Written by Christopher Kelly
Dec. 14, 2017
Tommy: Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive Podcast. My name is Tommy Wood and today I am joined by Dr. Bryan Walsh. Hi, Bryan!
Bryan: Hello, hello!
Tommy: So regular listeners probably know who Bryan is. If you don't then stop right now and go back to the first time. I think the first time that Bryan was on the podcast, he talked about social isolation, or at least that was one of the first times and it's one of the podcasts that we really changed the way we think about a lot of stuff. I know that Bryan really hates a bio, so I'll just say that he is absolutely the best educator in biomedical health that I know currently and has been a huge mentor to everybody at Nourish Balance Thrive and we're always so happy to get some of his time to teach us some stuff. People are saying stuff, but I'm very excited today.
Bryan, you're going to talk to us about a recent course you made, some research you've been doing talking about detoxification, detox. Where I wanted to start was you spent a lot of time focusing on the importance of really understanding the basic biochemistry and physiology. People are always attracted to shiny new things that pop up and it sort of maybe detracts from some of the basics that we could be doing, but what made you dig into detoxification and what made you interested in that process?
Bryan: It's a funny question. Thank you. First of all, that bio, I think I might use that. Second of all, you sound phenomenal, dude. You're so good at this, so I appreciate that. Honest to God, the way that any of these things start is out of my own question about something. I have been in this industry for a while. I've learned about detoxification and the way people teach it. I've done it in my practice and I thought I knew a thing or two about it, but then some little bug just flies into my head and says, "Well, you really think you know everything about detoxification, huh? Well, there's more out there."
So it starts out as a question and I just start digging, and you know how that goes as you start looking into the literature, and then unfortunately -- or fortunately, I should say PubMed has that bit where this was cited in these following articles and the next thing you know, you have like 60 tabs open in Firefox or whatever browser you use and trying to save them all to whatever program you use. Anyway, what happens is -- and this is just honest -- if two things happened, I'd turn it into a course. One is if I'm blown away at the awesomeness and really at the utility of the information, and then the second one, if I get frustrated at the fact that I've never heard this anywhere before. I've been around for a little while and chances are if I haven't ever heard about anything then other people probably haven't as well. I'm not living under a rock, so I probably would have heard of certain things. So if those two things are present, if I've never heard of something before and I find the information is just so important, like I said, so much utility to it then I turn it into a course because I feel like I can use it in my practice with people and if I never heard about it, that's probably the case with most of the people, so that's what spawned this. It was just an initial question.
You and I have talked about this. It's just a little healthy skepticism where is adrenal fatigue real or not or is gluten as bad as we think it is or should we be taking curcumin in an isolated, bioavailable form? Should we be taking Vitamin D? It's just more questions than answers and I just decided to look into one of those questions. I dive in for two or three months, read everything I possibly can on it, put together some of the puzzle pieces, and then if like I said those two aspects are there then I turn it into a course.
Tommy: And your course is absolutely brilliant, a level of detail and information that like you said is historically useful to both the individual and especially the practitioner. And so if you're listening right now and you're one of those people and you haven't seen one of Bryan's courses, please go to his website and do that. We'll put all the links in the show notes and make sure that you get access to those.
So yeah, I was going to ask about how long it took you to do this because I know you're a research purist, so in the past that you and I have been talking about something and I'll mention an idea, you'll just say, "Hang on. You've told me enough. Let me go and read the research and see if I get the same idea," so you don't want to be biased by people. You're not going to go and just do the same thing that everybody else is doing. You're really going to dig down into the research and prevent your own personal biases and just create something that's based on what's really out there, so how long did it take you to put this detox course together?
Bryan: Oh, the courses? I don't know, man. You know how this goes. You'll come across a paper like five years ago and it's really good and you save it. You don't know why you're going to use it or where, but you just go ahead and save it. So I've been into this for a while, but I feel like -- I don't know. I don't remember, man. I don't pay attention. I'm sleep-deprived. I don't know, probably a few months. I'd say there's the loose studying and I know you've had this happen too where you read about detoxifications and pathways or some enzymes and then all of a sudden you read one paper and it just blows your mind and you're like, holy cow, everybody shut up. Now I need to be serious about this. So the actual, real, deep part was probably a good month or two, I suppose, and you're actually right.
I'm jealous of you and Chris because you guys listen to all these different podcasts and I don't listen to a thing, man. I feel like I should and all these people are posting these great podcasts over here or on Facebook, wherever. I don't, but it's because I don't want to be biased by anything. I really want to try to -- and I may be missing a lot of boats out there, but at least when I come up with stuff, it's like you said, it's fairly non-biased and pure.
Tommy: There are benefits to both approaches, right? Our goal is to know what people are doing out there and hear about good ideas, but equally then that does leave you open to bias, so it definitely goes both ways.
Tommy: So can you think of the paper, the one that you mentioned, the paper that made you stop and think? Do you know which paper it was?
Bryan: I can pick up a few that blew my mind and one is that there was a Phase Zero detoxification.
Tommy: Yeah. That's just what I was about to ask you about.
