Written by Christopher Kelly
July 29, 2018
Tommy: Hello and welcome to the Nourish Balance Thrive podcast. My name is Tommy Wood and today I am joined by somebody who I'm sure needs no introduction, Dr. Joseph Mercola. Hi, thanks for joining me.
Joseph: Well, thanks for having me, Tommy. Glad to be here.
Tommy: I'm glad too. I'm actually going to start by mentioning my mom who was my first ever podcast listener and is also a big fan of yours. She is a professor of environmental sustainability in a pretty old school hippie. I remember a few years ago she said that if she was ever wondering about whether something is worth thinking about in terms of health, she always checked to see what Dr. Mercola had said about that.
Joseph: That's a great story.
Tommy: I'm hoping she'll enjoy this episode. I think it's probably apt that we're talking about something that's potentially controversial but probably shouldn't be and that's the health effects of electromagnetic radiation or electromagnetic fields, EMFs. This is a topic that I've actually thought about for a few years and I've always intended to bring up on the podcast but it's tricky because there's a lot of scaremongering, as you know.
Many of the people talking about it are fairly easy to discredit for various reasons. A lot of the papers in the published literature sadly are quite poorly written or come from countries or institutions that may have less rigorous research practice, or at least that's what we might think. However, if we go just the basic physics principles, I think EMFs should have some biological effect.
I actually mentioned this in the conference a few years ago and people looked to me like I had two heads, and I'm sure you're familiar with that. Almost everything in the body works by the movement of charged particles. When charged particles move they create electromagnetic fields and electromagnetic fields interact which is why I got in trouble when I put a magnet on top of the TV when I was a kid because it sort of warps the screen.
This is particularly true for mitochondria which are capacitors and move electrons. That's all they do and they create fields that fluctuate as they do that. Hopefully, we'll cover all the different parts of the body and why fields might be able to interact. So then, I wanted to think about this for a while, and I know you were talking to Chris recently, and this is a topic that you focused on a lot. Been on various podcasts, interviewed a lot of experts. I think you're writing a book, written a paper.
Because I have an audience that has health ed professionals, scientists, I'd like to ask you about the best way to get this message out, the kind of people that should do that. The reason why I ask you that is because I know your relationship with the traditional academic in medical fields has been tumultuous at times. How do we get this message out without some of the issues that we've had previously?
Joseph: Well, I think, first step is to understand what the problem is so that you can explain it in a rational and scientific method. I think the studies have been done and published and we can do that now. I think that's the very first step. Because it is a complex issue and it's muddied quite considerably very similarly to big food and big pharma who have enormous amounts of resources to skew with the truth and fund federal regulatory agencies to cast misinformation and disinformation.
The telecommunications dwarf both of those industries combined. It's like big pharma in steroids. They're really able to significantly discredit credible researchers and spinoff a dozen other studies to debug theirs and to essentially control the appropriate federal regulatory agencies to essentially believe these lies that are being spun by them. And we can go into what those lies are. They are fundamental lies that contribute to the confusion.
Tommy: Yeah. I think, hopefully, when we go into some of the mechanism, we can cover that. When the political topics come up, it's very easy for people to say this is tin foil hats and this isn't really happening. But you read papers in the literature which show that if something's been funded by the telecoms industry then they're much less likely to show an effect compared to those that are more independently funded. That's in the published research.
Actually, very interesting, I was watching an interview with Olle Johansson. He's a professor at the Karolinska Institutet, I'm sure you know. He mentioned on stage that if you are thinking about going into this field just don't do it because your research will be slammed and your funding will be cut off, and all that kind of stuff. There are very credible people to whom this has been happening.
Before we dive into the science and maybe the politics, can you give us an overview, the types of fields, electric, magnetic, radio frequencies, what generates them and the sort of frequencies involved in what the basic physics there?
Joseph: Well, they're all encumbered into the term EMF but they're broadly characterized into three different categories. One is magnetic fields. The other are the electric fields, which is really the bugaboo and the most challenging to measure accurately and it contributes to loads of confusion, and the radio frequency field.
Tommy: In terms of our exposures, that's obviously something that we're all potentially worried about in terms of health, where are these coming from and then maybe also how are we quantifying that and how is that exposure increased in terms of human history recently?
Joseph: Well, let's go back to the exposure first. The humans have increased over the last century. If we go to the end of World War I, around 1918 or so, and started that point, and examine the frequency of one gigahertz, which is a radio frequency, very set close to the ones that are used in your cell phone or wifi routers, and you establish that as a base line. The level that was in ambient radiation in 19188, you compare it to 2018. How much do you think that increase has been over that 100-year period?
Tommy: I'm going to cheat because I think I know the answer.
Joseph: Okay, go ahead.
Tommy: I think it's one quintillion times.
Joseph: Yeah, it's correct, which is a billion billion. That's a lot of times. You'd have to be irrational to even think that that increase in exposure couldn't have some biological impact. It just has to.
Tommy: Yeah. I guess, if we talk about the average total exposure, the amount of time that people are spending in fields that are having this kind of biological effect, I think this comes down to many people now have said that there's basically no controlled population anymore. There's no population or very few populations that we can compare ourselves to anymore because everybody is being exposed.
This makes it difficult to figure out what the effect is because there's nobody to compare us to. There's no control group. What percentage of time are we being exposed to this? And then how can we start to discern that it might actually be causing an effect?
Joseph: The general principle whether it's causing an effect tends to be akin to what we notice in medicine, as you well are aware, that most diseases don't present themselves until you've had -- they're 80% of the way there. Some diseases like heart disease don't give you sentiment until you have 100% of the symptoms like sudden death which is the most common symptom of heart disease. Most people are having biological impacts as a result of these exposures but have no appreciation of the damage that's causing until it's too late.
