, you could go to two sprays. And you could just tease it up, where it's done slowly, over six to 12 months. You can use that with the chlorella. You can get her to get the heavy metal start coming out. And that's very workable, and a lot of people do that.
Lisa: What about activated charcoal? Is it another good chelator? Or is it...
Dr David: Charcoal? It would be a substitute for chlorella. It's a binder.
Lisa: It’s one or the other.
Dr David: Yes, I think the chlorella is better because there is some nutritional content. Charcoal just binds sort of randomly everything. Whereas with chlorella...
Lisa: Yes, you can get mineral deficiencies too if you have too much of, say activated charcoal, couldn't you?
Dr David: Right.
Lisa: Yes. Okay, that's a really good sort of framework. And I'll link to Dr Minkoff’s website, everyone, so it's bodyhealth.com. And I'll put that in the show notes in the links to those particular products, because I think, you know, there'll be good, safe ways for people who don't have access to a doctor that can do it really safely to start to detoxify themselves.
So, I wanted to move now a little bit. So that's some heavy metal and we touched on it pretty briefly, but it's a major, major problem in—when we're looking at lots of other diseases, the heavy metal can have a massive impact can’t it? So things like MS or Parkinson's or cancers. I heard in one of your interviews saying, on Ben Greenfield's podcasts, many of the cancer patients that you see or most of them have a heavy metal problem, and there's probably a correlation there.
Is it, if we move the discussion towards cancer, would that be one of the first places that you would look for a cancer patient?
Dr David: What happens with cancer and this, this has been known since the 1920s and 30s— a German doctor named Otto Warburg was looking at the biochemistry of what makes a cancer cell different than a healthy cell, or what causes a cancer cell to transform—I mean, a healthy cell to transform into a cancer cell.
And what he discovered is that a healthy cell makes energy by taking the oxygen that you breathe, which eventually gets to the cell and the food that you eat. And those two things go into the little factory in the cell called the mitochondria. And the cell is able to extract the energy from the food and make ATP, which is the energy product particle. And then the cell can live, it can do its job, it can get in nutrients, it can get rid of toxins, it can make proteins, depending on what its job is.
Because the impact of toxins and infections are around us all the time, and now they're at levels that are unheard of. And I think 80 something thousand chemicals in the environment, which have never been tested for safety, and heavy metals, and many people are on many different kinds of medications, which are just different kinds of toxins, really. I mean, an emergency someone might need a medicine, but there’s a long-term solution to a health problem, it's really not the best way to go.
Dr David: And so there are lot of environmental influences, which can—when those drugs or chemicals or infections get into the mitochondria in the cell, lock that mitochondria from being able to use oxygen and food to make energy. And that cell then, when it can't make ATP in enough quantity because when you use oxygen, it can make 38 of these energy particles, each go around. It can also make energy not using oxygen. So that's called anaerobic metabolism,
Lisa: It’s the fermentation, yes.
Dr David: No oxygen. It’s fermentation. You only make two ATPs. It can't live on two ATPs. So, it's got to change it either is going to die or it's going to change. And then if it changes...
Lisa: Does it turn on the oncogenes?
Dr David: It turns, yes, and I don't even really think they're oncogenes. These are normal genes that in a foetus make one cell into a 100 trillion in a full adult. They’re your growth factor genes. They're blood vessel factor genes. And they turn on in an adult person, they're supposed to be on, but they get turned on because this cell now needs lots, and it's the preferred fuel for that cell ends up being sugar. And so, it needs to get a lot of sugar because if it can only make two ATPs on every go around, it's got to be able to get way more sugar in that cell in order to get enough ATP so that it can live. And that's what cancer is.
Lisa: And this is why people with cancer then have these cravings for sugar. And lose a lot of weight very quickly because they're not able to produce and they’re extremely fatigued.
Dr David: Well, they have a very high need for sugar, they have a very high need for sugar. And one of the strategies—the anti-cancer strategies—is to not give them any sugar. Because our own cells could use fat, they can use proteins, but cancer cells prefer sugar.