Bryan: I simply had never learned about it. Well, it's recently discovered, so there's probably a reason why I've never heard about it. It was basically that. You've heard of Phase Three for a while and it's discovered I think in the -- I think it was in the '90s or something like that. The problem was -- and this was one of the things that actually now I do remember this part. This was one of the reasons I wanted to look into this more, is because I was hearing all these different people talk about what Phase Three was and some would say, "It has to do with PH. That's Phase Three." There are a lot of people out there that want to be famous for discovering something or coming up with -- so they said, "Oh, there's a Phase Three too. That's great if there's a Phase Three. That's so exciting that we have now something else to go after and it has to do with PH." Someone else said it had to do with binding and elimination out of the body and all these things.
I'm like, well, I'm not getting the real story on what Phase Three actually is. I've heard a lot of things. I call it the nutritional grapevine where people just pass along this information. And then I looked into it and I realized what it actually was and in the process of doing that, there was another paper that was talking about Phase One, Phase Two, Phase Three, but also talked about Phase Zero. I was like, "What the… there's a Phase Zero? How come I've never heard of this before? I've got to look into this." That was one.
And then I'll tell you another one that turbo charged things for me, was this concept of a biphasic response of depending on the dose of a given nutrient compound -- whatever you want to call it nowadays, molecule -- on detoxification enzymes. Now, that's the bigger story and we can get into this later if you want, but essentially I was reading some papers that were suggesting that a low dose of a given molecule -- like let's just make up sulforaphane or curcumin that is in turmeric or a variety of different things that have been studied. In a low dose, it had a tendency to increase certain detoxification enzymes, but the exact same molecule at a high dose actually inhibited those enzymes.
The basic was that the amount -- and this isn't weird. This would make sense from an evolutionary perspective, but that the amounts found in food tended to stimulate some detoxification enzymes and the higher the dose, which would be really akin to something like a concentrated form and a supplement, in other words, if you take turmeric then you might be getting some benefits to certain detoxification enzymes, but if you take isolated, bioavailable, liposomal nanoparticle whatever curcumin that you might actually be inhibiting those very same detoxification enzymes, so Phase Zero was a huge one for me honestly, and you know this too. You stand back and you're like, "Wait. Why haven't I heard this before? Where is this information?"
The second one was about [0:08:25] [Indiscernible]. That really supercharged things because then I was like, well, what are we doing? All these different detoxification programs out there, they're so many. That was another thing that was pissing me off. There's a three-day juice fest and they sell you these fancy juices and then there's the 21-day -- every single nutritional supplement company has a program, detoxification program, which is a bunch of supplements and basically elimination diet. There's no evidence that anything actually detoxify our body or eliminate that. That was the whole thing. That's how it started. That's how I got revved up and that's how I got revved up the second time.
Tommy: That's awesome. So like you said, the information you're talking about isn't easily accessible, so maybe you can just start by giving us a journey through the detox pathways, the different phases. Like you said, people are probably familiar with Phase One and Two, but we could probably use a recap, so can you just broadly outline what those entail?
Bryan: First of all, the way that we excrete things, which is really detoxification, is getting it out of the body as excretion. If something is water-soluble in the first place, we're good that we can excrete things in tears, in saliva, in sweat, in urine, in feces. I might be missing one. We can actually breathe out certain ones as well. So if we are exposed to -- and I'll just use the global term "xenobiotic", which really is huge. It means something other than self, so it could be a synthetic chemical, it could be heavy metal. Internally there are endogenous lipopolysaccharides, so something. If it's water-soluble, you can urinate it out. You can sweat it out. You can cry it out. You can spit it out. There's a lot of different ways of getting rid of it. So when people talk about detoxification, what they're usually referring to is something that's lipophilic or fat-soluble in the first place.
And this whole thing that I'm about to say should make a lot of sense, but I don't know why we didn't figure this out for a long time. Anyway, we have this thing that maybe it came through our skin, we ate it or it was -- I mean, there are other routes, but those are probably the bigger two. We could inhale it and or get exposed. If it's fat-soluble then most people think of the liver in terms of detoxification, but there's the kidney. The kidneys are robust in terms of some of these things, and most of the cells of the body have some capacity to detoxify things, which would also make sense. So then we have this thing we need to get rid of. We need to make it water-soluble. Otherwise, it can't swim around in our bloodstream and it can't be excreted. So essentially, Phase Zero -- let's just imagine a hepatocyte or a liver cell. Phase Zero is the influx or bringing in this fat-soluble compound into the liver cell that's going to be detoxifying this. So Phase Zero, which was discovered in the late 2000s I suppose, that would be a long time, but it was kind of in the 2007 or 2008.
Anyway, Phase Zero is the transporter that brings this thing in in the first place and there's a whole mass of different transporters within this super family. In Phase One, it's going to happen inside of a cell. There's an enzyme that's going to be involved. There are a variety of enzymes and essentially what it's doing is the first step is it makes -- it either adds -- there's a lot of different types of Phase One, but for simplicity's sake, it either adds or exposes what's called a hydroxyl group. And so after Phase One that now this new compound is said to be more toxic, and here's a misnomer in this industry when it comes to this. They say that it's more toxic than the original compound. Now, that's too much of a global statement to be able to say that.
