Round 2 with one of the Top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole. Today, he shares his opinion on COVID 19, what is known about the virus, what we can do about it at the time being. Dr. Cole explains the importance of immunity for overall inflammation prevention and the key takeaways from his book, "The Inflammation Spectrum."
Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional-medicine expert. Dr. Cole consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders, and brain problems.
Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional-medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is a health expert and course instructor for the world’s largest wellness brands such as mindbodygreen and goop.
[9:51] The impact of COVID - 19
[22:51] The goal of the Inflammation Spectrum book
[27:23] Food sensitivity testing
[35:55] Dr. Cole’s diagnosing protocol
[39:07] Food and diet contributions to anxiety
[46:18] Elimination protocols for inflammation
[50:43] The effects of sleep on inflammation
[52:50] Dr. Cole’s thoughts on the Carnivore Diet
[57:29] Fasting and time restricted feeding
Going Ketotarian with Dr. Will Cole
The Inflammation Spectrum by Dr. Will Cole
Ketotarian by Dr. Will Cole
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
Boomer Anderson 0:06
Welcome to decoding superhuman. This show is a deep dive into obsessions with health performance, and how to elevate the human experience. I explore the latest tools, science and technology with experts in various fields of human optimization. This is your host enjoy the journey. Today we have around two with one of my favorite people doctor Will Cole about all things functional medicine elimination diets, and his new book, the inflammation spectrum. We also do a little bit on COVID 19. But before I go into that episode, and who Dr. Cole is, let’s look at yet another review from you the listener. This one comes from CBINHC welcome information in this gem of a podcast if you’re looking for better improvement in any of all facets of your life decoding superhuman is the podcast for you. Great content, guests and so many other things. CBINHC thank you for the five star review. If you guys are so compelled to head on over to iTunes right away or just after this episode because you’re gonna love this conversation and leave one. Write a little something something and who knows, maybe I’ll read yours on the next show. My guest today is a round two. Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the world, both virtually and in his office, which is not too far from my hometown, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic diseases, specifically things like thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormone dysfunctions, brain problems, and die digestive disorders, say that five times fast. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation, and is a health expert and course instructor for the world’s largest wellness brands such as Mind Body green, and goop, where he is featured on the goop fellows podcast. Dr. Cole came on the show today to discuss a number of different things but given what’s going on in the world right now, I wanted his opinion on COVID 19. We discuss what we know about the virus, what can be done, and what specific lifestyle modifications you may want to adopt during this period. However, this podcast really was scheduled months before COVID 19 became a trending news topic, and we got into his book The inflammation spectrum in detail, specifically how you can identify your individual needs for both food as well as lifestyle modifications through simple questionnaires which Dr. Cole actually provides in his book, I love the way he’s able to explain this. Take it from really complex biochemistry and make it into relatable words. All the show notes on this one are at decodingsuperhuman.com/DrCole2. That’s DrCOLE with the number 2. Enjoy my conversation with Dr. Will Cole. Before will and I get into yet another interesting conversation. Let’s give a shout out to TUSOL wellness because they are up to amazing things in this world. Ingrid and Ilana will soon be on the podcast to discuss this brand in detail. But over the past week, I’ve had the pleasure of carrying around their packets with me which produce these absolutely delicious smoothies and trying times like this or just really any time it’s nice to have a very convenient nutrient dense smoothie available at any given time. If you want to check out their products head over to tusolwellness.com it’s tusolwellness.com. And you can just purchase one because it’s nice to have nutrients at convenience. That’s tusolwellness.com and let’s get on with the show. Dr. Cole, welcome back.
Dr. Will Cole 4:31
Guys, thank you so much for having me. It’s been
Boomer Anderson 4:33
a long time my friend and you’ve been up to a lot a new book, new podcasts. How do you were talking about this before the show but I just want to know like how do you keep all this together?
Dr. Will Cole 4:46
An amazing team. An amazing life. mazing family, you it’s anybody that does? does a lot of work in professionally and needs help. Have a great team around them, oh, maybe not needs but the people that I’ve seen really be impactful, they can’t do it alone. So I’m so grateful for them and everybody but my team’s amazing. Like I mentioned to you most of them had been with me close to a decade. And my day job hasn’t changed. My focus is my patients monday through thursday 8am to 6pm. I’m consulting patients around the world via webcam and providing them a lifeline, functional medicine guidance and getting them labs and access to this amazing field of healthcare that I’m passionate about. So we have we deal with complex cases, we deal with very difficult cases, cases that require a lot of attention and really immerse us to immerse ourselves in them, because they’re not. These are not cases that they’ve this is their first foray in functional medicine. They’ve seen a lot of conventional doctors, they’ve exhausted all those options. So And they’ve seen many people in the conventional sorry, the functional and the integrative and naturopathic world or the, whatever alternative world. So that requires a great team as well. So we have, that’s all kind of stayed the same over the past decade. But all the other stuff that I’m doing is really just an extension of that. So like the books that I would write with a ketoterian, or the inflammation spectrum, both are just extensions on what I’ve seen with patients, even the podcasts, even Goopfellas. I own the only thing I can bring to the table is my insight and to functional medicine. And it’s my years of consulting patients. I think of me being curious and asking questions and wanting to get to the root cause and kind of going past the flufiness, I think has served what I could bring to Goopfellas more because of my experience with patients because yeah, I’m used to asking questions and wanting to dig in deep to the stuff that matters. So that’s what what we get to do on that show.
Boomer Anderson 7:02
So, in terms of quantity of patients, has that gone down at all? Are you still seeing similar quantity?
