Healthy is a myth when 60% of the adult population has one chronic disease. Even the “young” are not spared, as 44% of millennials have one chronic disease. The term healthy is the most misunderstood word in medicine. Health is not the absence of illness. Health is a state of being comprised of thoughts, behaviors, and relationships. In this episode, we outline several factors that go into proper health. How do you know you are healthy? Find out by tuning in.
Lifestyle Medicine with Dr. Harris
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to Strive for Great Health Podcast with your host, Dr. Richard Harris. And this episode is how do you know you’re healthy? And we have miss defined the word healthy to an egregious extent. I was sitting on the airplane next to a guy and if you’re listening to this, I’m sorry for putting you on blast.
But we were talking and the man has diabetes, central obesity. And he said, besides those things, I’m healthy. Well, how can you be healthy with diabetes and central obesity? And that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this episode, what really is healthy and how do you know you’re healthy? Are you ready to boost your health, EQ and IQ? Cue the music!
Join me, Dr. Richard Harris, as we strive to unlock the secrets of the human body strive for wellness strive for great health. Follow the show on iTunes, Spotify, Google, and Android.
Let’s talk about CBD. Recently, I joined the clinical advisory board of a company called CBD Health Collection. Why I joined the advisory board is because this product is distinguished and really separates itself from the rest of the competitors in the market. For several reasons, they prioritize quality.
It’s all over their home. It uses CO2 extraction. Also it undergoes rigorous third-party testing to ensure you have the highest quality CBD that the potency is top in the market. And also this CBD company, prioritizes education here at the Strive for Great Health Podcast, we are big on education and we’ll be contributing educational material.
So people who use CBD Health Collection can learn more about the ECS, the endocannabinoid system and how CBD benefits them. Also, the products contain a unique terpene profile. Terpenes are molecules that work synergistically with CBD and the right profile can help accentuate why you use CBD.
Use CBD for pain, there’s a terpene profile for that. For relaxation, there’s a terpene profile for that. And they have products in the edible form and patch form and topical form. So check out CBD Health Collection via the link on our website. You can head to theghwellness.com and click CBD at the top.
Real quick before we get started. The Strive for Great Health Podcast is a lifestyle wellness and mindset podcast, but we can’t put everything about health, wellness, and mindset into the podcast. There’s just not enough time, it’s such a complex subject. That’s why we created our lifestyle medicine and health mindset wellness courses.
Now you may be asking, are these courses right for me? If you’re someone who wants to increase their health span, longevity, how long we live without chronic disease. If you’re someone who’s been told you have risk factors. If you’re someone that’s been told, there are some things that you need to watch out for. Some things you need to change otherwise you’re heading down a road that leads to disease, or if you’re someone who has a chronic ailment and you’re wanting a more holistic approach to fix your self, to heal yourself, then the wellness courses are for you. If you’re not willing to invest in your health. If you’re not someone who is willing to do things in a sustainable manner, if you’re someone who’s looking for a quick fix, then the courses are [00:04:00] not for you.
The courses are designed to teach you everything that I have learned reading hundreds of studies, hours of clinical practice, years of devotion to this lifestyle medicine and the health mindset, so you can live a life full of joy and purpose. If that sounds good to you, head to theghwellness.com and click courses at the top. Now to this week’s episode.
Welcome to the Strive for Great Health Podcast, with your host, Dr. Richard Harris. And in this episode, we’re talking about health. Of course, we’re talking about health. This is a health and wellness podcast, but we’re talking about the definition of healthy because we have got it completely wrong and then at the end of the episode, we’re going to dive into some metrics that you can use to actually determine if you’re healthy or not.
Because a lot of times people will say, oh, this person’s healthy or that person’s healthy. And I always respond with, well, how do you know? Because we equate healthy in this country now to the absence of chronic disease. And that’s not what healthy is. That’s like saying, okay, I have a million in my bank account, but I’m losing a hundred thousand dollars a month.
So everything’s okay because I have a million in my bank account right now. Obviously there’s a problem. And if you don’t diagnose that problem, if you don’t figure it out, you’re going to go bankrupt. You’re going to lose all that money. And it’s the same thing with health, just because you don’t have a diagnosed medical condition.
Doesn’t mean that you are healthy. Health is not the absence of disease. That’s the first thing, the most important takeaway from this health is not the absence of disease. And how can you be healthy with conditions that increase disease, risk, diabetes, obesity, smokers, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, elevated inflammation.