But there was a controlled exposure. It's interesting, I'm not sure if you've encountered in your review, but in the beginning of the 20th century, there were two populations in the United States. There was a rural population and the urban. The urban was electrified for the most part and continue to be electrified. Actually, the rural was not electrified and continued to be not electrified until about 1950.
And Sam Milham, who is an MD epidemiologist, who painstakingly put together the statistics and showed really clearly that there was a wide difference in the amount of disease mortality from heart disease and cancers and diabetes in the urban population that have the electric field exposures versus the rural. These curves collided, they went together in about 1950 when both populations.
Tommy: So, what about the other fields, things that people probably talk about more frequently, wifi, cellphone towers, cellphones themselves? Because the catch up between the urban and rural populations was much faster. It would have happened within a matter of years. So, is it possible to pick up any signal in terms of the epidemiological effects there?
Joseph: I don't think so because, as you mentioned, the increase has been quite dramatic and relatively recent. As far as I know, there had been really no epidemiological studies with almost the number of cellphones in the world, equalling the number of people in the world now. It's the rare individual community that doesn't have these exposures.
The wifi frequencies are really some of your cellphones and many people don't really appreciate that the frequencies coming from the wifi are significant. This is definitely part of the problem. You can't see it, you can't hear it, you can't feel it. You can become somewhat skeptical that they're safe as they're being promoted but when you can't see, hear or feel it and there's enormous, absolutely enormous convenience as a result of using these technologies, the tendency is to not want to believe it, to be skeptical.
Because it's just going to really put a challenge to your appropriate implementation of this because so many people are in denial and this includes many naturally oriented health co-professionals. The last lecture I gave was a few weeks ago in Colorado Springs and the lecture before me was a cardiologist. Actually, well known, Thom Levy, who has written a lot of books on vitamin C. Literally, in his presentation, his cell phone rings and he pulls it out of his breast pocket right over his heart. This is exactly the behavior even among the leaders in the field. They're in denial.
Tommy: If you're faced with somebody like that in front of you and all of these things are true, you can't see, hear or feel them, everybody is exposed so you don't have a controlled population to compare it to, how do you begin to construct an argument to convince somebody that this is actually something that they should be paying attention to?
Joseph: Well, fortunately, that work has been done. To do it independently would be a real challenge but there's some incredible research scientists who had done precisely that. The primary one who I think really deserves a Nobel Prize for it is Dr. Martin Paul who is a PhD and he's got his PhD from Cal Tech, not an insignificant institute, and his BA was from Johns Hopkins. He's a really good molecular biologist and biophysicist.
He didn't do the actual research but complied about two dozen studies that were done evaluating the impact on calcium channel blockers on EMF toxicity. All these studies notice really consistently was there was a radical attenuation of the damage that was done in cell cultures and in animals. You can conduct controlled experiments to identify the pathology and that's probably the best way to make the distinction in the lab, because it's difficult to do it otherwise.
Tommy: Maybe that's a good way to segue into mechanism. I know one of the main people in the field is Martin Paul, the voltage gated calcium channel, the VGCCs, are getting activated, large influxes of calcium into the cell which can cause mitochondrial damage, can cause cell death, oxidative stress, all that down those pathways. But then I know there are some other theories like that from Paul Héroux who thinks he's more of a direct effect on water and electrons within the mitochondria, which again would have the same downstream effect, could increase the production of reactive oxygen species.
He talks about the inappropriate activation of the AMPK. Are there any other theories? You having interviewed so many people and I know you've read a lot about this, can we integrate all the different thoughts on what mechanisms might be underlying some of the issues?
Joseph: I'm more in favor of Martin's work. It just seems to me there's a lot more support for it. I've interviewed Paul Héroux. I found his arguments somewhat confusing. They may be valid and more significant than Paul's but my guess is it's not. But either way, the underlying cause, as you mentioned, is an increase in oxidative stress which you can partially remediate. In Paul's work, of course, it was using calcium channel blockers. I think we're both not big fans of using pharmacological approaches to remediation.
So, a natural equivalent of that would be magnesium which can serve, in many cases, as a natural calcium channel blocker and, as you well know, most people, well, over 80% of the population are probably deficient in magnesium and it's crucial vital mineral that's required for, I think, 400 different enzyme functions in the body. You're not going to cause any major downside by taking magnesium.
Tommy: Except for maybe a little bit of GI distress but that's about it.
Joseph: Yeah, loose bowel. And it's difficult to overdose because of the adverse side effect. You'll excrete it before you get into problems.
Tommy: One of the other benefits of magnesium, when you're talking VGCCs and their presence in the brain, glutamate excitotoxicity, over activation of excitatory neurons, magnesium actually directly binds to one of the glutamate receptors and can reduce some of the activity there. So, like can improve things potentially on multiple levels. Actually, I wanted to quickly get back to the Paul Héroux thing.
I must say that even though Martin Paul has published much more widely, my personal bias is always that if it was going to be effective, it's going to be at the mitochondrial level because that's where they are moving electrons, they are generating fields of their own. And you mentioned something that I thought was interesting which is about the activation of AMPK.
I know when you interviewed him you mentioned that that's normally a good thing. That's fasting, exercise, activates all those downstream effectors. I think there's potentially something to the activation of AMPK in the fed state. So, AMPK is supposed to be when you have a decrease in glycogen you are reducing energy storage availability but activating that pathway in the presence of food or in the fed state, I think, could be potentially detrimental.
