This episode of Wellness Weekly covers the following topics:
➡️Wellness Journeys: Be like bain!
➡️Article 1: Maternal diabetes and risk of offspring cardiovascular disease in early adulthood
➡️Article 2: Organic food and reduced pesticide exposure
➡️Supplement: Vitamin C
Lifestyle Medicine with Dr. Harris
Dr. Richard Harris: [00:00:00] 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.
Hello, and welcome to the Strive for Great Health Podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Richard Harris, and this is wellness weekly, our new segment. So I probably should’ve mentioned this earlier, but we’re going to be releasing podcasts on Mondays. And so the regular content, our old format, our typical, or our interviews and our subjects will be on Mondays.
And then the wellness weekly will be on Thursdays. So the wellness weekly consists of our wellness journey segment., our two research articles, and our supplement segment for now. That format may change. I will keep you updated better than I did before. So wellness journeys, this one inspired me as I was going through my daily routine.
I noticed something that when my dog wakes up, he wakes up with so much energy in life and full of joy. It’s astounding. Like every single day, Bain gets up, and he’s just bounding, leaps and bounds so much energy. And he’s so happy every single morning. And he can’t wait to go outside. He can’t wait to get pets.
He can’t wait to get food. He just has endless joy in the morning. And I said to myself; you know what? Why don’t I be like, Bain? How come I can’t [00:02:00] become like Bain? And this is the topic of this wellness journey is that Bain embodies win the morning, win the day, you know, cause he starts off with just this unbridled joy and happiness to start his day.
And I said to myself, how much of my life would change if I started to do the same. How much of my life would look different if, instead of thinking about negative things in the morning, I thought about the positives? I look forward to all the joy that I have throughout the day. Maybe that’s the joy of recording a podcast, which I love.
Maybe that’s the joy of working with a client one-on-one. Maybe that’s the joy of going to the hospital and working with the sickest of the sick, you know, going in there and giving hope to COVID patients. That’s probably been the biggest joy of mine in 2020 is that a lot of physicians are afraid to go into the rooms with COVID patients.
I’m not; I’ve spent 30 minutes sometimes or more in rooms with COVID patients just talking to them because they can’t have visitors. And I know that we need human interaction. We need social connection, and we need hope. Just like we talked about last week on the wellness journeys, we need hope. And if I can give hope to these people with COVID, then I’m really giving them the best medicine that I can possibly offer. If I can give them human connection and warmth and love and let them know that I’m praying for them, that is true medicine. And so that’s been a joy of mine. And so this be like Bain mentality, I started to see different aspects of my life, or I could put that in immediately and start to see everything shift.
And then it’s like, okay, why, why can’t I be like that with my wife? You know, be so happy to see her in the morning and so happy to start my meditation and prayer, you know, I’m already happy when I get to the gym. That’s like my happy place for sure. The gym is just, uh, I [00:04:00] love the gym, you know, that that’s my happy place.
That’s my Zen place and so what I’m working on this week and going forward is to try and incorporate what I see every morning with our fur baby Bain and trying to apply that mentality and that mindset to every single one of my activities throughout the day. And I think that can make a huge difference in my productivity, my outlook, my happiness, my joy, you know, the kind of physician I am, the kind of husband I am, the kind of brother, the kind of son.
There’s endless possibilities on how that can make me more efficient and just an overall better version of myself. And so I’m really excited to try this, and whenever I start to have any type of negative thought or emotion that I know is not going to help me achieve my goals, I have started to say to myself, be like Bain, have that unbridled joy.
Have that let’s go tackle the day mentality. And it’s just something so simple. I mean, he gets so excited for something so simple. A walk with mom and dad. That’s simple, and he is beyond ecstatic every single morning, just to go on a walk, just to drink his water, just to have his food in the morning. He acts like we would act if we won the lottery.
And he acts like that every single morning, just with the simple joys and the simple pleasures in life. And it made me realize to literally stop and smell the roses. You know, he smells everything. He sniffs everything. We, we call him sniffles sometimes, but he’s taking in each and every moment and experiencing joy, true unbridled joy with each and every moment.