These things are all linked to our root causes of chronic disease. We talked about these at the beginning of the podcast series, dysbiosis, toxins, inflammation, hormone dysregulation, genetics, stress, nutrient deficiencies. These are the seven root causes of chronic disease. And often these root causes present themselves before a disease actually sets in.
We’re going to talk about metrics and ways that you can measure for these things at the end of the episode so you can look for cracks in the armor. You can look for areas where things aren’t optimized. Healthy is actually a collection of lifestyle and behaviors that prevent disease and promote wellness.
Healthy is our mindset. It’s our actions. It’s our lifestyle. It’s not necessarily just how we feel, and it’s not necessarily being in a disease free state, just because like we’ve said, and I’m going to hammer this point home, the absence of disease is not health. Well, we’re going to dive into health from mindset and mental health, from lifestyle medicine, which is of course the most powerful aspect of medicine.
I’m a lifestyle medicine physician. I spend a lot of time talking about lifestyle medicine, and then we’re going to talk finally about some metrics that you can use to look at your overall health status. First thing, mindset. This is why our wellness courses start with a week of mindset. Because it is the most important aspect in our wellness journeys. How we think about health, because if you don’t think about health the right way, if you don’t value your health, you won’t put an investment into it.
And we talked about this and the opportunity cost podcast. Health is an investment. Just like you make financial investments. We can make investments into our health by what we do and how we think on a daily basis. And if you’re saying well, that doesn’t matter actually it does. The data shows our mindset can affect inflammation.
It can affect blood clotting, hemostasis. It can affect endothelial function. It can affect metabolic function. It can affect [00:08:00] telomere links. So actually the links of our DNA, our mindset can affect that. It can affect other metabolic markers, like blood pressure and blood sugars, and they can affect our stress load.
So one of the things about being healthy is your mindset. Do you have the growth mindset? And we talked about the growth mindset on the podcast. Are we viewing challenges like woe is me? Why did this happen to me? Are we ruminating on our failures? Are we having a abundance of negative thoughts or are we thinking positively?
Are we full of hope? Are we thinking about challenges as opportunities to learn and to grow. And our challenges as a way to help other people. And this matters optimists live longer about 11 to 15% longer, depending on the study and have a 35% reduction in cardiovascular events. There are changes that happen in our body at the physiological level, based upon our thoughts.
It even affects your wallet. 67% of self-made millionaires are optimists. 78% of low socioeconomic status people are pessimists and this affects how you deal with challenges. If you’re an optimist and you hit a challenge, you’re going to think that you can overcome it. You’re going to ask yourself empowering questions.
You’re going to figure out a way around it. This is why I never say can’t. I say, well, what can I do? How can I get around this? What are my options? Because if I’m looking for a fix, I’ll find a fix. If I’m looking for a reason why I can’t do it, I’ll find a reason why I can’t do it. Ask yourself empowering questions and not disempowering questions.
Optimists are also found to be more likely to succeed at work, at school, at sports, at politics and relationships. People who are in the growth mindset will try harder on the ropes when they hit an adverse event and this is something that I’ve learned to do. Whenever I hit a wall, I get inspired and I’m going to push harder and work harder and figure out and think and come up with strategies.
When I hit that wall and also there’s data on people in the growth mindset. If depression does occur, they work harder to maintain their balance, their homeostasis. To do the things that they know have gotten them success and do the things that they know will get them out of that current state, back to where they are.
Do you prioritize mental health and recovery? And I always say, have you taken a mental health inventory? Do you ask yourself questions? How am I really feeling about this? What’s really going on inside my head. Are there things I could be doing? Am I doing the things I want to do with my career. Ask yourself these questions periodically, check in with yourself.
Sean and I talked about this. I spend a lot of time in my own head asking myself questions and figuring out my trajectory. I have mental health inventories, and sometimes things are stressful or I have a lot going on and I just need to back away back off and rest. We’ll talk about rest and recovery in a minute.
Do a relationship inventory and man, I probably going to lose you on some of this, but not all your relationships are good relationships. Not everyone in your life is actually beneficial for you. Do an inventory of your relationships. Are your relationships bringing you value. Are you and your friends talking about the investments you’re making the stocks that you’re looking at?