There's a study that resveratrol, high dose resveratrol to people with type II diabetes, and actually saw a worsening of blood glucose regulation. And that's the same thing. You're activating those fasting exercise based pathways in somebody who is chronically overfed and I wonder if that's potentially where how you can reconcile some of those pathways and some of the negative effects.
Joseph: If possible, but there may be no alternative explanation for the diabetic approach because while I started digging deeply into the literature is that this -- Paul goes into it but he doesn't really go into great detail into the oxidative damage mechanism. Once you do, it becomes really obvious what some of the solutions are. But he does talk about peroxynitrite.
When I went to medical school, which is well before you did, this was not even discovered. We didn't know about this. It's relatively recent but it's reactive nitrogen species that's formed when you combine superoxide with nitric oxide. It probably is one of the most pernicious reactive species in the body. This wasn't known prior when we did oxidative damage theory of health, was I saw to be the hydroxyl free radical. That is more pernicious.
But what many people fail to appreciate is that it's very, very short lived. It lasts like ten to the minus ninth, the billionth of a second. An artifact of that length of its half-life is that it can't travel very far. It literally only travels the distance of one protein or two proteins at the most. If you generate them inside the mitochondrial membrane, it's not going out. It's not escaping. It's only damaging the mitochondrial content and it's not damaging the nucleus.
This peroxynitrite can live billions of times longer and is easily passes in out of cell membranes and it can damage distant structures. Especially the DNA. In his paper, he didn't really talk about it too much but he references one article which was by Pal Pacher and the title of the article is Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite in Health and Disease. 140-page paper with 1500 references. It's one of the most epic papers I've ever read.
If you are not up to date on oxidative damage to the biological systems -- And I would strongly encourage everyone to get this article, it's totally free. Just type it in Google, it will pop right up and it's free in PubMed full text. When you get that, you realize this peroxynitrite, one of its most significant downsides is that it damages the DNA and that, fortunately, our biology has the capacity to repair that mechanism, to repair the damage, and it does it through a family of enzymes called PARP, poly ADP ribose polymerases.
And the problem with these -- not the problem. They work. they work greatly but they run out of fuel and the fuel they need is NAD. The reason I went to this tangent is it's the same fuel that gets disrupted in diabetes. There's whole loads of pathways that are disrupted and they run the NAD deficiencies. There's a lot of interesting new research and I was suggesting that replenishing NAD stores can go quite a long ways to repairing much of the foundational molecular pathology in diabetes.
Tommy: Yeah. This is the idea of reductive stress. You almost have too much NADH compared to the unreduced or oxidized NAD which you need for other things like DNA repair.
Joseph: It's not necessarily reductive stress because the -- I think an equivalent to one of the major pioneers who deserves a Noble Prize but will never get it because of his communication skills and he's really cantankerous, Richard Veech. Richard Veech. I mean, the guy is brilliant and I'd been communicating with his associate Bill Curtis who actually writes most of his papers now.
I got on a two-hour call with him this morning. He helped me understand this whole family of NAD coenzymes which include not only NAD and ADP and their oxidized and reduced versions but also coenzyme A and ADP or ATP. So, they all work together. If the NADPH, which a lot of people don't fully appreciate, that is true battery of the cell. Some people think it's the mitochondria but it's really NADPH which provides the reductive potential to regenerate and recharge your antioxidants like glutathione and ascorbate and tocopherol, and allow them to continue their work.
Tommy: Yeah. I think they published a paper on this in IUBMB Life looking at the effects of their, or suggesting that one of the benefits of their exogenous ketone ester would be to supply NADPH in the absence of a functional pentose phosphate pathway. We can link to that in the show notes. We've completely gone off track here. But NAD, NADPH, you're talking my language.
Joseph: I know. That's what I was excited to talk to you.
Tommy: Okay. Let's get back to the EMFs and I wanted to maybe just talk a little bit about symptomatology. What are we potentially seeing in patients, clients, ourselves? How can we maybe reconcile that with the mechanisms that you talked about earlier?
Joseph: That's the reason I delve into the mechanisms because if you understand the mechanisms and the damage at the biological level that's being caused by this then you can understand what you'd anticipate. Now, the tissues with the highest density of voltage gated calcium channels tend to be the neurological tissues, the brain and the pacemaker of the heart.
That's why if you're treating someone or know someone or even yourself has a cardiac arrhythmia, then I think one of the first things you absolutely have to deal with is evaluate your EMF exposures and address that first because it's clearly highly likely that there's going to be the case. But the other damage at a systemic level would be an increase in your risk of simple cancers. We're seeing a radical increase in brain tumors now and glioblastomas, almost always on the same side, the ipsilateral side that the cell phone is used.
That would be a major one because it causes such a massive increase in oxidative damage overall that you're going to increase virtually every chronic degenerative disease. And now you're going to have the disease, it will result in the disease but with respect to having symptoms you may not have symptoms. There are a certain percentage of the population, and I'm not sure why they experience this, maybe 2% or 3% who are considered EMH, electromagnetic hypersensitive and sometimes called canaries, and they will be sensitive.
They can tell you when they walk into a room and there's high EMF signals and you can validate that objectively with equipments. Actually, the human body is biologically more sensitive than this equipment but you can confirm their exposure. They're not faking it. It's truly an issue.
Tommy: Again, listening to Olle Johansson speak, this electrohypersensitivity is a recognized disability in many countries including Sweden, which is where he's from. This is a recognized thing. Actually, his argument is that when somebody has a disability or decreased of functional capacity then it's actually upon the government or the population to alter the environment such that they no longer have their functional inability just like you would put ramps for people in wheelchairs. Providing spaces where people aren't continuously exposed to these things would be the obvious effect of that but that doesn't seem to be happening.