And I thought that that was so powerful. [00:06:00] When I had that realization that, Hey, I can have this in my life. There’s nothing stopping me from having this; the only thing that’s stopping me from having this as me, my own mentality. No, we’ve said this on the podcast before William James, our best defense against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
And what I’m really working on right now is choosing the think like Bain, choosing to be like my fur baby. It’s just incredible. Yeah, I’m just thinking about all the different things that now I can apply that mentality to all the different things that I can use this mentality to help people and going forward.
I’m just really excited about applying this mentality. The ways I can apply it, different scenarios, and the people that I may be able to help. Because I’m in that mentality because my mentality has shifted. That’s really powerful for me because, as you know, I’m all about helping people, you know, I walked away from a lot of money, so I could do things to help people better.
And I’ve said this before on the podcast. I don’t make nearly as much money as I used to, but I have a much bigger impact. I get messages from people about how the podcast has impacted them. And we don’t have ad revenue on the podcast. At this point, we don’t have, um, sponsorship, you know, being completely honest.
This is a net loss for me having this podcast and everything at this point in time. But it’s a loss financially, but it’s again on impact. And, you know, the podcast is listened to in, I think, 55 or 56 different countries at this point in time. And that’s just amazing. So I’m focusing on being like Bain.
I’m focusing on adding more joy into my life, evaluating situations differently, and just really [00:08:00] taking advantage of, and being present in the moment. And looking at those small things. Like they’re not small every moment, everything, every action with my family is a blessing. So be like, Bain. Okay. Let’s move on to the first research article.
The name of this article is intrauterine exposure to diabetes and risk of cardiovascular disease in adolescents and early adulthood, a population-based birth cohort study. And if you want access to the studies, unfortunately, they are highlighted., so you get my notes. But join our Facebook group Strive for Great Health.
There’s a Google drive link. I want you guys to have access to all the research that I read so you can make your own conclusions about what is best for you and what is best for your family. So a little background from this article, cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of noncommunicable death worldwide.
We know that it’s the number one cause in the US; about 600,000 people a year in the us die from cardiovascular disease. What’s sad is the rates of cardiovascular disease continue to increase. And people younger than 40, that was unheard of 30, 40, even 50 years ago. Unheard of to see people with cardiovascular disease under the age of 40, because what most people don’t realize is you don’t just have a heart attack, and that’s when the disease started.
On average, it takes 15 years for that plaque to build-up to the point where it obstructs an artery and causes a heart attack. So we’re seeing people in their thirties with cardiovascular disease. That means it started when they were a teenager. How sad is that? What chance does that person really have for a normal, healthy life?
If their disease process started as a teenager, We know nutrition is an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and it’s associated with a higher risk of premature cardiovascular disease. There’s a growing amount [00:10:00] of evidence that links in utero, meaning when the baby is in mama’s womb exposure to risk of early adult cardiovascular disease.
But we also know, and this is becoming more and more common, that maternal over-nutrition and hyperglycemia are linked to cardiovascular disease. So this is maternal diabetes. This is maternal obesity. Maternal hypercaloric intake is associated with cardiovascular risk factor clustering, meaning that the children of these mothers have more cardiovascular risk factors in early adulthood and adolescents, maternal diabetes, and this is type two or gestational. Gestational is where you develop diabetes while pregnant or insulin resistance while pregnant, but you didn’t have it before. And this is linked to insulin resistance, elevated body weight, dyslipidemia, which means abnormal cholesterol or abnormal blood lipids, diabetes, and elevated blood pressure in childhood.
So if mom is diabetic or gestational diabetes, it’s already putting her child at a disadvantage, metabolically and a disadvantage in health status. And then exposure to diabetes in utero, so in the womb, has a dose-dependent effect and increasing the risk of type two diabetes in adolescents. So the longer the exposure, the longer mom is metabolically ill, the more likely and the higher risk that the child will develop type two diabetes in adolescence, and we’re seeing type two diabetes develop in people eight, seven, eight, nine years old now. 20% of kids are obese. Now what the study we wanted to look at is it’s unclear if fetal exposure to maternal diabetes is associated with higher cardiovascular [00:12:00] disease in young adults.