With this hydroxyl group exposed or added onto this now, it can very much act as a very potent free radical, but is a free radical toxic to the body? That gets into this whole concept of what's actually the toxin and what's toxic. It can act as a free radical, but now there are cases -- and this is something that was hard to get all the details on, but there are cases when something is more toxic than the initial compound, so if it's more toxic or not, it's really difficult to say globally, but it can act as a free radical. In some cases, there are certain chemicals that can be more toxic. Now, in the same cell, so Phase Zero -- just picture a room. That's the easiest thing to do, a square room. Phase Zero is the door opens and this thing comes in. Phase One is a person that was already in the room, hands off this OH or just adds something to this chemical like a sticky note to it. Now, this person that came in the room has a sticky note on their forehead that goes through Phase One. And because they have a sticky note on their forehead, they're kind of angry. They may cause damage to the room now, perhaps more so than when they first came in.
And then Phase Two globally is called conjugation and conjugation means to add something to it. Some of the pathways, people probably have heard about things like glucuronidation or methylation or sulfation or glutathione conjugation. Something is being handed to this now angry person with a sticky note on their face that's going to cause damage. And so if it's sulfation then the sulfur group is added. If it's methylation then the methyl group is added. If it's glucuronidation, glucuronic acid or glucuronide is added.
See, here's the thing and this makes sense too. Now you have this thing inside the cell, but we need to detoxify and get rid of it, so we're not done with detoxification. There's another door on the other side of the room and that's Phase Three, and Phase Three is the other person opens up the door and is now water-soluble because it's gone through conjugation. It's water-soluble. It goes out of the cell, into the bloodstream or bile, can be pooped out. There's a little bit of water in poop. It can be urinated out, cried out, sweat out or spit out. That makes sense.
Tommy: Perfect. People talk about detox, general detox, all these different plans. The things I guess that people are worried about tend to be heavy metals and then some of the persistent organic pollutants, those fat-soluble things that we can get exposed to. Do we need to separate those out? Does this all come under the same umbrella? When you're talking about this stuff, are you just talking about one versus the other?
Bryan: That's a good question. I would say that there are different sized umbrellas, the biggest one being toxin and that's something that could potentially cause damage to the body because for example, lipopolysaccharides are highly toxic to the body. We're not probably going to have exposure to those exogenously, but those are endogenous and they're extremely inflammatory and they're extremely toxic. So this is kind of a rhetorical question for you, but what would you rather take your chances with, aluminum or lipopolysaccharides? I don't know. I don't have an answer for that. I think they're both equally damaging in different ways.
So globally there's just a big umbrella of toxins. See, the thing with heavy metals -- here's I guess my take on this. The thing with heavy metals is their toxicity has been known for quite some time and therefore I think people are probably more worried about that, whereas the toxic effects of many of these, like you said, persistent organic pollutants or just synthetic chemicals across the board, it's more new information and some of the damaging effects of these things -- these studies are brand new. Some of these concepts are -- here's an example. I'll just quickly make a tangent and come back.
The first study that I've seen on this idea of what's called a non-monotonic dose response curve is that with the endocrine disruptors, there's really strong evidence, very strong evidence that a low dose -- and I'll slow it down so people get it. They'll say it a couple of times -- is just as physiologically damaging as a high dose. The first paper I saw for this was 2012. This was a very new conversation that's being had about endocrine disruptors, is that a low dose is just as physiologically damaging as a high dose is. And so when I say that a lot of these papers are new, we know a lot more about heavy metals I think than we know about some of these other things, non-persistent organic pollutants. And so I think they're all inherently damaging to the body under certain conditions, but like I said, I don't know the one is worse than the other. I just think we know more about metals because we've known about their toxicity for longer.
Tommy: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. So when you mention these things -- and obviously it's just starting to come out in terms of the research and things that you should be worried about, how are people getting exposed to this stuff?
Bryan: You know how I work and I don't like to say we know anything, but saying you have a belief, people don't find that very confident or attractive, so we assume very potently certain things, and one is that everybody has exposure. This was another reason why because I get so tired of the internet and the forms and -- I'm not going to name the websites, but the ones that are bashing nutritional alternative and integrative medicine. They have nothing good to say at all because do we screw things up? Yes, and so do they, but we're also doing some good things.
And so that was another thing, is I wanted to scientifically validate detoxification because it's one of those concepts that even if practitioners don't really totally agree with this, I think that they kind of whisper this to their patients like, "We'll run a blood chemistry and we're going to put you on a better diet. We're also going to do a detoxification program" because we don't have a lot of science behind it. It's this old concept that has existed since Ayurvedic medicine 5000 years ago and Panchakarma and sweat lodges. It's an old concept, but we have not upgraded what we're doing to bring the science to it and I wanted to find some science to this.
Anyway, the exposure bait, so what I was saying is I think we know that we have very strongly assumed that everybody has exposure to these things and there's a variety of different papers that have been out there. They've looked at breast milk of women in different countries around the world and in some places, the conversation is should women actually be nursing their babies arguably with the best food ever created for infants, but they're so toxic that should they -- I mean, what are the pros and the cons to this kind of thing? They've looked at bodies of water around the world that are relatively untouched by humans. There are toxins in there. It's all over the place. It's ubiquitous and I think there are different diets, there are different lifestyles.