So, there's a standard medical test done for cancer patients, which is to give them—it’s what is called a PET scan. And the PET scan is sugar IV. Sugar has a radioactive label on it and you can see where does the sugar go. And if let's say a woman's got a breast cancer, the normal cells are eating one unit of sugar and the breast cancer cells are using 25 units of sugar. So, the PET scan shows a 25 where the lump is and it shows a one in the arm, in the brain, and the other breast, or in the kidney, where there's no cancer, because this thing is so rapidly using the sugar that it sucks it up. Well, sometimes that's five times, sometimes it's 10 times, sometimes it's 20 times. The more aggressive the cancer, the higher the metabolism, and the higher the reading on the PET scan. So that tells you what the cancers do and what it's eating.
And then anti-cancer strategies have to be to figure out, can we block that guy from getting sugar or utilising sugar because otherwise it's going to use it and it's going to replicate it, it's going to make more of itself. And then you really you...
Lisa: And I've just done a series actually on in vitamin C, with a number of researchers and scientists, doctors, around intravenous vitamin C. Because I recently had a case with my father who unfortunately passed away in July, with sepsis and I was battling to get intravenous vitamin C for him in the ICU, and I was unable to, they wouldn't let me. Unfortunately. I did win in the end, but by then the sepsis was multiple organ failure and too little too late.
And so, I'm on a bit of a crusade now to get that changed and in support the doctors and scientists that are screaming from the rooftops that we should be using vitamin C, not only for sepsis, but also for things like COVID, there's lots of studies going on, in cancer.
And one of the researchers that I had on last two weeks ago, Professor Margreet Vissers, she has done a lot of study around cancer, vitamin C. And getting the vitamin C—the molecule of vitamin C is very similar to glucose, so the cancer cells can take it up and thinking it's glucose. And if we can get the levels—I think the levels were from memory 350 to 400 micromolar—it can get in there and it can actually kill the cancer cell. Don't quote me on those numbers, people, but listen to the episodes. But it can also stop the tumour growth, the health sector from being switched on that turns that gene off so that the tumour can’t develop its own blood supply. So, I know that that's a really, really powerful intervention for cancers. It's not the obviously the only one.
Keto diet is another, as we mentioned, starving the cancer cells off from the glucose and having that in combination with things like vitamin C. What else is—so that cancers are tuning on these cancer genes, if you like, or these cells are turning cancerous, probably because of our environment, probably because of heavy metals, toxins, bad foods, our food practices, all of these things are making kids a little sort of skyrocket, what can we do to prevent ourselves? I mean, vitamin C is obviously one that I'm big on as a prevention. What else can we do? We can do the heavy metal detoxing in a controlled manner as we spoke about. What else can we do for cancer prevention? Because I'm always about the prevention side.
Dr David: Okay. So, I mean, clean food, organic, super important. The actual best anti-cancer drug is vitamin D.
Lisa: Vitamin D?
Dr David: Yes, there are lots of studies that show that people who have a blood level of vitamin D, between 70 and 90, have half the rates of cancer that people have low vitamin D level, there's no known drug, or medical intervention, or anything known that is that effective.
So, if someone's listening to this, and you don't know what your blood level of vitamin D is, you should go to your doctor or your laboratory and you should get a blood level vitamin D. The levels in America run 30 to 100 is considered normal. In the studies that have been done, if the level is between 70 and 90, in America, for the average person, that means that they're going to be taking about 10,000 units a day of vitamin D3
Lisa: Wow, that's a lot. That's high. Okay, there's no toxicity with that sort of a level of vitamin D?
Dr David: Well, you have to measure it. I mean, at that level, that's the average person that I see. If I put them on 5000, they're running in the 40s. If I put them out on ten thousand, they're running in the, I want them 70 to 90-ish. If they're 65, I'll leave them alone. If they're 95, it's fine.
It's very interesting, because the way you're supposed to get vitamin D isn’t to take it with a capsule, you’re supposed to get it from sunlight. And sunlight hitting the body will convert the molecule into vitamin D and that's how we're supposed to get it. Unfortunately, now, and I think the reason is glyphosate on the planet?
