September 23, 2015
[03:06] Dr. Isaac Jones
[06:54] Isaac's Athletic Background
[11:31] When Isaac Started Delving Into The Medical Side of Things
[18:01] Chronic Fatigue And The Hidden Causes
[37:24] Testing For Chronic Fatigue
[44:46] Supporting Methylation
[50:21] How Mitochondria Affects Chronic Fatigue
[56:05] Testing For Healthy Mitochondria
[1:08:56] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, folks. Ben Greenfield here. At about the time that you are listening to this podcast episode, I am on a plane to Finland to speak at the Biohacker Summit. So because of that and in lieu of our regular listener Q&A, I have a fantastic and extremely intellectually stimulating conversation with Dr. Isaac Jones. Now before we jump in to this show with Dr. Isaac Jones, and speaking of intellectual stimulation, I want to let you know that this podcast is brought to you by Onnit. Now, if you tuned into episode number 331, which you can listen to at bengreenfieldfitness.com/331, you may have heard me mention among the things that I use for cognitive performance something called ALPHA Brain, which I use in particular for things like improved memory, and verbal processing speed, and to be in what I call a flow state, a state of alpha brain wave production, particularly when I'm doing things like speaking, consulting, when I’m at seminars, things where I need to produce words and produce them quickly. That's what I personally use it for. You might use it for something completely different, like I don't know, painting or playing the flute. But either way, you can get a 10% discount on the stuff when you go to onnit.com/bengreenfield. That’s onnit.com/bengreenfield. And if I can give you one other tip, when you order ALPHA Brain, add a jar of walnut butter to your order. I’m just saying. You won't be sorry. Alright. Let's rock and roll.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“The litmus test for mitochondrial dysfunction is “Is my energy normal or not?” And if it's not, then you got mitochondrial dysfunction. Now, we have to figure out why. Intracellular micronutrient deficiency is number one. Number two is environmental toxicities. And then number three, ironically, is your microbiome, and looking into gut health.” “Various underlying issues of chronic fatigue is mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic inflammation. But you have to ask the question: what is causing mitochondrial dysfunction that's not really optimizing our genetic expression?”
Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield. And I got to tell you, mysterious and kind of frustrating fatigue is probably one of the most common issues that the athletes, the clients, and the soccer moms, and the CEOs I talk to deal with. And one recent study that I found showed that nearly 40% of employees, here in the US at least, experience some kind of significant fatigue. In that case, in that study over the previous 2-week period, nearly 40% of the people experience some form of fatigue. And I have a feeling it may even be a higher percentage than that among athletes, and hard charging folks, and people like you who listen into this show. So, frankly, I think sometimes fatigue, and chronic fatigue especially, can be a horse that gets kicked to death when it comes to the reasons that we give for it. Like it's always a poor diet, or food allergies, or bad sleep, or stress. But the fact is I talked to a lot of folks who seem to be doing everything right, but are still tired, they have brain fog, they have subpar work outs, they have chronically low energy, but they eat right, they get enough sleep, they manage the stress and still feel tired a ton of the time. So I want to tackle that topic in today's show. And to do so, I’ve invited one of my friends, Dr. Isaac Jones, on to the podcast to look into these lesser known causes of fatigue. So, a little bit about Dr. Jones, Dr. Isaac Jones. I feel weird calling you Dr. Jones, Isaac.
Isaac: You can just call me Isaac.
Ben: ‘Cause you’re my friend and usually I just call you Isaac when we’re hanging out. Isaac is, he's known as “The Doctor of the Future”, and I'll put a link over to his website. You can check it out at bengreenfielfitness.com/isaacjones if you want to go check out Isaac's website. But he is considered one of the world's leading experts in concierge healthcare. So that means that he serves as a consultant to a lot of high performance folks, like CEOs and entrepreneurs. And Isaac graduated from one the most prestigious health and wellness doctor programs in America, and he's invested about a quarter million dollars on advanced lab tests, and health retreats, and educational seminars, and cutting edge health certifications to help give his clients what he calls an unfair competitive advantage. Which I think is legal. I don't know. I doubt. You aren’t ingesting or injecting horse steroids up their right butt cheeks of all your clients to give 'em that?
Isaac: Hey! You just ruined the topic of the show.
Ben: Just checking. That is how you get rid of fatigue, folks.
Isaac: Yeah, right.
Ben: Anyways, Isaac’s company, Designer Health Centers, has received a certification from the United Nations for its excellence in healthcare for the work that Dr. Jones did with the royal family in Saudi Arabia. You worked with the royal family in Saudi Arabia. That’s pretty cool.
Isaac: Pretty fun.
Ben: And Isaac also is part of a future health care mastermind where he works with people like Sanjay Gupta and Jeff Arnold, who is the guy who founded WebMD I believe. And like I mentioned, I hung out with Isaac quite a bit and he is a wealth of knowledge on this stuff. Plus, Isaac, you're a freaking good athlete. Let's jump in right there actually. What is your history in terms of like athleticism and sports? ‘Cause we have so many people listening on this show who will automatically respect you based off your athletic potential even if you don't know anything about medicine. You may have both bases covered
Isaac: Well, I appreciate that. I was in the top 10 in North America in the 800 meter dash actually, and to get back to how I got there, I grew up in Canada, Toronto, Canada, so we're huge hockey players. And we find a pond to play on, we would make ice rinks in our backyards, and we'd just play hockey, hockey, hockey. I mean Toronto Maple Leafs, one of the most profitable teams in the world, and yet they're one of the most losing teams in the last 20 years, but every year they’re the most profitable. It’s 'cause we’re hockey freaks from where I am. But I grew up in a, I would say, lower middle class family and my parents couldn't keep affording the expensive hockey equipment, so we picked up some other sport. So I ended up becoming a really gifted athlete in basketball and became, actually played up against Lebron James in an AAU tournament. So really travel a lot with that, played on the top teams, some of the top teams in my region and traveled all across the US and Canada.