Joseph: No. It's precisely because of what I mentioned earlier. You have a massively powerful telecommunications industry and there's no way in hell it's going to let that thing happen because that's an admission of guilt. In 2011, the World Health Organization reluctantly admitted that cellphones were classed a 2B carcinogen. That means, a probable carcinogen.
I think they were wrong. I think it's a 1A just like cigarettes. In fact, in my view, cell phones are indeed the cigarettes of the 21st century. No question on my mind. And just like cigarettes were in the 20th century, the vast majority of the population and certainly the median that professionals and the experts said that they did not cause cancer and they persisted -- I mean, you can still look at some of these congressional testimonies of the CEOs of the tobacco companies and just lying through their teeth.
And now we laugh at that but at the same darn thing is happening with telecommunications. That's not going to change. I think it was Surgeon General Koop who catalyzed a lot of the transition, but I don't think we're going to have that in the next ten, 20, 30 years. I think we're going to still continue to reap the damage that these exposures are doing to us.
Tommy: Let's talk about potential long term effects. I think one of the things that's been studied most readily is fertility particularly in males and there's some interesting studies in rats that basically show within four to five generations of being exposed to cellphone type EMF you get almost complete infertility. I think humans we're in the first, second generation maybe of these high level exposures. It's easy to sound melodramatic but can you envision or maybe talk about some of the science and then maybe the long term effects of that on the human species?
Joseph: Yeah. well, the title of my book is EMF Extinction Event. That's the working title. The publisher might change that. The book's not going to be out for two years because I'm just massively engrossed in these mechanisms. But you are right. Fertility is one issue. Paul is good at describing how that. Obviously, if the fertility of the species goes down, that's one issue. But you have two others, the rate of autism, which, of course, there are many contributing factors but I think it's really quite clear that EMF is one of them.
When I was in medical school the rate of autism was one in 10,000 children. It's now down to one in 36 heading rapidly towards one in two. You have half of the population being autistic on the beginning end which takes an enormous amount of support. And on the other end of the spectrum, you've got half of the population coming down with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Then how can a species possibly survive? I mean, you got 50% reduction in fertility. That's continuing to increase. I mean, it's prescription for extinction.
Tommy: Again, I come back to the thought about how it's very easily becomes something that just sounds so out worldly. It sounds almost impossible that these things could be. I'd like to talk more about remediation, other things, how we can build this into our general thinking framework. But how do we start sensible conversations about this? Because, obviously, this isn't going to be a top down thing anytime soon. How do we start to have sensible conversations where people don't immediately start to talk about tin foil hats and hiding under the cover and actually maybe think about integrating these thought processes beyond the sphere that we exist in?
Joseph: I think the process is very similar to any other issue especially if you're interested in natural health and you're seeking to reduce your risk of the number one risk of death in the United States which is heart disease. Well, you can go the conventional route and take statins and take blood pressure medications or an Aspirin to thin your blood or you can do an alternative and forget the statins and not choose to use those.
It's matter of doing the due diligence and becoming personally aware and educated. And interestingly, you can continue to refer to a tin foil hat. I think the best book until mine is written for the average person who isn't an expert in this and doesn't really want to go deep into the science, because this is really written for the lay person, is the Tin Foil Hat Guide to EMFs by Nicholas Pineault. That's a great book for the average person, get him up to speed and so many practical recommendations in there.
Tommy: I've read the book and he also have an online course that I watched. You're right, for the lay person, it's great but I must admit that if you could get a scientist to explain the science, I think he'd really benefit from that. Because there were just some areas where I was a little bit uncomfortable to watch because he's obviously not a scientist. You could tell. But I think those are definitely useful place to start. There's a huge number of references. If you want to actually dig into the research and see those evidence to support this, that definitely exists.
Joseph: How to remediate? So, that's the practical issue, is that you have to convert these invisible exposures to visible. You need some type of device to do that. Fortunately, they do exist. One of my favorites is called the Acousticom 2 which is made by Havas. She is a really pretty good researcher and I'm actually going to interview her in a few months and help people understand this at a very deep level.
But once you have a device like this, and they're very hard to find, they're on obscure websites like Amazon, and they cost about $150 and it's an analog meter so that it will give you an acoustic sound which is why they call it Acousticom, but also show you visually on a scale of different LED lights ranging from no lights to green, yellow, orange and then red. As you escalate up the scale, it's a higher exposure. I think they're using it in volts per meter, which is actually probably one of the better units that you can use.
There's probably at least three different units that you can use to measure radio frequency. Now, the Acousticom is only measuring radiofrequency exposures which is probably one of the most significant ones. That is your cellphone, that is your wifi router, and your neighbor's wifi router, smart meters. So, pick all of those up. And then you can start going around your house and seeing what your exposures are so you can actually know them and then you can seek to remediate from that perspective. I am pretty confident that nearly anyone who does that will be really surprised to see what their exposures are.
I was in the Dr. Levy group and academically acknowledged that there was some issue here but I wasn't going to change my lifestyle about it until I was mentored by Dr. Klinghardt, one of my longtime physician mentors, and he's a prominent physician who treats all people from all over the world. He actually refuses to treat patients unless they're willing to address their EMF issues because, in his experience, you're just not going to get better. It's always the significant issue.
Tommy: What kind of extent does that require to reduce your exposure in a biologically meaningful way? The reason why I ask that is because one of my general tenets of developing sustainable long term health is that you should control the things that you can control but the things you can't control you just shouldn't worry about them because the worry is worse.
Joseph: Absolutely agree.