So I'm in Florida, there's 300 days a year of sunshine, we're in a subtropical climate. So, the sun is high enough for most of the year, where the sun should be effective at converting our bodies to make vitamin D. I have tested vitamin D levels, and every patient I have seen for the last 20 years, except for one person, and she was using a tanning bed every day, except for one person, everyone else had a sub therapeutic level of vitamin D. And we’re in Florida, and there's sunshine. Now some people wear sunscreen and then the vitamin D doesn't get converted. But a lot of people don't wear sunscreen and the vitamin D does convert.
Now my own example. So, I am about 12 hours a week outside in the sun unprotected. I swim in an outdoor pool at noon. I ride my bike a lot. I'm outside. And I run a lot, usually without a shirt if it's warm and shorts, so I'm exposed. My vitamin D level unsupplemented is 34.
Lisa: Wow, that's shocking.
Dr David: I have to take 12,500 units every day to keep my level—last time I did it, it was 84. Now this is my theory on this: is this herbicide glyphosate roundup...
Lisa: Hmm, horrible.
Dr David: ...is so prevalent around the world. Something like three quarters of the rain samples will show glyphosate. I have measured thousands of patients for urine levels of glyphosate. I've never tested anyone who is negative for glyphosate.
Lisa: Gosh. That’s shocking.
Dr David: Like never. It’s in our food, it's in our water. We're getting it. And one of the side effects of glyphosate is it blocks the conversion of the sun's ability to produce active vitamin D. And I think that's at least one of the factors that's causing this problem because there's an epidemic of low vitamin D.
Lisa: And vitamin D is so important for your immune system, for your bone health, for hormones, for so many—I think there's no 700 processes in the body or something that it's responsible for. And here's me like I take 5000 IU a day and I'm thinking, I'm really good. And I study functional genomics, when I've discovered that in my genes, for example, because I'm of Maori descent, so native descent, my father was Maori, I have a slightly darker skin tone. I need more vitamin C because my transporters don't do their job very well and I don't get a lot of receptors. So I've been aware of this problem, and I'm taking 5000, bump up. I haven't actually gone and got it tested, I'm probably still deficient, given... And that's someone who's already on vitamin D. So that's a bit of an eye opener. And so how does—what is the mechanism? Why is cancer vitamin D, why is vitamin D so important for cancer?
Dr David: You said, it’s immune function, it's more of a hormone than it is vitamin. It's lots of different things that are really important. And they just noticed this association of cancer incidence versus vitamin D and the people at high levels, they had much less MS and less cancer, and less osteoporosis and less hypertension. So it's really important, it's a single nutrient. Now, there's lots of things that if you're if your selenium level’s low, if your vitamin A level’s low, I mean, these are all things, zinc level’s low, these are all things that are super important. You have low amino acid levels, it’s important in cancer. So it isn't a one-thing thing. But these are things that are measurable.
Like a vitamin D blood test is maybe 25 bucks, it's not expensive. I mean, these are things that regular doctors can order. And, of course, guys who were doing functional medicine or functional nutrition, they can order it. And so—and everyone, we see—I order panels of all this stuff, because you find it virtually everybody isn't getting enough nutrition from the diet that they eat to keep them healthy and well nourished. And they're in a toxic environment where you need more of this stuff, not less. And then if you can normalise these things, then the person is going to have more resilience to this huge toxic factor that we're all living in.
Lisa: Yes, this horrible suit that we're stuck in.
So I wanted to transition now over into your book, The Search for the Perfect Protein because I think this is a good segway coming. Because I didn't understand like, as an athlete, I used to always, and I've done 70,000 kilometres in my lifetime. I've run pretty much every desert there is on the planet, I've done horrific things to my body. And I will always be taking branched-chain amino acids and they certainly helped my performance.
But I'm now starting to understand after reading your book, that they aren't the whole picture. And they are only three of the essential amino acids. And I've got PerfectAmino coming, hopefully today to my house, and I'm super excited because I know I'm protein deficient. I feel that I'm constantly anaemic even I have a good diet and I do everything right. And I know a lot of the athletes and a lot of the woman especially that I work with have are fighting these sorts of battles as well.
Can you tell us what is an amino acid? Why is this absolutely crucial knowledge that people have and why they need to go and buy your book for starters? But what we need to understand about amino acids story?
