Why you should listen –
The U.S. Healthcare System doesn’t want you to get better, in fact, it wants you to get sicker. Dr. William Davis joins Dave on this episode of Bulletproof Radio to talk about how the U.S. Healthcare system wants to increase the trillions in money it’s making every year by restricting access to life-saving preventive care. Dr. Davis reveals how the drugs and medical procedures we don’t need aren’t just making us sicker, but in some cases, killing us.
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Speaker 1: Bulletproof Radio, a state of high performance.
Dave Asprey: You’re listening to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey. Today’s cool facts of the day is more actually troubling than cool. It’s that gluten reduces blood flow to the brain, and it interferes with thyroid hormones that you need to make ATP to maintain insulin on your nerves called myelin and just have mitochondria that work really well.
Did I mention mitochondria? That’s the subject of Headstrong, my new book. If you had to order Headstrong.com, you can pick up your pre-order copy of it. Headstrong teaches you about how to make your mitochondria sing and actually just have more energy because if you have more energy, everything you do is easier. So, gluten is not going to help your mitochondria.
All right. Today’s guest is returning to Bulletproof Radio and knows a thing or two about gluten. He’s here to tell us why gluten should be in all of your smoothies. No. It’s actually the opposite of that. This is none other than Dr. William Davis who’s a very well-known cardiologist, author, health crusader, and he’s written extensively about gluten but his new book, which is what is on the show to talk about is called Undoctored: Why the Health Care System has Failed you and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor.
Welcome back, Bill. It’s a pleasure to have you on Bulletproof Radio again.
William Davis: Thank you, Dave. Glad to be back.
Dave Asprey: What made you write a book instead of about the evils of grain to switch gears and talk about actually health care? It’s a tough thing to a write about because it’s kind of boring. What made you do this?
William Davis: What I saw unfold with the Wheat Belly message of this past almost six years since the first Wheat Belly Book came out was I started this conversation about wheat and the gliadin protein, all of the other indigestible proteins of wheat and related grains, I expanded that conversation into all grains because it became clear that all seeds of grasses share characteristics and you get even further benefit by going completely grain free.
But then I took it even further. You probably already know that grain consumption causes ironically, Dave, causes numerous nutrient deficiencies for a variety of reasons. Among the reasons are the phytates of grains. The phytates block absorption of minerals. Most people start out with pretty profound magnesium deficiency for instance, many with iron deficiency and zinc deficiency, and there are other common deficiencies that we can’t blame on grains like iodine as you know. So, I started correcting those deficiencies also.
You know what I saw, Dave? I’m sure it’s similar to your experience I started seeing extraordinary transformations in health. It started with this notion of wheat and grain elimination. That alone is very powerful. You fold in some of these other strategies like vitamin D, magnesium restoration, and most recently cultivation of bowel flora. I started seeing hundreds of thousands of people who had come back to me and say, “You know what? I don’t have diabetes anymore. I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis. All that pain, joint pain is gone. The swelling is gone. My acid reflux, my irritable bowel syndrome is completely gone. My ulcerative colitis is gone, and my doctor told me it was stupid.”
In other words, people were getting better across hundreds, literally hundreds of health conditions in spite of their doctors, Dave. I’m sure you’ve heard some other people. What we’re seeing is an extraordinary shift in the way people are managing their health. Dave, they’re doing it themselves. So, you and your audience, you’re not a bunch of scientists and doctors talking about procedures and drugs. You’re talking about things that are intrinsic and natural to human experience and we’re seeing disease reversed.
That’s why I came to put this whole thing together and I called it undoctored. It’s health in spite of your doctor. It’s health because the health care system has nothing to do with health. I say the enemy of the health care system is healthy people.
Dave Asprey: There’s probably 10 to 20%, we’ll call them medical professionals, not all doctors who listen to Bulletproof Radio. It’s way higher than everyone would imagine, but because we crossed the line between epigenetics and change in the environment, and getting highly compliant interested patients and just people who are motivated because the doctors who I know like at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine … I gave a keynote there this year.
These are people who are only motivated by helping and of course most of them have got their patients off of whole grains and non-whole grains as well in alignment with what you’d recommend and what I’d recommend, but they generally want to do this. Then I’ve heard many stories from them where they say, “Well, people come in and they’re so hostile to me because I’m a doctor and they think that I’m going to be the same as the three minutes, and here’s some drugs kind of a model.”
Are you looking to drive a shift towards that or are you worried about people being even more hostile towards their doctors?
William Davis: You know, I feel bad for the early adopters among my colleagues, the ones who truly do understand that health care is a corrupt system, that these exceptions that you know are the ones who are truly dedicated to health. They’re out there, and I agree there’s probably … I’m not sure what percentage. No one’s ever made that assessment but it’s probably 5%, maybe 10%. I’d be [inaudible 00:06:46] more than that, but they’re out there.
Dave Asprey: I think [crosstalk 00:06:47].
William Davis: Yeah. I’d be surprised actually if it was more than 5%. If you just go out to any hospital where the conventional people, conventional practitioners hang out, not going to a conference where all be forward thinkers congregate.
Dave Asprey: My sample size is biased. I’ll give you that.
William Davis: Yeah. Or even worse, Dave, if you go to a hospital staff meeting or behind closed doors meeting with management and the administration, you’ll get a real taste of what’s going on in health care and you’ll see that mainstream, not the exceptions, not the early adopters among my colleagues, but the mainstream, the guys who work in hospitals, the guys who were employees of hospital systems, the guys who place money ahead of patient welfare or at least your health. This is exceptionally common.
I can’t tell whether it’s 80, 90 or 95% of my colleagues but it is the vast majority. It’s those people who are driving revenues, health care costs, ordering MRI scans, telling a nice guy like you that you needed an implantable defibrillator for $90,000. Those are the people I’m aiming my criticism towards.
Dave Asprey: That’s it. I’ll take two.
William Davis: A quarter of which by the way, Dave, it’s quite clear, a quarter and it’s not my data, these are published data. A quarter of implantable defibrillators are nasty, nasty thing. They’re huge, they stick out. 25%, almost a quarter of them are implanted without cause.