Dr. Will Cole 7:09
I’m still seeing similar quantity. Yeah, so I’ve been able to keep a good doctor to patient ratio. So we we can’t help everybody and for somebody that is in a good candidate, or where it is too, too much for our patient that we don’t want to have that impact the quality of care. So we would just, we could delay care for some people push them back a little bit, if that’s possible, or you refer them to another great person in functional medicine, but that oftentimes isn’t needed. We definitely delegate and scale appropriately. We have brought more people on the patient team to provide that care. So it is a lot more of an enrichment, experiential. A time for people to immerse themselves in function. No medicine and we the team that we have scaled is the patient team, where I’m still doing all the main consultations. But the in between visits because we run as a concierge functional medicine practice, and anybody dealing with autoimmune issues or chronic health problems will know that the real life happens in when you’re not talking to a doctor. Yeah, so we need to not only be available on the visits, but be in be available for them in between visits. So that’s where the email and phone support because we are seeing patients via webcam really matters. So it is an immersive concierge functional medicine experience. That’s what we have scaled, because we need to because you can’t provide the people the level of care that they need for these complex cases with just being going through the motions or and you can’t do it with one person. Because if I’m in a console where I’m really immersing myself in that case, there’s tons of other patients that need that support there too. So we have a Great patients support team and we have a team meeting every morning. We have deep dives every Tuesday. So we are always refining the cases embedding everything they’re getting and providing them the guidance that they need. It’s very, very important to me because I see really good intentions with other systems. But a lot of things fall through the cracks in other systems not well, not not intentionally. It’s just there’s a lot to manage with these cases. And you need a very thorough net, to be there for them and be a guidance and support system and structure and follow through. Because sometimes the it’s like, set it and forget it with doctors and it’s like very disorganized, I need organization. For my for my own self, my own team, but the patient needs organization to and certainty.
Boomer Anderson 9:51
This is beautiful. And at some point I’m going to pick your brain about this separately offline because as I think about how to structure my own this amazing to me. I want to go down some of the typical patients that you see. But just given all of these right now, I think there’s something I wanted to touch on first COVID 19. And I haven’t really delve deep into it on the show because, you know, getting the right people is key to me. But how do you look at this? Because I’m sure you get the question from your patients all the time. How do you look at this in terms of what we know what we don’t know? And then is there any kind of general rules of thumb people should be following other than they should have been healthy in the first place?
Dr. Will Cole 10:36
Yeah, we live in definitely interesting times. And you know, it’s if you look throughout human history, and the last I mean, in 2009, I guess with H1N1 that kind of is along the same lines. We saw the writing on the wall that this was just a matter of when not if it was going to happen and then you go back to 1918 with the Spanish flu and It looks like I mean, we know a lot more about how virus is spread and measures we can take when compared to 1918. So I would encourage people to maybe look at what was done in 1918. And the world is resilient. I mean, we went, we went through 1918 with the Spanish flu pandemic. And we’re still resilient. And we move through that. And that was, in many ways, far worse statistically, at this point, comparing that to COVID 19.
What I would say is, you know, we have to just be we have to be smart, and I think that the measures that the countries are taking at this point again, as we’re recording right now, things may have changed Of course, the week, but at this point, I think the measures of blunting the the transmission curve is a good thing. And I would rather us look back on this and say we overreacted and under reacted to decrease but unlikely 1980s which was largely impacting guys, people, young people in their 20s to 40s. This seems to be for the most part, impacting elderly people and impacting people that are immunocompromised. So not that that makes it any better, but it’s just a different beast. It’s impacting different people, and what it seems like at least this time around, if you are healthy, you the chances are actually quite low compared to 1918. And I think the social distancing is smart. I think supporting a healthy immune system is smart. Like you said that the best thing we can do is have a healthy Foundation, because it seems like things like smoking, which really impacted men in China. Obesity is a risk factor. People with immune compromised ation is a risk factor. And old age is a risk factor. So the things we can control, we can’t change our age. And you can’t necessarily if someone is on, you know suppress interest has some horrible algorithm, they can’t necessarily change that right now. But the things we can control is being the healthiest we can be and change controlling the things we can control. So that, obviously, with the advice of washing hands having, I think, if anything, this is how to help the West, be a little bit cleaner. As far as how the things we take for granted that these, this can be a really great way to blunt transmission of the virus. But yeah, eating a nutrient dense diet, taking care of yourself. Moving being as healthy as you can be, these are all practical tips that people can do to have these mild to moderate cases. Where are you seeing and I think without a doubt, as testing becomes more available, and as time goes down, you’re going to see that fatality rate dropped from what the World Health Organization is saying around 3%. The fatality rate come down closer to one or under 1% because I think my opinion, I think and maybe caveat all those If I am not a global health expert, I’m not an epidemiologist, but I’m looking at the stats out there, I’m looking at the data. And all I can bring is my functional medicine perspective. But when you compare this to other things throughout history, as more people are attested, you’re going to see these numbers come down. Because I really believe that there are a lot of cases out there that are mild to moderate, that have been going on for a lot longer than what they even think. And we are just aware of it now. We’re seeing it now. And we are these numbers are skewed because most of the people that are being tested are these people that are immunocompromised and elderly. So again, good that we’re taking these measures, it’s good that the world is waking up. And I posted this on Instagram the other day, and I really think that in anything we can learn the silver lining in this is that I really feel that we are a part of nature. We’re not separate from it and the nature is teaching us something right now. Nature is teaching us that we are not separate from her And we need to be respectful and be mindful of this and we need to be good stewards of the planet and you when you look at what’s happening, I’m we’re all this what researchers are kind of looking at out of Wuhan with these wet markets and how the animals are treated in those markets. And the fact that SARS and MERS and now this are all coming out of these sort of really not good places when it comes to cleanliness. And and I think that that’s the biggest thing we could learn is how are we doing things as a planet, not just in China, but globally, that’s unsustainable, and we need to do something different to see something different. So hopefully, there’s some positive things that come out of this and we can kind of reframe, I saw a meme recently it said, Mother Earth told us all to go to our rooms. And it’s kind of wait, we’re all being
told basically to slow down and reassess things and allow things to recalibrate, because we have the the the standard influence the actual flu. pandemics happen and then it comes down and it lives in us. It’s more of a homeostasis. Yeah. So there’s going to be a homeostasis when it comes to COVID 19 as well, I mean, epidemiologist estimate that most of us are going to get strands of it, many of us won’t have symptoms, and that’s how nature works. And so that’s, that’s ultimately my thoughts on it. What I’m focusing on with my patients is what could I do to support their immune system through this and what can I do to help their mental emotional components of all of this to stress it anxiety through it all? Because context matters, and I think I’ve I can be a sounding board, but also a rootedness for them to give them context because we live in a day and age that 1918 didn’t have access to social media. Do endless scrolling news, where it is feeding this hysteria beyond the facts. And that’s not healthy. You know. And I think that that if I can create a soundness and a place of peace and calm through this storm, is that’s what I’m trying to do for my patients.