Dr David: Okay. So if you look at nutrients, there's three things that are called macronutrients, the big ones, okay. There's carbohydrates, and fats, and proteins. Now, all of them are made out of three things, carbon and hydrogen and oxygen. Amino acid, amino in Greek means nitrogen. So amino acids make up protein. So proteins have nitrogen, but carbohydrates and fats don't have nitrogen. Okay?
Now, an amino acid if you think of it, if we use an analogy, like language. So in the English language, there's 26 letters. And you could arrange those letters in different sequences and different lengths to make words. And so, in English language, I don't know, there's 350 or 400,000 words, okay. Some of them are very short, like one letter, like ‘I’ or ‘A’, one letter, some of them are really long.
In amino acid chemistry, the alphabet is these things called amino acids. There's 22 of them, roughly. And so they are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, plus, they have nitrogen, so they're called amino acids. And if you put them in different lengths and sequences, you get proteins. By definition a protein has to have 30 or more amino acids in a chain. There is a hormone in the body, which is just one amino acid, tyrosine. And if you put iodine on there, you get thyroid hormone. So thyroid hormone is made out of amino acid.
Lisa: Wow, tyrosine and iodine.
Dr David: With three to four iodines attached and that’s thyroid
Lisa: Okay, T3, T4. Okay.
Dr David: T3, T4, okay. Glutathione is a well-known antioxidant detoxifier, has three amino acids. So, the body puts those three in the right order, and it makes glutathione.
Lisa: Wow. Super interesting.
Dr David: It gets more complex. Insulin has—I think, I forgot—89 amino acids. And growth hormone has—I don't know—something hundred, hundred and 20 amino acids. So, the sequence of the 22 amino acids has to be just right or it doesn't make the same thing. Every insulin has the same sequence. The skeletal muscle is made up of two proteins. One's called actin, and one's called myosin. Actin has 5600 amino acids per one actin fibre.
Dr David: So if your body wants to make muscle fibre, you work out, you tear it.
Lisa: That’s a lot of protein.
Dr David: It takes 8600 of these amino acids to make one fibre.
Lisa: Wow. In the right combination?
Dr David: In the right combination. So most of us—so I got injured. I was training for Ironman, and I injured my hamstring. And at the time, I was a vegetarian. Now vegetarians are on low protein diets by definition. They're not eating meat, fish and eggs, that's where the major proteins are that we take in. And beans don't cut it. So, I didn't know this. I'm just a doctor. And I'm a young triathlete. But I think I'm doing the right thing.
So I get injured, and I can't figure out how I can get it healed. I injected it and massaged it and chiropractored it and I did heat treatments and I did everything. Wouldn't get better. And I had a friend who had an amino acid mixture. And he said, ‘Try these’, he was in Europe and he got these things. And he said, ‘Try these’. And I tried those for six weeks, and my hamstring healed, they actually healed. I could do go to a track, do hardcore miles, no pain. And about three months later, I went to Canada and I did Ironman Canada, and I had my best time ever. And I thought, ‘Holy smokes, this stuff is really, something's happening in my body, that's good’.
I noticed a couple other things to my maximum heart rate went up by 12 points. I could hit 176 on a real hot day going up a real steep hill on a bike. And I could hit 176 and it went to one 184. So I got a change, I got a physiologic change and improvement. So, I started playing with these amino acids. And I started measuring levels of amino acids in the clinic of patients that I was seeing. And what I found is that almost everybody had low levels of amino acids than what they should. Especially these things called essential amino acids.
Now, eight of the amino acids are called essential because the body can't make them, you got to get them in the food that you eat or in the supplementation. From those eight, you can make the other 14. So, if you don't get the eight, you don't make proteins because all the proteins have the essential amino acids. And if you're low in one or two or three, you're not going to make the protein
Lisa: The whole thing doesn’t work.