So what the study did is they looked at mothers with type two diabetes or gestational diabetes, and then they follow their children after the age of 10. Why 10? Because they wanted to distinguish between auto-immune or genetic related causes of cardiovascular disease. So the primary outcomes they looked at were diagnosis of cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke, ischemic, heart disease, which is, um, a plaque develops in the coronary arteries.
Which may or may not lead to a heart attack. And then, the secondary measures, including cardiovascular risk factors, hypertension, dyslipidemia type two diabetes, and then they followed them. The longest period that they followed them for was 35 years. So what were the results? Offspring exposed to diabetes are more likely to have older mothers be born large; the babies were larger than their cohorts. They were more likely to be preterm, reside in rural areas with a lower socioeconomic status. We’ve talked about socioeconomic status and the impact of health before on the podcast. We’ve also talked about it on our YouTube channel where these research segments used; the old ones are there on our YouTube channel.
So the three most frequent diagnoses of co-morbidities and offspring were diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic, heart disease with diabetes and hypertension being the lion share. So these maternal, these mothers who had diabetes, gestational diabetes, the most frequent illnesses that we’re seeing in the cohort were diabetes, hypertension, in the offspring in their children.
So, this was really interesting. The next fact, the mean age of the first risk factor occurring in the non-exposed, meaning the mothers who didn’t have [00:14:00] gestational diabetes or type two diabetes was 21. Which is still really, really young. And that just shows you overall how unhealthy of a society we are.
That 21 was the first age at which some type of cardiovascular risk factor was found now in the gestational diabetes. That was about two years sooner at 19 and a half. And then type two diabetes. The first sign of a risk factor, a cardiovascular risk factor appearing was 17. 17. These kids have no chance at a normal life.
If they don’t intervene immediately, immediately. It’s so, so sad. And this is why I see frequently 30-year-olds with heart attacks, 30-year-olds with strokes, and they’re paralyzed on one side, 30-year-olds on dialysis. You never saw that when I first started doing medicine, you know, as a pharmacy student, rotating the wards.
I never saw that. See it all the time now. So the composite that primary, the composite of the primary outcome, the hazard ratio, meaning the risk of the event happening in one group versus the other was 27% more likely to happen in the gestational diabetes group and 48% more likely to happen type two diabetes.
For the secondary outcome, the risk factors developing and gestational diabetes, it was 85% more likely. And then in type two diabetes, it was 338% more likely to happen. These are staggering numbers. Staggering. Now, of course, this is an observational study. So correlation does not imply causation. But what the main driver of the effect that was seen in the study, those numbers I just talked about was [00:16:00] largely driven by the onset of type two diabetes and hypertension.
Previous studies have shown that children between five and 18 have a higher rate now of type two diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and arterial stiffness when gestational diabetes are present. So this is all about epigenetics. You know, we can’t go into that at this moment. We talked about that in our genetic podcast, but the signals that are happening in the mom’s metabolic environment get passed on to the kid.
And so this kid is already behind metabolically before they even know what happens before they even know that they need to intervene. And that’s just sad. Now the limitations of the study, of course, like I said, observational; there was no other lifestyle data that was accumulated. So other factors like the control of the diabetes were not given, and there’s a risk of misclassification bias because this data was not originally accumulated for this.
But it’s just another in a long line of studies that starting to show that our behaviors, even before we conceive a child, affects the future of our children. And what I’m worried about as a cycle is going to get worse and worse because, you know, 40% of the adult population is obese. And they’re having obese kids at a younger age, and then they’re having obese kids, and this cycle is going to keep going to where now diseases happening, younger and younger.
And that’s, that’s actually been shown, a blue cross blue shield survey recently showed that this millennial generation is far unhealthier than the generation above it. And that’s what’s going to keep happening if we continue; this course is that each subsequent generation is going to get unhealthier and unhealthier at an early age and start having chronic medical conditions in their twenties and early thirties.