Dave Asprey: [inaudible 00:08:15]
William Davis: Because it pays so well. If it paid poorly there’d be almost no unnecessary procedures but it pays so well that a quarter of the implantable defibrillators are unnecessary. We have a healthcare system who puts profit. When I say health care system by the way, Dave, I don’t mean just the doctors. Obviously, there’s a lot more then doctors. I’m not really talking about the technicians and the orderlies. I’m talking about hospital administrators and Big Pharma, the medical device industry and multinational corporations, the real power holders in the health care system. They don’t put health first. They put health care first that is generating revenues to profit the insiders.
Dave Asprey: It is definitely happening and you see it in insurance. I remember years ago when I decided that I was going to just take charge of what was going on. I went to the doctor and I’m like, “Man, I feel like I can barely work. I’m tired all the time.” I’ve gained 30 pounds. I weighed 300 pounds. I’d come down to somewhere 240, 250 and then I just ballooned up again over the course of a couple of months. I felt like something was poisoning me.
So, I go to the doctor and he goes, “Maybe you should lose some weight.” I’m like, “I’ve been fat for a long time. You think I don’t know that?” It kind of made me mad. I’m like, “So, maybe you could tell me out.” He goes, “You should just eat healthy and eat less.” I’m like, “And what does eating healthy means?” He goes, “Low fat …” and kind of mumbled. He said maybe I have high blood sugars. So, I bought a blood glucose meter back then and I stuck my finger a dozen times a day, and I said, “You know, it’s not …” My blood sugar isn’t that high. It was prediabetic but it wasn’t like into the world high.
He said, “Well, basically, I don’t know.” I said, “Well, let me tell you. Vitamin C seems to make me feel better.” He goes, “How much do you take?” I go, “I take three grams a day.” He goes, “Stop. It could kill you.” I looked at him and I said, “What about Linus Pauling. Linus Pauling is the founder of orthomolecular medicine which is the grandfather of functional medicine as we know it today. I’m saying that for our listeners. Obviously, you know this.
Linus Pauling took 900 grams of vitamin C a day and was famous for this stuff. Two Nobel Prize kind of guy. I [inaudible 00:10:30] my doctor know who it was, so I looked at the guy and I said, “You’re fired.” I walked out of his office. I never paid any cent to collections. I said, “No service was delivered.” Okay. I was an angry toxic guy living … It turns out I was living in a house with toxic mold in the walls which is why I gained weight and why I was having all these symptoms of being poisoned because I was being poisoned.
The experience left me so angry and just upset, I didn’t see a doctor for four years, and when I came back, Bill, I had a list of seven possible diagnosis all from Dr. Google and things like that. I’ve read textbooks about each one and I said, “I want this test from this lab and this treatment plan or this test.” The poor doctor fortunately was a functional medicine doctor and was like, “Who the hell are you? And okay, we’ll test you for all this but do you mind if I pick the order because I could probably tell you?”
For me, that was a wake-up moment, and this is why I think your book is cool. It is a wake-up moment that there are people out there who will work with you and will listen to that stuff, but they’re not the people that you’re writing about, right?
William Davis: No. Absolutely not. But you Dave Asprey are perfect example of what’s happening. Now, you’re an early adopter. You’re at the front of the line but there’s more and more people who are following your lead and that is if I had Dave Asprey, a conventional primary care doctor in the same room, who knows more about health, about nutrients, nutritional supplements, healthy eating, exercise, et cetera. Who knows more? You as a doctor.
Dave Asprey: Bottom line is-
William Davis: Dave Asprey knows a ton more.
Dave Asprey: I should be cooking, and if my arm is broken, you should be setting it. We have our specialties, right?
William Davis: The things I want to expose is that health care puts on a charade that they know everything there is to know about health and you don’t you know anything. You’re this helpless ignorant consumer of health care and they know everything. They hold the purse strings. They have all the knowledge, and you and I know that is complete nonsense. The doctors know almost nothing. When you ask those doctors about nutrition, you’ll found how thin their knowledge was. It’s almost non-existent.
If you were to talk to a doctor even about something as pedestrian and common that was vitamin D, you’re going to find a very, very superficial understanding 99% of the time. These are crucial issues for health. So what I see happening is Dave Asprey and all the people around us are saying, “Health care seems to be the system that just wants to squeeze me for money. I can use them when I have car accident or I bust my femur or I have an infection when I come back from Costa Rica, but just for health, for weight, nutrition, restoration of nutritional deficiencies, and the diseases of lifestyle, diabetes, Type II diabetes, hypertension, acid reflux, even autoimmune disease, the hundreds disease that are common around us, the non-catastrophic, non-injurious, non-infectious, common diseases around us can be managed by people themselves.
You know what, Dave? You are a living example. The results you obtained are superior to what the health care system and the doctors could attain. What I’m seeing is we have the means. If we give people just benign guidance, we have the means to take health out of the hands of health care and put it in the hands of people. That’s why I call it Undoctored book.
Dave Asprey: It’s a great title, and it’s happening in part because of the internet and because of social media. When you look at what happens, you get a guy like me who loses 100 pounds and starts to look younger and all that. I’m willing to talk about it and willing to tell people, “Oh, this thing like ketosis really matters when you go into fat-burning mode.” Pre-internet, if I would have said four years ago, “Hey, you should try putting butter and this Brain Octane Oil in your special Bulletproof Coffee, it wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.
[inaudible 00:14:43] national Wall Street Journal or ad campaign or something for tens of millions of dollars, and no doctor would have talked about it. Last year, there are 48 million cups of Bulletproof Coffee served.
William Davis: That’s great.
Dave Asprey: That’s social media and each of those boosted people’s ketones which had an effect on their mitochondria, and there was a shortage of grass-fed butter and a lot of people saying no to grains because of your work and because the speed of this change is there and people can see the results on a day-to-day Instagram account. You just couldn’t do that even 10 years ago. I think you must be feeling kind of vindicated because you came out with Wheat Belly at kind of just the right time to really take advantage of people sharing what works.
William Davis: Just as you have, I think we’re all participating in this large worldwide conversation because health care has not done its job. It’s really charade. Imagine the prison system. Imagine the US prison system calling itself the good behavior system purporting that if somebody goes through 10 years of incarceration, they could come a good citizen. That of course is absolute nonsense, right?