And then my philosophy teacher in high school was the track coach and he said, “I’d love for you to come out and just, I'd love for you to just see what you can do in track and field.” And I looked at him and I kind of rolled my eyes, I was like “I don't really want to run track.” I did cross country and I excelled at that in elementary school, but I’ll come out and check this out. So I signed up for everything, the 1500, the 400, the 800, and I was in my basketball shoes, and basketball shorts, and I was this kid, this senior in high school, and I walked out in this track and there were these tall, really athletic looking, unbelievable runners. They had not huggers on, they had these really tight shorts with these cleats. And I was like, “Nobody told me to buy cleats.” So the gun goes off, and I just took off, and I just, I almost like sprinted, but I didn't stop. And I ended up like almost lapping some of them on the 1500, and I crossed the finish line, and all these track coaches started coming up to me, and they were like, “That was outstanding. Like normally we see at the beginning of the season some kids just sprinting off the front, and then they’ll burn out, and then everyone will pass them.” But they said, “You just kept going.”
And that just kept happening where I would go to one track meet after another, after another, until I got to regionals and I was up against, I was like the only white person in the group and I'm like, “Surely I’m gonna lose this one.” I’m like, “Surely, I’m gonna lose this one.” And I ended up winning that as well. And I started getting scholarship offers for running. So it was a great journey, but I've always been very into athletics and performance, and I loved being out. I was at Ben’s house and he had a bunch of high level entrepreneurs and executives out at his house, and he put together a Spartan course which was unbelievably fun and…
Ben: That was a good time.
Isaac: My partner was such an awesome trooper and I think we ended up coming second, but it was a very, very fun course that you put together there.
Ben: Didn’t you end up doing the Spartan race later on?
Isaac: Yeah. So you told me I need to do it, so I did it, and I absolutely crushed it. You told me to go the elite, and I'm actually gonna sign up to be doing the elite the next time and really…
Ben: Yeah, ‘cause you wound up like standing in line for long periods of time, waiting to actually get on the obstacle. And you still had a fast time. So, yeah. You're one of those guys who people love to hate, Isaac, when it comes to genes and sports. But at some point along the line, you got a bit pretty involved, obviously, in functional medicine and launching this Designer Health Centers, which you now run, and I know you're all over the world teaching seminars and workshops, and you work with a lot of CEOs and entrepreneurs. And I'm curious, where along the lines between running 800 in your track shorts, and playing hockey, and shooting hoops did you get involved with the medical side of things?
Isaac: Yeah. Well, it was interesting. I would say my athletic performance skyrocketed after overcoming some health challenges that I had growing up. I think it really stemmed from now, that I think about it, a bunch of chronic infections that I dealt with where the medical system just put me on antibiotics for, which completely messed up my gut microbiome and caused chronic inflammatory issues. But eventually, I got diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia, and I was actually put into special needs to take tests. I was in the normal class, but then I was in special needs to take tests. And so really what it was is a lack of brain function, brain fog, my energy was completely depleted. I could have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. My mom was dealing with fibromyalgia at the time and I explained to her what I was dealing with and she was like, “You sound like me.” It was not a good time in my life. The challenge with the medical model, the traditional medical model was that they were just covering symptoms with medications, putting me on Adderall, and I ended up getting some pretty serious acne, and putting me on Accutane, which is like synthetic vitamin A, and that was just devastating. The combination of the concoctions of medications I was on I think was one of the challenges that drove me into the hole that I got into it.
And so my mom saw this and she was like, “I'm gonna do whatever I can to get you healthy and well.” And so she brought me to all these medical specialists, I’d be in waiting lists for months to get in to see them. And still nothing helped until she met a naturopath and a chiropractor. And they worked together and really started addressing the underlying challenges that was going on within my body structurally, biomechanically. I had some major malposition in my spine that was interfering with optimal nervous system function, brain function. And then physiologically, I had a major gut microbiome imbalance. I had candida overgrowth. I ended up developing chronic fungal issues because of, I think, the antibiotics I was on, and the overgrowth of candida, athlete's foot, eczema all over my body. I was very prone to getting infections. I got impetigo and some other issues growing up. So I just wasn't a very healthy kid. But since meeting these doctors, it was absolutely transformational. We healed my gut, my energy completely skyrocketed, my brain function went to an entirely new level to the point where I was one of the first kids that was finished the tests in my normal classroom. And I remember walking up to the front of the class and being like, “Wow. I'm the first one who finished the test. Normally, I would be last one.” Which was why my teacher got so concerned cause I was only three quarters the way done on the tests and she’d have to take the test for me, and I was struggling in school. That was what brought me to getting these psychological assessments done. But really through that process, it was massive blessing in disguise because it felt like somebody just turned the switch on in a room.
Ben: Was this before or after you started having all the success with like the 800 meter running and basketball?
Isaac: This was before. So then with the elevation in performance athletically, I started to thrive. And that's when coaches were, “Hey, you should try out for my basketball team.” I wasn't even really a basketball player at the time, but I went, and athletically I was very gifted, so they had me on the team. But a lot of the challenges before, I was still playing hockey, I can remember, I would go and play some hockey, and I’d come home, and I would just crash and I would be out for a few days until the next game, which would probably be a week later. But that was very, very common. It was unfortunate, but it's something that I feel is one of the biggest underlying factors for high performance athletically and helping people achieve really unbelievable feats. I was even pinching myself when I started really pushing myself and winning all of these track meets. Looking back I’m like, “How is it that I'm beating these people that have been on the trono-athletic club and they've been training since they were like three years old? Like this is my first year?” And I really chalk it up to a lot of the challenges that I overcame and the lifestyle that I was living that was very different than the lifestyle I used to live and probably very different than a lot of the athletes were living as well.
Ben: Wow. That’s an amazing story. And I think that a lot of people don't draw that parallel between fixing things like skin issues, and dyslexia, and ADD, and athletic performance, but there really is an interesting tie-in there, and I would say that you probably do have pretty good genes as it is just ‘cause I've seen you. You're like a lean muscular guy, but I'm sure a big, big part of this too is due to some of the things that we’re about to get into.