Cryptocurrency, NFTs, whatever you like in that regard. Are you talking about books you’ve read? One of the cool things about my group of friends is we are always sending books to each other. In fact, my best friend, Alex, read a book Freakonomics. He said, I would love it. I started it and I do love it because it’s all about behavioral economics, which is one of my favorite subjects.
Why we do the things we do to get what we want. Very fascinating. I’m not through the book yet, but [00:12:00] so far I have loved it, but my relationships all add value to each other. We give and give and give, and we prop each other up. We do things to help each other with our goals, with our vision, and we are critiquing each other. We’re not critical of each other, but we’re not just dumping praise on each other.
How is your sense of purpose? This is a big one. A greater sense of purpose is associated with better mental and physical health. And we actually see this in the data. There is a large increase in mortality, death after people retire. Why? Because most people don’t retire with a plan. Most people just retire and then they sit on the couch all day watching daytime TV. Hello, mom and dad. And they’re miserable. One study showed that only 25% of adults feel they have a sense of purpose. Check in with yourself, do an inventory. What is your sense of purpose? What are you striving towards? What are your goals? I’ve seen so many people retire without a plan, become miserable and slowly wither away.
And because of that, I’m only 38 and I’m not planning to retire anytime soon, but I’ve already started working on my plan for when I retire. Because I always want to have a sense of purpose. I always want to be giving back to the world. One of my core missions is to leave the world a better place than I found it.
That’s a strong sense of purpose for me. And it really keeps me going every single day. And with that, are you focused on yourself or are you focused on others? You’re going to be miserable if you’re focused on yourself. We just weren’t meant to do that. It’s better to give than receive. Data shows you get more pleasure out of giving than you do from receiving.
One of the ways that we ensure that we are healthy is by helping other human beings. It is why humans survive. It is part of our evolution that we need to help others. When we were in tribes, we weren’t gonna make it, if we didn’t help each other out. So we are hardwired literally and physically to help each other out. Which brings the next point.
Are you practicing gratitude? Gratitude is immensely powerful for our mental health. If you are not practicing gratitude, you are not healthy. Gratitude is associated with reduced sense of depression with more positive emotions in a better sense of wellbeing. One of the things that we have a total lack of now is confidence, is the ability to see ourselves in a positive light.
Gratitude is a great way to do that. These are just a few of the things that we need to be doing for our mental health. And if we’re not doing these things, we’re not healthy. Let’s move on to another aspect of health, lifestyle medicine. And this is what we do in our wellness courses. I’m a lifestyle medicine physician.
I am really big on lifestyle. It is the most important aspect of our health. Let’s look at nutrition. What are you eating? Again we have forgotten what nutrition actually is. It’s nourishment. It is meant to provide minerals and resources and energy for us to do our job. Are you eating 80% of your food from nutrient dense single ingredient foods?
If you’re not, you’re not healthy. I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule. And I apply that to a lot of the things in my life, including nutrition. 80% of the time I tell people, eat single ingredient, nutrient dense foods. Nutrition is nourishment. It’s not enjoyment. It’s not a crutch. It’s not a guilty pleasure. If you don’t see something for what it really is, you will never use it correctly.
And we see this all the time in relationships where we don’t see who someone really is and what happens, we get [00:16:00] hurt. We get used. We get burned. Because we didn’t see what they really are. And this is the same with nutrition. You have to see food for what it is, because when I look at food, I don’t think, oh man, this is going to be so good.
And I can’t wait to taste it. I think this is nourishment for my body so I can continue to do my activities so I can feed my cells, feed my brain, make sure all my body systems are optimized and working correctly. Now again, that’s not all the time. Of course I indulge in some things that I like the taste of, but that’s not my primary focus when I eat.
My primary focus is to give thanks to God for providing for me and for nourishment of my body. This is so important, a recent study, and we’ll go more into the study in one of our wellness, monthly segements showed that you have a 9% lower risk of getting COVID and a 41% lower risk of severe COVID with higher nutrient quality.
Very important. Poor nutrition is a leading cause of chronic illness. And then it’s, what are you cooking with? What oils are you using? Are you using seed oils? Pro-inflammatory, oxidize easily associated with disease, or are you using olive oil and coconut oil and butter, and ghee? How are you cooking your food?