Dr David: It doesn't work. And the proteins turn over, they're always being rebuilt remodelled, because through our life there’s stressors. All the enzymes in the body that make energy and detoxified are proteins, they're made out of amino acids. And so, if the body isn't getting enough, there are 50,000 proteins in the body that need to be made all the time. And if you don't have enough coming in, the body is going to say, ‘I'm going to fix this tendon, but I'm going to let the immune system sag’, or ‘I'm going to fix this, whatever, and I'm going to I'm going to let the bones go because bones are made out of collagen, which is a protein, and I'm going to repair something else’.
And so, the gut lining is supposed to get a new layer every three or four days. But if there's a shortage, it might be, ‘Let's put that off’. So, it's every six or seven days, or eight or nine days, or a person gets a—they get an overuse injury. And then it's weeks before it heals instead of, ‘Why isn't it healed in a couple of days, it should be able to heal up’. So, it's because there's a deficiency of amino acids. And so all these patients had deficiencies of amino acids.
And so, we put together this formula called ‘PerfectAmino’, it's eight essential amino acids. And it's in a very specific blend.
Lisa: And that’s key.
Dr David: So that when you take the amino acids, your body utilises it 99%, utilises it to make body protein. So, there are thousands of athletes, or post-op patients, or pregnant or nursing patients, where you give them these supplemental amino acids and the body just starts to work better, it heals better, it performs better, immunity is better, osteoporosis gets better. And you can make a huge difference.
So, the search for the perfect protein was really my search for what is the perfect thing that works better than meat and fish and eggs by a factor of at least three to six times that you could take as a supplement. Nobody wants to eat pills as their meal. So, you eat good food, and you eat animal proteins. And if you're a vegetarian, you don't want to eat animal proteins, then you need to take more essential amino acids, more PerfectAmino, because the amount of amino of essential amino acids in vegetable foods is low. And they just aren't good enough to really keep somebody nourished.
I have tested thousands of vegans and vegetarians on their amino acid levels. They look terrible. A lot of these people are tired. They don't feel well, but they feel like the healthy thing to do is don't eat meat. Fine, I have no argument with that. But then you gotta make sure that you're getting the stuff you need so your body doesn't suffer. And PerfectAmino is vegan, it's kosher. So, like anybody with a list of, ‘It's got to fit these things’, they can take it because it's a safe, clean product.
Lisa: And the amazing thing that I didn't understand was that when we’re looking at foods and saying, ‘Well, we'll get our protein from our food’, say, a whey protein drink or a piece of steak or a fish. You see, in your talks, I heard—whey protein you’re actually only using around 16%, as actual protein gets integrated into the body and the rest gets used and tuned into either carbohydrates. And actually, if you're trying to keep your weight down or anything like that, I’ve got lots of friends who are trying to do low carb diets, and then you taking a steak, and not realising that part of that steak will turn into carbohydrates.
So, a steak was I think 33%, and fish was around the same and in eggs were quite high with a 48%, and breastmilk was the best at 49% that actually gets utilised. Yes, utilised in the body as a protein. And I was like, ‘Wow, so half of what I'm eating is not actually being used in the right way’. And when I looked at spirulina, because I'm very big on spirulina, and I've been, ‘Oh, it's got almost 64% protein’, and then realising that actually, you're only using a tiny portion of it. Not to say that spirulina is bad because there's lots of great reasons to take spirulina, but protein source, it’s not the optimum.
And then the other interesting thing that I found is—just hopping back to my mum story, she's got fatty liver disease and some kidney issues. So, I've got her on a very low protein diet. And I've been concerned about what her ability to recover and do all the things that her body needs some protein when I've got her on a low, mostly vegetarian diet.
Now I'm excited to get the PerfectAmino because I had to have a low protein diet with her because she can't process nitrogen. Nitrogen, for listeners, is the protein, it takes the nitrogen off and then it has to be processed in the liver and to urea and then excreted in the kidneys. Now if you've got liver or kidney problems, you can't get the urea out of the system. And of course, that leads to problems where you've got too much nitrogen, which is a toxin, and you can get gout and so on and worse things.
So, this is a really good thing for people who have kidney disease, for people who are on dialysis, for people who have fatty liver disease or alcoholic liver or anything where it's impaired these detox processes and you can’t take your proteins, this is a way to get those proteins without the nitrogen problem.
Dr David: Exactly, exactly. And then so you can meet their protein needs with virtually no calories because this stuff has practically no calories. 10 grams is only four calories.