Ben: So that's what where I want to start, Isaac. There are a bunch of different kind of reasons that people tend to get fatigued, but one of them that I know about that I wanted to ask you about is this whole idea of chronic infections, and particularly not chronic infections like, I guess some people may think of something perhaps like chronic infection being something like heart disease, or diabetes, or these things that we hear about as chronic diseases, but rather chronic infections. Can you go into what these exactly are and how they can be one of the first hidden causes of fatigue?
Isaac: Yeah. Exactly. There's a lot of really interesting things that underlie fatigue that we're gonna get into, but chronic infections is really interesting because a lot of people never actually uncover this. And what happens is a lot of people with chronic fatigue issues whey they have difficulty recovering from a workout or training, or are dealing with even brain fog or something along those lines, they have abnormal CD4 and CD8 T-cell patterns. And they also have what I've found in just working with people over the years is these micro parasites. Now I heard this PhD and a few doctors, medical doctors, at different events talk about parasites, and what they do, and how there various infections within the body virally, bacterially, can create symptoms and even disease within the body. But it wasn't until I started following the recommendations for addressing these issues and removing these out of the body when I started working with my chronic fatigue health participants, I call my patients health participants 'cause they're participating in their health, that their health transformation really took over.
And so there's a lot of information out there. The Epstein Barr virus, I see salmonella come up, I see a lot of parasites in the lab tests that I get back. I mean this is one of the biggest common types of chronic infections. But there's not even really a lot of good testing for cellular parasites and these really micro parasites within the body. I mean a lot of people test for macro parasites, but there's all this kind of things that can create infections within your body and really hamper your cells from physiologically getting into a state of homeostasis for optimal function and performance that are very concerning as well.
Ben: So when you're using a word like micro parasite versus macro parasite what is the difference between those two?
Isaac: So micro parasites can get into the cells, the tissues of the body and they can be systemic, whereas macro parasites are typically a larger parasite that will stay within the gut region. And so the problem with that is you actually start seeing parasites in the blood, you start seeing parasites in the tissues, and then even you get to the point where you can get cellular parasites where they're actually in the cells of your body. And I've actually addressed this and the people with these issues. And yeah, mold toxicities and various other biotoxicities, they play a major role also in infections, which we can talk about in a second, which is another big issue. But this is one of the things that really creates that chronic inflammation, that infection on a tissue level systemically throughout the body. And when you address it, I mean the benefits are vast. I mean people overcoming brain fog and really increasing their ability get to sleep at night, the joint pain that they used to have goes away. It's very beneficial for the individual addressing this. And it’s more common than you may think. There's a lot of people that are dealing with this now. In fact, it's been said that 95% of the population have been exposed to Epstein Barr virus and various other mycoplasms, and I would say it's even more when you consider all the different varietals of parasites and various types of abnormal bacteria and viral issues that can bio-accumulate inside of the body.
Ben: Do you think this is something that people have always had to deal with and now we’re just identifying it more because we have better ways to test for things like Epstein Barr, or Lyme, or these things that would be referred to as mycoplasma or intracellular bacteria? I mean do you think for all of time people have had to fight chronic fatigue and now we're just identifying ways to test for it, or do you think that this susceptibility to things like bacteria, or micro parasites, or Lyme disease, Epstein Barr, things like that are happening more because people are somehow more susceptible to them?
Isaac: Well, I think, actually, it's a combination of both. There's more biotoxins in the environment now, there's more of a lifestyle that actually enables these parasites, these various issues to thrive within your body. Whereas before, our bodies would be more resilient. And people have been addressing these issues for years. It's not like they're all of a sudden coming to the forefront, it's just that more people are becoming more susceptible to getting them because of how stressful our lifestyles are and the realities of living in the 21st century. We can get into the whole perfect storm concept in a second, but if you look over at Russia, they've got full-on phage clinics. Phage is a type of prebiotic that will kill viruses and what's amazing is that these phage clinics have been so, and it's spelled P-H-A-G-E, have been so successful in removing these chronic infections that people have that people are overcoming really challenging issues with their energy and their overall physiology. Various underlying issues of chronic fatigue is mitochondrial dysfunction and chronic inflammation, but you have to ask the question, “Well, what is causing mitochondrial dysfunction that's not producing the ATP, that's not really optimizing our genetic expression and creating this inflammation? What is causing it?”
Infections play a role and, like I said, these clinics have come out with these lines of phage, which again is these, they look like little viruses. They literally look like little robots, and what they do, and they're naturally found in nature, I mean we had antidotes of phage in nature that we would consume but that we're not consuming anymore. So if we did get infected with these various viral issues the viruses oftentimes would be addressed by also consuming the phage that would kill them. Well we’re not getting much of that anymore, and these clinics in Russia have been very successful in helping people overcome these chronic infections. And in Europe. Now, they're across Europe and I've been using them with great success in helping people overcome the issues as well.
Ben: Okay. So these phages, these are actual injections that you get if some kind of compound that fights chronic infection?
Isaac: Exactly. So you don’t really need to inject them. I just have a dropper and I just drop it into my mouth, but like for instance if you have the salmonella virus, there's a salmonella phage that kills that virus.
Ben: So there’s a specific phage for each different chronic infection?
Isaac: Virus. Exactly. So these are just for viruses. So it’s very powerful because you can literally take this particular phage given the type of viral infection that you have and you can wipe it out of your body. And what's so amazing is that when the phage gets inside of your body, they actually, they have such a robust genome that they’ll kill the virus, but then they'll make more phage out of the genetic coding that they just got from the virus that they just blew up essentially.
Ben: That’s so interesting. I know Discover magazine had an article about this called “Eaters of Bacteria: Is Phage Therapy Ready For The Big Time?” There's a relatively comprehensive Wiki on this. I’ll link to this in the show notes. By the way, I'm taking notes as Isaac is writing, or as Isaac is talking. The show notes are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/hiddenfatigue. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/hiddenfatigue if you want to look into this. But Isaac, you use this orally with the folks you work with?
Isaac: Yeah. You use it orally.
Ben: Now I would imagine prior to that, you have to test for the specific chronic infection that you would want that phage to treat, right?