Because that matters. We talk about in the wellness course that high heat cooking causes the foods that we eat to be contaminated with toxins that have adverse effects in the body. What’s your eating window. Are you fasting? If you’re eating from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed, that’s not healthy.
Humans are meant to go through cycles of fast. We are well adapted to cycles of intermittent fasting. That’s why intermittent fasting has so many benefits. We have a whole episode on fasting and the benefits, but balancing lipids, balancing blood pressure, balancing blood sugars, improve mental cognitive, autophagy, body repair.
If you are always in the fed state, your body does not enter autophagy, mitophagy, lipophagy. All of these things are important for reducing adipose tissue, mitophagy for recycling mitochondria, for cleaning up our cells, killing off the underperforming cells to feed them to the cells that are doing well. Cancer surveillance.
These properties are all important for our normal function. And if you’re constantly fed these processes, aren’t happening. So what’s your eating window? Are you doing periods of fasting? I have a 24 hour fast once a week. And then I do 16, eight intermittent fasting or time restricted eating every single.
Are you getting enough nutrients. Universally, no. 90% of Americans are missing key nutrients, why? Processed foods. 60 to 70% of the intake for the standard American diet, is processed foods. These foods are high in calories, devoid of. nutrients. So what happens?
This causes you to overeat because your body can’t tell you, Hey, I need more zinc. Hey, I need more magnesium. It just says I’m hungry, eat. And then you eat more of this nutrient depleted food. And then your body says I don’t have nutrients eat. And you’re just stuck in this vicious cycle. If you’re hungry all the time, look at what you’re eating.
I very rarely get hungry I eat because I know I need to eat and I wasn’t planning on going into this, but oftentimes we don’t get hungry either. And what I mean by that is when you fast, you actually know what true hunger is. Most of the time, when you think you’re hungry, you’re just bored and you’re seeking the pleasure of eating and not actually needing to eat.
One of the reasons I love fasting is [00:20:00] because it actually resets what is hunger for me. And I know when I’m actually hungry, because it’s a different feeling than that feeling of boredom eating, or just eating to fill time or pleasure eating. In line with that processed foods, are you eating too many calories?
Most Americans, this is why they gain a pound and a half a year, except during COVID, it was a pound and a half a month, are eating too many calories. And a lot of this is the processed foods, because again, they’re going to make you overeat because they’re highly palatable, meaning they’re easier to chew.
You eat them faster, that changes the mechanics in your stomach and absorption. So you absorb these foods faster that causes spikes in blood sugar. They don’t have nutrients like whole foods. You’re going to eat more of these processed foods because your body doesn’t have the nutrients. Are you staying hydrated?
70% of Americans walk around dehydrated on any given day. Dehydration is a leading cause of disability and disease here in this country. We see it in the ER all the time. In fact, the most common intervention when someone comes to the ER, is they get IV fluids. Are you hydrated enough, drinking enough water. If you’re sweating, are you getting electrolytes?
And this is something that we talk about in our wellness courses. Exercise. If you’re not exercising, you’re not healthy. There’s no, if ands or buts around this, once you hit thirty you can lose up to 1% of your muscle mass per year. The average person who’s not exercising will lose eight to 10% of their muscle mass per decade.
So if you think about it, between 30 and 60, if you don’t exercise, you’ve lost 30% of your muscle mass. Imagine if I just said, Hey, if you don’t do anything in 30 years, you’re going to lose 30% of your body that should send up alarm signals. Like whoa, 30% of my body. Yeah. I’m just going to take a knife and every year I’m going to cut off 1% of you and in 10 years, you’re going to have 10% of you cut off in 30 years. You’re going to have 30% of you cut off. Nope. Don’t want to do that. If you’re losing muscle mass, you aren’t healthy. Imagine it in a different way. Let’s say you’re losing 1% of your heart muscle every year or 1% bone density every year or 1% of your lungs were going away every year.
Do you think that’s healthy, if you’re losing that? No, sarcopenia or muscle mass loss is a great way to get chronic disease and is one of the most important factors in development of disease as we age is our loss of muscle mass. You are literally losing part of you.
Are you getting that 75 minutes of high intensity or 150 minutes of moderate intensity a week? And this is what we advocate, strength training. You can get all the cardio benefits from strength training and the muscle benefits and metabolic benefits. You need to do at least two days of strength training a week.