Boomer Anderson 17:17
And you mentioned you’re working with your patients, both from a nutrient standpoint, but also from this mental physical standpoint. If I, the nutrient standpoint, I understand that’s bespoke and I don’t necessarily want you to go down that route. But on the mental physical standpoint, aside from being a soundboard, are there basic practices that people can have, like is meditation, the right habit to pick up or is there other other, you know, tools in the toolbox that people should have during these times?
Dr. Will Cole 17:46
I would say one at this point where we’re at is, is pick up a book like read this disconnect from social media. I mean, we’re, I’ve always said this even before this pandemic, but Social media and technology and the internet is a double edged sword. It’s an amazing way to connect people but it also is a source of stress and anxiety and social isolation in many ways where people are connected but more disconnected like ever before. So, I would say, read a book, be sit in silence be find activities in your house that find that bring you joy. Get out in nature, you know it that is social distancing, you’re not going to be around people that go through the woods and walk and allow nature to ground you and bring you presents and heal you. I mean, the research coming out of South Korea and Japan as far as forest bathing and the impact it can have on stress hormones, lowering inflammation, helping the immune system, different mechanisms of the actual essential oils from the forest being therapeutic and calming people’s stress levels. So that’s one thing that I would say to do that and the other one is social social distance, but also stay connected. So use the benefits of technology to FaceTime or Skype like we’re talking now on zoom or, you know, call someone on the phone, you know, that old fashioned thing, just calling them people still
write a letter as long as the Mail’s, though going, Yeah, something like that, that just to stay connected.
But allow this time to pass and to come and go, and it’s going to pass it’s going to pass and we just need to be rooted in this moment and use it as a meditation practice really, of non resistance of acceptance, non judgement. So, I would say another thing to do is make sure you’re sticking to a schedule if you are socially isolated. If you aren’t, if you are at home, stick with the schedule. Don’t just lay around and binge watch TV all day long. Don’t go you need to find a routine, because routine can create a stillness and structure and stability for you. It’s good for people’s mental health, but still give yourself grace and lightness. You know, if you want to watch more TV, do it then. But ultimately, I think the foundation should be, have a structured aspect to it that works for you. And move move your body if you’re inside. If you’re not able to get outside, move your body, find an exercise routine that works for you. Eat well, these are foundation things people should be doing anyways, but it’s even more of a reason to do it now. But there’s a lot of free content online as great meditation apps like calm and headspace and many other ones. And it’s great you YouTube videos that people can do for meditation and exercise, utilize that. And basic like things everybody else is talking about washing your hands and being smart with that and supplements that I brought into my life and I’m recommending for people to consider to look into would be things like upping vitamin C content by upping zinc content or being fat soluble vitamins like a and d and K two, these are all immuno regulatory things that really help the immune system to be resilient to be able to do what it’s designed to do, which is to fight off viruses, and to put them into remission. So those are all things that are practical that honestly I do anyways, but it’s even more of a reason to focus on that and to not be lacs and miss things here and there. I think that a lot of this that those nutrients that I just mentioned can come from food. Now just focusing on foods are inherently rich with these nutrients.
Boomer Anderson 21:42
My one hope, and this may be just what I look at in terms of is been taken from the grocery store. May be this may be a far fetched hope, but my hope is that people start to take more of a proactive approach on their health based on this and I mean, you mentioned it earlier that this may be Mother Nature fighting back but in a way we’ve the signs are on the on the scoreboard, we need to do a little bit more about our health that we are currently. And I’m hoping that in the aisles of my grocery store, as I’m sure with yours are kind of a little bit empty right now. And the things that have been removed are the gluten containing products, but I hope that there’s this transition into a healthier lifestyle going forward.
Dr. Will Cole 22:31
Yeah, me too. Me too. I really think we could come out of this more resilient, and smarter and wiser and we all had a wake up call. Yeah, I on a macro level and on a personal level, I hope that we had a good healthy wake up call, and how we do do life personally and globally.
Boomer Anderson 22:51
I want to transition into the book because that was the original reason for the podcast before all this news broke the inflammation spectrum and one of the firt one of the best quotes that you give in the intro was there’s no Switzerland of food. And I’m going to steal that in some sort of presentation in the future. I will quote you, but can you explain what you mean by that? I want to interrupt this knowledge dropping podcast with Dr. Will Cole to talk about something that I love so much that I made my parents buy one saunas. They’re great for recovery in certain instances. They’re great for detoxification in other instances, and they just sometimes feel really awesome. I got really excited about this product from clear light, so much so that I made my parents buy one. If you want to get a clear light sauna, head on over to clear light saunas.eu if you’re in the EU, or over to clear lights website in the US and use the code Boomer And then we’ll get you a nice little discount on top of whatever sale that they’re offering on any given time. But, again, I love this thing so much that I made my parents buy one, and I think that speaks a lot to the quality of their products. Speaking of quality, let’s get back to this episode with Dr. Cole.
Dr. Will Cole 24:19
Yeah, and I’ve been saying that for a long time, actually, and like in other articles and things, but it’s funny that you got my strange play on words, you know, there’s no,
Boomer Anderson 24:31
I enjoy it right like history free.
Dr. Will Cole 24:36
There’s no neutral food. There’s nothing that food is instructing or biochemistry. And actually, this is my wife and I were talking about this last night with a friend like the inflammation spectrum even more now than ever. I think the message of it’s really important for the human immune system, because inflammation is a product of the immune system. So when you’re dealing with chronic inflammation, and honestly, we When you look at the people not to bring it back to COVIT again, but they are the over immune reactivity for some people’s lungs, like some people’s immune systems already stressed out, and then you put a virus in there and it triggers this hyper inflammatory immune response. And then what’s really getting them is the lung over the actual consumption of the immune system overreacting and causing viral pneumonia, and then they die from that. So we have to be ultimately mindful of what the immune system is designed to do. And creating a stable, balanced, logical immune system where it can fight off the virus or fight off the bacteria, whatever you’re talking about in life, it can come back down. many people’s immune systems are already taxed and then have something like a virus can trigger that instead of over the edge, and they can’t rebound from it. So what I’m discussing in the inflammation spectrum is how every food Do we eat either feeds inflammation or fights it, it balances the immune system or imbalances the immune system. So we want a balanced immune system. inflammation is not inherently bad. It is it is a Goldilocks principle. We want inflammation to be high when there’s a virus and fight off that virus. But we also wanted to calm down afterwards and not create chronic infections and violent ammonia that lasts forever and be very bad. We want there to be homeostasis in the body when it comes to inflammation and the immune system. So when I said about there’s no Switzerland meal, there’s no neutral food. In the inflammation spectrum. What I’m saying is that every food we eat instructor biochemistry, it’s feeding inflammation or fighting it, and we are all different. So the goal of the book is to find out what your body loves. Yeah, calm inflammation to balance the immune system to have a resilient immune system. So that’s that’s really the message of the book. It’s an exploration of foods to find out how to use food to balance your immune system. But it’s also an exploration of non food things like we just were talking about like stress and you know, social connection and and social media and how these things can bring inflammation or calm inflammation levels to because it’s not just about what you’re feeding your body, it’s what you’re feeding your mind your soul, as well. So that that’s food as well for about chemistry.
Boomer Anderson 27:23
Well, coming from a functional medicine standpoint, and functional medicine is rooted in a lot of testing. But one of the more controversial tests out there is food sensitivity testing. How do you look at food sensitivity testing, both within your own practice, but just more broadly, and then applying it towards a person individualizing their own food plan?
Dr. Will Cole 27:48
Oh, we’ve come a long way. I think there’s some definitely good solid food sensitivity testing out there. There’s a sidebar in the inflammation spectrum I talked about There’s a place for it. But it’s not the gold standard in Clinical Nutrition. It’s not the gold standard in functional medicine. A properly formulated elimination diet is the gold standard at this point. So that’s really what I want people through in the inflammation spectrum, how to do it. What, what type of elimination diet should you do based on your specific case, because we’re all different. And I would say this is where these food sensitivity testing I, there’s a lot of them. You know, I get these tests for intakes for consultations. They’ll give me like the labs they’ve had done in the last year and I’ll get these food sensitivity testing done, and you’ll see a lot of foods come back positive, and a few things happen. One is that they’ve designed their entire diet around this snapshot in time when they got it a year ago at 7am in the morning when they collected the test. And those labs like all labs are snapshots in time. You’re You’re late, you really can’t necessarily just design 12 months worth of eating based off of that one snapshot in time. And when you see a lot of foods being positive, it’s more of a sign of intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome and less to do about that random food that showed up as yellow or red or out of range. So you know, what I when I see that test, My mind goes to, okay, we need to help the immune system and help the gut lining integrity and help to improve gut health overall, which is 75% of the immune system. So to have a healthy immune system, you need to have a healthy gut. And when you see the immune system overreacting to these foods, it’s really more to do with the overreaction of the immune system less to do with that spinach or strawberry or whatever kale that shows up positive on that test, or that nut or that seed or whatever you’re talking about. Um, but I would say this also is that if you went to that lab a different day or a different week, you’ll probably see the foods being different, different foods being positive. So what are you supposed to do readjust your whole life based off of a snapshot in time, so And, and also, those labs can feed into people’s anxiety and stress and orthorexia about what the heck am I supposed to eat, you know, air and ice cubes and like low lectin bark, and they think there’s nothing left in their diet that’s natural, because he’s foods. They’re thinking, Oh my gosh, these foods are causing me all these problems. And I can’t know it’s just that’s that this is not an allergy test. This is a sensitivity or reactivity test. And that’s the other thing too, those words are used so interchangeably and flippantly that people come in and say, Yes, I have an allergy test, and you get it. And it’s an analogy test is an immune mediated test is a sensitivity test or reactivity test, but it’s not an allergy. So they think that they have allergies for all these things, too, which probably isn’t true based off of that lab data. Now, we could run allergy tests to see if that’s separately going on too. But that’s not you can’t base that off of that sensitivity test. So I just think there’s a lot of lack of context, lack of deciphering that lab. And it’s not very practical for most people. Now. There’s actually exception to that rule for somebody who’s cleaned up their diet. They can run a food sensitivity testing later on to see maybe this is two or three foods that they can move their immune system in a better way or removing it for a time while they actively heal their gut. That’s the bigger reason of the problem in the first place. But the other caveat is people that have autoimmunity have specific gluten reactivities whether they’re celiac, or ms, or somebody that has obvious responses to to gluten, which is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt those for those people. I like the cross reactivity lab. This is the gluten cross reactivity lab that I talked about in the book, that those are proteins in these healthy foods that are similar enough in structure to gluten that their immune system for the celiac or the autoimmune person, immune system thinks that egg protein or kingma protein or rice protein or chocolate protein or coffee protein are these gluten free grain proteins are gluten. So it’s as if they had never gone gluten free to their immune system. So that molecular mimicry, that sort of case of mistaken identity, where a person needs to go gluten free, but their immune system thinks that gluten still being consumed on a daily basis because of these cross reactive foods, that test is appropriate. So there are certain tools that you can use for and glean information with these diagnostic, but I don’t think that everybody should just go get food sensitivity testing. So that’s sort of my my long winded opinion on that. And that’s why I talked about it in the inflammation spectrum. So people can kind of find out how to actually do it in a more cost effective way. They don’t have to buy the test for this, they can actually find out what their body loves
Boomer Anderson 32:44
a lot cheaper. And, you know, I have the audio book in the PDF download that you have with the audio book takes people through a quiz and I love that. One of the areas that you kept mentioning was the presence of leaky gut or intestinal permeability, what percent Have people would you say that come into your clinic or see you virtually have intestinal permeability? Because I’ve heard numbers that are absurdly high or, you know, people kind of like to take the middle of the road approach.
Dr. Will Cole 33:14
Yeah. And I would venture to say that, again, I’m seeing not the average person. I’m seeing a lot of people with autoimmunity. I’m seeing a lot of people with chronic inflammatory problems impacting their brain like anxiety, depression, fatigue, seeing a lot of hormonal problems and digestive problems. So my patient base is really skewed people that research were pointing to having higher rate of intestinal permeability. So I see it pretty often, but I’m not I don’t know, the average American. Most people in our space would probably say most Americans have some level of intestinal permeability. And I think that’s a good assumption to say the majority do I don’t know how much do but my patient base is very, very common, because I’m dealing with people but if you look The studies like Alessio, Fasano, and the people that are really looking at this, they almost would say that some level of intestinal permeability is a precondition for things like autoimmunity. Yeah, and this larger autoimmune inflammation spectrum that I talked about in the book where there’s silent autoimmunity, meaning if you ran labs, you’d see something’s off but the person feels alright. And then stage two is autoimmune reactivity, meaning they have symptoms, they don’t feel well, but it doesn’t fit all the criteria of conventional medicine. They call it a full blown autoimmune disease. By the time somebody is diagnosed with autoimmune disease, you have to have significant destruction of certain parts of your body for mainstream medicine to call it what it is. So Addison’s disease for example, autoimmune adrenal disease requires 90% destruction of the adrenal glands. And as celiac disease you have to have but 70 or more percentage destruction of the myelin sheath or the lie of the gut, whatever you’re talking about, for connection Internal Medicine say, Hey, we caught it on an imaging study or this is we see this, this is what it is, let’s label you with this ICD 10, or this diagnosis code if you’re outside the states, so they, but research estimates that four to 10 years prior to that diagnosis is when things were brewing on this autoimmune inflammation spectrum. So that’s really what the inflammation spectrum is about. It’s this no matter where you’re at on the inflammation spectrum, you may not be diagnoseable, even though many of our patients are but there are many people in this middle space where they don’t feel well. They and but they aren’t, they’re told it looks autoimmune or maybe like an anaise positive where they have a family history of autoimmunity or you know it they know it’s inflammatory, but it’s not obviously autoimmune yet. So it’s it’s that sort of space that we we talked to people to, so they can start to calm and do what they can to reclaim their health.
Boomer Anderson 35:55
So just to kind of take us through a time series when you’re working with a patient do they come in With labs before they see you, or are they Is there a thorough intake and discussion? And then maybe you start a protocol for them on leaky gut, and then they go for labs? How does that? How does that look for you?
Dr. Will Cole 36:12
Most of our patients have labs from other doctors, okay? Because, again, we’re normally not their first, like introduction into all of this, but there are some patients that have old labs, you know, and at that point, I don’t require people to have labs for a consultation, because I want to know what labs are even relevant because some of these labs, especially in the functional medicine, space, aren’t covered by insurance. So I want to do a thorough health history to see what’s even relevant for that person to run, because I want to be comprehensive, but still be cost effective and smart and practical. So I can fine tune through a comprehensive health history during that consultation to see okay, what’s the most relevant labs for you? So we’re not shooting in the dark and and, like without talking to somebody at length, I don’t know what laptop should be having for court consultation. So that’s it. Something that we need to really value more. And something I really respect is a really thorough health history and asking a lot of questions and being curious kind of earlier what I’ve said, with you know, how that’s informed me with different other things other than seeing patients is that just to be a good practitioner, you need to be curious and hold space for somebody that’s going through a heavy things. So that’s the what I call the duality of functional medicine. There’s the science of it, like really knowing your stuff clinically, but then there’s the art of it. And that’s holding space for somebody. That’s the space in between words, it’s seeing little looks in their eyes or the way the tone of their words and language that they’re using. Yeah, body language. It’s and we’re seeing patients online and it’s you’re not even in the room with them to feel that energetically. But you just know you’ve kind of refined that art over the past 11 years for me, but just to know where we should go, so that health history conforms. Okay, this lab and This lab in this lab would be good. This is the next step. So to answer your question, I don’t need new labs to get started. I want a good health history to get started. And the good health history will say, Okay, this lab, this lab and this lab work. Now, if there are some people with labs that are recent, then of course, I’ll use them too. Oh, cool. You had this lab done like four months ago, let’s, let’s use that. But I don’t always have that. So I have to kind of start with a health history.
Boomer Anderson 38:26
Known to compare sort of your elimination diet versus some of the others out there can think of like whole 30, for instance, or there’s that classic book and I have it over here called the elimination diet, right? whereby you eliminate so many foods for a very long period of time, but you give a very thorough survey for people to start to identify which types of foods to eliminate. I would love to just take people through just because of the I know the listener base here. We can take them through just sort of an example. Maybe Real Time have sort of characteristics. Would that be okay?
Dr. Will Cole 39:03
Yeah, sure. Yeah. So yeah. I don’t know if you want to Yeah.
Boomer Anderson 39:07
Well, I guess knowing the listener base, there’s a lot of driven people are listening to this and driven ambitious people tend to have that characteristic of anxiety. Right. And foods that may contribute to that anxiety. I’d love to hear just sort of your thoughts, because I know one of the quiz sections is neurological. So can we just go a little bit through that?
Dr. Will Cole 39:35
Yeah, specifically around brain health or Yeah, please, that’d be good. anxiety. And so yeah, I started the book out with a quiz. And the quiz is adapted from questions that ask patients actually that health history that I just talked about. So it’s really just, I just formulated the quiz to be user friendly. So they can go through the seven main sections of the inflammation spectrum as I see it. This is all sort of just my mind. Mental invention, but this is a very is anybody in functional medicine will kind of say okay, yeah, that is what we see. So the gut, the brain and the connection between the two hormones, blood sugar regulatory system, detoxification system, musculoskeletal system if I didn’t say that autoimmunity is a separate entity, and then the eight section is the interconnectedness of the seven or the what I call Polly inflammation, inflammation in one area can be get a ripple effect of inflammation in another area. So like, for example, inflammation in the gut can beget inflammation in the brain or vice versa, this sort of bi directional relationship between the gut and brain. So once people take that quiz, they can find out where am I on the inflammation spectrum, meaning how high or how low is inflammation seemingly to be in my body. This obviously isn’t a lab, which is this more definitive, but this is subjectively telling you which questionnaires are Very helpful in health, it’s there very good metrics to gauge improvement. So we are looking at subjectively the data as far as where your inflammation levels are. And then more importantly, where or I shouldn’t say more importantly, but also importantly, is where inflammation levels are being impacting or impacting you the most. So to use your example of the brain, most people think of mental health as separate than physical health but in the functional medicine, the way that we see it and way research is now pointing to is in confirming how we see it is that mental health is not separate separate from physical health. Mental health is physical health. Our brain is part of our body. We cannot separate it, separate it as some separate thing. You know, Dr. Ayman, Daniel Ayman said it best couple weeks ago when I was talking him. He said psychiatry is the only field of medicine that doesn’t look at the Oregon it treats it like that. But like we think of just this mental health thing, well, no, our brain is being impacted by this. So it’s amazing research coming out looking at the micro glial cells, the brain’s immune system, as a component to mental health. So and as a field of research referred to as the cytokine model of cognitive function. cytokines are pro inflammatory cells, micro glial cells are really what researchers are looking at at being this sort of triggered inflammatory response and looking at anxiety and depression and fatigue and brain fog, all and a DD ADHD and autism too. And having these neuro inflammatory responses and how that microglial cell in balance going back to immune balance, in balance, the micro glial cell checks on your neurons, checks on your on your brain and cleans things up very nicely. But when it’s triggered, when there’s an out of balance, inflammation out of balance, that microglial cell starts to actually kill neurons. And creating this neuro inflammatory cascade that is linked to all these mental health issues that I just mentioned. So food is a modulator of inflammation again, so every food we eat, like I mentioned earlier brings inflammation up, bring inflammation down. So we want to look at these foods that researchers point researchers point to as potentially causing inflammation in some people, but we’re all different. So I want the person to do their own and have one experiment say okay, what foods work for me? Not because some guy says it in a book, but just do their own food experiment and see what works for them. And what people will find is you know it, depending on their quiz score, we talked about the core four foods, which are grains, added sugar, high omega six oil, industrial seed oils, like canola oil and vegetable oil and dairy. And we have a nuanced conversation in the book. So we talked about grass fed versus, you know, not grass fed, a two versus a one casein, we get really nitty gritty In the reintroduction stage, but for all intents and purposes, I’m just lumping that together. Same with grains we talked about sprouted and we talked about organic and not gluten free non gluten, but we’re just keeping it simple in the beginning. But, and then the eliminate track is the core four plus four more. So those are people that scored higher on the inflammation spectrum quiz. So you do the core four plus, you remove for more foods because your inflammation levels are higher and the intervention is going to be higher. So that’s adding in nightshades, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, goji berries, white potatoes, nuts and seeds, lagoons and eggs. Especially they eliminate that for more above the core four foods, all of those are healthy foods, but like generally speaking, right, they’re not inherently bad. They’re all from the earth or I there’s many people that do find that those foods, especially if they’re properly preparing them, but we’re all different and what I want the reader define is May they maybe they do a bit and five of those foods or not Maybe they do with beard with six of the threads but not too but removing those foods will dramatically change inflammation levels in their body, and in turn, be lowering that bucket of inflammation that’s impacting their brain to use as an example, but that could impact hormones and gut and their muscles and joints and all these different systems in the body. Because the albumin in the egg white, the casein and the dairy, the lectins and phytates in the in the lagoons, and the nuts and seeds and the grains. All of these can be problematic the alkaloids in the nightshades. So all of these compounds can be problems for some people because of this intestinal permeability that’s going on. So we’re actively healing the gut, we’re lowering inflammation. And then we’re removing this for for foods for four weeks for core four, and removing the eight foods or eight weeks for eliminate and then we have that systematically introduction, which is just based on functional medicine principles of what how to lean into from the statistically the most
obviously, the least problem Romantic ones to the most problematic ones. But that’s generally and of itself because you may find that the some of the low problematic ones are problematic for you. And the least problematic or the most problematic one sorry, are not problematic for you bio individuality. So this is the system that I’m teaching in the book.
Boomer Anderson 46:18
Do you find eight weeks to be enough for most people to eliminate or because you hear elimination protocols sometimes lasting out to a year before you reintroduce? is eight weeks enough for most people or if they are severely inflamed? Does it have to be longer
Dr. Will Cole 46:34
enough for people to get an answer on the reintroduction? Gotcha. It’s not enough to get everybody to where they need to go health wise. So it’s and that’s a really a deep conversation that I have in the book is like look this this because if you’re bringing a food back in after eight weeks, you have no problem doesn’t mean that you can’t have that food forever. You may have just reintroduced it too soon. Yeah, and that’s a conversation I have repaid with patients too, but I’m having it with the reader in the book to say like Look like let’s give us more time. So we look at the data of showing that gastrointestinal systems, many people that have this higher inflammation levels require 18 to 24 months for some people to really get to the place of their maximum resilience. And that could be, you know, 70% better than they used to be, or 100% better, but it’s going to take that sort of time to calm things down. Because again, there are many complex, difficult, severe cases out there, of course, and that’s where the quiz is supposed to be sort of a way to see and they can retake the quiz with after eight weeks retest it. Yeah, the quiz. And I would assume the vast majority of them are going to dramatically reduce their inflammation levels, and they’ll be able to see that on the quiz. But they’re not going to be 100% in a week. So that requires maybe more time to give, give that give the system more time.
Boomer Anderson 47:50
So in a way it can be run like the MS q where your promise 10 questionnaire where you’re taking it every month and just seeing how that person is checking in, right totally. That’s great. While you’re doing these elimination protocols are you doing adding on additional supplements in order to heal the gut? Like, for instance, glutamine you hear tossed around a lot. And these conversations, are you adding additional supplements for for your patients as well.
Dr. Will Cole 48:20
So that after that quiz in the book, there’s based on where their focus point is, they have a toolbox. So remember, I mentioned there’s seven sections that I know you know, because you listen to the book, but basically, it maybe you will have a score higher in the brain are higher in the hormones are higher in the gut, you have your own set of supplements to focus on to further tailor and personalize all of this because maybe, you know, for somebody that does maybe there’s still score higher in the hormones at all, well, why would you want to be focusing extra stuff on your hormones? I mean, not that’s gonna hurt you. It’s not but if you’re going to be spending your money and you’re focused on something that’s irrelevant to you. So I’d rather like narrow down Okay, like the gut, my gut score high is a lot higher than the rest of them. I’m gonna really focus on this. And that’s another major principle functional medicine, it’s bio individuality. It’s what’s what’s right for my body. And just because something’s healthy, or real food, or organic or herbal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s appropriate for you. So the quiz can not only say okay, subjectively, whereas inflammation levels in my body, and where should I focus? What levels are the highest, but what are some things I can bring during my elimination diet experience to target the things that are highest in me. So yeah, that’s definitely something we deal with. And then there’s non food components too. So over the four weeks for the core four plan or the eight weeks for little eliminate plan, they will have some non food things to be mindful of. And those are more insidious in a way where it’s like, okay, we’re dealing with foods and pretty straightforward for self experimentation, but not everybody’s gonna have the same non food And flamers. So there’s eight of them in the book, but I want the reader should have grabbed the ones that are the most problematic for them. Because like I say in the book, you could be eating really healthy foods. But if you’re serving your body a big slice of stress every day or toxic relationship with social media or you’re not getting enough sleep, that those are going to be inflammatory too. So that I want them to pick these non food employers to and say, okay, not just going to do about food and realize these non food things are in some for some people, bigger modulators of their biochemistry more than food. But obviously, it starts with food because everybody’s eating, but I want people to grab these non food and flamers too, because those are also very powerful modulators of their health
Boomer Anderson 50:43
is one of the more I’m assuming just because you’re in the United States. I know you see people around the world, but statistics on sleep in the United States are pretty horrific. Is that a pretty common one among people, they just don’t sleep very well.
Dr. Will Cole 50:56
Yeah, it is the quality and the quantity of sleep is really I’m poor, and we just don’t respect it very much. I mean, we just it’s almost like it gets in the way in many ways and people will say like, I just lovely, I guess you could sleep, but they don’t really give it the the value and the respect that it needs. It’s almost like this thing that comes as an afterthought. Everything else. Yeah, I know, setting themselves up for restful restorative sleep,
Boomer Anderson 51:24
you and I grew up with, you know, some of these rappers coming out with like, sleep is the cousin of death. Right? And, you know, it’s it’s just funny because I used to train that in my mind that hey, I only needed four hours of sleep. It turns out that probably accelerating that death rate a little bit if I actually follow better advice.
Dr. Will Cole 51:43
Yeah, really bad advice. I think that’s really bad advice. Yeah. So we could just one night a poor sleeps been shown despite high sensitivity c reactive protein, this inflammatory marker one night of poor sleep, let alone this epidemic of sleep disorders and lack of sleep. What’s going on? And that’s the sleep disorder spectrum. There’s a lot of things that can be going on. Is it sleep apnea? Is it too much caffeine? Is it too much sugar? Is it too much stress? Is it too much technology with the blue light impact that’s having, we have to look at what are these sleep impactors, negative sleep impactors, and as they call it, sleep hygiene, I really cultivating and good sleep hygiene practices, which we talked about in the book. We give people practical tools, a lot of low cost or no cost tools to really bring into their life to restore their sleep to help repair their body, their body needs to repair through the night. And there’s micro glial cells that I just mentioned in the brain. It does a lot of pruning and cleaning and etapa g at night. So So allow your body to repair things in a balanced way through the throughout the night. When
Boomer Anderson 52:50
you mentioned your patient base, there are people that come in with autoimmune conditions and one trending diet that has just been fascinating to me. The carnivore diet. How do you look at that as a functional medicine practitioner because you’re abandoning an entire macronutrient but I would love to hear just your thoughts, because you’ve seen some pretty amazing success stories with certain people as well.
Dr. Will Cole 53:16
Yeah, I, you would think my first book keto terian is a mostly plant based ketogenic book, which I know we’ve talked about last time you think what, what’s the author keto terian and then think about the carnivore diet but it’s a tool that I use for people that really need it. It’s a well formulated nutrients carnivore diet for time being it’s not forever and ever Yeah, I doing it for years on so
Boomer Anderson 53:38
you’re not gonna support the three decade carnivore people out there?
Dr. Will Cole 53:42
No. Is that a thing? I
Boomer Anderson 53:45
think there’s there’s a couple people that have been claiming to do it for multiple decades, which, you know, obviously documentation isn’t support it. They don’t have it. But yeah, it’d be interesting. It would be very interesting to see what happens long term on the corner. We’re not.
Dr. Will Cole 54:01
Yeah, look, if it works for somebody if it truly is their biochemistry, it really works for them and labs are great. I don’t think we have any data. I haven’t seen any, that long update on people. But in the short term, I think it’s a necessary intervention for some people. And it is an ultimate elimination diet for a while for people that have these avert crazy food sensitivities, which some of my patients have. You are going to even the core for the eliminate it’s not going to be a strong enough intervention for these people. So you have to go the extra mile and we have this a sidebar at the end of the inflammation spectrum that talks about histamines and salicylates and oxalates and all of the, all these other plant compounds that can be problematic. So those additional histamines, oxalates, salicylates, all these other stuff. Clean well formulated carnivore diet can be appropriate them for the time being and then you have to lean into soft cook pureed foods and bone broth, stews and soups. For a lean back into that, because what my concern with a carnivore diet for the average person long term is that it’s going to cause them to have an overreaction to more foods in the long run. Mm hmm. Is it valid because it’s not going to be sustainable for most people. Look, if you’re a type a 1%, biohacker, like superhero human being, then maybe you can do it a longer period of time, but I would venture to say even though those people aren’t going to do it forever and ever, they may be carnivora adjacent they may be as Paul Saladino calls it co carnivore ish. And I love Paul Paul Saladino is an awesome guy friend of mine, I we have more in common than separate, but I would say for the average person and that’s who I talked to console, I don’t deal with the the people that are just experimenting this for the sake of it’s because they have to do it. So for a while. That can be a time it would be good to calm things down but then you want to reintroduce but If you do it forever for a long period of time, my assumption and not just assumption, what I have seen clinically, is that things that they didn’t have reactions to or they really can’t even digest the simplest of soft cook period vegetable. And it’s similar to me as the vegan that has a problem when they bring me in, they can’t digest meat. Mm hmm. So what do you say to the vegan and they the meat is is they’re having an intolerance to meat? No, it’s their microbiome is shifted, and their hypercolor history or the decreased hydrochloric acid, they’re not even able they don’t have the proper enzymes in the microbiome and that stomach acid to break down these foods. I believe that’s the same thing that’s happened with long term carnivore people. The things they would never had a problem with before. Now they have a problem with more things. And not to say that’s irreversible. There’s like the vegan is able to rebuild and shift their microbiome and HCl production in the weight, digest certain meats. The same thing would happen for a long time. Long Term carnivores, but I feel like what the good out of it is then it’s like more is better? Well, okay, there’s a lack of balance. There’s a lack of middle of the road sort of thing. And I think the truth oftentimes somewhere in the middle is that you can be carnivore ish. You can be carnivore adjacent, if you want to do that, and it’s working for you. But I don’t think an exclusive carnivore diet for a long term is really going to be practical or pragmatic or even desirable for most human beings. Mm hmm.
Boomer Anderson 57:29
Last question before I transition just into the final three, but fasting, how do you layer in fasting with all of this? Do you like time restricted feeding is getting a lot of attention right now? How do you look at that with most clients? Is it better for males versus females? It does it I guess it’s all bio individual, but do you try and guide people towards a certain eating window?
Dr. Will Cole 57:53
So there’s definitely some caveats that men versus women should make over men and I talked about this in Quito. terrian that women tend to have higher levels of leptin, they make make make them more sensitive to caloric restriction and fasting windows. If it’s impacting your cycle. If it’s impacting your your period, then then you want to lean lighter. I’m talking generalities here, but there are some women that have endometriosis or PC o ‘s or insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, those women are going to do better generally speaking with a little bit more fasting more like some guys. So to lump women all in one bracket is not fair because all women have different things just like all men have different things going on with their health. So what’s your starting point? Is the really the, the the question, but I’m a fan of it. It’s just started off low and slow, lean into it. It’s an amazing tool to gain metabolic flexibility. I think it’s wonderful, exciting research around it. But more isn’t always better. You can find a balance and find a grace and a lightness to it. Because my concern with it is if it’s done, you know with good intentions, but it’s done. Like more is better, and we’re just going to fast our way out of this. I feel like it could end then become this disordered eating and binge eating disorder disguised as a wellness practice and orthorexia no type of problem. I don’t think that’s good. But as long as there’s context as a grace and a lightness to it, I think it’s a great tool to have. We don’t have to be super aggressive with it to get some of the benefits that research is pointing to.
Boomer Anderson 59:22
You know, one key message for everybody is that Definitely, yeah, and you keep banging on this is bio individuality. Right is just, we’re all individual. And I love that message. I love that message coming from the book. First, the first of the final three questions. And I told you this before the show, I’m amazed that you’re able to keep this all going and everything. How do you are what’s your top trick for enhancing focus?
Dr. Will Cole 59:52
I would say for me, it’s mindfulness practice. It’s that’s to me that agenesis of a great focus Is day it’s it’s being present with that patient and I’m consulting and really just listening to them holding space for them. Or if it’s just if I’m writing an article, it’s being rooted in that present moment. So it’s present moment awareness is to me the best thing I could do for focus
Boomer Anderson 1:00:19
and present moment awareness. Did you develop that practice by initially reading Eckhart totally or something? Or what? Where’d it come from?
Dr. Will Cole 1:00:27
Yeah, it came from him, okay, that his two books are totally The Power of Now, a new earth, to me are the most like, fundamental human books of just logical living. Because you don’t have to be any sort of one way you don’t have to be any. You don’t even have to be super spiritual. to really say, Okay, this is a logical way of living. So I do practice a lot of his principles just on a daily basis, and it’s from him for sure. What book has significant impacted how you live your life in you may have just answered. Yeah, the those two books are probably the most like day to day basis. Those to me are the most impactful books for me.
Boomer Anderson 1:01:15
What excites you most about the health world right now?
Dr. Will Cole 1:01:20
I think it’s people waking up to the aspect of bio individuality. It’s the it’s the spectrum. And I think that the reason why I wanted that book title to be inflammation spectrum is because it’s not just inflammation that exists on a spectrum. It’s humanity exist on a spectrum. So I think that just looking at these tools that we have, and picking up the tools that work for you sustainably. And to me, that’s like the the coolest thing that I see people waking up to. Yeah, so that’s what I’m excited about
Boomer Anderson 1:01:55
measuring. Dr. Cole, where can people find out more about you?
Dr. Will Cole 1:01:59
Everybody can get all the information that DrWillCole.com. That’s drwillcole.com. Same on Instagram @DrWillCole, Twitter, Facebook, all those places. Amazing.
Boomer Anderson 1:02:12
Dr. Cole, thank you for taking the time round two. And I really appreciate catching up with you as always and yes at some point I’m going to seek your advice on how to structure my content, my consulting practice, but yeah,
Dr. Will Cole 1:02:23
anytime I’m here. Thanks so much for having me.
Boomer Anderson 1:02:26
Appreciate it till the superhumans listening out there have an epic day. I want to let you guys in on a little secret. Dr. Cole and I talked for so long that he was late for his next consultation. He was extremely generous with his time and I’m very sorry for his patient. But I love the knowledge that he dropped in this podcast, inflammation, elimination diets, how to individualize your elimination diets and the bio individuality of it all. It’s a beautiful thing. The show notes for this one are decoding superhuman comm slash Dr. Cole and head on over to Amazon or you can even click the link in the show notes and pick up Dr. Cole’s new book the inflammation spectrum, as well as his old book keto terian which is still one of my go twos. Thank you super humans for tuning in. Have an absolutely epic day. And if you got anything out of this, share it on the social media
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