So, if you're a dieter or, you know, if you're—let's say, we're going to go super lean, we're going to do low calorie, and still a chicken breast is going to be 250, 300 calories, or beef steak. Whereas you can get more protein and 10 tablets of PerfectAmino or two scoops, it comes as a powder too. And it's only four calories.
And so, you can meet your protein needs, but you don't deplete yourself, and you don't get the calories. So, for dieting, it's good for your mum. It's perfect because see, immune wise, these immune proteins are made out of proteins. And if you're depleted, it may mean lack of immunity and a lot of these people that have chronic illness with kidneys or livers, they're susceptible to infection. And when you put them on low protein diets, their gut, they get a leaky gut, and they leak bacteria and they get infections. And then they have low immune proteins in their blood and they can get really sick, they can get sepsis, they can really get sick, they can get skin breakdown. So, mouth ulcers, lots of stuff.
So, this is something that can be used by, virtually all sick people are amino acid deficient. I mean, 100%, I don't care what's, whether you've got cancer or Parkinson's or chronic fatigue, you have low amino acids. If you're an athlete, you most likely have low amino acids and your performance will increase. We've had lots of super high elite level athletes that are taking this thing now. And I just tell people, if you're an athlete and you're trying to get performance, the guys that are beating you on PerfectAmino.
Lisa: And you've had this case in the Tour de France. So I heard that story with the guys that were on the PerfectAmino we're not breaking down like the guys because after 21 days of an extreme amount of exercise, you're smashing the crap out of your body. And at the end, they were turning out to be stronger than they had gone into the competition with these aminos, and I'm like, ‘Ah, damn, why didn't I have that during my competitive career’? It was good to have branched-chain, but it wasn't really the best option out there.
Dr David: Well, see, with branched-chains, of the eight essential amino acids, three of them are called branched-chain. So that's just their structure. But if you take branch-chains—see, every protein in the body has all eight essential amino acids. So, if you're trying to build or expand your protein, or recover your protein, if you're taking the three, you're not getting all eight, and it won't work. So branched-chain amino acids act like a carbohydrate, you might as well eat a banana.
Lisa: Oh, wow.
Dr David: Now what I've been finding, so I'm doing an Ironman in two weeks, and I have this company called BodyHealth, so we make an electrolyte. So, it's a mixture of sodium, it's got high potassium, it's got zinc, and magnesium and trace minerals, and we put two grams per serving of PerfectAmino in there.
So, I'm putting my 22-ounce water bottles, when I go out and bike, 22 ounces of water, I put two scoops in the electrolytes, that's four grams of amino acids. And I put a scoop of the regular PerfectAmino, which is another five grams. And I'm drinking a bottle every hour or two, depending on the heat.
And I tell you that it's a performance increaser recovery. And then, it keeps your mind clear because having these amino acids trickle in, just gives your body a message that there's plenty available, you can work it hard, you don't have—there's no deficiency. And I find it just really makes a huge difference to use doses that are higher than what we used to recommend, but it actually works better.
Lisa: So, because someone like me, who's done like 25 years of extreme endurance sports, and really smashed my body, damaged my kidneys, constant problems with anaemia, and now I have really a problem with my exercise tolerance has gone down massively, in the last four years, I've had lots of stress as well, with sick parents and so on.
But is there a way back? Is there a way to build that resilience that I used to have through—like, I have a very good diet, I have very good supplementation or constantly learning but doing well on all those points, and yet the exercise tolerance is still very low at the moment.
So, where I used to be go out and be able to run 200 kilometres, now a 5k run is quite a mission. Is there a way back for me, do you think? I should book an appointment with you, but just look from an athlete's point of view, will this help with exercise tolerance, as well as the recovery?
Dr David: See your mitochondria are not, they’re not producing? Every disease condition too—it's a power failure.
Lisa: Yes, someone pulled the plug.
Dr David: The bulbs are, you got a 10-watt bulb in a room that needs a 100-watt bulb. And as long as there's daylight coming in from the outside, and you could read, you could see with a 10-watt bulb, but when it gets dark, you can't read, you can't see. And these mitochondria, they’re not making ATP.