If you’re not, you are not healthy because you’re going to be losing your muscle. It decreases your risk of like literally every single chronic disease. And it’s part of the treatment algorithm for every single chronic disease if you have one. Movement, are you getting at least 4,000 steps a day? If you’re getting below 4,000 steps a day, you’re increasing your risk of developing pretty much every single chronic disease and early death.
In fact, even one day of below 4,300 steps decreases insulin signaling, meaning you are insulin resistant by 20 to 39% the next day. If you’re sedentary for about two weeks, you’ll start to lose muscle mass. Are you getting your movement? This something you can easily track, easily. And I highly recommend tracking these things.
What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done. If you want to be a millionaire and you don’t check your bank account, you’ll never be a millionaire. If you don’t know what’s coming in and going [00:24:00] out, how will you ever get to your goal. Track your steps and there are so many different ways available. Of course, I have an Oura ring.
I also have an Android watch. I have multiple ways to track. Let’s look at sleep and recovery. Are you getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night? What’s your sleep quality like? I often ask people this what’s your sleep quality like? I don’t know, again, you can track it. There’s so many ways out there. They’re not that expensive.
And the data is invaluable. Poor sleep and recovery is associated with diabetes, obesity, heart disease, strokes, cancer, mental health disorders. And what’s your recovery plan? How do you know when your body has said enough, I need to rest. You have a way of checking it? Do you check in with yourself? Do you take an inventory?
Do you listen when your body is saying rest? What’s it like between your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system? Are they balanced? Well, I don’t know. This is why I love HRV, heart rate variability. Most people think that our heartbeat is like a metronome, where the space and time between every beat is the same.
And it’s not, that can get shorter and longer, depending on which side of your nervous system is dominating. And what you want is a high HRV. You want a high heart rate variability because this means that no one side is dominant. This means that your heart is able to respond and your nervous system is responding to changes throughout the day.
Meaning, if I’m sitting there at rest, I want my parasympathetic, my rest and digest system active. If I need to run from a tiger, I want my sympathetic nervous system active, and you need a balance between both. And this is what your HRV can tell you. HRV, typically declines as we age, but the 50 percentile, if you’re 25 is around 78.
If you’re 35 around sixty. If you’re 60, around 45, and this can be influenced by training, by nutrition, alcohol, sleep, stress, genetic factors, health conditions, gender, lots of other things, but you want to track it. And when I see that my HRV is low, I know I need to prioritize rest. I need to do some more mindfulness, take a break from the gym, do some more breathing exercises, really focus on my recovery.
And then what are your sleep statistics? What’s your sleep latency. Your sleep latency, how quickly you fall asleep is too low. You’re probably fatigued. If you’re falling asleep in two minutes, every single night, it may mean do you need to prioritize your recovery? How much REM sleep are you getting?
Should be around 90 minutes. How much deep sleep are you getting? Should be around 90 minutes. What’s your sleep efficiency, meaning of the time that you’re in bed, how much of that is asleep or how much of that is tossing and turning. Your efficiency should be around 85%. And then back to the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time, you should be feeling refreshed when you wake up. Track your sleep.
And if you see something’s off, try to figure out what is causing that to be off. And then improve it. Mindfulness. We talked about this a little bit already, but chronic lifetime stress is one of the biggest predictors of developing a chronic disease. Stress has so many physiological effects in the body. We have so many podcasts on it.
I’m not going to cover all of that in this, but are you doing mindfulness? Are you moderating your stress? I tell people the goal for mindfulness is about an hour a week. If you want less stress, you want to balance your nervous system. If you want to be smarter, do some mindfulness there’s data behind all of this .
Sunlight. Are you getting any sunlight? Are you getting, I say the minimum is 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day. There’s so many benefits to sunlight. We talk about that in the vitamin D podcast. We talk about that in the infrared sauna podcasts, because the benefits of infrared sauna mimic the benefits of sunlight. Energy medicine is real.
We’ve talked about various forms of energy medicine on the podcast, cryotherapy, infrared sauna, [00:28:00] cellular exercise. If you haven’t checked those episodes out, we go into depth about the benefits of all of these things, but there are some of my favorite holistic tools. Are you getting exposure to greenspace? Did you know your proximity to a park can influence your chance of developing cardiovascular disease?