Tommy: And actually, one of our clients recently points out that it's actually very similar to the serenity prayer, accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things that I can and then the wisdom to know the difference. So, is there something where we can meaningfully reduce our exposures like considering the fact that the neighbor has the wifi and there's the cellphone tower across the street?
Joseph: Most of the exposure you have within your home comes from inside your home. So, that's a good thing. When you have wifi router on, it's like having a cell phone tower in your house. It's just massive. There's two simple things you can do. It is to prudently use your phone and turn off the wifi router or better yet get a router that as no wifi capacity at all. Because if they turn it off with software, they can do a firmware update, and it comes back on or they just mess it up. You're going to have to measure it pretty much every day to make sure that there's no radiation coming from that thing.
You can radically reduce it. If you have other exposures because of your location, your neighborhood, you can fortunately shield most of that, at least radio frequency fields. That would be relatively easy to do. When you can basically, if you use a notebook or your desktop, you have to put everything in airplane mode. If you're wired -- My desktop, we had a wired connection and I just thought that was enough.
No, you got to go into the settings and put it in airplane mode, otherwise, it's blasting you with wifi too. And things like smart TV. They call them smart. Smart is just like the term diet, which is a pseudonym for artificial sweeteners. Smart means wireless. That's what it means. If that's a smart device, it's wireless. So, they've got smart thermostats, smart toothbrushes. You want to turn it into airplane mode. Everything in airplane mode.
Get wired connections. Do that around your home. Yes, I would thoroughly agree with your assessment. You shouldn't stress over exposures you have no control over. I certainly don't. But once your home and your office and especially your bedroom, you've got to get those right. The bedroom exposures are probably the most important because that's when you're repairing and regenerating. If you're exposed at these frequencies while you're sleeping, you're just simply not going to get the benefits of sleep. And you know very well, as everyone listening does, how important sleep is.
Tommy: Let's talk a little bit about shielding maybe and this is personally interesting to me because we bought a new house about a year ago now and after some digging around I found the smart meter on the wall outside our bedroom window and I can't say I noticed any specific effects but I'll also say that I saw that and the first thing I did was I brought a Faraday cage. I thought for $100, risk benefit, potential benefit, literally no downside to me, so I stuck it out on the outside.
Joseph: A Faraday cage around the meter.
Tommy: Around the meter, yeah.
Joseph: That still allowed the signal to get out to send the utility company their data?
Tommy: Yeah. Nobody has come knocking on my door telling me that they're not getting the data. There's, obviously, still some signal coming out. Can you then talk about maybe whether you think that might have a real effect and other kinds of shielding which you think about?
Joseph: Ideally, the best way is not to have it. That's a little more costly. I have to pay $25 a month to my utility company to not have a smart meter and I'm happy to pay it even though it is legal extortion for the most part. I'm serious. It really is.
Tommy: Did you prevent them from installing a new smart meter because you already have an old type of meter or did you have a smart meter and then ask them specifically to remove it?
Joseph: I had this home before they made the transition and the transition was delayed because I have solar panels which is another issue that we should talk about because it's dirty electricity and they introduce a whole different set of frequencies which can complicate things in the electrical fields. I never had a smart meter at this house.
My old house in Chicago, I actually put a cage around it because the utility company, there was a little bit -- They did not give you an option. They said you have to install it. They put a cage up and then after they were unable to remove the cage and that was like an iron cage around it, I couldn't throw it, then they gave me an option of paying for not to have it installed.
Tommy: Just to remind you a conversation I had with a coworker at the lab of the University of Washington and he certainly doesn't think about all the kind of things that we do existing in the more holistic health kind of field. But even he was talking about the fact that electric company wants to put a smart meter on his house and he was like, "I'm pretty sure that's not going to be a good thing for me and my family."
Even somebody who hadn't really thought about this figured that that probably wasn't a good idea. I think he's going to -- They offered him to just pay each month and that's what he was going to do. Are there shielding options, things that people should maybe consider if there are other exposures that they can't control but they might want to?
Joseph: Yeah, there are materials that you can use.
There are fabrics that you can use up like sheers that will block many of the radio frequencies and you can create a Faraday cage over your bed. I don't prefer to do that. We have actually created a product that we're hoping to release earlier or later this year, which is a Faraday sleeping bag, a little sleeping tent that you can carry with you conveniently in your luggage as you go to different locations as many of us travel to conferences. Every hotel has a significant issue for the most part.
There's two issues. One is the radio frequency which are usually very high and you can remediate that somewhat by taking the lowest floor. I have status in most of the major hotel chains so I can get the best floors and everything but I always go to the lowest floor. If I get the first floor, that's great. Most of the time, yeah, at the big hotel but sometimes if it's the smaller ones I get the first floor.
Why? Because the other buildings will shield it. In fact, you can even go outside with these meters and there's a metal fence and you can go have the measurements on your side of the fence and then put the meter over the fence and you'll see the readings go up significantly high. So, it's simple. The metal fence will block it. Certainly, building materials will block it. Windows are very transparent. It's like almost nothing's there. It come right through. These EMF frequencies are pretty similar to visible light. If you can see something through it then EMFs are coming through.
Tommy: Okay. So then how are we may be able to track whether this is truly having an effect?
Joseph: We got to measure it. You got to measure it.
Tommy: So, you can measure before and after you've done any kind of remediation or with any kind of blocking or shielding. But what about downstream of that? How can you measure whether reducing your exposure is having a beneficial biological effect?
Joseph: If you're already sick and damaged then you may see a benefit but if you're someone like yourself -- I have never met you personally, I was hoping I'd meet you at Paleo f(x). We never connected.
Tommy: My wife got a big prize in Europe so I preferred to do that instead. I had a spot to speak but I wanted to support her instead.