And so while they used to be able to crank out ATP, I don't think it's at this point that their structure is so damaged, that they can't be recovered. I think they need some help, like some diagnostic help, like what are the actual issues? What are the mineral imbalances? What are the hormones doing? What shape is your gut in? Do you have parasites? Are there heavy metals? What are your amino acid levels? Like you have to do sort of a like where is the problem coming from? What is the weak link that's causing this mitochondria to not be able to produce energy?
And so, we do a thing where we actually do a test of mitochondrial function, we measure the VO2 max and we measure what their actual metabolism is, and you can say, ‘Wow, this guy can't do it’. You take someone with chronic fatigue and their anaerobic threshold. So that's where they can no longer have enough oxygen coming in to keep up with what It's needed and they start producing lactic acid. Their anaerobic threshold consists of sitting up in bed, they just hit their anaerobic threshold. Like they can't walk to the bathroom because it's too much.
And then you take somebody like yourself, you could run 200 kilometres. And you never were at anaerobic threshold, and you were moving pretty darn fast, with tremendous amount of energy being produced. And I don't think the machine is broken, I just think the machine has been stressed and it needs a rebuild process. And that you could do it, and some of its amino acids, and some of its hormonal, and some of its, there's a lot of tricks now to be able to, like, ‘How can we get this thing moving so that we can get the performance back up’? And then when the performance goes back up, it’s like, ‘Here, I’m back’.
Lisa: It’s like, ‘Oh my God’. Yes. And then, I've been working on my own issues while I'm learning all these other things and rehabilitating my mum, and I've learned a lot, and I'm certainly a lot better. But there's a couple of pieces of the puzzle missing. So that's why I'm super excited about the PerfectAmino part of the story. And I'll report back to you on how they had to fix me because I'm damn sure that there's a protein deficiency going on. If I look at my whole entire history, there's always been a problem.
And getting off my case now, but just looking at the whole gut health situation, this is where it was really an eye opener for me too. You see that the gut lining is only one self-second, it replaces itself every three, four, five days. But some people it's taking up to 10 days. And this leads to leaky gas with a zonulin and the tight junctions are getting too loose and leading protein and in bacteria and things through into the bloodstream, which is causing systemic inflammation and problems everywhere. And it becomes a bit of a catch 22 isn't it? When you don't have enough amino acids, you can't make new gut cells. But then if you don't have a good gut, then you can’t absorb the protein, and it sort of becomes a vicious cycle. So this is a way to break that cycle. And...
Dr David: I mean, these things, we've measured this, you take a dose of 10 grams of amino acids and you start measuring blood levels amino acids in 23 minutes, this stuff’s in your bloodstream, almost irregardless of what your gut health is like. Like it gets in, it gets through.
Lisa: Even with the gap absorption issues and working with a patient with celiac, for example, at the moment, whose got a lot of gut issues and so even for someone like that...
Dr David: You may have to start them easy, work them up.
Lisa: Yes, we're going to go to 30 grams a day straight off.
Dr David: Don’t go 30 grams straight off. But you can get them—but it starts the repair process. And then they can, nobody's healthy without a good gut. And hardly anybody's got a good gut. So it's always a critical piece of the puzzle to get people where they're not bloated and they don't have heartburn and they don't have constipation, they don't have diarrhea, and they wake up in the morning and they've got a flat belly that feels good. And you got to get that person there with things that you're familiar with, with probiotics and digestive enzymes and PerfectAmino, and these things. And in most people, you can heal up.
Lisa: You can fix it. The digestive enzyme piece of the puzzle. Is there any danger with digestive enzymes? I heard your story about Kelley William Donalds, the enzyme?
Dr David: Yes, those are over the top strong.
Lisa: So, digestive enzymes. Do you have a digestive enzyme product in your line?
Dr David: Yes, yes, we call it Full Spectrum Digest. And it's, it's a really good product. It's like a digestive enzymes or some hydrochloric acid in it. The tolerance level on it is almost everybody can take it without a problem. The ones I was experimenting with, they're really strong.