Isaac: Yeah, exactly. And oftentimes if somebody does have a viral issue and there's big problems with, that are very indicative of the type of viral infection but there's no testing for that, you can get an experiment with those different types of phage. Because what's great about phage is if it doesn't kill the virus, it just passes through the body without any side effects whatsoever. And so it doesn't actually cause any issues with the body, it works beautifully, symbiotically within your body. And humans for thousands of years have been exposed to phage to help address and overcome…
Ben: Like how? What would be an example? ‘Cause this sounds kind of cutting edge. How would we have been exposed to phages like 100 years ago?
Isaac: Yeah. Well again, and people are still being exposed to this even today, but essentially when we would be, if there was a virus that would outbreak in a specific area of the world, people or even animals would then get exposed to certain type of phage that would be able to overcome that particular viral outbreak. And the phage is almost like a genetic evolution of various things that can help species continue to really grow, and develop, and overcome various exposures of viral infections that could wipe out a species. So you can get exposed to phage a lot of different ways. They actually get the phage from stools. So inside of stool, there are a ton of different types of phage that people may have. And so they literally have laboratories now where they are extracting the phage from the stool. It sounds gross. I didn't mean to actually get into this, but this is how they're extracting the phage today.
Ben: Well it makes sense, and perhaps this kind of comes full circle to what I had asked about chronic infection and why we may be seeing more of it, and it sounds to me like this may tie into this whole healthy hygiene hypothesis to where constantly pursuing cleanliness, like antibacterial hand soaps, and C-sections, and bottle boiling, and all these means by which we're trying to protect ourselves from bacteria maybe actually weakening us when it comes to defending us from chronic infection. Because what you're describing sounds like, in a very similar way, the idea of exposing my kids to pets, and barns, and…
Isaac: Exactly. Completely. And you get exposed to this naturally, and fermented vegetables, and more traditional ways of preparing foods. You're gonna be able to have a specific kind of microbiome and even phage profile that's unique and different than most people living a conventional lifestyle. Absolutely. The other issue, we’re kind of in the category in talking about biotoxins. I look at biotoxins as viral, parasitic, bacterial as well as fungal, and even microbes that can overgrow within the body. But there’s so many different biotoxins. Probably the biggest challenge today is from the amount of stress that we have. Stress can change your microbiota. It can literally change the different type of bacteria inside of your body. Even taking antacids, antacids are one of the worst things that can really shift your microbiome and start, you actually have certain bacteria in your gut that if they overgrow are considered biotoxins because they end up causing inflammation within the body and can create leaky gut, like for instance, yeast, everyone has heard of candida. But what a lot of people don't realize is there's over 100 different strands of candida.
And so when we're exposed to different medications or we put ourselves through quite a bit of stress, trying to get something done for work, we're shifting, constantly shifting our microbiome, even with the foods that we’re eating. And then when we get exposed to biotoxins in the environment, like I had no idea, back in 2006, I walked into an apartment that I was going to rent, and I rented it, and within a few months I was like really sickly again. And I'm like, “What is going on? Like I don't understand this.” And I went to all these advanced cellular detoxification environmental medicine seminars and they had this VCS test, and you can do this online. Ritchie Shoemaker actually made up the tests, he's the leading kind of thought leader in the world of biotoxins around mold toxicity, he’s a family physician in Maryland. And he saw the same thing where he literally had patients come into his office with all these different symptoms, but they're all the same symptoms. And he realized that they're all due to mold toxicity already caused toxic building syndrome, and that's what happened for me as I was being exposed to all this black mold that was literally shifting my neurology, causing regular inflammatory bouts, and leaky gut, and various other issues because, unfortunately, I had a gene called HLAB27, HLADR that creates a susceptibility for not creating the immunological factors to get rid of the biotoxin out the body. So with that being said, around 85% of the population have the same genetic composition as me. And so there's only 15% of the population that will be able to produce the antibodies to get rid of more of that other bodies. So there’s a very high percentage of people that would…
Ben: So that’s called the HLADR gene that makes it so that you're not able to remove, or I guess it would be like tagging and removing bio toxins?
Isaac: Exactly. So bio toxins in my body would start to bio accumulate. So the first week I was in the house, I was fine. The second week, third week, I start getting a little brain fog. The fourth week, I would eat some berries and I would start seeing in the distance like trees start kind of melding together. It was affecting my optic nerve with the amount of information that was being produced by the amount of mold in my house. So I saw the mold there and I was going through my doctorate program at the time, and I was like, “Ah, not that big of a deal. It’s just a wet house.” I wasn't thinking much of it, but then when I started taking all these seminars and I did a VCS test, and I failed, like miserably, that's when I got the C4A test and the HLADR test, and I was blown away, and I was actually educated by Doctor Ritchie Shoemaker himself who wrote a book called “Mold Warriors”, which is a very thick, more doctor oriented book, but it was very powerful because I started to, it was kind of another phase of peeling back the layer of chronic fatigue, of chronic biotoxic overgrowth. ‘Cause this is one of the main factors that drive inflammation and mitochondrial dysfunction is the exposure of these different biotoxins.
And so when I got rid of it, you can get rid of it through a number of different ways, but activated carbon, I get mine from Iceland, which has a specific carbon that can hold up to 400 times its size in biotoxins out of the body and it's very powerfully charged. I use that. And then if you have access to a medical doctor, cholestyramine, which was originally used for actually removing, or heart disease is a binder to biotoxins and particular mold, and it helps to remove that from the body. ‘Cause I’m more of a natural oriented physician, I was using the biotoxin or, excuse me, the activated carbon after I use the cholestyramine for a while, but that really showed up in my lab test results and the VCS test, pre and post testing, was absolutely amazing. You can do the VCS test yourself for $20 on, I think it’s, what is it, survivingmold.com. That’s it, survivingmold.com.
Ben: That’s Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker’s website, right?
Isaac: That's right. Yeah.
Ben: And you said that’s called the VCS test?
Isaac: Yeah, the visual contrast acuity test.
Ben: Okay. So, that would be a test that would allow you to identify whether your body is able to recognize bio toxins?