We are meant to be among nature. Get in some green space, get that 10 to 15 minute walk once a day. Okay. Let’s dive into some metrics, some things that you can measure pretty easily to see your overall health status. One of my favorite, is waist circumference. I’m not a huge fan of BMI because BMI doesn’t take into account bone mass.
You know, how much bone weight you have, doesn’t take into account muscle mass. It’s just a ratio of your height to your weight. What I really like his waist circumference because waist conference is very well coorelated with central obesity, body fat around your organs. And that is a killer that is pro-inflammatory leads to insulin resistance and hormone dysregulation and abnormal sympathetic drive.
What you want, is a waist or conference less than 31.5 inches for women 37 inches for men. If you are above this, then you have excess central body fat, and you’re putting yourself at risk for chronic disease. I also highly recommend DEXA scans or on the cheap you can get an InBody. I’m sure you’ve been seeing InBody’s pop up all over the place. They’re accurate within 3%.
Blood testing. What’s some blood testing that you can do to look at your overall health in regards to metabolic health or inflammation or things like that. You want to get a fasting glucose, if your fasting glucose. Is above 95, that’s when the risk actually starts, you have a three X risk of developing diabetes with a fasting glucose above 95.
Again, reference ranges doesn’t mean optimal range. So you can be at the high end or low end of a reference range, but that’s a problem. That means your system is not optimal. I don’t want things to be okay. I want things to be optimal. Hemoglobin A1C, same thing. A lot of people, when I see my conventional job, they don’t know what hemoglobin A1C actually means.
It’s a percentage of how much sugar is attached to your red blood cells. What happens with excess sugar, is it does something called the Mallard reaction. When you burn bread, that black crust on the bread is the Mallory reaction. It is the sugar reacting to and binding to the proteins in the bread. That happens in our bodies.
And when you have too much sugar attached to your proteins, it causes inflammation. It causes cholesterol to be sticky. This leads to heart attacks and strokes and cancer and all those other things that are associated with insulin resistance. You want a hemoglobin A1C that’s less than 5.5 because the risk actually starts at 5.6.
And then you are pre-diabetic or insulin resistant starting at 5.6, but most conventional labs will tell you 5.7. Get a homocysteine checked. Homocysteine is a metabolic marker. It is looking at well a surrogate for how well you are methylating And we’ve talked about methylation here. It’s an epigenetic modification and it’s how we turn our genes on and off.
One of the ways, it’s actually the most important way. So you can measure your homocysteine level, it’s above 10 that indicates some metabolic dysfunction and high homocysteine levels are associated with inflammation and heart disease. And if your levels are above 10, this means you probably need some methylated B vitamins.
You might want to increase your choline intake, so eat the egg yolks, or you can take creatine. Creatine, we’ve talked about this on our YouTube channel and one of the wellness journeys, it is the most studied supplement on the planet of all time. It is the safest studied supplement and it’s highly effective for numerous different things. So if you want to know more [00:32:00] about creatine check-out that segment.
You want to get a high sensitivity CRP. This is a marker of inflammation. If that marker is above one, that’s when an increased risk starts to develop of disease. And I’ve seen this numerous times where people are like, oh, I feel fine. I do a HS-CRP and the levels like six or seven, they have active inflammation going on in their bodies.
And what I tell people is listen, disease takes a long time to happen unless it’s caused by a virus or an infant. Those can cause disease to set in pretty rapidly because especially viruses, they can do some weird stuff in the body that we’re still figuring out. But on average, a heart attack takes 15 years to develop. Dementia, it takes 20 to 30 years to develop. It’s like a reverse investment. That disease is sitting there, smoldering, festering it’s slowly draining money out of your account until you go bankrupt. You have to think about your future self. This is what I tell people. Listen, your health at 45 is determined by what you do at 30.
Your health at 60 is determined by what you do at 45. We have to think ahead to the future. And if you have high levels of inflammation, that means bad things are starting to happen in the body at the cellular level. Your body is wonderful at compensating until it reaches a breaking. And if you have high inflammation levels, there’s going to be a breaking point. Something is going to happen. I can’t tell you what all the time, but I know something bad.
C-peptide, C-peptide is a breakdown product of insulin. Insulin levels can fluctuate dramatically and it’s not as stable. C-peptide is a good marker And you can check that to see because before your blood sugar levels may change your fasting glucose or your hemoglobin A1C, your C-peptide level will start to elevate.
