Dr. Will Cole: How to Lower Inflammation – The Genius Life with Max Lugavere

Check out The Genius Life Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • Eating a proper diet isn’t the only way to lower inflammation
    • You have to also examine your sleep, stress levels, the amount of time you spend on screens, etc.
  • Chronic inflammation is associated with just about every health problem out there: autoimmune conditions, insulin/leptin/thyroid resistance, heart disease, cancer, neurological deterioration, brain bog, anxiety, etc.
    • “We like to separate mental health from physical health, but mental health is physical health” Will Cole
  • The chief instigators of the inflammatory cascade: grains, dairy, sugar, and high-omega-6 oils (i.e., canola oil and vegetable oil)
    • If you’re not feeling 100%, start by removing the above from your diet and see how your body responds
  • Eating late at night isn’t optimal from a circadian rhythm standpoint
    • Why? – By doing so, your body is digesting/processing foods when it should be resting

Books Mentioned

Products & Supplements Mentioned

Intro

  • Dr. Will Cole (@drwillcole) is leading functional-medicine expert who specializes in the underlying factors of chronic disease
  • Host – Max Lugavere (@maxlugavere)

Ketotarian & The Ketogenic Diet

  • Keotarian = a plant-heavy approach to the ketogenic diet
    • (This is a stark difference from a ketogenic diet filled with things like butter, cream, and bacon)
  • A pure ketogenic diet is VERY hard to adhere too – you don’t always have to go all-in
    • Perhaps go full keto for ~4 days a week and moderate your carbs (eat ~100-150 grams) for the rest of the week
  • Many people who start on a ketogenic diet chase ketones, trying to get their levels as high as possible – this isn’t optimal from a lifestyle standpoint
    • “This feeds into a lot of disordered eating because of becoming overly fearful of anything that could diminish ketones” – Will cole
    • To add – as your body becomes more fat-adapted, the lower your ketone levels will drift (as your body gets better at burning fat for fuel)
    • Instead, chase nutrients (not ketones)

The Inflammation Spectrum

  • In the book, Will discusses all the different ways to reduce the body’s inflammation levels
  • Eating a proper diet isn’t the only way to lower inflammation
    • You have to also examine your sleep, stress levels, the amount of time you spend on screens, etc.

What exactly is inflammation?

  • It’s a product of our immune system
  • It’s not inherently bad, it’s actually needed
    • Inflammation helps fight viruses, bacteria, etc.
  • But CHRONIC inflammation (inflammation out of balance) is bad
    • Why? – It’s associated with just about every health problem out there: autoimmune conditions, insulin/leptin/thyroid resistance, heart disease, cancer, neurological deterioration, brain bog, anxiety, etc.
      • “We like to separate mental health from physical health, but mental health is physical health” Will Cole

The Gut-Brain Connection

  • Think of the gut as the second brain
    • The gut and brain are formed from the same fetal tissue and linked for the rest of your life through the vagus nerve, gut-brain access, and the enteric nervous system
    • 95% of our serotonin is made in the gut
  • Our gut makes up 75% of the immune system (and inflammation is a product of the immune system)
  • “What happens in the gut doesn’t necessarily stay in the gut. There’s a lot of gut-centric components to inflammation and gut-centric components to mental health issues.” – Will Cole
    • The gut isn’t like Vegas!

Zonulin

  • Zonulin is a protein that governs the permeability of the body’s tight junctions (think of it like a zipper)
    • Thus, it acts on the gut’s epithelial cells that separate its interior lining from circulation
    • Zonulin is also expressed at the blood-brain-barrier, a selectivity permeable barrier which serves to protect the brain from toxins
  • You can measure zonulin levels in serum
    • If your levels are high, it’s an indication that your inflammation levels are higher than optimal

What else serves as a marker for inflammation?

  • High-sensitivity c-reactive protein (HSCRP)
  • Homocysteine 
  • Ferritin, which is also a biomarker for stored iron (in states of inflammation, ferritin rises)

Food Sensitivity Testing

  • “I don’t run them very often. To me, it has less to do with the food and more to do with the intestinal permeability.” Will Cole
    • (AKA symptoms are more so the cause of leaky gut, not the food you’re eating)

The Chief Instigators of the Inflammatory Cascade

  • The “Core 4”:
    • Grains (both gluten-containing grains and gluten-free grains, depending on the person)
    • Dairy
    • Sugar
    • High-omega-6 oils (industrial seed oils – canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • If you’re not feeling optimal, start by removing the above from your diet and see how your body responds
    • Then, after a few weeks, slowly start introducing them back in and see how you feel (for the sole purpose of determining what your body can/cannot handle)
  • Also:
    • Nightshades (eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, goji berries, and white potatoes)
    • Eggs
    • Legumes
    • Nuts/seeds
  • The above are all fine and healthy, but they’re all common causes of inflammation
    • Explore which of these do/don’t give you problems through a selective elimination diet

How do you know if you’re inflamed?

  • Are you bloated after meals?
  • Are your bowel movements abnormal? (Do you go poop more than 1-2x a day? Are your stools loser than normal?)
    • It’s normal to poop EVERY morning – if you don’t, you’re constipated 
  • Examine the outer third of your eyebrows – if they’re thinning, that may be a sign of thyroid problems
  • Craving salt can be a sign an HPA-axis issue or a brain-adrenal rhythm problem
  • Other symptoms:
    • Brain fog (having trouble with name recall)
    • Having difficulty falling or staying asleep
    • Experiencing an afternoon lull in energy around 2-4 PM
    • Always having a mild level of anxiety

Salad Intolerance

  • Many people experience low levels of inflammation from the consumption of uncooked vegetables 
    • If you think you might fit this bill, eat more cooked/pureed foods – have more soups and stews instead of raw salads
  • Why are raw greens more difficult on the stomach than cooked greens?
    • It’s the plant fiber – it’s too hard to digest 
      • Digestion requires a TON of energy and the gut simply isn’t capable of it
  • That said, many people do fine with salads
    • For an experiment, switch to eating just cooked vegetable to see if any of your inflammatory symptoms are reduced

What else helps heal the gut and reduce inflammation?

Is eating late at night bad?

  • It’s not ideal from a circadian rhythm standpoint 
    • Why? – By doing so, your body is digesting/processing foods when it should be resting
      • Because of this, eating late at night can set you up for bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine as undigested food lingers

Saturated Fat

  • People with one ApoE4 allele don’t respond as well to saturated fat (coconut oil, fatty grass-fed beef, butter, etc.) – their inflammation levels spike and gut permeability is increased upon consumption
    • For more on ApoE, check out these Podcast Notes
    • On having a butter coffee for breakfast if you fit this bill: “It’s absolutely better than the standard American breakfast, no doubt about it. But just because something’s better doesn’t mean it’s optimal.” – Will Cole

What does living a genius life mean to Will?

  • “Having a healthy relationship with yourself, having a healthy relationship with food and your body, and being balanced.” – Will Cole

Additional Notes

Bookmark

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.