Isaac: Exactly. If you have an over bioaccumulation of bio toxins, it's kind of like just a screening test, it doesn't tell you which ones in particular. It is good for like mold if you know that you’ve been exposed to mold in the past and you're not producing antibodies, that means the mold and the biotoxins are still in your body. Your body doesn't produce the antibodies to remove them. So they bio accumulate, and that was the problem with what I was dealing with. I literally had to move out of my house, which was devastating for me 'cause it took so long to find the place in the first place. But I mean that's what you have to in order to like maximize…
Ben: Okay. Got it. So I have a question for you. We've gone over so far kind of two basic categories of things that can contribute to fatigue. First was chronic infections, and you talked about things like Lyme, and Epstein Barr, and mycoplasma, the micro parasites.
Ben: Now, the second thing that you talked about was bio toxins, such as like mold and fungus, and you did just mention a resource that we can use to test for those, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/hiddenfatigue. But the other, the first thing that you talked about, chronic infections, is there kind of like a catch-all test that will identify a number of different chronic infections that could be causing fatigue or do you have to go out and kind of one-off a variety of different individual tests?
Isaac: Yeah, that's a good question. For parasites, I do different stool analysis testing. I’ll order different tests based off of what they're presenting in their case history. And then for the immune system, just to figure out whether they've got some of these chronic infections, through NeuroScience there's a lot of immune system testing that I do, and you can really learn a lot about what kind of C4 activity they may have that can tell us a lot about that. Now, iSpotlyme is the best test from NeuroScience for Lyme detection. And you can see chronic Lyme issues even when medical doctors and other doctors are not testing for it and finding it. You can actually…
Ben: You said that’s the spot test?
Ben: Okay. Gotcha.
Isaac: It's called iSpotlyme. I think it used to be called My Lyme ID, but I think it's called now, iSpotlyme by NeuroScience. Those are the most sensitive, advanced tests out there.
Ben: Now can that, sorry to interrupt, but can that iSpot Lyme test also identify Epstein Barr, or cytomegalovirus, or some of these other chronic infections that often are co-infections along with something like Lyme?
Isaac: Yeah. You can throw that on the test, I think, for an additional investment.
Ben: Okay. And is that just iSpotLyme.com?
Isaac: That is neurorelief.com. neurorelief.com. So that Neurorelief is owned by NeuroScience that has all of the different lab testing for these types of labs. And then I use Doctor’s Data for stool analysis as wells as Genova Diagnostics for the GI effects.
Ben: Right. And that would be for more of like the parasites?
Isaac: Exactly. Yeah.
Ben: Okay. So, we've got our biotoxins, our dear biotoxins, we've got chronic infections like Epstein Barr and Lyme, a lot of times all of which go kind of hand in hand. Now, another thing I wanted to ask you about, because you hear a lot about this these days and its relation to chronic fatigue, is methylation and the ability to, or to not be able to methylate. Can you go into that and how that would cause chronic fatigue? What it is and how we can test for it?
Isaac: Absolutely, yeah. There's a methylation breath test that you can test to see if you're methylating well, and it's a pretty powerful test. Actually, excuse me, it’s a urine test. It’s a urine test. And you can see how well you're methylating just through the urine test, something that I do through a company called Systemic Formulas. But methylation is essential because your methyl pathways do a number of different things. Number one, and probably most importantly, they protect your DNA. So if you've ever watched the episode on Nova Science on epigenetics, they actually go through and interview Dr. Randy Jirtle from Duke University, he’s at a different university now, but at the time he was with Duke. And what he did was he exposed identical mice to BPA and various other environmental toxins. And what happened was these mice had the agouti gene. So in healthy mice, the agouti gene, which is an obesity gene, was turned off. Now when the mice got exposed to the various environmental toxic components that we’re all unfortunately being exposed to in the 21st century, what happened was the agouti gene was turned on. So even with the same diet that the skinny mice and the fat mice we’re eating, because the agouti gene was turned on, the mice would end up becoming obese. Now here's what's so amazing about methylation is that when the mice were then fed methyl donors within their diet, what happened was the methylation pathways got stronger in the mice. And then what was able to happen was these methylation components were able to protect the DNA, close the agouti gene expression, and then they became skinny again.
Ben: It's amazing.
Isaac: It's incredible. And you look at the implications of that that has for humans, like what kind of mitochondrial dysfunction a lot of people may have genetically, methylation pathways don't just protect the DNA within your nucleus but also the DNA within your mitochondria, which is just as robust. You look at what these methylation pathways do within your body, they also remove toxins out of your body. So for people that I'm trying to remove environmental toxins, it's really essential to provide them with methyl donors and give them a diet rich in methyl groups that will give them access to these, the ability for them to remove toxins out of their body. It's required for certain antioxidant production like glutathione, coenzyme Q10, carnitine. And it's essential, it's absolutely essential for ATP production and energy production within your body. So anybody that's trying to overcome fatigue, and a lot of people that are athletes that are listening to this that push themselves hard, I mean you are burning through methyl groups when you push yourself hard, which is why it's important to really be consuming a really healthy diet and even perhaps consuming methylation donors in a form of supplement. I have a supplement on my website called Moore's that’s a methyl donating supplement that is really good with that. Another thing that it does is it's a building block. It can actually help to regulate gene expression, like I said. But the impact of that is that it creates healthy enzymes, immune system factors, it helps produce the right types of hormones. And there's this whole process called…
Ben: Which one is that? You’re just talking about methylation pathway or are you talking about specific nutrients that you would consume to support the methylation pathway?
Isaac: Oh, yeah. So the actual, I was just talking about how methylation helps regulate gene expression…
Ben: Okay. Yeah. So optimum function of the pathway itself?
Isaac: Yes. Exactly.
Ben: Now, one of the things, just to interrupt real briefly here, you mentioned supporting folks, let's say someone tests and they find that, whether via urinary test or say like a 23andMe test, that they have defects or impairments in their methylation pathways, you talk about dietary factors that support methylation as well as support the, what I believe you called methyl donors. What are those two strategies comprised of?