We’re [00:18:00] already seeing heck, uh, younger than that, you know, I’m not a pediatrician, so I don’t see it as much, but I see the case reports in the literature.
So research article number two is about organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary glyphosate levels in the US, children, and adults. So the background glyphosate, Roundup Monsanto’s golden goose that’s cooked a lot of people. Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the world. And this is the crazy part. Studies show that since the seventies, the amount of glyphosate found in our systems has increased by 600%, 600%, and depending on the study you read, is detectable in 70 to 93% of the people in those studies.
Why is that it’s such a big deal. Why are we making a big deal about this? Why do we say put down the Cheerios and all the cereals? Because they’re loaded with glyphosate. They paid billions of dollars in settlement for Roundup because of cancer. So it’s listed as a carcinogen it causes kidney toxicity it’s been associated with fatty liver has been associated with hormone disruption, cholesterol, and blood lipid disruption it has been associated with disrupting the microbiome. And we’ve talked about this so many times on the podcast, how important our microbiome is to our overall health. It’s been linked to increased oxidative stress.
Which causes inflammation, which causes organ and tissue damage, DNA damage; it has been linked to neurotoxicity, so toxic to the brain. Reproductive toxicity has been shown to also disrupt our mitochondria, our energy generation. The mitochondrial dysfunction is a root cause of chronic disease. If your body cannot literally generate enough energy [00:20:00] to do what it needs to do, it’s going to have a disease; it’s going to present as some sort of disease.
And it’s not only the glyphosate that’s the problem. It’s major metabolite, AMPA, is likely toxic as well. So not only is the glyphosate causing problems then what our body turns the glyphosate into is also causing problems. So in animal models, it’s been shown to induce liver damage has been shown to cause DNA damage.
And previous studies have shown that that eating organic foods lowers the level of pesticides; it’s been correlated with reduced cancer risk, reduce risk of diabetes. And it’s been correlated with improved fertility treatment outcomes; there’s data that shows this. So what did the study do? They looked at four families, 16 participants. And what they did is they had them eat their normal diet for about five days.
And then they switched them over to an organic meal plan for six days. So the food was either delivered the groceries, or it was prepared by a chef and dropped off, and they took urine measurements, five measurements for the glyphosate and MPA and each phase. So five in the conventional phase five in the organic phase.
So what’d they find? They found that glyphosate was detected in 93.7% of the samples, AMPA in 96.9% levels fell dramatically after starting the organic nutrition plan. Levels fell by 70.93% for glyphosate, 76.71% for AMPA. And it was essentially after the second day, the levels completely fell. So this is a dramatic effect almost immediately.
That two days, the levels fell. Now, the sad part about this study is they found that children had much higher levels than adults. They also had much higher variability than the adults. [00:22:00] In previous research has shown that children are less efficient at metabolizing this type of pesticides we call organophosphate pesticides.
So adults have better mechanisms for getting rid of these pesticides; children don’t. The study found that there was high adherence to the study protocol in the food diaries. And it corroborates previous research that has shown that urinary levels of 13 pesticides, parent compounds, and metabolites dropped following induction of an organic nutrition plan.
So we know that organic is not perfect, right? It’s not as good as what are our ancestors or even people a hundred years ago ate, but it’s the best that we have available. And we know that we need sustainable farming. We need regenerative farming, and we need food that is free of pesticides food that was grown in nutritious soil because if it was grown in a soil that only uses three fertilizers, there’s a lot of nutrient depletion that the tomato might be red, but it doesn’t have the nutrients.
It doesn’t have the same profile. It’s all. It’s very, very important. You know, if you want to know more about this, definitely read food fix by Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s an incredible book, and it’s disturbing how messed up our food system is, how messed up our food system is. And he outlines some really great fixes on how we can avoid catastrophe because of this.
So in the discussion, they found that the findings mirror the rate of the elimination half-life in rats. So in rats, it takes the elimination half-life for glyphosates about two to three days. And these findings also support that dietary intake of glyphosate is the major form of how we get it into our blood.
[00:24:00] So, let’s move on to the supplement discussion. And we’re gonna be talking about Vitamin C, one of everybody’s favorite vitamins, especially now with COVID. So what is Vitamin C? We tend to think of it as an antioxidant, but Vitamin C is also regenerates other antioxidants. So Vitamin C is very, very important.
It also has several other functions; it’s involved in cholesterol, metabolism, the production, and function of our white blood cells. It’s involved in antibody production. You know what white blood cells make to help fight off viruses and bacteria. It’s involved in signaling molecules that are made from the white blood cells, specifically interferons.
These are how white blood cells communicate with each other. One of the ways they communicate with each other and other cells through interferons. It’s used for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is so very important. It’s the scaffolding. It’s the anchor. Uh, for our cells, it’s also important for our bones and cartilage or joints, and then Vitamin C’s involved for the making of norepinephrine, which is extremely important for our brains, normal functioning, our brains, normal state.
Normal norepinephrine levels tell our brain, Hey, this is a good time for neuroplasticity, a good time for our cells to be able to rewire. It tells our brain, this is a low-stress state. So we need normal norepinephrine leveling. It’s important for carnitine, carnitines involved for, for getting a certain type of fatty acid called long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria to be burned.
So it’s very important for fat metabolism, and then it has other properties for fatty acid metabolism. So a lot of the different fats, the enzymes that we use to metabolize them require Vitamin C. So it’s very important. So let’s talk a little bit about ascorbic acid versus ascorbate because that’s something that we see all the time, and we could go into a whole biochemical conversation about this, but I’m just going to [00:26:00] try and give you a brief overview ascorbate is formed from the reaction of ascorbic acid and sodium bicarbonate.
And so when you see sodium ascorbate in products, that’s what it is. This is usually IV products, but it’s also oral products. And the reason for that is ascorbic acid is very acidic. It has a low pH, and you can’t inject that its pH is around two to three, and you can’t inject that into somebody. You have to buffer it.
You have to make it more basic. And they do that with sodium bicarbonate. But if it makes sodium ascorbate. But sodium ascorbate is a little bit different at the molecular level than ascorbic acid. So most of the Vitamin C in our body is in the form that we call L ascorbate, and that’s just the non, the non-anion version of Vitamin C.
It’s not the acid version. It’s the other version. So why is this important? Well, for a couple of reasons, one, the ascorbate version can sometimes be better tolerated for, by people. It tends to cause less stomach upset. But the problem is it seems that it doesn’t get recycled in the body. Like the ascorbic acid does.
There’s some really cool research that came out this year. That leads us to believe that ascorbic acid, when taken orally, will get regenerated. Because like I talked about. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, but it also regenerates other antioxidants. So the antioxidants we take can be regenerated, meaning after they’ve helped get rid of a free radical by donating an electron.
Our body has a system. Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. So it looks like there’s some evidence that shows that the ascorbic acid gets recycled, meaning it. It helps [00:28:00] out the free, radical by saying, Hey, here’s an electron, don’t be angry. Don’t damage DNA; don’t cause inflammation. And it’s able to do that. It’s able to donate an electron without becoming a free radical.
So then it gets tanked back up by our repair system. So the ascorbic acid version does that. The sodium ascorbate version seems to not. Now, the problem that most Vitamin C has in this country is it’s cheap is derived from processed corn. And it’s from China, 95% of it’s from China, which means that your supplements from a black hole, really, you have no idea about the quality or the potency, and also the cheap stuff. most of it is in the D form. So molecules exists in a D form and an L form. This is basically like your right hand and your left hand. You know, if you superimpose them on each other, they look the same, but in space, they’re different. If you have a key that your left hand opens, your right is not going to be able to open it, right?
Because it won’t fit the same, and that’s what the D and L are, so the D form is biologically inactive, the L form is active. And so, the high-quality companies will use the active form of ascorbic acid. And they usually do this through a fermentation process, uh, where bacteria are used, are making that product.
So it’s a natural cellular chemistry. That’s making it from the bacteria versus a synthetic process where you can get more of the inactivated version that D form. So a lot of the good companies use fermented ascorbic acid, the active form. So what are deficiencies caused by? Deficiencies are caused by oral contraceptives, aspirin diuretics.
Things like chronic ibuprofen use poor dietary intake of vitamin C. So if you’re not, eating things we’re going to talk about in a minute and infections. This is why for a lot [00:30:00] of infections, we’ll use Vitamin C. And the reason is because your immune system starts chewing through it. Number one, it starts chewing through it to make the antibodies and make the interferons.
Number two, it starts chewing through it because the body makes these reactive oxygen species to kill off bacteria. But they can also damage the self. So the immune system knows this, and so the cells will need antioxidants to help prevent excess damage from the immune system, trying to kill off the bacteria.
And so that’s why Vitamin C is absolutely necessary in infections. So what are the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency? Could be scurvy, swollen gums, periodontal disease, periodontal destruction, loose teeth. It can be ulcers in the mouth, increased infections, and increased oxidative stress.
What are the food sources? Uh, Rosehips, chili peppers, time parsley, kale, broccoli, acerola cherries, brussel sprouts, lemons, strawberries, and oranges.
What genes do we look at typically with vitamin C? Well, you can look at all the glutathione genes. GSTM1 GSTP1 GSTT you can look at superoxide dismutase was another gene related to a product that deals with reactive oxygen species.
And there are two genes that you can look at for Vitamin C. They’re not typically done, but the ones that SVCT gene, this is the absorption gene, how Vitamin C gets from the gut into our bloodstream. And then the SLC23A1 gene, which involves the transporter for Vitamin C in the blood.
So for testing, you can look at Vitamin C levels. You can look at levels of cysteine, which is the major rate-limiting molecule in glutathione synthesis. So if your cysteine levels are low, that means your body’s [00:32:00] chewing through it, trying to make glutathione. If your cystine levels are elevated, that means there’s a lot of oxidative stress because cysteine is also an antioxidant, so it can get oxidized into cystine.
And then, you can look at glutathione levels, and you can look at 8-OHdG. 8-OHdG Is, uh, basically a base that’s in our DNA, and it really easily gets oxidized. So if you have high oxidative stress, you have high levels of this base that gets oxidized that you can test for.
So the dose, the RDA is 75 milligrams for women, 90 milligrams for men, you’ll see most products in the range of 500 to a thousand milligrams.
You know, the upper limit that is tolerable for most people is about four grams per day. And that’s because doses higher than that, given orally, can cause a lot of stomach upset. So IV we can give higher doses, for shorter amounts of time. You’ll see that sometimes with severe infections, ARDS, you’ll see that with, um, sometimes in the COVID protocols that were used in China, they were using much higher doses, but that was through IV.
So orally try, you know, two to four grams is probably the upper limit that you’ll be able to tolerate without stomach upset side effects. That’s mainly it stomach upset. Also, you can get flushing, insomnia, headache, and sleepiness. With the mega dosing, and then you want to avoid mega-dosing unless you’re under a physician’s protocol doses higher than that, you know, 2000 to 4,000 range because mega-dosing can paradoxically increase free radical production.
So there are some situations where you would want to do that, for instance, cancer. There are protocols that use high [00:34:00] dose Vitamin C for cancer treatment, but that’s not something you want to do unless you’re under the discretion of a physician. So this has been wellness weekly. Number two. What do you guys think of the format?
Do you like it? What would you change? What would you want added in those or anything else you want me to talk about? Reach out to me, let me know. I kind of liked this format. I’ve gotten some good feedback about it so far, but I love hearing from you guys. Cause you know, right now I’m sitting here in my office just talking to myself, right.
So I need feedback, please, please, please give me feedback on the show. Things you’d like to hear things you think I could do differently. But I appreciate you listening. I appreciate the investment that you’re making in your health. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to me. I really do. I really appreciate it.
And thank you for allowing me to fulfill my purpose. Well, this has been the strive for great health podcast with your host, Dr. Richard Harris. Have a blessed day.
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