Lisa: Right and that was for cancer prevention. Yes. And looking, which was interesting research, actually. But so okay. So you're looking at those two sides of the puzzle. And people as they get older, we produce this stomach acid. And then there are billions of people on 59:50 bloemen acid blockers. And that's a real problem that's causing all these gut issues and then it becomes the next pill to fix, the next thing. So polypharmacy sort of situations that people get into.
So this is a way out now taking acid blockers, why are they bad? Or well, bad, long term?
Dr David: Well, the enzyme in the stomach, it starts protein digestion, requires an acid to be active. So it's called pepsin. And if the pH of the stomach, so pH is a measure of acidity, one is the most acid, 14 is the least acid. So 14 is alkaline, 7 is water in the middle. So, in order for the pepsin in the stomach to activate, it requires a pH in the stomach of one to two. So that's very acid.
Pepsin is the beginning process of breaking down the proteins that you eat. So you eat a chicken breast. So the actin fibres in that chicken muscle have 5600 amino acids in a chain. Now, your intestine will not accept that, it's too big. It will only accept it if it's chopped into little teeny individual amino acids. So if you don't break actin fibre down into 5600 individual amino acids, your body can't utilise that protein, it can't get it in.
So if you give someone a drug, which doesn't allow them to produce stomach acid—no, so now the level of acid in the stomach is seven, it's water. The pepsin doesn't get activated. The first step in protein digestion doesn't occur. And so you don't get the benefit of the proteins that you're eating. The other side of it is in order to absorb minerals, magnesium, zinc, selenium, you need an acid stomach. And if you don't have an acid stomach, you don't get absorption and key minerals. So we find 80% of the patients that we test, they have magnesium deficiency, many of potassium on a cellular level deficiency and zinc deficiency, and selenium. So, these are key things.
The other problem when you block stomach acid, the food that we eat is not sterile. Nobody boils their food until it's sterile before they eat it. We eat raw food or fruits, we eat raw vegetables, there's bacteria in there, there’re parasites in there. And you eat that stuff. And if the mechanism of the body to protect itself from bacteria in food is that there's acid in the stomach, and it kills bacteria. If you don't have acid in your stomach, you eat that broccoli raw, or the tomato. Or you went to a restaurant you had a salad but right before they chopped up the lettuce, they had a raw piece of fish on the thing that they were slicing up and he didn't really wipe off the cutting board very well. And then he puts his lettuce on there, he’s chopping it up. And so, there's some parasites in that lettuce, there's some amoebas, or something in there, and you eat that. And it doesn't get killed in your stomach, which is supposed to happen and it gets in your small intestine. There's a worldwide epidemic now, what's called SIBO, it's all intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Well, where those bacteria come from? They came from your food. Why did they get through? Because you have no stomach acid.
Lisa: Oh my gosh. So it becomes a vicious cycle.
Dr David: Dogs can eat anything because they have humongous levels of stomach acid. And so, they could go and eat out of puddles and eat all this stuff because they have a protection.
Lisa: So by blocking it, we’re actually causing way more—and that the good and the reflex, a reflex is actually not enough essence, not too much isn't it? So, and as we get older, we produce this betaine or HCl betaine. So, we need to be looking at our levels of stomach acids and enzymes. So pancreatic enzymes are lipases and proteases as well, all of the things that break down.
And so having a supplementation of good enzymes, and a good combination, in combination with the PerfectAmino, I think is a really a golden sort of—and then add on a few... And people might say, ‘Well, isn't there just a whole lot of supplementation? And can I just, you know, eat my normal food like we did back in the day’? And the answer is, I don't think we can because the world isn't a complete mess and we are not living as we did 200 years ago and how our ancestors had good food and no glyphosate and they had good organic meats and they didn't have this toxic influx of exhaust fumes and paint fumes and furniture, off gassing, and all of these things that are adding to the load that the modern day human has to deal with.
And so therefore, I think we do need appropriate supplementation, good organic food, and good exercise, good sleep patterns, good—all those basic things that we often also neglect to have a healthy human. And this is why we've got massive chronic disease now that we shouldn't be having. And the wonders of modern medicine so that they can keep us alive with great surgeries and great—but on what status so many people are in a hell of a hell o