Isaac: Yeah, that's a really good question. The methyl donors, you get methyl donors, like a B12 is a methyl donor for instance. And B12 provides the methylation or a lot of the foundation for a healthy functioning, really healthy functioning methyl group. Now, as far as a lot of the other foundational nutrients for methylation, I mean it's pretty, you look at a 5MTHF, vitamin B9, like I said, vitamin B12 but in the form of methylcobalamin, biotin, molybdenum, magnesium, vitamin C, what are some other ones, zinc. And then there's also some really interesting methyl kind of herbs that you could be consuming. Green tea helps boost methylation, thianine, red clover can do that, ribose can help with methylation, potassium phosphate.
I mean, a lot of this is in the formula that I actually use called Moore's but, what is the other one called, astragalus extract also helps. But there's a number of other things that can help boost methylation, selenium. But the biggest I would say is the B12, the 5MTHF, the vitamin B9. Those are really some of the keys. And then all these other supporting things can really help in creating really strong and robust methylation. So obviously eating a whole food diet, consuming grass-fed beef, if you're not a meat eater, figuring out a supplementation for some of these methyl donors because oftentimes I find a lot of vegetarians, when I do the intracellular micronutrient deficiencies panel on them, they end up coming back really deficient in a lot of these methyl donors and that can be a big issue and one of the biggest reasons.
Ben: So if you are an adequate methylator, I guess it would even be like an over methylator, you may potentially be someone who does okay on like a vegan or a vegetarian diet. But if you're an under methylator or you have a lot of defects in your methylation pathway, then you're gonna definitely need to be one those people who includes good meat sources or good methionine sources in the diet?
Isaac: Exactly. And what I do is I look into genetically what your predisposition is. So I take genetic profiling and I look at, I create a customized plan for exactly what needs to be done in order to maximize your health moving forward. Like do you have fatigue detoxification pathways? Are you susceptible to bio toxicities? Do you have methyl donor, or excuse me, weak methylation genetics that will end up causing a lot of these issues? And so I think ultimately the future of healthcare is in taking a customized approach that addresses lifestyle, nutrition, and a lot of the different lifestyle strategies that are very powerful. But it also stems from understanding what genetically your predispositions are so that you cannot just address the challenges in a more intellectual way, but you can also maintain and sustain your results in the long term.
And really, the whole problem with the Human Genome Project was that you don't have, everyone may have a cancer gene or a heart disease gene, but the fact that you have those genes doesn't determine whether you're going to get that disease. Even if your biggest susceptibility is heart disease or osteoporosis, like those are my top two, I'm living a lifestyle that will continue to give my cells, my body, the types of methyl donors and the types of nutrients that will literally turn those disease genes off. So this is kind of like the future of healthcare. It definitely takes a lot longer from a doctor's perspective to help cultivate and create something like that for the person to get the results that they want, but it’s so rewarding because you just see such amazing results in the people, in the executives, entrepreneurs, the athletes that I work with. It's really amazing to see the results that you get in the long term.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I’ve got more questions for you.
Isaac: For sure.
Ben: We aren’t done yet. But by the way, I know that some of you listening in like, if you want to connect with Isaac to do some of these tests and work with you a little bit, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/isaacjones Also if you're one of those people who just wants to educate the heck out of yourself, go check out all of the show notes that I'm taking right now in terms of the books Isaac has mentioned, the tests he’s mentioned, those are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/hiddenfatigue. Isaac, you've already mentioned, or alluded to it at least, the concept of mitochondria. Now we’ve talked about methylation, we've talked about biotoxins, we’ve talked about chronic infections, but when it comes to mitochondria, what type of things can happen to mitochondria that would cause chronic fatigue and how would that happen?
Isaac: A lot of doctors say that all disease stems from the mitochondria and mitochondrial dysfunction. And when you look at the research, I mean, it's pretty substantial, but some of the main things that cause damage to the mitochondria in the first place is chronic inflammation. So if you've got chronic inflammation or you're consuming things that really create a lot of ROS reactive oxidative species within the body, like processed sugars for instance, or a lot of processed grains, or something along those lines, then you're going to develop a lot of inflammatory issues. We already know that dietarily every time you exercise, you’re creating reactive oxidative species, all of that. It doesn't mean that you shouldn’t exercise, you should, but these are just things that can affect the mitochondria. Micronutrient deficiencies also cause damage to the mitochondria. For instance, Cardiolipin is a type of fat that our ancestors used to get a lot of 'cause they were eating grass-fed cows, and goats, and things of that nature. It's a type of, what I would consider, superfood that we're not getting now in our diets. And so if you were to consume grass-fed dairy products, or goats, or sheep’s cheese, you can get some of these unique types of fats in the forms of cardiolipin. And cardiolipin is an essential fat that literally will make up a large portion of the mitochondrial membrane. But because we're not getting those fats, the membrane becomes inflamed on the mitochondria and then we've got mitochondrial dysfunction.
Ben: Isn't the heart of an animal a good source of cardiolipin, like beef heart and stuff like that?
Isaac: Yes. Exactly. Organ meats are also really good. If you don't want to consume the dairy products, if you’re like strictly paleo and not primal like myself, then that would be something that you could do for sure. So the thing is, and this is mind boggling when you think about it, 10% of your body weight is mitochondria. That's essentially the weight of your head. So if you were to look at a human body and try to figure out how much mitochondria they have inside of their body, that's an entire head worth of their body as all mitochondria. And it's the energy power point of your body, it produces all ATP. So you can see if there's a lack of micronutrient in the form of cardiolipin, or if there’s a lack of certain other types of factors, or you’re getting exposed to environmental toxins which is another major issue with mitochondrial dysfunction. Heavy metals in the forms of mercury and lead clog up the mitochondria dramatically damaging its ability to produce ATP, and that's another major issue that needs to be addressed that I always like to look into when I'm testing people. But what's so amazing about this is that you can start implementing solutions and strategies to help really maximize the functionality of the mitochondria. Because if it's 10% of your body weight, it makes up the size of your head, I mean obviously, it's very important. If you look at white adipose tissue or brown adipose tissue, which is kind of interesting, Ben, I’ll have to be a little humble here and talk about how much I love your book. Beyond Training, was such an outstanding book. It was the best fitness book I've ever read and anybody…
Ben: Well, thank you. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.