Joseph: I would be disappointed if you didn't. But I was looking forward to meeting with you. Someone like yourself who I've never met but I imagine that you're incredibly healthy. You're obviously athletic and you're knowledgeable and you're doing the right things. I mean, you're probably in the upper one-tenth of 1% of the people who are healthy. You're not going to notice a darn thing. You're doing something proactively to prevent it. Just like you're not going to notice any changes in optimizing your cholesterol patterns yet you're radically reducing your risk for heart disease.
So, it's the same type of process. Although you may notice an improvement in thinking, mental clarity. Interestingly, there's a tremendous synergy between the cyclical ketogenesis and optimizing performance with athletics and optimizing the biology to radically reduce your risk of oxidative damage. I mean, it's the same darn process. they work together perfectly.
Tommy: And we measure oxidative stress in various ways in our clients, one of them being 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine in the urine.
Joseph: Is that a relatively inexpensive test to do?
Tommy: Yeah, it comes as part of some organic acids test or part of DUTCH test which measures hormones or hormone end products or byproducts in the urine but then it also measure that plus some neurogenesis.
Joseph: I like that because that ultimately to me, that's one of the most significant ones, the DNA damage. If you have low DNA damage which you can easily do by reducing the peroxynitrite exposure and activating PARP and repairing that damage then you're in the races. That would be an excellent objective way to monitor it. But it's not really going to change your symptoms, I wouldn't think, unless you're sick already.
Tommy: Yeah. One thing we didn't do talk about was that effect on DNA damage which is sort of like the standard argument is that it's non-ionizing radiation, therefore, it can't break molecular bonds, therefore, it can't be damaging unless it's heating. Can you maybe talk about some of the evidence which suggests that that's not the case?
Joseph: Thank you for reminding that. It's the standard argument that is used by the industry and they are correct, as you opened up at the beginning, that the charged particles inside and out of the cell do not vibrate at a high enough rate to generate enough heat. Their argument is absolutely correct. It does not cause thermal damage.
The problem is most of it, almost all of it is non-thermal damage. And that goes back to the voltage gated calcium channels which are, according to Paul's calculations, 7.2 million times more sensitive than these charged particles inside and outside the cells. That means that the safety standards that are established by the industry are off by a factor of 7.2 million.
Tommy: And there's at least two set of studies. I think the original one by Lai and Singh looking at the effects on DNA damage and then the REFLEX study corroborated that and that was actually partly funded by the industry to try and discredit them and then they found the same thing that turning on a cell phone next to themselves could show DNA damage.
Joseph: I think that's where we're doing the [0:34:22] [Indiscernible]. It's probably one of the most sensitive lab assays for DNA damage. The other point I'd like to mention that people don't appreciate is the difference between ionizing and ionizing radiation. As you mentioned the ionizing radiation has enough energy to bust the covalent bonds in DNA. But that's not how most of the DNA damage is done. It's done through oxidative damage because the energy also will generate hydroxyl free radicals right in the nucleus because it can do it.
Normally, the hydroxyls don't make it to the nucleus because most all of them are generated in the mitochondria and they don't get to the nucleus but they do when you're exposed to ionizing radiation. So, that's what causes the damage. It's not so much the energy from the bonds directly. It's cascading downhill side effects that creates the damage.
Tommy: And that's what you're getting.
Joseph: Yeah. It's definitely what you're getting with EMF. It's the same mechanism, same darn mechanism. So, there's very little difference between the CAT scan. In fact, one of the science we reviewed was they only used 3G, not 4G, certainly even 5G. They compared the cellular stress and oxidative damage from 3G to about 1600 chest X-rays.
Tommy: Yeah. And that's a handful of CAT scans. We readily admit that that's a cancer risk, something that if you need to get it, get it but it's certainly not something you want to be doing frequently.
Joseph: Here's a good point. I think many people listening to this are educated professionals. They travel regularly and they are exposed to gamma radiations at 35,000 feet and they themselves or their family or their friends are going to require a CAT scan for whatever reason. If they're unable to get an MRI, which I think is the safe alternative. What do you do in those cases where it's unavoidable exposure? I've come to some conclusion. I bet you like to see what those would be.
Joseph: What's my airplane strategy to address ionizing radiation, which will also address the non-ionizing radiation? The first is fasting. So, if you're going to take a flight especially a morning flight, do not eat. Do not eat at all. Assuming that you've been following a really good diet before, you're going to have a general base line of nutritional ketosis. And do some high intensity exercise. If you've been by my site you probably know about the Nitric Oxide Dump by Zach Bush, which is four minutes.
You can do it anywhere. You can do it at the gate. You can do it waiting for your luggage. Do it before you get out there because the combination of fasting with no food and no glucose will generate ketones which will charge up NADPH which will charge your antioxidants intracellularly and increase the SOD and catalase, so that you can minimize the production.
If you want to take it to the next level, you could do an exogenous ketones. Obviously, there's the salt and the esters. I think the esters are far more powerful. I like Veech's ones with 1,3-butanediol beta-hydroxybutyrate. But you'd have to take about 15 grams. Now, if you're going to do a CT scan, I would definitely do that. I would do probably 30 grams. It's going to be pricey though because they're a dollar a gram.
Then you can use Nrf2 upregulators like molecular hydrogen. I like the high dose tablets, the nine part milligrams per deciliter that have nano bubbles. Most of them are not so you have to shop real carefully. I take a few of those every day, actually. Its intermittent cyclical pulse exposure which will more aggressively upregulate the Nrf2 pathway which increases SOD and catalase and NADPH. That's what you want to do. And then CBD is another thing that can increase it too. Those are the strategies that I would recommend for flying, more exposure to ionizing radiation.