If someone follows an organic diet and they live somewhere that's fairly far away from the industry, chances are that they probably have less exposure, but on the other hand, who does that? There are not a whole lot of people that actually do that. I was looking at this list of foods actually that contain glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and it had the quantities and Cheerios were way up on the list, for example. I forget all the rest of them, but they even had some products you'd find in Whole Foods and even they had glyphosate in it. So have I ever given our kids actual Cheerios? I think we probably bought a box once like we were hard up and we needed finger food for the infants or something, so it's everywhere. It's been found in tap water. It's everywhere, so everybody has exposure.
Now, can you mitigate that a bit? Probably the type of diet, the type of foods that you eat, where you live, where you work, do you live near places with air pollution or not, but everybody has some kind of exposure to this.
Tommy: So should we then assume that everybody should be taking some meticulous steps in certain periods of time during the year or understand in circumstances we should be focusing on some kind of specific detoxification period or protocol or is it something that we should all be worrying about?
Bryan: That is the one piece. There are some things that I think that we -- again, I put it in quotes -- no, it's really a belief, but there are some things that we know. One is that everybody has some kind of exposure. Another one is that we have a better understanding of the xenobiotics and the different mechanisms of action that they have to cause their damage like some are cytotoxic, some are damage to the mitochondria, some act on hormones. There's a variety of different things.
Another one that I just mentioned is that a low dose is just as damaging as a high dose and that becomes a problem because another thing that I found that I looked for was if there's a synergistic effect, and there is without a doubt a synergistic effect especially at -- and what some of these papers are describing is at environmental doses like doses that we're exposed to which is thought to be relatively low in most people.
There's a synergistic effect, and now -- and if you look for it, there are so many papers actually that are linking xenobiotics to a variety of diseases, the obvious ones like cancers and testicular issues and ovarian issues, but also things like cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's and even type two diabetes. So I say all that because those are things that we somewhat know, but the question that you asked was that's an area that I don't think we know. How toxic are you versus me? Your question was should people be doing these detoxification process? Should we be concerned? I don't know. We know that we're exposed. We know that there's a synergistic effect. We know the mechanism of action of these things, but then the question is why does someone have multiple chemical sensitivity and someone doesn't? And should we be actively trying to detoxify some of these things? So to that, I will honestly say I don't have an answer in terms of -- I should say I don't have any evidence that people should be concerned and actively doing detoxification programs.
My own personal opinion is I don't think it would be a particularly bad idea for people to try to do detoxification programs, but the first thing I would want to do -- I mean, somebody can of course just do it willy-nilly and that's totally fine, but some kind of assessment is to find out are your symptoms based on possible toxicity, for example. There are really great questionnaires out there, subjective questionnaires that if somebody's symptoms seem to point to possible toxicity issues or something like multiple chemical sensitivity then yeah, I think a detoxification program is probably a good idea, but I don't think it's a bad idea for everybody. My wife and I will do it. The detoxification program that I came up with, which I actually love, we actually want to do it. It's only ten days and we'll do it like once a month and then all of a sudden, the next month rolls around and she's like, "You know, I'm kind of feeling like I want to do that again." "Yeah, it sounds like a great idea." So yeah, there's no reason not to necessarily if it's done right.
Tommy: Yeah. I definitely get your thoughts on what people should be doing there, but one of the first things I wanted to talk about, the reason I asked you to come on to the podcast is to talk about fasting and detoxification. Fasting is very in vogue at the moment, but I think there's a possibility particularly from the information you were describing of an interaction or a problematic effect of pure fasting on detoxification or the release of certain pollutants that you may have stored up in body fat, so can you talk about that, why fasting may be an issue? And what kinds of fasting are we talking about? Just restricting the feeding window, we're talking about prolonged fast, two to three days plus.
Bryan: Yeah. That's a great question and kind of a big one. I'll do my best. Fasting has been around for a very long time and I love the concept of fasting. I think that it's something that intuitively speaks to not just me, but people thinking that maybe there's a time where we should take a step back and relax a little bit more and not eat and just let our body do its thing, clean itself up. I find it funny that detoxification and fasting have been around for so long when they had no synthetic chemicals surrounding them at all, but they felt back then that they needed to detoxify. I just look at us now and my God, if they had to and they found health benefits from that then what are we doing? We're really screwed.
I will just go ahead and globally say I don't think that most people are healthy enough to fast. I think it's actually a bad idea, not sort of innocuous neutral. I think it's bad. I think fasting for most people -- and that's a big statement -- is probably a bad idea. I'll justify that a bit. Number one is every single paper that I've looked at on mammals including humans has showed that when somebody or an animal goes hypocaloric that levels of toxins, xenobiotics, persistent organic pollutants, whatever you want to call them goes up in the blood every single time. In fact, there's one interesting paper that looked at yoyo dieting on these poor mice. They made them a yoyo diet. I always say if I was ever to come back in another life, I think a lab mouse would be the worst thing because God, these mice were forced to yoyo diet and what they found was xenobiotics went up in the blood during a hypocaloric phase and then decreased in a hypercaloric phase, but it's not because they're excreting them. It's because it was being sequestered into a different tissue.
So the bottom line is if we're in any state of any kind hypocaloric state, whatever we have stored -- which makes sense. If these things are fat-soluble, they're stored in adipose tissue, we're in a state of lipolysis to some degree and these things are going to be mobilized. Like I said, every paper I looked at, if the calories dropped, these things go up. Now, if you're fasting, chances are they're probably going to go up even more. And then the other problem that I have is that -- there's some I guess debate about these, but most people that I run into is probably not nutrient-sufficient these days including super healthy people like you and I for a variety of different reasons. Well, what do you think runs these detoxification pathways that help with some of these enzymes that should be getting rid of some of these things?
So I think nowadays especially, we have this really nasty situation where if somebody does fast then these things we probably have more stored in us today than ever before in human history, I'm just going to take a wild guess that they get liberated and they get mobilized, so they go up and they have mechanism damage. These things do things to the body. There's a really interesting paper that actually talked about an additional function of adipose tissue was to actually sequester and hide these things away from the body. We've speculated on this, but it actually went into some detail on it. It was interesting.
So now they go up and now because we're fasting and we may have been nutrient-deficient in the first place, we lack glutathione or just a variety of different things, now we're flooding our body with this stuff but we can't get rid of it. Beautiful. What's the long term effect of these things? There was one paper that suggested that when these mice -- it was more complex than this, but they were exposed to a certain compound. When they fasted, some of the mice had increased uterine weights during fasting and the thought was is because some of the things that were released from fat cells were actually having an estrogenic effect on the uterus, and so I don't know. I don't think most people are healthy enough to fast because of mostly those two factors. You flood the body with all sorts of stuff and then we're not set up to get rid of it because of nutrient deficiencies or enzyme dysfunction. We're not healthy enough in the first place to actually do it.
Tommy: That opens a whole can of worms, which is very interesting but is worrying as people do more and more of this kind of stuff and see a lot of practitioners. Somebody's type two diabetic, obese. Fasting is the first intervention, so maybe we're in certain populations doing more harm than good, but then a related protocol and something that's getting more and more research behind it is Valter Longo's Fasting Mimicking Diet and he's used that in small trials in multiple sclerosis and a few other autoimmune diseases, done lots of studies in mice. I think you mentioned that's probably closer to something that we could maybe do with people, so why is something like that better than pure fasting?
Bryan: Yeah, so a couple of quick comments on what you just said and there's a little bit of conflict amongst papers on this piece I'm about to say, but generally speaking, the higher one's BMI -- and again, there are some papers that will refute this to some degree -- the more xenobiotics went up during fasting. Oh, and I remember another thing I have to tell you about that too, but that would make sense. The fatter and the unhealthier, generally speaking, people don't become obese eating Brussels sprouts and salmon. It's usually processed food, and so if you take somebody who's diabetic, and again, sort of a broad statement, but if somebody is overweight and is type two diabetic because of diet and lifestyle and lack of exercise for a lot of years and if you have them do some kind of fast, what are they doing? What are you ultimately doing?
I should take a quick tangent on this also. There's actually a couple of papers, and man, these are great. They took some people who are overweight. They had them do basically a low calorie diet. The levels of persistent organic pollutants on this paper went up. Organochlorines I think went up, but then what they also did was they monitored their thyroid hormone levels and they found that the degree to which these organochlorines went up, there's a decrease of conversion of T4 to T3 and there are a couple of papers that were similar. I think TSH might have been affected, but anyways, they became hypothyroid and it was correlated with the amount of xenobiotics that were increased in the blood. So how often do people go on a weight loss program and then hit a plateau? People say, "Well, you go hypocaloric and that shuts down the thyroid." Yeah, it probably does a little bit, but dumping a bunch of these xenobiotics that have really potent effects on thyroid hormone and thyroid gland is certainly not helping.
Anyway, I will say what was interesting about this paper, they recommended a moderate weight loss and not an extreme weight loss because by doing so, you're going to leak less into the system to make it more less negatively affect the thyroid, so that's really fascinating stuff, man. Oh, and they also decreased their ability to burn fat and skeletal muscle too, which is another thing they track, so that's awesome for fat loss, lower your thyroid and stop using beta-oxidation in skeletal muscles. See, those are the kinds of papers where you rub your forehead and you're like, "What the heck do we think we're doing with people?"
Anyway, you mentioned the type two diabetics. A practitioner running a fasting program, I think you would probably be fine on a fast, quite honestly. You're an outlier when it comes to the rest of our society. So fasting for the body is good. I just don't think we should do it anymore. What I think what Dr. Longo did is awesome and I have a tremendous amount of respect in his brilliance in coming up with the calorie amount as well as the very specific macronutrient ratios that he recommends for this Fasting Mimicking Diet. And no disrespect to him at all, but what people are doing is they're taking that. His papers are phenomenal. They're so good and then you combine it with time-restricted feeding. That is something that is incredibly awesome.
The thing that I would add to this however is not just meeting the macronutrient ratios and calorie levels with like rice and avocados because they're not going to do anything for your detoxification pathways. If we are going hypocaloric and the Fasting Mimicking Diet is very hypocaloric, we are going to be stimulating lipolysis. And if you add in time-restricted feeding, if we lower our calories and it's in a very specific time window, we are going to be in lipolytic state and we're going to be mobilizing toxins absolutely depending on how toxic somebody is or total body burn or total toxic burn, but what I would suggest -- and this is what I did for my detoxification program -- is very specific foods to meet the calorie and macronutrient requirements for the fast. I don't have anything against that. I think it's brilliant, but I think we can't just, like I said, eat rice cakes and coconut oil to reach that. I think we should probably eat very specific vegetables. I like mung beans, sprouted mung beans quite a bit for a very specific purpose in the detoxification program, so yes, then I could get around it more. I would even be a little bit concerned of somebody doing the Fasting Mimicking Diet, as great as the papers are and the findings have been, what he hasn't looked at that I know of is levels of xenobiotics going up during this and/or looking at levels of enzyme activity for example, detoxification enzyme activity.