Isaac: There you go. And anybody who’s listening to this needs to read his book if you haven't already. I'm sure a lot of them hopefully have. But it’s the best fitness book ever that I've ever read, and I don't know if I'll ever read 'cause your future renditions will perhaps come out. But I mean that this is such a good book, but it goes beyond fitness. And in the book you start talking a lot about brown adipose tissue, and I thought to myself, I'm like, “Hmm, What is this brown adipose tissue? I've never really heard much about this brown adipose tissue.” That got me researching a lot more into BAT cells, brown adipose tissue cells, and I always wondered like what is it that caused them to be brown. And it's because, of the high level of mitochondria within them. That's the reason why they're brown and the reason why they burn more fat off of your body, and why you want to activate BAT sells inside of your body through like cryotherapy and some of these other strategies is because it activates the mitochondria and it helps you burn fat off your body as well as regulating leptin signaling and things of that nature.
Ben: Yeah. Same reason that professional cyclists on the Tour De France will have horse meat before their big stages, because of its richness in mitochondrial density.
Ben: And of course, we’ve grossed out all of you vegans out there by talking about eating hearts and horse meat, and my apologies for that. But in addition to eating crazy foods like that, Isaac, I'm curious. If one were to test for mitochondrial dysfunction or for issues with mitochondria, obviously we could look at our environment, things that you’ve talked about as sources of inflammation, or even things that fly under the radar when it comes to inflammation like water, or your WiFi router, and things like that. But if you just wanted to test to see if your mitochondria were healthy, is there a test for that?
Isaac: It's interesting because the mitochondria is so fragile and it’s affected by so many different things that I actually test for it through three different tests. The first is an intracellular micronutrient test that goes into all of the different amino acids, vitamins, minerals, et cetera that you would essentially, that a lot of people now have deficiencies and that affects your mitochondria dramatically. The second test is a heavy metals tests, an environmental toxicities test. And environmental toxins damage your mitochondria, so we know that, we could test to see if the mitochondria is dysfunctioned, but if you have low energy, we already know that it is. So that's the kind of test. The litmus test for mitochondrial dysfunction is “Is my energy normal or not?” And if it's not then you’ve got mitochondrial dysfunction. Now, we have to figure out why.
So intracellular micronutrient deficiencies, number one. Number two is environmental toxicities. And then number three, ironically, is your microbiome and looking into gut health. And because when you look at inflammation, and inflammation being one of the biggest factors that causes issues with the mitochondria and creates DNA mutations within the mitochondria et cetera, you have to look at how your microbiome is functioning, how your gut is functioning, your digestive system. And so when I look at the digestive system I can see, “Oh, wow. Look at this massive area of inflammation,” or, “Look at this underlying cause of inflammation from this biotoxicity or heightened level of hypersensitivity in the immune system.” And what's amazing is that you can, you get all this information back and you can create some unbelievable transformations in mitochondrial health and energy levels just through addressing those three things.
Ben: And which test did you say you liked to do for that gut inflammation?
Isaac: I've been doing the Doctor's Data comprehensive stool analysis.
Isaac: And another one that I really like is the GI Effects because it looks at…
Ben: Yeah. That’s the one that I do with a lot of the folks who I work with is GI Effects.
Isaac: Yeah. I would say GI Effects…
Ben: The 3-day stool panel?
Isaac: Yeah. And I would say GI Effects is more the mac daddy test. It's more expensive. Or I should say it's more of an investment 'cause it's not expense when you're looking at this kind of information. But it is definitely a very, very powerful test. And the other test is very good as well but it just doesn't give as much of the details that I would like as the GI Effects. It just depends on what the individual's budget is.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay. So basically, if we were to step back and look at this big picture, we've got chronic illnesses like Epstein Barr, and Lyme, and a lot of these things that kind of go hand in hand, but that we can test through something like this iSpot Lyme test and then go after with some of the more or perhaps unconventional but effective treatments like these phage protocols that you talked about.
Ben: And then we have biotoxins, like mold and fungus, that can be attacked from both an environmental standpoint and then also some of these things that you talked about, like the activated carbon to kind of pull it out of the body.
Ben: Next is the methylation, which you can test for and which you can also address with things like vitamin B12 rich foods or multivitamins that have methyl tetrahydrofolate in them and things along those lines.
Ben: And then you have mitochondrial dysfunction, which is difficult to do a comprehensive test for, but if you test for like toxins, heavy metal, stuff like that, then it's pretty likely that if you do test positive for those, they're affecting mitochondria. And the way that you would go about fixing mitochondria would be like a lot of these kind of like ancestral foods that are mentioned in these mitochondrial precursors and things along those lines. I would imagine also like a good, good intake of just like chlorophyll-rich compounds like dark fruits and dark vegetables would help with that too?
Isaac: Exactly and there's really like, what I call the cellular detoxification solution to removing inflammation and in the geeky terms, and geeky terms, this is coined by Dr. Dan Pompa is essentially the “5 R's of Cellular Transformation or Detoxification” that will impact mitochondrial function. So the first is reestablish the health of the cellular membrane. The second is remove environmental toxins. The third is regenerate the ATP formation within the mitochondria. And there's a whole process that I do and some supplements that you can take for each ones of these 5 R's that will really help to maximize the health of your cells. Number four is reestablish methylation pathways. And number five is reduce cellular inflammation. And so when you do those five things, and you help to increase redox pathways within your body, and you give your body an increased level of glutathione, not liposomal glutathione like a lot of people are buying nowadays where it’s only affecting the gut level, you need to get the type of precursor to glutathione that go into your body so your cells can actually make the glutathione intracellularly that will help to actually pull the toxins out of the body. So there's a whole science behind really maximizing your performance on a cellular level. But when you do that, it's real magic what happens in the long term.
Ben: Okay. So those are his 5 R's of cellular healing. I’ll put a link to those in the show notes 'cause I know there’s an article out there that outlines those in detail and that people can access for free. The last thing, of course that you mentioned, in addition to mitochondria was the gut health and how to test for that. And obviously, there are hours and hours of gut talk that we could go into, but ultimately healing your gut is a big big part of this too and eating a diet that's appropriate for your gut.