And if that elevates, that means you’re insulin resistant. And we’ve talked about insulin resistance on the podcast twice about how it’s a root cause of chronic disease. You want to get a vitamin D level checked. Vitamin D we have a whole podcast on. Go check it out. But you want that level optimally, between 50 to 70, depending on who you talk to.
Magnesium, we did a segment for magnesium on our Rootine supplement discussion. If your magnesium is less than two on a blood test, you are magnesium deficient. Blood tests are not optimal for magnesium, but there is data that correlates a magnesium in the blood less than two means that magnesium deficiency. And it’s estimated that 60% of people don’t get enough magnesium through nutrition. 45% are magnesium deficient.
You want to get a lipid panel. If you can, you want to get an NMR lipo profile because it gives you particle size. We talk about this and the truth about cholesterol podcast. But if you have dyslipidemia, you are not healthy because this means that something is wrong with metabolism in your liver and in your fat cells.
There is something going on that is causing this to be abnormal. Usually it’s inflammation or insulin resistance. Those are the number one or two cause. And usually it’s caused by what you’re eating and then being sedentary. You can have dramatic changes in your cholesterol and blood lipids by changes in your lifestyle.
You can look at a zinc level and a copper level. If your copper is higher than your zinc, that indicates inflammation. And now some advanced testing that I’ll do is I’ll look at oxidative stress. We talked about oxidative stress in the metabolism podcast. These are toxic byproducts from us, converting food into energy, and there are certain things you can do to increase these and certain things you can do to decrease these.
But what I want to do is check your glutathione levels. Glutathione is a major antioxidant. If that’s low, that lets me know you have a lot of oxidative stress and we need to fix that. Because that means your [00:36:00] cells are being damaged. Your organs are being damaged. Your DNA is being damaged. In fact, we can look at lipid peroxides, which are oxidized fats.
That’s the root cause of atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attacks, strokes. And we can also look at oxidized DNA. 8OHDG, which is oxidized portions of your DNA. If this is high, it means your DNA is being damaged. That’s going to lead to disease. You can do an omega check where you’re looking at your omega index or your omega three to omega six ratio.
If you have a high intake of omega six fatty acids, that’s pro-inflammatory and that’s been linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer and obesity and diabetes and neuro degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and parking. If you have a high omega three level, it’s protective against these things. And this is mainly dietary.
You can look at your arachidonic acid to EPA level. And this is a really cool test because arachidonic acid is the precursor to all those inflammatory products in this pathway. And EPA is the one that makes all the anti-inflammatory. If you have high arachidonic acid and low EPA, you are being more inflammatory than anti-inflammatory.
You can look at heavy metals and ideally you want to do a two compartment test here, so measure urine and blood, but you can see if you’re contaminated with heavy metals. And if you are, that means that there’s something that you’re intaking or exposing yourself to, or your detox pathways aren’t prime.
What’s your zinc level? What’s your glutathione level? What’s your B vitamins level? What fruits and vegetables are you eating? Cilantro, asparagus, cruciferous veggies. These are all important for our detox. And then you can look at GI testing, looking for dysbiosis, looking for inflammation in the gut, looking for evidence of improper digestion and parasites.
Gut health is paramount to overall health. If you’re having gut symptoms all the time, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, acid reflux. You are not healthy because that means that something abnormal is going on in your gut. And we need to figure out what, because what is going on in your gut goes out to all the rest of your body. Gut health is linked to the health of pretty much every single organ and system in your body. Our microbiome can work with us or against us, depending on what’s going on.
So next time someone asks or you’re talking to someone and they say, I’m healthy, say, how do you know? And now you have some tools that you can look at these things and start to determine, am I really healthy, or am I not?
Because the mainstream has completely gotten this wrong. And a lot of people are being lulled into a false sense of security that they’re healthy. That can’t be true. When the default in America is disease. When you have 40% of Americans have two chronic diseases, 60% have one. 44% of millennials have a chronic disease.
And data shows that health starts to drop off a cliff at 27. We literally have more unhealthy people here than healthy people. We should pretty much just get rid of the word healthy because most people are not healthy. It’s a myth. It doesn’t exist for most people these days, but these are the ways that you can start to look, start to check, be aware of your own health and help flip the trend.
All right, guys, thank you for listening to the Srive for Great Health Podcast with your host, Dr. Richard Harris. Y’all have a blessed day.
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