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
William Davis: Prison is for the most part a place to learn how to be a better criminal. Health care puts on this charade of providing health. It does not provide health. If health care provided health, those doctors who gave you terrible information would have given you real … They should have said, “Dave, let’s talk about your home, what it looks like. What’s your nutrition look? How do you sleep? Let’s take some basic labs, look at your thyroid status and your hormonal status and potential for nutrient deficiency.” That was what the conversation should have been. Instead, it’s this brief superficial search for what drugs do you need, what procedures do you need because that’s the stuff that drives revenues and also covers their ass, right? Because it identifies a catastrophic stuff they can be held liable for.
The health care system forgot to give you health. So, I lost faith, Dave, that health will come from the health care system. I’m grateful there are early adopters among my colleagues, the ones that you know and have talked to, but when we talk mainstream health care, the administrators, the doctors, drug industry, the medical devices industry, those people don’t give a damn about health. They give a damn about their bottom line.
In the US, health care consumes 17.5% of GDP. What they don’t tell you, what health care insiders don’t tell you is they want to be 19%, 20%, 21% because that money is your money going into their pocket. It’s a huge wealth transfer. How else can you justify one drug like for Hepatitis C for $94,000? 120 tablets in one vial. It means you go to the pharmacy, you fill your prescription, you get one bottle with 120 tablets for $94,000. That’s what we’re up against. It didn’t cost 94,000. You know how much it cost to manufacture those tablets?
Dave Asprey: [20 bucks 00:17:59]
William Davis: $37.
Dave Asprey: [inaudible 00:18:00].
William Davis: That’s right. A few dollars. That is the mark up. Now, they have to recover R&D but the money they recover charging 84,000 to 94,000 per person is far beyond what they deserve recovering R&D. That’s an example of the kind of mentality, the mindset that goes on health care. It is raw profiteering. That’s okay. It’s a business. They are entitled to run a business and make a profit, but what gets my goat is that they pretend to say that they’re on your side, they’re your friends. “We’re here to help you.” No, they’re not.
They’re nowhere on your side than going to the grocery. They’re going to department store. It’s not a charity. It’s a business. They’re in business so they should stop acting like they’re a charity or they’re doing benevolent work. They’re not.
Dave Asprey: I learned a long time ago that any time anyone tells you that they’re doing something for your protection or your own good, they’re pretty much trying to take money from you every single time. Now, I got to ask you this question. I find it morally repugnant that I need a permission slip to get chemicals to control my own biology. It’s my body and I’ll do what I want with it. Now, my wife is a physician who runs an-
William Davis: No kidding.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. She’s Karolinska trained. She ran drug and alcohol emergency centers in Stockholm so she’s dealt with hard core people dying of heroin overdoses and all that. Now, she does fertility consulting. We wrote a book together on epigenetics, our first book. Now, she’s not in that field anymore, but every time I tell her prescriptions are repugnant to freedom and it’s not okay, she gets mad at me and then makes me cook dinner again.
What do you think on this one? I mean on its face, I got to go and then spend a couple of hundred dollars to see a doctor to get a permission slip to get the thyroid hormone I’ve been on for 20 years since I got Hashimoto’s. By the way, I’m down 75% from my previous dose as my system gets stronger. But I still have to wait in line, give money to some guy in a lab coat, who’s actually a friend of mine now, and then go to another lady and give her my permission slip and then give her some more money for something I should be able to order on Amazon. Do you find that system broken or is that still for my best interest?
William Davis: I think it comes from the paternalistic attitude that the doctor knows best and you don’t know anything, but as you see, that’s completely falling apart. As you have learned, a guy like Dave Asprey knows a lot more than the doctor when it comes to health. We’re entering an age where you can actually get a lot of your own blood tests drawn on your own.
Dave Asprey: [inaudible 00:20:44]
William Davis: Yeah. So you [noticed 00:20:45]. Now, there are states that prevent you from doing that. That by the way is because the hospital lobby wants to protect its business. It’s meant to be a business.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. New York, we’re looking at you right now, New York has the worst lab testing laws of any state in the country.
William Davis: That’s right.
Dave Asprey: It’s a little know fact but my wife and I started one of the first medical lab testing companies that allowed you to order a test at home without a doctor. It was a special test called the MELISA test for mercury and lime and mold and things like that back in the mid-2000s, but yeah, the regulatory stuff is insane on that front.
William Davis: So you’re part of the movement to reject that notion that people need to have the permission of your doctors to get blood work drawn. It’s crumbling.
Dave Asprey: Well, it’s my data. Who owns my data? It’s not you. It’s me. Or Facebook. I guess they own everything, right?
William Davis: Yeah. Right. It is crumbling. It’s going to take another several decades before you can just walk into a lab willy-nilly. Now, maybe you have to pay for it yourself. Maybe the doctor is right in saying, to some degree, I need to determine what’s truly necessary for health care rather than [inaudible 00:21:52] or just order any test they want and I have the cost be borne by health care insurance. I think if you just want it off the books, off the health care insurance, you should be able to get anything you want. I agree with that, Dave. That is happening though it’s spotty still. New York, New Jersey, California still block it, but it is happening.
By the way, you can still get around that so I’ve had to produce such things as this. They order a CRT test kit for instance which is of course a finger stick test kit. They’re really cool little test kits. You test a whole bunch of stuff. But you’re in say New York and you can’t have it shipped to your cousin in Indiana and then have your cousin ship it to you in New York. So, it’s an extra hassle in some postage, but you can get it done.
Because you and your listeners know a ton about health, and if you just want to know what your free T3 is, your thyroid hormone and your doctor says, “That’s stupid. You don’t need to know that.” You just say, “No, I don’t agree. All the reading I’ve done suggest it’s actually a critical marker.” The doctor says, “I’m the doctor. You’re the patient. Who went to medical school here?” You say it as you did, “You’re fired” and you go get it done yourself.
We’re entering that age, right? It’s going to happen and people are more and more … I mean compare how this will happen just 40 years ago where a nice guy like Dave Asprey walk into the medical library because there was no internet of course. Walk into the medical library and the medical librarian will look you up and down and wonder if you’re a pervert because you want to look the naked pictures of people in medical books. That [inaudible 00:23:18] is getting medical information back then by a consumer.
Now, you, me, your [readers 00:23:23] have access to an extraordinary library of information, worldwide access to information, experts, studies, data, and this idea that only doctors are able to understand and access necessary information is complete malarkey now so we all have this leveled playing field of information. It’s still early, but over the next few years and decades, we’re going to see armies of people armed with their apps, their health apps, their health measuring devices, these sorts of websites that empower you like patientslikeme.com, and I hope the Undoctored website proves to be that kind of a tool also.
Your website, your online presence are empowering people to say, “You know what? I don’t think I need the doctor to help me with my blood sugar, weight loss or my acid reflux symptoms. I think I can do this on my own.” I can tell you having witnessed this many, many times, people do a better job of it than their doctors and get better results.
Dave Asprey: In your book, Undoctored, you have basically an approach for how to take control or how to DIY, the home depot of taking care of yourself so to speak. I fully support that, but there are times when you want to go to an expert. I can tell you that if my natural gas is leaking, I’m probably not going to wrap some duct tape around it because it might just end poorly for me there, right?
William Davis: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: I know my limits for home repair. In fact, they’re quite low. That’s not where my strength is. I also maybe don’t know my limits for controlling my own biology. What are the conditions that work best for people to do your Undoctored [inaudible 00:25:05].
William Davis: Let me flip that around for a bit.
Dave Asprey: Okay.
William Davis: When I first started contemplating how to present this information to everyone, it seemed impossible, right Dave?
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
William Davis: Because we’re talking about do we “Okay, if you have Type II diabetes, read this or go here. If you need to lose 100 pounds, you can go over there. If you have polymyalgia rheumatica, you could read that chapter. If you have acid reflux or ulcerative colitis, go over here.” In other words, it would become completely unmanageable. The information [inaudible 00:25:42].
So, I did this instead. I borrowed from what I saw in the evolving Wheat Belly experience. I said, “You know what? When we put all these pieces together that evolved overtime, that is elimination of wheat and grains, restoration of vitamin D, correction of iodine deficiency and correction of most common endocrine disruption of all hypothyroidism, magnesium restoration, cultivation of bowel flora. Those are the core strategies. What I call the wild, naked and unwashed program in the undoctored program.
Do this. I don’t care if they labeled you with rheumatoid arthritis or if they labeled you with obesity or labeled you with Type II diabetes. I don’t care. Everyone starts with the same basic program and more often than not, you won’t have those conditions anymore. Sometimes it takes more than a few days or a few weeks. As you know, autoimmune conditions can take weeks to months to reverse, but everyone does the same basic program.
Then see what you have left. More often than not, you’ve got nothing left. You’re off your 10 medications. You’ve lost 57 pounds. Your hemoglobin A1C and blood sugar are now down to normal or ideal. Your rheumatoid arthritis is receding or is gone. Your joint pain is gone. So, we don’t have to worry about giving a program that’s unique to every specific disorder. Start with the same program and then deal with anything that is residual, and more often than not, you won’t have anything left.
Dave Asprey: What’s happening is that we’ve been taught because of the reductionist perspective or I’m a kidney doctor. Maybe it had a lot to do with your skin, just saying, but you’re not a dermatologist but those skin tags tell you what’s going on in your kidneys. The whole system of what’s going on in the body matters and what you’re doing is you’re going out from a systems perspective and saying, when you do this, it doesn’t really matter if you got migraines or if you got autoimmunity. The triggers are probably similar, and so let’s just pull those out.
William Davis: Absolutely. There’s also a very peculiar synergy they don’t fully understand among all the basic strategies that is like vitamin D and grain elimination. You leave one component out and the whole suffers. I learned early on in the Wheat Belly experience, if all you did was eliminate wheat, you get a ton of health benefits. If you go grain free, you get even more benefits. If you fold-
Dave Asprey: Amen. Say that again. Everyone listening, this is why the Bulletproof diet says don’t eat any grains same as your books because grains … It’s not about gluten free like garbanzos amaranth toast is still not a good choice. Anyway, you can say that till the end of time and people [inaudible 00:28:35] more.
William Davis: What we’re talking about is the seeds of grass. That’s what’s grains are. People don’t think of them that way. I tell people if you try and go out and eat your grass in your lawn, you’re going to get very sick. You can’t eat the blades. You can’t eat the roots. You can eat the seeds because humans don’t have a digestive apparatus to consume the components of grasses even the seeds. You can make them edible but you can never make them fully digestible.
That’s a big part of the reason why the proteins, specifically the proteins or the seeds of grass, whether we call it wheat or rye or barley or millet or sorghum or rice or corn, the proteins are either indigestible or only partially digestible. That’s why they had very peculiar effects like opioid effects, inflammatory effects, mind effects, emotional effects, all kinds of effects.
Ironically, there is one very digestible component in grains. That’s amylopectin carbohydrate. That’s the component that is responsible for sky high blood sugars. That’s why grains make you fat and make you fat and diabetic. It is extraordinary, Dave … isn’t it? … that national guidelines from our own US Department of Health and Human Services, the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans tells us that our diet should be centered, based on grains [inaudible 00:29:58].
They have given us a diet that guarantees obesity, Type II diabetes and other health conditions. It’s no surprise. I know it’s not you or your listeners. It’s no surprise that the US is among the fattest nations on earth with an incredible amount of Type II diabetes. This was manmade, much of it created by national guidelines. It is an unforgivable horrible mess and it takes you and me because the doctors aren’t rejecting it.
If you went to [John Q 00:30:33] Primary Care, he won’t say, “Dave, you know, I rejected the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans years ago. Let me tell you what I think you really should do.” I doubt you’ll ever hear that from a conventional thinking doctor. You’ll get the usual crap, right? “Cut your fat. Cut your calories. Less in, move more.” All that nonsense that is quite clear [inaudible 00:30:57]
Dave Asprey: Stuff that made me fat. It made feel like a failure for not trying hard [inaudible 00:31:01] pounds.
William Davis: Me, too. Me, too.
Dave Asprey: I remember that. I think a lot of us do who are free from that. Something happened when you started talking about don’t eat grain. When I started campaigning really hard for grass-fed dairy, there was a national shortage of grass-fed dairy that resulted in more grassland being put into production and less cornland and wheatland being taken out of the environment and put into industrial production for agriculture. It actually created a shift in the supply.
When people read Undoctored and they go to their primary care physician and they have one of the bad ones who’s unwilling to engage in a discussion or unwilling to take the steps to continuously educate themselves on what we’ve discovered in the last few years versus 20 years ago. They’re just going to stop seeing the doctors the way I did and they’re going to find the … I see an increasing number of doctors even you probably have them, too, guys who are cardiologists who hand out your book or hand out the Bulletproof Diet to their patients say, “Try this instead of statins.”
I get emails from those doctors and these are doctors working in hospitals but they want to create change. They’re terrified they’ll violate the standard of care and they’ll lose their livelihood from the medical mafia. But when no more customers are coming to them because they are following the standard of care that is wrong and no one wants, are we going to see a wholesale shift of doctors opening up to your ideas and just to the functional medicine world or are you less hopeful than that?
William Davis: I think there’s going to be a percentage who do that, who embrace your message, my message, the messages of others, but I think it’s still going to still .t. The majority still will not because money is involved, Dave. In other words, I see many of the colleagues around me the same as they come to you, they go into a functional medicine mode. What they find is they don’t make much money at it, and so it’s very tough to convince the $1.4 million a year dermatologist or the $2 million a year ophthalmologist or the well-paid orthopedic surgeon or et cetera.
It’s very tough to persuade them that you should really just sit down with your patients and talk about nutrition, diet and nutrition [inaudible 00:33:19] and nutrients because they’re going to find that their income is slashed by 90%, and so the healthcare system is simply not equipped and my colleagues for the most part are not prepared to suffer that kind of financial hurt. So, I’m skeptical that the guy who’s got that fancy 550 Mercedes is going to do this. That’s why I say it’s …
The irony, Dave, is what you can achieve because you’re an example of it. Your listeners are examples of it. What you can achieve on your own without a doctor is not a little bit. You can achieve extraordinary things because I see this play out every single day. “I got slender, healthy and got rid of 14 medications in spite of my doctor. When I went back to the doctor, the doctor said, ‘Well, um, I don’t understand it, but just do what you’re doing.'”
That has happened once in a while but rarely do they say, “What did you do? Tell me more. I need to understand what it is you did so I could … Maybe I’m overlooking something.” I hope there are ones saying that, but as you know, that’s the exception rather than rule.
Dave Asprey: Right. My dad went in for surgery a few years ago and I put him on the right vitamins and said, “You know, you’re old enough, dad. Maybe you should just be on a little testosterone and growth hormone for your recovery period because you’re deficient in both of them anyway.” So, he got the appropriate ability to do that so he goes in post-surgery with profound healing, twice as fast as they’ve ever seen before. He asked the surgeon, “So, do you want to know why is this happening?” He says, “No.”
William Davis: Exactly. Yes.
Dave Asprey: It’s complete disinterest. The clinical observation is where innovation happens in medicine and I was maybe less experienced than I am now. This is 10 years ago when I think about it. I was just [inaudible 00:35:13] how could he not want to know? Would you want that for every patient? But there was no curiosity there which really surprised me.
William Davis: Because no money changed hence. My son did the same thing. He shattered his wrist in playing hockey and he had to have reconstructive surgery, several pins, et cetera. I told him “Boost your D way up. Get on a high dose of D in preparation for surgery and then through surgery.” He followed up after surgery. The orthopedist said, “I have never seen anybody who healed as fast as you.” Bill said the same thing, my son. He said, “You want to know what I did?” He says, “No.”
It was one of many tens of thousands of examples, Dave that I just saw, and my behind the closed doors experiences in hospitals and hospital meetings over many years. I realized that the solutions are unlikely to come from within health care. Just like Kodak. Kodak had a $40 billion a year business. They’re on the New York Stock Exchange for 70 years, 140,000 employees, very smug, and when someone invented digital photography from within, they scrapped it and hid it because they thought it would cannibalize their conventional business.
We know what happened after that. Digitization occurred outside of Kodak and it almost closed them down completely. Now, they’re almost forgotten. I want to see something like that happen to much of health care, I want the curtain pulled back that the system that operates for profit, not for health for profit, is largely unnecessary. We do need hospitals for busted legs and car accidents, and in fact, we do need the health care system. What we don’t need this bloated profit-making system that we have.
This system could be shrunk down to a fraction of its size. Your health care insurance should be a fraction of what it is and people should be healthier, but that message would never come from the health care system, from the hospitals, from the drug industry. It’s got to come from you and me and our online conversations and social media, books, websites and podcasts.
That’s why I celebrate these kinds of things, Dave, because what you’re doing is you’re saying, “You know what? I have a lot of information here that is superior to what your doctor will give you, superior what you’re going to get from a hospital.” And it is because people follow your program, listen to you and they get healthy and they get informed about how to stay healthy. That’s what excites me. We’re part of this massive movement of knowledge information, all while the health care system thinks it’s silly.
Dave Asprey: You’re definitely on to something there. I have a couple of questions for you about something you said earlier. When we’re talking about eliminating grains as one of the primary things to do, you mentioned rice. I recommend when people wants a source of carbohydrate in their diet that white rice seems to work in moderate amounts with a meal full of vegetables and protein for people who are eating carbs.
I don’t recommend to eat carbs a lot or all the time, but as a relatively clean source of starch not as source of vitamins or anything like that, removing the toxic outer parts of it, but it is technically a grain. My experience personally with tens of thousands of people is that generally they handle white rice. They don’t handle brown rice pretty well. Is white rice still a problem?
William Davis: You’re right. Rice is at the most benign and at the spectrum for grains but it’s not entirely benign. There are people who can consume it and seem to get away okay. There are some people who are very sensitive to the wheat germ agglutinin protein. There’s lectin protein in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. It’s called wheat germ agglutinin. Even though it’s in rice, it’s still called wheat germ agglutinin because the structure is identical to that of wheat.
It’s present only in small quantities because rice is mostly starch as you know and less than 1% protein. So, the wheat germ agglutinin component is present on only small quantities, but some people do have gastrointestinal distress and inflammation to have rice.
Dave Asprey: You’re right.
William Davis: That’s one issue. Another issue is there is a lot of starch. My background of course is heart disease and despite doing 15 years or so of heart procedures the last few years, all I did was heart disease prevention including advanced lipoprotein analysis. That’s as you know the test we do for more insightful look rather than the stupid test called cholesterol testing. When you do advanced lipoprotein testing, you’re quickly sobered on how easy, how readily to provoke this small LDL particle abnormalities. That’s of course, the most common abnormality of people with heart attacks and heart disease is an excess of small oxidation-prone LDL particles.
Large LDL particles produced by fat consumption lasts about 24 hours then they’re cleared by the liver. Small LDL particles provoked by carbohydrate consumption, starch consumption lasts about five to seven days sometimes longer. In other words, one carbohydrate indulgence is sufficient to give you heart disease risk for about a week. So, I’m very, very mindful of starch exposure because of the small oxidation-prone LDL particle that is uncommonly long-lasting.
Then there is this new issue that the US government raised and that is the arsenic exposure issue. Now, consumption of small quantity is probably not an issue at all but with frequent exposure, it’s not quite clear what hazard that places. That still remains to be seen but there is at least, in India and Bangladesh, there are instances of arsenic poisoning though it seems to be brought out by having even further arsenic exposure through their drinking water. We have-
Dave Asprey: [inaudible 00:41:07] brown rice having 80 times more arsenic than white which is why I’m like, “Don’t do brown rice because arsenic is an issue.”
William Davis: Okay. And the fibers, the fibers which people have also … That’s another fiction of course that we need cellulose fiber. That’s, of course, an absurd misinterpretation of the date. If we need fiber, we need prebiotic fibers. That’s quite clear. We don’t need cellulose. If we needed cellulose, you could health from eating saw dust. Of course, that’s nonsense.
Dave Asprey: Eat the newspaper when you’re done reading it.
William Davis: That’s right. That’s right. Very good.
Dave Asprey: Now, I guess it depends on what newspaper. Some of them are more full of contaminants than others, right?
William Davis: That’s right.
Dave Asprey: Now, in your book, Undoctored, you talked about wild, naked and unwashed as your program and it’s pretty different from paleo which is interesting, but you include legumes and tubers, yet you were just talking about lectins. It seems like a lot of people respond to the lectins. Lectins, for our listeners, are these little proteins that are present in us and in most biology that stick to kind of sugars in your body and can cause rheumatoid arthritis or gastric distress or other things like that.
Why legumes? I know so many people don’t handle them well. It’s probably more than don’t, but to be opposed to say white rice, but to be in favor of legumes, what you’re thinking on that? I know you have thinking on it.
William Davis: Yeah. Here’s what I think I’ve seen. If you add legumes like let’s say kidney beans or chick peas, and you have an adverse effect, nearly all those people in my experience have dysbiosis. I mean as you know, we all have some degree of dysbiosis. If our comparator are the Hadza or the [Matzas 00:42:55] of Peru, the people who live truly untainted hunter-gatherer lives, their bowel flora of course is completely different than the rest of the world yet their bowel flora one in Africa, one in South America so they’re not talking to each other and not sharing [pooping 00:43:09] organisms. They have almost identical bowel flora.
Is that what our bowel flora should look like? Well, nobody really knows but it’s clear that modern people have completely different bowel flora, and it’s probably some measure of dysbiosis. Of course, dysbiosis has become so incredibly common. If you give a person with dysbiosis a legume, the prebiotic fiber, the galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotic content, fiber content of legumes will cause horrible things. It will cause bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, inflammation, joint pain, suicidal thoughts, depression, all kinds of crazy stuff.
Here’s what I think I’ve seen. If you correct the dysbiosis, which is a [inaudible 00:43:54] conversation of course, and then you fold in prebiotic fibers whether it’s from a green banana or raw potato or inulin or fructooligosaccharide powder, or legumes, the galacto-oligosaccharide prebiotic fiber of legume, they seem to tolerate it and I just don’t see a lot of the lectin, presumed lectin toxicities. That’s kind of in for anecdotal observation so I’m still open to change my opinion on that, but I’m seeing a lot of people get by fine with small servings of legumes despite lectin.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. I put them in the suspect foods on the Bulletproof Diet where there’s foods that always cause problems down here like gluten and grains, foods that cause problems for segments of people but you don’t know until you try, and then foods that generally work for everyone. So, I’m always going back and forth. The two big questions are rice and legumes, and I end up on don’t eat the brown rice, eat the white rice in moderation with other foods if you’re going to do it and if legumes work for you, great, but it’s okay if they don’t.
The dysbiosis thing is certainly something that I was challenged with for a long time. It’s something that I don’t have evidence of right now and we use the kind of fiber, the inulin fiber in the Bulletproof Collagen Bars. You’re getting collagen. You’re getting the Brain Octane that raises ketosis and you’re getting fermentable fibers.
William Davis: That’s great.
Dave Asprey: Some percentage of people with that kind of fiber, they do have dysbiosis and then they eat the bars for a little while and then they have enough fermentable fiber, itself corrects. Other people are like, “I don’t want any fiber in my diet ever again because I have dysbiosis,” and they need to see a doctor for that I would say.
William Davis: You know I think things like this are clarifying over time with more and more people who do this. The more eyes we have, we can get the issues. If I know Dave Asprey is looking at these issues, I know we’re going to find answers sooner. So, I mean just think back 10 years ago, we weren’t talking about prebiotic fibers and lectins and now we are. It become a common discussion. We’ve gotten much smarter really fast.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. It’s because of Big Data. It’s because of social media. It’s because we can all Google the studies on PubMed right now and you can see, “Well, here’s evidence that supports what I noticed, and a lot of what you do because you’re clinical, you see people in a clinical practice or in just … You have seen them so you can then go, “Is there evidence that supports my observation?” which is something that would have been really hard to do before we had information the way we do now.
Then you realize well, there isn’t a study about this but there’s 15 studies that support … that are all around this one and this is an observation and it’s repeatable. They want to take people off all grains instead of just gluten-containing grains then I see improvement therefore, I’ve got something here that’s worthy of trying because the risk of going grain free is pretty low.
William Davis: I’m glad you brought that up. Exactly. We’re not talking about exploratory laparotomy. We’re not talking about a frontal lobotomy, right? We’re talking about just a shift in food choices and more often than not, people will be surprised of course what happens when you just make this little change in your shopping and eating habits though it may take longer for some conditions, but more often than not, people are shocked at what happens.
Doing the opposite of what the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Health Canada and for the most part your doctor told you to do, doing the opposite, that, to me is an astounding thing to say that if we go against, sorry, the grain of conventional wisdom, we become healthy and slender and get off medications. To me, it’s an [indictment 00:47:47] of the health care system that they got it so wrong, Dave. They got it so wrong.
Dave Asprey: They did and they weren’t tracking the variables that matter. One of the concerns that I have now is that in the next wave of epigenetics here, we aren’t tracking other variables that matter like the amount of light you’re exposing laboratory animals to. If you imagine you’re doing a feeding study on mice and you put them under fluorescent lights that are shown to change the way your body produces glucose, you can induce Type II diabetes-like symptoms with bright blue light over long periods of time and disrupting the sleep cycles of nocturnal animals.
We have all this stuff where no one ever talks of control for lights or electromagnetic frequencies or temperature or vibration because the mouse is next to the refrigerator, but all those things are like environmental inputs and so we say we control for all the variables and we’re smoking our pipe when we say that. Everything is a variable and we don’t know how important a lot of them are.
How do you think that’s affecting the future of what you’re doing with this stuff in clinical practice versus in university research?
William Davis: I think we’re witnessing armies of people who are wearing their Apple Watch, who have a Whitings Sleep Device or blood pressure device or a pulse wave velocity scale, the proliferation of health apps, of people who track their health data and can make observations that no one else can make. If you yourself observed that your blood pressure goes up after you eat a certain food or that some measure of inflammation goes up after you eat a certain food, only you can do that or as you did, check your blood sugar response to various foods.
If you have something to track, some kind of feedback parameter to track, it makes you really smart, really effective, really fast, and no doctor can do those kinds of things, and the tools are getting better and better every day. These are wonderful direct consumer tools that you can implement on your own. So I love this do-it-yourself at home tests. One of my favorites is oral temperature and with a digital thermometer when you first awaken. We don’t have a lot of data supporting it, but I’ll tell you in real life, it is an incredibly effective measure to check your own thyroid status and to track your response to such things as iodine.
My next door neighbor came over and he told me about his hypothyroid symptoms and I told him, “You probably have iodine deficiency. Start iodine.” He start out with a temperature of 94.5, I believe, degrees Fahrenheit. He was hypothermic. Within two weeks, it was up to 96.5. We’re aiming by the way for 97.3 oral temperature upon rising. Not only does it identify hypothyroidism, you can track it and see how much your … because if doesn’t go all the way back to 97.3, you have an impaired thyroid in addition to iodine deficiency. It’s a great tool so we’re having these tools come out that people can implement on their own and track on their own. It’s going to take away a lot of those variables that have been overlooked like the light in the laboratory.
Dave Asprey: It is totally true. I was CTO of one of the wristband companies on Basis [inaudible 00:51:11]. I wanted to do that because we get heart rate variability from the wrist, and the only track I’m wearing right now is this ring which has actually the same stuff that [inaudible 00:51:20] in a wristband. It’s called an Aura Ring. I’m not sure. I’ll keep it but it seems like a cool thing for now, but it’s tracking sleep and heart rate and even temperature fluctuations throughout the day, but it’s small enough that it’s getting less irritating.
The next generation will be so tiny that it’s probably actually worth wearing for most people because it takes no energy and no effort and no attention to get the data. Whereas you go back five years, there’s a lot of work and most people won’t do the work. But when it’s [inaudible 00:51:46] when you’re phone just knows what’s going on because you can see … Actually, this is … I’m sure your Xbox camera already can do this. It can see the micropulsations of the veins in your forehead and get your heart rate just by looking at you on high resolution video.
It’s so cool and we’re barely scratching the surface of that so I look forward five years from now, and you’ll be able to know all sorts of stuff about you. The big question is will you be required to share that with your social media company. Maybe that’s not a good [inaudible 00:52:16].
William Davis: Right. You’re right these tools are coming out so fast it’s hard to keep up. It’s an exciting time where people have access to incredibly effective tools to measure health.
Dave Asprey: In your book Undoctored, you actually mentioned, and the reason I’m going to there is you mentioned some of the resources for self-directed health where people can get lab tests at home and things like that. I want people who are listening, all of whom are interested in this kind of stuff, to know that you put that in there because it’s a helpful resource.
William Davis: And it’s fun stuff. As you know, this is fun stuff. It’s a really a blast to track some of these measures and you learn new lessons, but don’t tell your doctor because your doctor will make fun of it because he doesn’t understand it because it’s about health not about revenues for the health care system.
Dave Asprey: I would encourage people. If your own lab test show you that you’re deficient in testosterone or thyroid, whatever it is and you take appropriate lifestyle stuffs like eating more undamaged fat in order to improve it and you still are deficient and you go to your doctor and your doctor says, “No, I won’t prescribe that” you’re within your right to say, “Excuse me. I’m paying you for a service. I would like you to prescribe this for me, please.”
If the doctor refuses, you don’t have to leave his office. If you don’t leave his office, he can’t see another patient. If you resist, it’s not going to go well. They’ll force you to leave, [crosstalk 00:53:40] but if you are polite and kind and nice and like, “Doctor, no, I need this” and you say, “I really need this. I really need this. Don’t say no. Don’t get mad.” Eventually, you’re probably going to get that prescription. Otherwise, you say, “Doctor, I’m afraid I can’t pay for this. I came here for this. The data is clear and I understand you don’t want to write it but I don’t want to pay so could you please refund this entire payment?”
I’m telling you, if you only a few people do that, you have a right to get what you came there to get. I’m sorry if you’re one of the physicians listening to this and you don’t agree with that. You’re allowed to filibuster your doctor if your doctor is not serving you and you’re kind and polite when you do it so [inaudible 00:54:16].
William Davis: That’s great. That’s great [inaudible 00:54:17].
Dave Asprey: I’m kind of going up on a little bit of a [soapbox 00:54:19] there. You clearly know this but just know you are the guy writing the check. You are the customer and you have a right to say, “No, I want the standard of care that I want and if I want try Modafenil, I want to use testosterone, I want thyroid hormone because the data says this is going to help me,” it’s okay to ask and it’s okay to not take no for an answer.
William Davis: I agree absolutely. If a doctor won’t comply and you have a heartfelt genuine desire for this, find another who will. Sadly, we still have to rely on prescriptions. By the way, I ordered my thyroid from England because I [inaudible 00:54:55] because I know if I see … And my colleagues will poke fun of me taking thyroid so I just order … I go around them by ordering it directly without a prescription.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. You can order almost anything you want without a prescription and it’s amazing. Sometimes you might have quality issues with it, but I would just encourage people listening especially if you’re on a budget and going to the doctor is hundreds of dollars and going to your pharmacy, hundreds of dollars or it’s 20 bucks for the same medication online. You might want to do it.
In fact, I had a brain eating amoeba infection recently for four months. That was really a problem. What was the thing called? Was it hystolytica? Anyhow, I had Giardia and that. No one could diagnose this with lab tests and I finally saw an amazing guy in New York who’s an 80-year-old physician who’s written eight textbooks on tropical diseases and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, lab tests don’t work for this kind of stuff. You have to actually look at the problem.” He went in and diagnosed me with a live microscope thing.
The problem was the prescription or eight pills was … Let’s see … $1300 which is patently offensive. It should have been covered by insurance but my insurance company turned it down, and so they wanted, 10 hours of bureaucracy. I’m like, “I’m New York. I got to fly home. So I paid out of pocket, but I’m fortunate that I was able to do that on that trip but I could have, if I was going to take another week out of those months of discomfort, I could have probably ordered that stuff from Indiana for pennies.
I want people to listening to this to understand economics do play a role but if you know what it is that you’re looking for, you can get the test for cheap, you get the data for cheap and you get the drug for cheap if you need them or better yet, just eat the right stuff and you won’t eat the drugs.
William Davis: I also remind people that you’re not in our own. You may try things without your doctor but you have lots of resources now like the Bulletproof conversation. The Undoctored conversations, patientslikeme.com, lots and lots of other websites, forums, discussion groups, social media to get feedback. Just because somebody tells you something doesn’t mean you have to believe it but you can factor it into your thinking and you can make your own decision. You can read the studies. You’re not alone. There’s lots and lots of help. Help is getting better and more sophisticated every day.
Dave Asprey: It is indeed. Dr. Davis, I want to ask you the question for Bulletproof Radio that I ask all the guests. If someone came to you tomorrow and they said, “I want to perform better in everything I do in my life. What are the three most important piece of advice you have for me?” What would you tell them just based on your entire life experience not just being a doctor?
William Davis: It would be the same thing I tell people through the Wheat Belly and now the Undoctored message that is eat no grains and so many problems go away just with that. You get a two plus two equals seven effects if you combine that with restoration of vitamin D. While there’s more to health than just this, then restore bowel flora. That’s a work in progress. It takes its most [inaudible 00:58:07] but that alone as you know, Dave, is a huge piece of health. There’s more, but those three I would wager reverse 80 to 90% of all common chronic conditions. It may not address a 100%, nothing does of course, but that alone would be a real powerful combination.
Dave Asprey: It sounds really powerful to me. Where can people get a copy of Undoctored now? Just at our favorite online retailer? What’s the bet for that?
William Davis: All the retailers have them preoffered like Amazon. This will come out officially till May 9th so right now, it’s just available on preorder. I’m still building the website, the blog, et cetera, which the blog I’m hoping launches in the net few weeks. The website probably not till April or so. It’s a very big ambitious website that has lots of incredible new things. It’s taken a lot longer than I thought but I want to create a space also where people can have these kinds of Undoctored conversations where it’s not a scary place to say “My doctor refused to help me so I told him to get lost, and I’m looking for a doctor who will help me. In the meantime, I need a little bit of help with cultivating my bowel flora.” So, I want to create that kind of space like what you’re doing with your Bulletproof conversations.
Dave Asprey: There’s plenty of room for these conversations out there. If you have a reliable fecal transplant swap system.
William Davis: Okay.
Dave Asprey: I get that question a lot. People are saying, “We’re going to get [clean proof 00:59:37].” I’m like, “Guys, I can’t answer that for you and I have no idea.” There are communities out there even going that far. So there’s so much conversation and something that you’ve clearly glommed on to. I believe that we’re fundamentally wired to help each other. That’s what feels good as human beings especially people who are healthy, who have eaten the right foods, who aren’t in brain fog land.
They always want to help, and there’s always 2 or 3% trolls. You just ban those guys. The rest of the time, on a community like that, you go in there and you’re like, “I have this problem” and there’s 25 people who know a ton of stuff and they’ll just help you because it feels good because they don’t want someone else to go through what they went through. I’ve been helped by people like that so much. To this day, they help a lot more people than you or I do as individuals even though we have a big reach so that’s cool.
William Davis: Yes. Absolutely. I’ve seen the same exact thing.
Dave Asprey: Awesome. Thank you very much for being on Bulletproof Radio again. I’m a big fan of what you’re doing with Wheat Belly, and I like your perspective on Undoctored and I’m forgetting the words. Naked, lewd and … What was it?
William Davis: Wild, naked and unwashed.
Dave Asprey: [inaudible 01:00:45] Wild, naked and unwashed program. All right, Dr. Davis. Thanks again.
William Davis: Dave, thank you. You’re doing great work.
Dave Asprey: If you enjoyed today’s episode, there’s two things you should do. Number one, head on over to orderheadstrong.com and preorder Headstrong, and while you’re at it, you can preorder Dr. Davis’ book, Undoctored. There’s your two things. If you wanted to say thanks at no cost to you, just leave a five-star rating on iTunes. We’re about 1,500 five-star ratings. This is a Webby Award-winning podcast. As CEO of a rapidly growing company, as a dad, as a New York Times bestselling author, I put out two of these a week for you, and because I have fun doing it. But also easiest way you can say thanks, just leave a good review so someone else can find the show and get some value from it. Have an awesome day.