Tommy: I saw you mention the molecular hydrogen. It was something that I'd been meaning to dig into for a while and I didn't have a chance to piece through some references. There is some very interesting stuff there. We're looking at 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, you mentioned, in athletes, in people with rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. You can see that come down after treatment. So, molecular hydrogen.
I certainly thought that was something that was new to me but that certainly seems to have some stuff behind it. There's something that we created or I designed called Hormetea. It's a tea that's based on matcha, broccoli seeds, some turmeric, some blueberry anthocyanins. That's designed to help upregulate those similar pathways. We've actually had people try them out and when they tried them during fasting they seem to get an increase in ketone production which is interesting. Maybe something like that too.
Joseph: With the fasting and the exercise, you can measure it but you probably won't notice an increase in ketones. It doesn't mean it's not working because the ketones are being utilized in creating fatty acids and then in the production they're creating NADPH which is exactly what you want to do. You want to recharge your cellular battery. You're not going to be able to document that by measuring ketones but it doesn't mean you're getting benefit.
Tommy: Yeah. And it's the same way, if anybody spent a significant time in nutritional ketosis will know that you adapt and your ketone levels come down because of the balance of usage and production. We've done a pretty whirlwind tour here. So, first in terms of treatment, we talked about magnesium earlier. That was on my list. That was one of the things that I know you've mentioned. Another thing that's come up is grounding, particularly grounding with mats and things like that.
Joseph: Yes. I wanted to talk about two things. First, let me finish off the cell phone. You have to be really, really careful with your cell phone. Here's the benefits of being careful. You will never run out of battery. Typically, my cellphone, I charge it every morning and when I charge it it's 94%. Because it's not on. It's in airplane mode continuously. I only use it to hail a Lyft or an Uber and that's about it when I'm traveling.
I do not text. I stay off of it. Use your notebook computer. Do not use your cellphone. Please do not put it on your body unless it's in airplane mode. I mean, unless you've got to have it for some type of emergency. That should be the very, very rare exception. That's a key thing that we can all do. It doesn't cost a thing. You have to be less available. We all think that we're so important. We didn't all have cell phones before. We weren't available 24/7. Now, it's crazy. The expectation is that you are. You could just change that. Just make it a personal choice. That's a massive thing.
And this other one is the dirty electricity. I mentioned at the beginning there's a lot of confusion about measuring electrical fields. But before I go there, I didn't talk about magnetic fields. Magnetic fields are quite significant especially that they're coming from electrical equipment. That's not that hard to measure. Even the meters like the TriField can which it's called TriField because it does measure magnetic but it also measures electrical and radio frequencies but it's terrible for the other two. It's relatively decent for magnetic though.
There's a lot of meters that you can measure it. You just get close to it, these devices. Usually, it has to move something around or turn some equipment off. You have to check for magnetic fields. That's really important to do but they are relatively easy to find and fix. It's not a big problem. The big problem is the electric fields. And primarily because of the introduction of these voltage transients.
The typical frequency in the US is 60 Hertz and in Europe, of course, it's 50. That's a biological signal. That is within normal biology. That shouldn't be harmful. I believe it isn't. it's only harmful, these electrical fields, because they have super imposed on it these high voltage transients. It typically starts at about two kilohertz and go up to 100 kilohertz.
That's the typically termed dirty electricity. Sam Milham wrote a book on that. It's these high voltage transients which actually cause the damage. You can remove them, unless you have a really high source like a [0:41:18] [Indiscernible] like I do, three of them, and I've got to get specific filters installed inside the inverters to do that. But any time you have a voltage gate or voltage switching power supply, it will introduce these high voltage transients into the electricity.
It doesn't have to be in your house. It could be your neighbor's. Why am I talking about this when you asked me about grounding? It's because I've radically changed my position on grounding. And unless I'm in Europe I do not ground. I walk in the beach and the ocean. It's a little bit different. But I do not physically ground in a hotel or in my home because the ground is contaminated because these power utilities legally are required to have a return wire to get the electricity back to the power station but they don't. They're not prosecuted for this. They allow the ground current to [0:42:02] [Indiscernible] to the ground which contaminates the ground current. Virtually, every place in the United States.
I mean, there's some remote isolated rural areas where probably isn't an issue but in most of the US, it is. That's why I do not ground. But fortunately, there is a solution for this dirty electricity. There's filters that you can put into you outlets and there's a meter that you need to use in conjunction with it to see how many filters you need in the room and where they need to be located.
Stetzer filter is my favorite. He's the guy that developed it with Martin Graham who since passed and, in fact, has been significantly influencing the Russian health community on this. They've actually implemented standards based on his filters. This group of electrical professionals actually honored Graham and Stetzer by having the units that they measure, which are energy units, the Graham Stetzer unit. That's what they measure with this meter.
You could pick them up, the Stetzer filters. There's Greenwave also. I like Dave's a little bitter. But if you're going to buy them I wouldn't buy them online at his site. I would call the company because they offer special deals when they do that. You can get them at a lot lower price. Typically, you're going to need about 20 or 40 in a typical home. I think that's really important especially in your bedroom.
Tommy: Can you talk about how they work? Where are they exerting their action to reduce--
Joseph: Basically, it's a capacitor that filters out those frequencies. It does use some electrical current but it's not charged to you. It's charged to the electric company. It doesn't cost you a penny extra to run these things.
Tommy: Okay. I think I read somewhere and I hadn't had a chance to dig into it, that some of these filters generate quite significant magnetic field as a result of their action. Is that something people should be worried about?
Joseph: They do. They generate very high magnetic fields. But if you use a meter, any decent meter, you'll see the magnetic fields drop off to zero within about three or four inches. You don’t want to sleep on top of them for sure. Here's the other really important pearl, is that you'd really need to hire someone to make sure that there are no wiring errors in your home. And about a third of the homes do, at least in California. If you have a wire in there, you put these filters, you're going to make it worse. Actually, plugging in anything into a circuit with a wiring error will make it worse and introduce a whole loads of problems. It's really important to have a qualified professional evaluate your specific home to make sure there's no wiring errors.
Tommy: So, start by getting an electrician or somebody to come in and look at the wiring before you start installing them.
Joseph: Yeah. But they got to know what they're doing. I mean, most don't. The building biologist would know how to figure that out. But they're really confused about the filters. I'm kind of leveraging my platform to have them come to the table and discuss with Stetzer so that we're all aligned on the same issue but there's a lot of confusion about dirty electricity in the building biology community.
Tommy: Is there anything else that you think people should know in this sphere? Anything that we didn't cover?
Joseph: There is a big one. I'm liking the EMF tents. One other thing too. When you're in hotels, you're traveling, it's important, commercial requirements and the building codes, if you're familiar with safety standards and fire remediation, is to put all electrical cables in a metal conduit in commercial buildings.
That's not required for residences. If you're in a hotel, obviously, a commercial building, unless it's some ancient hotel, it's historic or something, but if it's a conventional hotel, all you got to do is when you get in there is pull all the cords that plugged into the outlets out. Because the moment you plug that in, it's going to take the electrical field into the room. If you plug it out, it stays behind the wall. Now, that won't work in your home because you don't have a shield with metal cable.
Tommy: That makes sense. That's a good tip. Actually, one thing that I wanted to talk about, back in my notes, is the hierarchy. I think you know these things. I think anybody who has their head screwed on in a normal way agrees on food and sleep and distress tolerance and love and social connection, all that stuff, in terms of health. But the next important thing that comes up seems to vary very much from practitioner to practitioner.
It could be everybody who has chronic Lyme or mold or [0:45:48] [Indiscernible] or EMFs or toxic exposure or something. Do you have a hierarchy of what's important and what to address first? The reason why or one of the reasons I ask this is because we worked with somebody who have very much gone down the EMF route and had built a Faraday cage around their bed and all those kind of stuff because they had cellphone towers nearby but still couldn't sleep because they haven't addressed all these basic stuff first. Do you have a hierarchy or sequence or approach?
Joseph: Yeah. That's a good question. A Faraday cage won't stop dirty electricity so they may need some dirty electric filters. I think like most experts, I want to say, is that the diet is got to be number one. Now, previously, up until I think last night, I wish I came to a different conclusion. I was like 80% of the issue but it probably is a lot less than that. The exercise is maybe nearly as important primarily because of its influence on PGC-1alpha and its ability to increase mitochondrial biogenesis, stimulate Nrf2 and radically reduce oxidative stress.
I mean, that's a key feature. If you're not engaged in some type of regular movement exercise program you're really missing the boat. Obviously, diet and exercise. That's preaching to the choir, of course. I think EMF is a big thing. Certainly, diet, exercise, and EMF, which are relatively simple to do and focusing on those is going to normalize most of the problem. Now, it's certainly not going to be the magic bullet for everyone but that's the foundational basis that you have to really start in and fine tune it from there.
Tommy: Hopefully, we'll have stimulated some thought processes in the listeners and either they'll think that I've joined you in going off the reservation or they're interested in finding out more either layperson or tactics on how to improve things or maybe they want to look at the science because they're still not quite convinced. Do you have places that you'd like to send people to find out more information based on what it is they like to figure out?
Joseph: There's a lot of good books out there. I think Martin Blank, probably one of the best scientific books to really evaluate the studies, he's just recently passed away a few weeks ago, his book on EMF would be excellent. It's really more geared towards health professional, the next book. That's where I would stop. And I would listen to some interviews I've done. just type in EMF in our interviews and I've done half a dozen. I've got a lot more lined up.
I really want to dig a lot more to the molecular biology because I think once you understand the mechanism -- that was the problem. I think one of the other reasons other than it's invisible is that we didn't -- we know it's not thermal for two decades. I mean, that's been published. That's an ambiguous nebulous ethereal concept. But once you know the mechanism and understand it, then it becomes more real.
Just dig into the science and understand it from your perspective. I think it's going to help you, help motivate you to actually take action and not be in delusional denial or failing to implement. It's something I call FTI and so many of us are guilty of that. We know it but we're not implanting strategies which is going to remediate the exposures.
Tommy: Yeah. Arming yourself with the information is the first step and then the behavior change is, obviously, the thing that I think practitioners probably struggle with the most but that's the next step. We'll link to Nick's book. You mentioned all of your videos. I've also collected various interesting papers I've read along the way. We'll link to the BioInitiative report published a few years ago. Thousands of papers in--
Joseph: 1700 studies, they link to, documented down. Telecommunication says there's no studies that shows that it's causing harm. They got 1700 of them.
Tommy: Yeah. And seeing the number of pages, truly epic. I haven't read the whole thing but, again, if people--
Tommy: I downloaded it last night. I thought I should get some sleep. If people really wants to look at what's out there then we'll make all of that stuff available. This has been great. It's been a pleasure to talk to you in person. Is there anything else that you'd like people to look at?
Joseph: I just want to thank you for all your work. I mean, you're really one of the upcoming leaders out there helping people understand this at a deeper level where you've got the science training and the clinical training. It's an unusual combination. Thank you for everything you're doing.
Tommy: Well, thank you. It's been a real pleasure.
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