Tommy: Then maybe we can start to talk about what is it that you would recommend particularly in terms of the diet because that's what we've been talking about. So you have your ten-day protocol. It does involve going slightly hypocaloric, but like you said, it has very specific macronutrient and then the foods to hit those. So when you're trying to support those pathways while increasing lipolysis slightly, what should we be eating? Why are the mung bean sprouts so magical? Maybe you can walk us through that.
Bryan: So you're asking me to give away my whole program.
Tommy: Well, you can give away the highlights.
Bryan: Because you're so awesome, I have no problem. So again, this took months of reading. That course, I think I had 360 something references on it or something like that. This I actually will tell you. You know me a little bit. I'm a pretty humble person. I love, love this program, and here's the thing. I made up this ten-day detoxification program. I will just take a quick step back. There's no evidence that I know of and I really looked that any current detoxification program actually reduces our total body burning of toxins, period. In fact, lab testing is incredibly inaccurate when it comes to this specific space of looking at how toxic somebody is.
I say all that because my little ten-day detoxification, I don't need to be famous. My wife says I should call it The Walsh Detoxification Protocol, but whatever. I really like it and because it's as evidence-based as I possibly can make it, I have no problem running it past a naysayer of detoxification. That's the whole reason why I made this course was basically to listen to all the naysayers out there that says, "This is all crap. We're not that toxic. The dose makes it poison," all this stuff and say you know what? I respect your opinion, but what I've looked at, I think you're actually wrong and we need to do something about this. And so there's no point in me putting this together if I don't have a "what to do about it".
So basically it's a ten-day program and what I've done was -- because you need to be in lipolysis. So for the first six days -- I have a whole calculation spreadsheet that I've created to make it super easy. Try to figure out your BMR. You're so highly muscled and so highly active that your BMR is probably like 5000 calories, but the dropdown that your basal metabolic rate is about 35% and the reason why is there's one paper that showed that a decrease in calories of 25% increased Phase Three. We're not going to be able to have time to I think get into the Phase Three thing, but I think we're really screwing people up with giving some of these fancy supplements and nutrients. They're actually Phase Three inhibitors.
So to take it back, and I know I'm going all over the place right now, but to take it back to my analogy, that's like letting in this toxin, putting the sticky note on his forehead, getting him pissed off, conjugating him, handing him a little basket of apples so he can happily go along his way, is water-soluble, but then having the Phase Three door closed. Brilliant. There are enzymes to undo Phase Two, so then you slap somebody back into Phase One. You take away his basket of apples. Now, he's pissed off with a sticky note on his head. He can't get out of the room and so he's just going to cause damage. And things like curcumin block Phase Three, and black pepper, which is put in a bunch of things. It just blew my mind. I will say I love this course because it questions so many things and there's so much background for these things.
Anyway, it's ten days. So number one, if you figure out your BMR, just do a calculation and you drop your calories by about 35%. The first six days that you hover at that calorie percent -- and it's pretty high protein, a little bit low on the fat, which I don't care so much about, and not really high in carbohydrates.
Now, what I do have people throughout do is eat -- and there are some really awesome papers showing specific amounts of certain vegetables that were consumed having an impact on things like glucuronidation enzymes and glutathione conjugation enzymes, which is awesome. So they eat a certain amount of cruciferous vegetables and onions and garlic every single day.
The mung beans, it turns out there's an old paper I found that sprouted mung beans are high in glucaric acid and glucaric acid is the I guess nature's form of calcium D-glucarate, which most people that have been in detoxification are familiar with as inhibiting β-glucuronidase, which is the enzyme that undoes glucuronidation, really interesting stuff on that, but mung beans as well -- sprouted mung beans as well as cruciferous vegetables are really high in glucaric acid, so now you're taking nature's β-glucuronidase inhibitor to make glucuronidation more potent, stimulating glucuronidation, stimulating glutathione conjugation, low calorie, but then to augment the low calorie bit is -- I have people do 30 minutes of exercise prior to a sauna session and they do sauna for ten days, so you have to have access to a sauna.
Here's another thing. I would not do a detoxification program if I couldn't sweat my beans out. I would not do it because when you go, we'd have no idea how much you have stored. Nobody does. There's not really a good test out there. You have no idea how much you have stored up. When you go in a hypocaloric state, you have no idea how much is being mobilized and you really don't know unless you do some fancy tests how well your detoxification pathways are working. You have to sweat in massive amounts and I would not do a detoxification program if I did not have an access to a sauna, period.
So you're hypocaloric, so you're in a lipolytic state prior to jumping into the sauna for 30 minutes, and I don't care about the type. Splitting hairs, I think. It could be far infrared, near infrared, the type where you pour the water on, radiant heat, whatever. Just sweat. I have people do 15 minutes of high intensity exercise and then 15 minutes of steady state essentially, so you get that body temperature up to start sweating to increase lipolysis, increase mobilization so that when you jump in the sauna, you're already sweating. You're ready to go and it's a really efficient 30 minutes, so it's only an hour. It's half hour of exercise, half hour of sauna every day for ten days. For six days, your hypocaloric diet based on your BMR, certain amount of protein, certain amount of cruciferous vegetables, onions, leeks, garlic, and tea. It turns out honeybush tea and rooibos tea -- and this is rat studies, I will say. I really try to identify human studies in clinical trials versus animal trials, but rooibos tea and honeybush tea both increase glucuronidation as well as glutathione conjugation, I believe. So drink ample amounts of rooibos tea and honeybush tea, dandelion tea to try to help with some of the bile function. This is the watered down version of it.
And then for the last four days, I do have people go through the Fasting Mimicking Diet using Dr. Longo's calorie amounts and macronutrient amounts. However, I tell people specifically what to eat in order to, according to the human studies, maximize certain detoxification enzymes, so again, a lot of cruciferous vegetables, onions, leeks, garlic, honeybush and rooibos tea and those kinds of things.
That's it in a nutshell. Basically 15 minutes of high intensity, 15 minutes of steady state, sauna for 30 minutes, do all that for ten days, drop your calories based on your BMR for -- oh, and I do have some supplements that I recommend too, which I don't know if I'll get into it right now, but things that are more binders to actually bind onto and eliminate bile acid sequestrants and fibers and various things that according to research -- and there wasn't a bunch of it -- that might actually help excrete some of these things. You know that -- and I know I'm rambling, but hopefully it's good rambling -- is that there's enterohepatic recirculation and that's basically stuff that's in our large intestine especially if the bile goes right back up to our liver. And these things, when they're excreted in Phase Three out of these hepatocytes, now they usually get attached with bile which goes into our small intestine then large intestine and we poop it out.
However, bile gets recirculated 14 to 17 times before it actually gets eliminated out of the body and if it has xenobiotics with it -- and the longer story, if you have enzymes that are down south that are undoing some of the things like glucuronidation, that gets reabsorbed. There are some really interesting papers showing that bile acid sequestration, different fibers can actually bind onto and eliminate these things once they're in your intestines and we don't want to recycle them. We want to get them out, so there are some very targeted supplements. But what's really cool about this program, the supplements on this one, first of all, there's very few. Second of all, they're unlike anything you've seen in any of the detoxification programs. I'll just go ahead and say it and you know why, but I put St. John's wort on this one, which I've never seen in a detox program and I don't know why the hell not because of its mechanisms. You want to open up the doors, man, and St. John's wort is really good with that. Anyhow, that's a summary. I know it's a lot, but hopefully that answered most of your questions.
Tommy: That's perfect. I think that's going to be great to get people to start and enough of a teaser. They'll still buy the course so they can get all the details. You touched on the problems with certain supplements and you mentioned curcumin, black pepper. People may or may not know that you have a cheap curcumin supplement. They add black pepper specifically because it inhibits Phase Three, so the curcumin circulates longer in the blood. That's why it's there. That caused some issues. Some other things like grapefruit juice that people know about can inhibit certain enzymes for the detox pathways. They're told if they're taking specific medications, they can't have grapefruit juice. There are so many other things. So maybe you can give us the highlights of supplements that people are taking very commonly or very popular that are probably or potentially causing more benefit or more harm than benefit particularly when it comes to detox.
Bryan: So the quick answer is we don't know because I'll tell you like milk thistle, milk thistle actually inhibits Phase Three and that's --
Tommy: And it's somewhat a detox supplement.
Bryan: Well, that's the classic liver herb and here's what's really interesting -- and I know how your mind works. This is awesome because in cancer research, they're looking at Phase Three inhibitors to keep the drug in the cell longer so that it can do what it does. And it turns out that things like sulforaphane and some of these things, things that we've heard are healthy and they are healthy, but we have to talk about health within context. Some of the mechanisms of some of these healthy things we've talked about like silymarin for milk thistle, it's an antioxidant. It's hepatoprotective if it stays inside the cell. So it makes sense that these things like sulforaphane and these things that are anti-cancer, if they stay inside the cell, that's where they're going to exert their benefit and that's fine and they do it and they're good, and I'm not saying any of these things are inherently bad, but it makes sense that nature would say okay, antioxidant or super powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-everything, we are also going to have you be a Phase Three inhibitor to keep you inside of a cell longer so you can do all of your awesomeness for longer, which makes sense, but we have to talk about health in context. That is not a detoxification supplement.
If you're shutting down Phase Three, whatever xenobiotic is inside of the cell stays inside of the cell also and it can’t get out, and so what I say is we don't know. Actually, if I may, I'm going to go through. There are four reasons why I think we don't know enough to be randomly giving these supplements in a concentrated, isolated, highly bioavailable form for any reason but especially for things like for detoxification, and this is what I learned along the way. You can name anything, resveratrol or curcumin or sulforaphane or silymarin or whatever it is. Licorice root actually inhibits Phase Three also. Here's where the problem is. Some supplement companies selling their particular thing are going to say, "Wow, this one has been shown to help improve detoxification pathways." Fine, but here are four things that make the research really, really confusing, which I think you'll personally appreciate as well.
Number one is how do they evaluate if it increased or decreased detoxification? There are two main ways. One is enzyme activity and the other one is the mRNA levels of that given protein, but this already starts to get kind of wonky because there was one paper that used quercetin. I really like quercetin by and large. I think it's kind of awesome. They found that quercetin, if I remember correctly, quercetin decreased mRNA levels of certain detoxification enzymes. So if you stop right there, what would you think? That quercetin inhibits detoxification, right? But in that same paper, they expose these cells to a certain xenobiotic and they found that it was metabolized and cleared out faster. So if you just read what it did to the mRNA levels of this protein expression of these enzymes, you'd think quercetin inhibits detoxification, but in reality, it showed that it actually improved detoxification and clearance with the xenobiotic.
But then in another paper, quercetin might be shown to increase the activity of certain detoxification enzymes, so then you say quercetin stimulates detoxification activity. So just with this point alone, do you see how confusing this gets? If something inhibits an enzyme activity, does it increase or decrease detoxification?
The second thing is the location of the enzyme. I'll say quercetin. I don't know if there's a paper on this. There's one paper; I forget the compound. It showed that it inhibited liver detoxification enzymes. It stimulated the exact same enzymes in the intestinal cells and it had no effect on the exact same enzymes in the kidneys. So then you're like, "What the hell, man?" because when you are evaluating -- this is what I'm saying. We don't know what we're doing. And so when you look at a paper or a supplement, it increases detoxification. Well, was it enzyme activity or was it mRNA levels? Where was the enzyme they're talking about? Because it may stimulate it in one tissue, inhibit it in another, and have no effect on the third. The third reason -- and this I already mentioned -- is the biphasic effect.
So certain compounds and quite a few at a low dose seem to have stimulatory effects and at a high dose seem to have inhibitory effects, so then you have to look at the paper and say, "Well, what the dose that they used?" If somebody says, "Well, curcumin stimulates certain enzyme activity," you have to look at the dose. And then lastly is, was it acute versus chronic? This one really threw me for a loop. You know that pomegranate inhibits the same enzymes as grapefruit juice. It's newer so people don't talk about it as much. One paper I found said that an acute dose inhibited those things, but in a dose given over a two-week period actually stimulated them. I'm like, oh my God, now here we go again. But most of the papers are in acute dose and over time, it might have a different effect, so my bottom line is we don't know what the hell any of these detoxification compounds are actually doing. And so I know it's not popular because it's not sexy, but it's just to go back to food.
The only supplements I put in my detoxification program besides St. John's wort, which is probably the most well studied herb of all time because of its drug interactions is binders, things to help get rid of this stuff, no fancy supplements, sexy supplements, expensive supplements needed because I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that on myself or a patient. When I looked at the literature, we don't know what the heck any of these things are doing. It's hard to make a claim as to whether something actually stimulates or inhibits detoxification because of all of those different variables.
Tommy: That's an awesome summary and like you say, it's not sexy and it doesn't give people the right answer, but that is the right answer and that's what we should -- at least to this point, that's what we need to know.
Bryan: And I found studies that had specific amounts of certain vegetables like a half a cup of onions. One was a weird one, 1.33 cups of leeks, for example, and actually having an impact specifically on glucuronidation and glutathione conjugation enzymes. And so there is science behind some of these, to have a specific dose of certain cruciferous vegetables. Now, does that mean that if cruciferous vegetables are good then isolated extracts from cruciferous vegetables are better? I don't know and that's what I'm saying.
There are a few compounds that are really well studied and I think we're pretty comfortable with, but by and large, I don't think we really know. I would love if we did and I would love to say that we do, but I don't think we do. And until we do, I think it would be smarter -- if we're really going to do a detoxification program, you need to open up Phase Zero, open up Phase Three, and then make sure one and two are quite happy. There are so many things that inhibit Phase Three or Phase Zero and I list them all out in my program. I love you, Tommy, as Tommy. If you wanted to do a detoxification program, I would want to make sure that it was actually doing something and not say, "Here, take these fancy supplements from this company." I'm very comfortable with what I created because of the evidence behind it.
Tommy: Okay. That's awesome. So then where can people find it? Let's get them watching the program, dig into the research themselves, trying to figure out how they can help their clients for themselves detox with the evidence that we have, so how do we find that?
Bryan: Well, my main website is just drwalsh.com, but that course is found on metabolicfitnesspro.com. I can say humbly, man, I'm most proud of this course than anything else. It's so good. And I will say my hope -- and actually, I really mean this. My hope is that it's a conversation starter amongst people in our industry and the conventional medicine industry to really start taking a look at some of these things because we look at one paper and we're like curcumin is good for this or resveratrol is good for that, but that's not how it works, man. I think we need to be a little bit smarter especially as practitioners if we're recommending these things to patients, but I think the patients deserve to have the best information that they possibly can out there too.
Tommy: Absolutely. Thank you so much for making this course and for teaching us and taking the time to be on the podcast multiple times. I think there's another one where Chris interviews you about your blood glucose course and some of the information there, which is also exceptional, so thank you so much for your time. It's always a huge pleasure.
Bryan: It literally is a pleasure myself and an honor. I'm super glad to be here with you guys.
Tommy: Thanks, man.
Bryan: Thank you.
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