Isaac: Oh my gosh. Yeah. And I mean I could talk for hours on this. There's a really good book called “The Missing Microbe” out there. Another really good book called “The Brain Maker” by Dr. David. He’s a medical doctor that's really studied the microbiome coupons. I mean gut dysfunction is insidious. I mean it's completely across the board. I mean most people have some level of gut dysfunction, if they haven't addressed it with some of the more advanced protocols, but it is a major underlying cause of a lot of the problems that we're seeing. You look at the amount of nerve endings, and nerve roots, and nerve cells in the gut and it equals the exact amount, if not more, than what's in your spinal cord combined. You look at the amount of neurotransmitters that the gut microbiome will produce, it’s more than your brain. You look at 70% of your active form of thyroid hormone is actually converted in gut and the liver. You look at ghrelin and actual hormone signaling is actually produced and created by the bacteria inside of your gut. So it's really crazy when you get down into the nitty gritty of the gut and how it impacts your body in such a major massive way, which is why it's one of the most important tests that I test for when I work with people in creating a customized plan to transform their health moving forward.
Ben: Yeah. The gut’s obviously a big one and I mean a big part of each of these different things that we talked about. I've never really seen gut dysfunction not be present in anything that we've discussed. And obviously, Isaac, I work with people to help them get ready for Spartan races, and I help people eat healthy, and exercise the right way, but when it really comes to putting together an extremely comprehensive program from a medical standpoint, I know you’re the real ninja when it comes to this stuff. And so folks, if you're listening in, I do recommend that you check out Isaac's website. You can go to bengreenfielfitness.com/isaacjones to do that. I also recommend, again like I’ve said a few times during this episode, that you go check out the comprehensive show notes 'cause I have been taking some notes here as Isaac’s been talking. You can get those at bengreenfieldfitness.com/hiddenfatigue. So I realize, and Isaac, you’ve probably run into this before too, as people listen in, it’s just like it can feel overwhelming, all the different things that can cause fatigue and I think that it really is important to not necessarily take this like all or nothing approach of, “Okay. I need to somehow, whatever, scrape together $30,000 and just like throw everything at this problem all at once.” Because that can be stressful in my opinion.
Ben: Some people do have huge budgets to spend on this type of thing and can just like take two months off work, spend a bunch of money, and fix their bodies. But for most people, working a day job with a budget, basically, my best recommendation that I can give to you if you're listening in is to just tackle things one by one. I mean if you took, and this may sound harsh, but let's say you took two decades to mess up your body, don't expect to fix it in like a month.
Ben: But if you say, “Okay. I’m gonna spend the next one or two years of my life to completely turn around all these issues that I'm dealing with.” Well, that leaves you with like 40 more, and depending how old you are, let's say 40 more good years of your life to just enjoy life. And so I really want to encourage you, if you're listening in, that you don't have to necessarily feel like you have to test for all these things at once and go after everything and fix your body in a week because it doesn't work that way. But be patient. Use guys like Isaac, use the show notes for this episode as a resource to just slowly go in and begin to heal issues if you have fatigue. Because the last thing that you want to do, if you have fatigue, is to just pile more decision making fatigue on top of that.
Ben: I'll get off my soapbox now. Isaac, thank you so much for coming on the show. I mean I could talk to you forever, dude.
Isaac: And we will. Honestly, we’ll be talking to each other for the rest of our lives.
Ben: And for those of you listening in, I will definitely vouch for Isaac. He’s a good dude. Visit his website. I would love for you to work with him if you're somebody that really wants to go after fatigue hardcore. So, again, his website is bengreenfielfitness.com/isaacjones. The show notes for this episode are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/hiddenfatigue. Isaac, you’ve probably got to go run around the track in your basketball shorts or something like that. So I’ll let you go, but it sounds like I’ll see you at a future Spartan.
Isaac: Yes, absolutely. I'll be there.
Ben: Alright. Cool. Well, folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Dr. Isaac Jones signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
Mysterious, frustrating fatigue is one of the most common issues in the athletes, clients, soccer-moms and CEO's who I consult with. In fact, a recent study showed that nearly 40% of U.S. employees experienced significant fatigue in the previous two week period, and about one million Americans and a quarter of a million people in the UKhave some kind of chronic fatigue.
We all know about well-known causes of fatigue, such as a poor diet, food allergies, bad sleep, stress, etc. But what about when you're “doing everything right”, but you're still tired, have brain fog, subpar workouts, or chronically low energy? What about those of us who eat right, get enough sleep, manage our stress, but still feel tired much of the time?
Today, my friend Dr. Isaac Jones joins the podcast to look into 5 lesser-known causes of fatigue that fly under the radar, but should definitely be ruled out if you’re doing everything right but still feel tired.
So who exactly is Dr. Jones?
Known as “the doctor of the future”, he is the world’s leading expert in high-performance concierge healthcare. As a successful entrepreneur and owner of 3 different companies, he is a trusted advisor and high-performance consultant to CEO’s and leading entrepreneurs around the world. He graduated from the most prestigious health and wellness doctorate program in America and has invested over $250,000 on advanced lab tests, health retreats, educational seminars and cutting-edge health certifications to help his clients gain an unfair competitive advantage.
His company Designer Health Centers has received a certification from the United Nations for its “Excellence in Healthcare” for the work Dr. Jones did for the Royal Family in Saudi Arabia. He participates in a private “future of healthcare” mastermind with a small group of global thought leaders such as Sanjay Gupta MD and Jeff Arnold CEO of Sharecare.com who sold WebMD for $7.6 billion.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Isaac's amazing story of how using functional medicine to heal his ADD, dyslexia and skin problems helped propel him to becoming one of the top 800m runners in North America…
-The underground method used in Russia and Europe to stop chronic infections in their tracks…
-Hidden sources of biotoxins in your environment, and how to test for and eliminate biotoxins…
-Why most Lyme tests don't really work, and what you should really be looking for when it comes to Lyme disease…
-The 3 different ways that mitochondrial dysfunction can occur, and exactly how to fix them…
-Five simple steps you can take to heal cells and mitochondria…
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: