The Journey through Medicine of One of the World's Top Alternative Health Educators— Dr. Joseph Mercola

The Journey through Medicine of One of the World's Top Alternative Health Educators— Dr. Joseph Mercola

SummaryDr. Mercola tells his story on how he got his start in medicine, and the limitations he discovered in the conventional paradigm. Instead of focusing on treating symptoms, he became interested in discovering how to optimize health. He shares a number of simple strategies and lifestyle choices to help you take more control of your health and wellbeing.

In This Episode We Discussed:

  • The limitations of the conventional medical paradigm
  • How to educate yourself to make better health choices
  • Good lifestyle choices to prevent illness
  • Strategies for cognitive function
  • A free technique to combat challenging emotions

Show Notes:

0:00 Intro
2:45 journey away from conventional paradigm of medicine
7:52 iatrogenic illness
8:52 the downfall of western medicine
12:46 perverse financial incentives preventing research
14:15 effective therapies are illegal
19:08 how to take control of your health
29:59 envisioning a future of medicine
32:32 influence of lifestyle choices on illness
42:35 strategies for cognitive function

Mentioned in This Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Welcome, everyone to the Neurohacker Collective Podcast, Collective Insights. My name is Daniel Schmachtenberger. I am with Research and Development here at Neurohacker Collective, and we are excited [00:00:30] and honored to have Dr. Joseph Mercola here with us today. Dr. Mercola is one of the leading voices in natural medicine, integrative medicine, and also one of the leading voices to critique some of the structural issues of flaws with conventional medicine. Now, his website, is I believe the most trafficked website in natural medicine online and has been, I think since 1997 [00:01:00] one of the sources that people have gone to for health, education, and advocacy.

Dr. Mercola is a DO, has practiced conventional and integrative medicine for a long time, has been medical director of a couple of medical centers and for the last many years has focused on public education and advocacy, multiple 'New York Times' best-selling author of various books in the health and wellness space, and I would say [00:01:30] one of the people that has done the most literature review and research and sharing on health and wellness for general education in the world, and so Mercola, we are delighted to have you here, and thank you for making time.

Joseph Mercola: All right. Thank you for inviting me.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: You have chosen a very interesting path in medicine, which is obviously as the medical director of your facility, you saw thousands of people work with chronic complex illness, [00:02:00] and elite athletes and vital optimization, I mean, the whole spectrum of medical work, but you've especially as time has gone on really came out focusing on what the problems with conventional allopathic medicine are and advocating for fundamental ground-up changes to how we practice medicine in the West, in the U.S.. I'm curious what got you on that path. Like obviously, choosing to be a DO as opposed to an M.D. is already a path that is more [00:02:30] integratively focused, focused on cause rather than just [symptomology 00:02:33], but what did you experience that had you start getting critical of the way medicine is traditionally practiced, et cetera?

Joseph Mercola: It's a complex answer, but I'd always been passionate about health. I started exercising in 1968, which is 50 years ago, and I'm still exercising. That was one of the primary motivations to go into medicine to learn more about health. Unlike [00:03:00] most of my classmates who are focused on disease, treatment, and drugs and surgeries, I was the eyeball focusing on wellness and getting people healthy, because if you're healthy, disease disappears, but unfortunately, I got caught in the conventional paradigm. I was a pharmacy apprentice for about half a dozen years before I started medical school, and really, bought a hook, line, and sinker, and was really, [00:03:30] embraced it, the drug model and was avidly prescribing when I first graduated. I started my practice in 1985, but I still was passionate about health.

I just didn't understand that drugs are not the way to achieve it, so I eventually came to the network with a group of physicians in the American Academy of Environmental Medicine and found that there were other physicians out there who understood this, and then that transferred [00:04:00] to other organizations, and so I started my mentoring in natural health therapies and approaches. Concurrent with this, also in 1968, I started my first computer class and computer programming for training COBOL, and so I've always been passionate about technology, and the mid-90's, I started my process of ... [00:04:30] I started a website in '97. It was hard to get online back then. I don't know if you were starting that, but you had to get a modem, and you have an acoustic coupler typically, or sometimes it was installed into your computer, but it was challenging.

It wasn't like plug your ethernet cable and/or Wi-Fi, and you're up and running. Anyway, I was an early adopter and started an email newsletter, and gave it to my patients, and back then in the '90s, less than 10% [00:05:00] of people had email, so I couldn't give it away, but I still thought it was useful and started sharing that information. Interestingly, one of the early articles that I've reviewed, which I still had a subscription to the print journal, JAMA. Journal of the American Medical Association was an article written by Barbara Starfield in July of 2000. Even though her headline didn't state it, enthusiastically read the article and concluded, [00:05:30] and created a headline, which now you and probably many of your listeners have heard that doctors are the third leading cause of death from the statistics she cited in her article.

That wasn't the headline of the article. It was the one I created, but it really spread quite around, and actually, statistics are worse than that if you compile all the other mistakes and errors and on misrepresentations and [misdiagnosises 00:05:57]. They are the leading [00:06:00] cause of death. Of course, it's not compiled by the CDC, that they don't keep statistics that way, so a doctor could kill you from a therapeutic drug mistake, and it would be classified as a heart attack, so that person would die of an MI, not as an iatrogenic cause. Interestingly, maybe many people have heard of that article by Barbara Starfield, who was an M.D., M.P.H. out of Stanford. She died a few years ago from a medical mistake. She had a complication from [00:06:30] Plavix, and so it is an incredible irony that it happened, but not a surprise.

That was my beginning journey, and I early on realized that there's just no way that if you try to address it at an individual level as a physician or clinician, at least from my perspective was doomed to fail, and if you take it the next step and try to education physicians, it's also doomed to fail [00:07:00] because it really has to come from a bottom-up movement to where the average person is educated understands what the core of the problem is, and once they understand that, then they make choices and vote with their pocket books, so that there's a financial pressure and incentive to make societal change. That's the strategy we've implemented and the one we're pursuing for pretty much the last 15 years or the last 20 we've been online. We have a pretty significant presence. We have 30 million unique [00:07:30] views every month, so it's around the world and every country in the world, and it's always a pleasure to go to these large conferences because I meet people from all over the world that we've had an impact on, and it's just, the strategy seems to be working. Now, we've got a long way to go, and I think we'll talk about some of the reasons why we have a long way to go into your next question.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: You mentioned iatrogenic illness, and just to clarify for those who aren't familiar, this means any illness that someone gets as a result of a [00:08:00] medicine that's prescribed by a doctor, a surgery that goes wrong or infection that they get while in a hospital or something that resulted medical practice itself.

Joseph Mercola: Or an ignorance. It's just like a lie can be a lie of omission. Iatrogenic illness could be caused by not being aware of the fundamental foundational cause of what's causing the presenting complaint that they are seeing.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: We would expect that when people are working with health, some people are going to die as a result of what happens because at just any [00:08:30] field that you work in, there's going to be some cause and effect, and it's not going to be perfect, but we want iatrogenic illness to be as low as possible, and your take is that it should be tremendously lower than it is, so what are the causes of iatrogenic illness that you see that like root level causes as to why it is more pervasive than it should be in the U.S. medical system in particular?

Joseph Mercola: It's all Western medicine. It's not just the U.S., but sadly, the U.S. has taken the lead in the [00:09:00] medical field and in the most fields in technology and such, and what happens in the U.S. gets rapidly transferred around the entire world, so that's why it's so important to make the changes here first not because we're U.S.-based, but that's just the sad reality. The foundational cause of illness is typically related to lifestyle behaviors that are traditionally ignored and basically, recommendations are made to use drugs, [00:09:30] expensive drugs typically that almost never treat the cause of the disease. That is also true for infectious illness. I mean, they may treat the symptoms, but it doesn't treat why they got the illness to begin with, and in surgery.

The reason that physicians are not aware is that there's not some giant conspiracy. Doctors don't get together at their AMA meetings and say, "We know the truth, and we're not going to tell them. We're going to prescribe these dangerous drugs." That's not what happens. It's a far more sophisticated [00:10:00] and nefarious process that started actually over a century ago, in about 2010 with the Carnegie Report, which is funded by the Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie and Rockefeller.

They essentially were able ... Their goal, that's really started the demise of natural medicine, and they basically booted it out of the curriculum of the medical school that resulted [00:10:30] the deals they arranged with the boards of many of the medical schools, and of course, Rockefeller was famous for Standard Oil and a derivative of oil, [R Pharmaceuticals 00:10:38] because they come from oil petroleum products, so there was a strong incentive to direct people away from this, and pretty much ever since then. It's the rare school now that teach, has any ... Part of their curriculum is devoted to simple strategies that address the true foundational cause of illness, but then, it gets more [00:11:00] complex. It's not just Rockefeller and Carnegie that started it. Then, you have the societal complexities that are invariably related to the growth of a mature republic that we have in United States, so after a few hundred years, it just starts to deteriorate.

It's precisely what's happened, of these large industrial corporations, multi-billion international corporations that have essentially taken control of the federal government, that they have [00:11:30] this revolving door where people that they employ are going into and out of the federal regulatory agencies. They create the laws. They have this massive control over the leaders in the medical field where they essentially control publications of the peer-reviewed journals and these not regulatory, but advisory committees that are responsible for making recommendations and setting the standard of care, so they've got the resources to do it and they've invested very wisely and [00:12:00] have developed a very sophisticated strategy, which essentially brainwashes, manipulates and deceives the medical professions who in then turn disseminate that information to the public. The other arm of that of course is the media, which is controlled by six companies now. About 85% of it is, and the media is also controlled by these corporations, so anything that opposes that viewpoint is wildly discredited and [00:12:30] violently opposed, and they typically spin up dozens of other researchers that they're funding to discredit and disprove the true foundational recommendations that will address the fundamental cause of disease.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: I'll just comment on that in another ways that there's an issue of structurally perverse incentive where it's been very interesting for me because I've known [00:13:00] many people who are top execs and VPs in pharma companies who were actually really great scientists, are great scientists, great researchers who went to school earnestly because they wanted to learn how to cure cancer or solve major disease, that was the place to go, and one of the issues is that we have a regulatory process where to have FDA certification to solve a disease, you've got to go through phase three clinical trials, which costs most of a billion dollars to do, which if you can't [00:13:30] patent whatever that product is, you'll never be able to actually make the money back because there's almost nowhere other than biotech, where someone spends half a billion dollars before revenue, and so you've got to have a pretty significant revenue model attached. Now, just the fact that we've got it patented means no product from a plant could get there or a natural product from a human body could get there, or lifestyle dynamic could get there. This is one of those things where it's not like bad people even. It's just a structural issue where the nature [00:14:00] of IP law, and the nature of regulation, and the nature of financial incentive create this dynamic where the types of things that we would want to research, there's just not good funding for research then because there's not ROI attached to the funding.

Joseph Mercola: The other component of that is that's all well, fine and good assuming that that's all true, and I'm not going to address that at this point, but the counter issue is that when you have opposing therapies and strategies [00:14:30] that effectively do address the foundational cause of disease, they have been prohibited. It is illegal. They will throw you in jail if you even begin to tell people the truth, even though there's studies of it, and you make a disease claim because the FDA will come down on you initially with letters, warning letters, and then the hammer will come down, and there's no way you can survive, [00:15:00] so yes, there are ... This was all initiated by this massive collusion between the drug companies, the pharma in this case, and the federal regulatory agencies. In this case, the FDA, but it's also true for the other ones, the EPA, the CDC.

The former head of the CDC was the Vice President of vaccines at Merck. I mean, this is the regulatory agency that makes vaccine policy for the United [00:15:30] States, and now, she's progressed into some other position, but she makes millions of dollars every year after going through the revolving door, and this is just classic. There are literally dozens, and probably hundreds, if not, thousands of others examples of this. It goes on all the time.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah. Much of the work that some of the founders here at Neurohacker do is actually in the topic of the structural changes to macroeconomics were at large that deal with the issue of perverse incentive because you can't have for- [00:16:00] profit prisons and a good justice system at the same time because you have an incentive that's messed up. You can't have a for-profit military, industrial complex and peace go very well together, and for-profit medicine win the goal of any company. The directors have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profit to the shareholders. That's a legal obligation, and so any company wants to maximize lifetime revenue of a customer.

When the customer happens to be a patient, this is a really not good incentive structure, and so it's like theory of market shouldn't apply here [00:16:30] because people don't really have a good choice to not choose to have medical access, and so we don't want to maximize the lifetime revenue of patients as customers, but again, we wouldn't have a good in this macroeconomic system, a good financial incentive to prevent the illness. We have much, make a lot more profit by managing illness symptomatically for a long time, so it is complex and perverse. One thing I'm very curious about is ... We had ancient systems of medicine, [ayurvedic 00:17:00] [00:17:00] medicine, Chinese medicine, et cetera, and they were great at some things that modern medicine is not good at. They obviously sucked at things that modern medicine has done a good job of like acute illness treatment, were pretty great at many aspects of acute illness treatment and some aspects of diagnostics and ... Since you've worked with countries all around the world, are there any countries that you think are leading the way, even if they're far from what ideal looks like, but ideal looks like that they're a ways ahead of say where we're at [00:17:30] in the U.S. or maybe some of the major EU countries that have a modern, scientific, technological, medical system that is actually doing a better job of addressing preventative medicine, wellness optimization, personalized medicine, et cetera?

Joseph Mercola: It's really a challenge across all the world in terms of where ... There are certain countries like Germany that is a bit more advanced and they're thinking an energetic medicine and other areas like homeopathy. I believe that's where ... [00:18:00] I don't know if Hahnemann was German. I believe he was German, but there's still these massive conflicts because the control of this and the corruption from these industrial giants really reaches into all the arms of the governments across the world, so we're addressing the same issues and there's really no example of a country that's been able to escape it.

Perhaps Iceland, but I don't know too much about [00:18:30] their healthcare system, but they've done a pretty good of eliminating the banksters out there. Australia and New Zealand are really, they're worse than United States. The U.K. is worse. I mean, it's just crazy you cannot buy the most regular vitamins over there. I mean, the story that I've heard from people that live in the country is just atrocious, so it's not good. It's not a good sign, but fortunately, we still have freedom so that if you understand the truth and you have resources to acquire the information and you have access to clinicians who get the [00:19:00] reality too, then you could access this, and you're not required to participate in the flawed conventional paradigm.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: I'm very curious to hear your take when you say understand the truth. Obviously, informing and educating the public has been one of your main focuses for much of your career. Understand the truth on a lot of these topics is not a trivial thing to do, because as you said, there is research that has a specific vested interest, and there might be research of a vested interest or even vested interest interpretation of the body of literature on multiple [00:19:30] sides, so when we look at a topic like fluoride, or vaccines, or antibiotics, I mean, these are super controversial topics, and it's interesting how there's almost cognitive biases in certain directions and some groupthink where if anyone challenges a particular idea on either side of this, they're crazy or stupid or irresponsible or something, and you've got, let's take vaccines. You've obviously got different [00:20:00] countries that have different vaccine schedules, which means the regulatory body of those countries had different ideas, including well-developed countries like the Northern countries have a different vaccine schedule than the U.S. does, so that means the science is not universally accepted in the same way. Then, you've got really good physicians and scientists and researchers who hold very different opinions on the topic, who all seem earnest in their review of the literature.

How does one go about one of [00:20:30] the things that we have at Neurohackers trying to impact empowered responsibility, which obviously you have? How do people get more educated so they can take responsibility for their health? How do they get educated in a topic that is as non-trivial to make sense of disease? What is your process of going about coming to truth?

Joseph Mercola: Sure. I agree with your approach, and we actually trademarked the term I think 20 years ago or 15 years ago, 'Take Control Of Your Health', and actually, we have to send take-down notices from many of the insurance companies now who are actually stealing that [00:21:00] trademark of ours, so I totally agree with that. That's the ultimate solution is to empower people with the knowledge and information. They need to make wise choices, but you are correct. It is really challenging to do that primarily because most of the studies that you refer to are, and this is the vast majority, are massively conflicted.

There's an incredible non-disclosed, untransparent conflict of interest, and it's difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff especially when many of the [00:21:30] expert physicians and medical experts don't understand this and don't dive deep into the details because we're all inundated with our own persona lives and social media, which is another massive time-waster, so there's very little time to research this carefully, and I wouldn't really focus on vaccines because that is the most [00:22:00] challenging and the last piece of or the challenging bit of natural medicine that even physicians who are interested in natural health, that they are able to understand and embrace. It's the last thing they gave up, is their conventional view on that because it's been around for 200 years, so this is a very complex area, and we do not even have the time to scratch the surface on that, but if you are interested and it is a concern of yours, and you can go to sites like mine and National Vaccine Information Center. NVIC [00:22:30] was been around since 1985, preceded me by about nearly 15 years, and actually leading information to inform consumers the lay public about the reality. The key point here is to not accept the pablum and the propaganda that the public health authorities and the media, and most likely your physician are disclosing to you on this because they're not disclosing. They're not telling you the truth.

There's so much misinformation and deception, and [00:23:00] it's just challenging, so our strategy has been from many years now is to get people the truth, to cite the peer-reviewed studies, to interview experts in the field to counter the misinformation that's out there, and ultimately, we provide links to these sources, and then you can review them, but ultimately, you can easily research it yourself. When I was in medical school, I took an additional year of fellowship training, [00:23:30] and my last year of residency was to just do literature search, to go to the library, search PubMed, and that was 1985. Even though the internet existed, started at 1968 actually, the National Library of Medicine was not online. It wasn't. It didn't happen until probably the late '80s or so, but then it was very expensive to be online for a minute or two would cost you five, $10 just to get the citation, so what do we all do?

We all went to the [00:24:00] stacks. We got the actual hardbound books, looked up the articles and references, then had to go to the journals, pull out the journal, then go to the photocopying machine and photocopy it. You don't have to do that anymore. A third to a half of the articles on PubMed are free. National Library of Medicine, and there's enormous amounts of information. You could just look at it for yourself when you do examine the articles, and if there's the other half that aren't, you could actually buy it.

It's not like you're prohibited, but it is [00:24:30] expensive. Then, you can read it, and when you're reading it, just be careful to look and identify any perceived conflict of interest in the funding section because that can be a real deal-breaker on the conclusions that are reached by the researcher.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Literature review, comprehensive literature review, being able to look at what is mutually corroborating versus conflicting across different reports in med analysis and literature review, and factoring funding as a source of possible bias.

Joseph Mercola: [00:25:00] Yeah. Then, let me add one other, is to listen to your body. Really important principle, so when the recommendation is made on the actual alternative, and it works and you feel better. For the most common one, 80% of the country is overweight. 40% are obese.

40% in Untied States is obese, and 80% overweight. If you do some simple strategies like we advocate, which is a targeted cyclical ketogenic diet, and you start losing weight, and you start reducing the dose of your medicine and eventually eliminating, that's [00:25:30] called the 'Clue'. You listen to your body, and it works, and you didn't have to buy expensive drugs or suffer any side effects from them, and it worked, and so long-term solution. That's a key element also, is listening to your body.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: I'd like to talk about what you think are some of the foundational things to understand regarding integrative medicine and functional medicine. As you said, in terms of a drug disease approach, most of the time, it's fair to assume [00:26:00] that the disease did not occur because of a deficiency in whatever the drug that's been prescribed to treat it was. It occurred for some other reason, and the reason might be complex. Right? It might be multi-factorial, something that involves toxicity and nutrition, and genetics, and lifestyle, and et cetera.

What's your medicine really has done a pretty good job of a lot of acute illness in terms of obviously acute injury, acute infection, chronic illness? Our stats are pretty bad, and [00:26:30] I think the funding in regulatory dynamics are part, I think the epistemology is part, which is not understanding complex science well, and looking for acute causes to things that really are multi-factorial and that do have causations delayed in time, but one of the key topics is when we normally think of toxicity like mercury poisoning, we think of acute mercury poisoning, and there's a pretty big difference between, " [00:27:00] Here's the level that actually constitutes acute poisoning", and then there is no mercury exposure at all, and there's a pretty big difference in between, which is sub-acute, sub-clinical toxicity. The same with nutrient deficiency. When we think of deficiency, we might think of like vitamin D deficiency with rickets or vitamin C with scurvy, but there's a pretty big difference between optimum and where the acute disease process starts, all which you could call 'Sub-clinical deficiency'. [00:27:30] Can you talk a little bit about sub-clinical source of pathoetiology because I think this is one of the places where there's a lot of differences in the assessment of, "Is deficiency a real thing? What do we mean by deficiency? What is the levels that were marking?"

Joseph Mercola: It's not a deficiency. It's toxicity, and aberrant, physiological or metabolic processes, which is probably one of the most [00:28:00] important ones primarily bring carbohydrates as your primary fuel as opposed to bring you fat.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Right.

Joseph Mercola: What happens is that in most disease states, you do not know you have a disease until you are 80% of the way there. The symptoms don't appear, and in some cases, it's a hundred percent, and I'll give you an example. You might say, "Whoa. You mean, I don't have a disease until I'm completely there? What would that be?"

How about a heart attack? [00:28:30] A high percentage. In fact, I believe it's the single most common complaint of heart disease is sudden death. In other words, no symptoms, and then you're dead. Now, that's an extreme of course, but certainly with cancer, you're 80% of the way there before the first symptoms come up, even before your screens come up, so the key is to understand the foundational causes, and do screens and address these causes [00:29:00] because thankfully, God gave us a body that's incredibly resilient and able to reverse almost all the disease that we get, unless you're a few weeks away from dying, and then certainly many people are.

That's just the course of life, but if you get before that, start these interventions before you can reverse almost all disease with these approaches. It's the rare disease that you can't address, and that's the very rare disease. At least that's the [00:29:30] experience in practicing medicine for over three and a half decades.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: If you were to envision a future of medicine, the ideal future of medicine that is high-tech, full diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, but also that focuses on prevention, wellness optimization, et cetera, what is the future of medicine that you envision look like?

Joseph Mercola: It [00:30:00] would be a lot different than it is now. Unfortunately, there are just these perverse incentives as you mentioned that exist, and because the primary caregivers, mostly physicians are just inadequate, incapable of providing this type of care because of their limitations, and what's all the new physicians coming now are severely in debt, a quarter million dollars, half a million dollars. They are not going out staring their own practices. They don't have the freedom. They're [00:30:30] really required to embrace the standard of care, and it's just a pragmatic reality and restriction, so I visualize a set-up or a system where we are training large numbers of individuals who don't have necessarily the opportunity to go to medical school, but maybe they're nurses, maybe they're other allied healthcare practitioners or they're just a housewife, and that they have access to this [00:31:00] material that has been collected and vetted by physicians who understand the approaches and the strategies that are required to get people better, such as eating real food, integrating movement into your diet, to eliminate the toxins and have strategies that effectively remove them, to detoxify them, and things like EMF, so when you do those and you integrate those relatively simple strategies, because [00:31:30] the longer I've been in practice and of studying health, the more it obviously becomes that it really is quite simple.

Very simple strategies. This is not complex stuff, and once you apply those strategies, the body will just start to heal and reverse the disease, so it's going to require a very comprehensive system though, and hopefully, thankfully, we have technology that can facilitate this and [00:32:00] network the clinicians who are doing this in the allied healthcare workers because I think that's the key that you have to have people in the system who understand the process that are not have to be reimbursed of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because they can't spend enough time. This is a time-intensive approach. You have to educate. That's the key is education, and physicians are not going to do it, even if they understood it.

They don't have the opportunity to invest that time in the patient. It [00:32:30] would be the rare physician who does that.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Before we get to lab-based functional medicine for more complex things, the foundations that you talk about of, "Is someone getting enough rest?", "Are they getting proper nutrition?", "Are they supplementing areas where it's appropriate to supplement?", "Are they avoiding excessive, toxic exposure?", exercise mindset, if you just look at those foundations, in your experience with whatever, tens of thousands of people in clinical setting, [00:33:00] what percentage of the illnesses that people primarily face cardiovascular disease, diabetes, as well as tricky ones like autoimmune, cancer, neurodegenerative disease? What percentage of those get better or completely resolve by just the foundational lifestyle dynamics getting well dialed in?

Joseph Mercola: If you exclude acute trauma, which those approaches would still facilitate but exclude that because it's obviously, it's not the solution, I would say probably [00:33:30] somewhere between 95 and 99%.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Yeah. It's a bit big percentage?

Joseph Mercola: Yeah. Just think of it. Over 80% of the people in North America, 80% are insulin resistant. 50% conventional medicine agrees have pre-diabetes or diabetes. That's half of the population, if you do a more sophisticated analysis in doing insulin challenge test where you give them 75 grams of glucose and you measure insulin over a few hours, you'll find that 80% of the people are insulin [00:34:00] resistant, and then you remove insulin resistance, the diseases that they cause, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, they disappear. That's 80%, and that's not even looking at the exercise, EMF, the toxins, and the other strategies that you can use that are more sophisticated.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: For people to understand insulin resistance is really just excessive carbohydrate consumption relative to exercise amount.

Joseph Mercola: It's not exercise. You cannot exercise yourself out of insulin resistance, and there are many [00:34:30] endurance athletes who have literally are exercising for tens of hours every week and that developed Type 2 Diabetes. That is common, so it's not an exercise efficiency. It's understanding the right foods to eat and removing yourself from using carbohydrate as a primary fuel instead of fat.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: When you see ... I know you don't still run the medical practice, but you know lots of doctors who on cutting [00:35:00] edge medical practices.

Joseph Mercola: Sure.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: When you see patients that have complex chronic illness that has already set in ... We're no longer in prevention. We're talking about MS, release stage, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's, rheumatic, autoimmune type dynamics, obviously, you want to make sure that they get their foundations down, but you do additional things other than foundational work. Do you in terms of running toxicity ...

Joseph Mercola: [00:35:30] We do test. I think testing is useful. Objective laboratory so you can ... The most common one of course would be vitamin D. My recommendation is to get it from the sun. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to follow that practice like I do.

I've not swallowed vitamin D pill in over 10 years, yet my levels are in the optimal range. They're about 70 nanograms per milliliter, which should be well over 150, 175 nanomoles per liter in Canada, so you've got [00:36:00] to do labs. If they're division of vitamin D, then they're going to address that, but there are so many other things, iron toxicity, which is another common one, which is pervasive in almost all adult men, and most postmenopausal women. Those are just two examples, but there's others, but those are two powerful ones, and of course, insulin resistance.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: In terms of going deeper into looking at things like sub-clinical infections, mycoplasms, Lyme, et cetera, mold dynamics, environmental [00:36:30] toxicity assessments, also getting into genomics and personalized medicine to someone's genome, microbiomics, when you look at the Institute For Functional Medicine, A4M, those kinds of groups that are working on advancing longevity medicine or functional medicine, Bredesen protocol, what are some of the things that you think are promising and pioneering for what a medical methodology the doctors could be trained in are?

Joseph Mercola: [00:37:00] I like Dale. I've interviewed him and I've had dinner with him, Dale Bredesen, but I'm not a big fan of A4M or Institute of Functional Medicine. I think they're certainly better than conventional medicine, but these guys are pretty much in grade school. They don't understand the bigger picture, and really, that is energy medicine. They for whatever reason just discloses.

There's very few innovators in those fields. I mean, A4M probably more so. I went to school with the founders of A4B, Bob Goldman and Ron Klatz. [00:37:30] I mean, they're in my class, but I think there are better strategies, and my favorite organization I think really is the cutting edge, and it actually is going to be part of the process to create the system that I referred to earlier is the ACIM, and that's short for the Academy of Comprehensive and Integrative Medicine, ACIM, and it was started by Lee Cowden, who is a intervention cardiologist who travels all over the world to train not only physicians in a lot of healthcare providers, but [00:38:00] also some of the housewives. He has examples of housewives who he's treated, who had intractable back pain and just changed her whole life, and she came so enamored with him that ...

This was a woman from I believe Central America, and she wanted to learn exactly what he was doing, so she attended all his trainings, and it's perfectly fine, unlike some other organizations. They don't exclude non-professionals, and she went back into her community, and now, all of the medical doctors there are referring to patients that they can't [00:38:30] help to her, and she's getting them better, and she doesn't have any medical training. This is the model because she understands in a very deep level these strategies, even many of the strategies that the IFM and A4M don't integrate. Now again, they're much better than conventional medicine, but I think they can go a step higher. A lot higher actually.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: The strategies you're mentioning there are actually addressing psychological effects on illness?

Joseph Mercola: No. That's clearly an important one, [00:39:00] and there's some really good tools out there now like 19-Channel EEGs that you can integrate some really good, powerful feedback where I'm sure you have some familiarity with those.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: We had Dr. Andrew Hill from UCLA on a while ago, and he was sharing some amazing studies on qEEG based neurofeedback actually raising T-cell counts in people with late stage of AIDS.

Joseph Mercola: Right. Almost every illness, that's the hidden part of it, that almost every illness has an emotional component, and the qEEG is one way to do [00:39:30] it. In fact, I'm getting the unit probably next week to start exploring that, one called 'Brainmaster', which is a pretty good one, but there are other strategies. You don't necessarily need to go out and spend $20,000 to get a EEG machine, and the training for it, but there's simple things like EFT or a book called 'Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender' by David Hawkins, who was a brilliant physician, who passed away not too long ago, and that was his last book, 'Letting Go: The Pathway to [00:40:00] Surrender' that really teaches people for the cost of a book. Like less than $20, they can learn a technique that can focus on the emotions that they're feeling that's really a critical component of why they're sick, and they don't have to buy an equipment, there's no supplements, there's no doctor to see.

They just do it, and it works. There's many simple strategies out there. It doesn't have to cross an arm and a leg, and ultimately, I think that is what is going to catalyze the [00:40:30] collapse, and I predict that it will be a collapse of the system, because there's no way they could continue to this fallacy of printing money with the printing press they have to support of 3,000, three trillion plus healthcare budget. I mean, it's not going to happen probably this year or next year, but eventually, it's going to collapse. Then, when it collapses, they won't be able to fund these extravagant and ineffective [00:41:00] approaches that they're recommending, so they're going to have to look for and rely on simpler, less expensive strategies that work, and natural medicine has these strategies.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Just speaking to the emotional component of some chronic illnesses. If someone just thinks through it, it makes a lot of sense. Genomics is obviously very in terms of the genes being irregulatory control system that is bottom up regulation of all the cells, self-regulating. Neuroendocrine is [00:41:30] top-down regulatory dynamics, and so then you have the feedback and feedforward loops between them. When you start thinking about running software that is problematic software on the top-down regulatory system, it has the potential to affect the entire regulatory system, so when people think about becoming over-sympathetic relative to parasympathetic and just as a simple starting place, addressing some of the psychological dynamics is a big deal. To wrap up here, associated with the psychological dynamics [00:42:00] is cognitive, and we're called 'Neurohacker Collective'.

We're particular focused on mind-brain, mind-body interface largely with the things that increase people's subjective quality of well-being, but also their capacity, and so cognitive capacity is an interesting topic, so I'm curious from your perspective, there's obviously causes of cognitive decline, and there's addressing the pathology there, but then there's also just cognitive wellness optimization, enhancing people's baseline. [00:42:30] What are some of the things that you have found most meaningful for cognitive well-being and optimization?

Joseph Mercola: It's an excellent question, but before I answer, I want to address my belief or impression upon, I think a misunderstanding you have and many, not just you, but most of medicine has, and that the genetics dictate things. They don't. They're dumb filing system, and they're really controlled by the epigenetics. When the human genome project figured out that we only had 20,000 [00:43:00] genes, and they said that, "Oh, 90, 95% of the rest of the genes are junk genes." They are junk.

They're messenger RNAs, and they're long non-coding RNA segments that essentially control the genes, so that's why we can have 200,000 proteins that we're coding for because we've got this epigenetic control, and I believe the epigenetic control is what it's all about, and that was the strategies that you use to improve cognitive function. One of my favorites, [00:43:30] certainly movement. There's no question about it, and that's a whole long discussion of what different types of them, but not just exercise. If you have to go to the gym, exercise once hour a day every day, you're not cutting, and yes, that will improve some BDNF, Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, but you need to move all day long. Then, of course getting your body have the metabolic flexibility to burn fat.

Yes indeed. Fat is your primary fuel. Not glucose, which will massively reduce oxidative stress to improve mitochondrial [00:44:00] function. It's going to lower by about 30%. Another source of oxidative stress that virtually no one appreciates is EMF exposure, which is why when you go to sleep, when your brain is supposed to restore and repair, is it's imperative that you turn off the electricity in your bedroom.

It will work for most people because when you expose your brain to electric fields at night, which is not just from your lamp that's plugged in, but the wires behind your wall, which would emanate an electric field, [00:44:30] you are radically decreasing your body's ability to increase, improve, or produce melatonin, and also get into deep sleep, the fourth stage for deep sleep. That's a really important strategy. Then, of course any of the emotional issues, I mean, because if you have anxiety or depression, it's going to be very challenging to get better primarily because of the way it affects your sleep, but it has many other neuroendocrine effects, so having [00:45:00] a really effective strategy, I think the letting go of the pathway surrenders the simple and expensive one, but certainly qEEG. EFT is the one I had used for many years in my practice and is a little more challenging to use because you have to find a therapist for the deep-seated ones, but when you combine those simple strategies, you're going to get healthier. Then, the photobiomodulation, which I like, and I included sunlight exposure.

I just got back from a two-hour walk in the beach, and which I can do in Florida after Thanksgiving because [00:45:30] it's sunny in mid-70's, so getting to expose to the sun on a regular basis will not only give you vitamin D, but also exposes you to near-infrared and red, which upregulates mitochondrial function by activating cytochrome c oxidase. Those are some simple things that don't cost a lot of money.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: What do you think of the transcranial and intranasal red light therapy and other forms of red light therapy for -

Joseph Mercola: Yeah. It's interesting. I actually have two [00:46:00] units from Dr. [Lou Lynn 00:46:01]. He's actually been to my house before. I've interviewed and actually attended a lecture by James Carroll, who was probably one of the leaders in the world for photobiomodulation.

He's not a formal PhD, but he has like 70,000 in his database and he really knows his stuff, and he wasn't as impressed with it. He didn't think that it would work. I don't use it. I have them, but I don't use them. I don't think it hurts, but he brought some skepticism into my mind just [00:46:30] the basic physics of it of being able to work. Instead, what I use is a K-Laser.

Probably, I would use James Carroll's if I hadn't had it. I'd get his, and I put photobiomodulation in about 3 Hertz of ... It's actually a laser. It's a half a Watt of the red, is 600, and near-infrared at 800 nanometers, and I put it on my internal carotids on each side, so I think that's a more effective way to get the frequencies up into [00:47:00] the brain.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Dr. Mercola, thank you for your time and for your work and for sharing with us. Obviously, people can go to and read articles that you and your team have produced on almost all topics and if people are interested in some of the topics that we've brought up and want to go deeper into what the sources for the thoughts on, things like EMF or vaccine or whatever are there, or lots of articles with sources. Are there any ... You mentioned Dr. Hawkins' book. Are there any [00:47:30] other resources that you would recommend are worth people looking at if they're trying to get more educated about -

Joseph Mercola: About health? David Hawkins was a very targeted recommendation for addressing the pervasive issue of challenged emotions that most of us have. I got a book called, 'Effortless Healing'. That's not my book before last it was published that goes over what I think are the most important principles and the subsequent one, which is published earlier [00:48:00] this year. It's called, 'Fat For Fuel', which has a really nice job of helping people understand the mitochondrial component of this in how to integrate the slow changes to get your body to have the ability to burn fat as this primary fuel.

If you're looking for ... I mean, obviously, the most information is on my site for free, but if you want it compiled into one book, that's easy to read and follow and specifically designed to instruct people who are a base level, then I think that would be a good start.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Thank you very much. [00:48:30] We'll put those links in the show notes of the podcast to those books and to your website, and appreciate having you here, and wish you much success and continue to educate people and how they can take better care of their health.

Joseph Mercola: Thank you for an engaging discussion.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: Thanks.

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