The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode # 75 - Joel Greene
Joel is the creator of The VEEP Nutrition System, the world's first commercially available program based on targeting gut communities to affect health and body composition. His system has been used by some of the nation's largest employers, including major cities and hospitals and featured on Dr. Phil Show storylines. Joel is also a featured author, speaker, and consultant for nutrition companies, top tier publications, and major podcasts. Beginning with the first article on the gut biome revolution to the health and fitness community written in 2007 he has amassed the largest known body of outcomes targeting the gut biome. He is the author of The Immunity Code: The New Paradigm for Real Health and Radical Anti-Aging.
Joel has devoted over 50 years to the pursuit of health, nutrition and anti-aging. He was training intervals in the 1970's, taking MCT's in the late 80's, Keto in the early 90's and targeting AMPK by 2009. At age 55 he is a 100 percent natural athlete and uses no ergogenic aids while working out on average once per week and eating whatever whenever.
Joel has built two previous multi-million dollar companies in the tech space and been an entrepreneur for over 30 years. His own experiences building a startup with 15 hour days and non stop pressures led him to see that 99% of the popular advice does not translate into real world circumstances. He has devoted over 15 years to solving the problem of finding how to control the body under real life pressures.
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instagram - @realjoelgreene
1:55 - IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group For A Weekly Episode GIVEAWAY, And To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!
2:05 - Follow Melanie On Instagram To See The Latest Moments, Products, And #AllTheThings! @MelanieAvalon
2:25 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Shop At Beautycounter.Com/MelanieAvalon For Something Magical! For Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beautycounter Email List At MelanieAvalon.Com/CleanBeauty! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
4:35 - FOOD SENSE GUIDE: Get Melanie's App To Tackle Your Food Sensitivities! Food Sense Includes A Searchable Catalogue Of 300+ Foods, Revealing Their Gluten, FODMAP, Lectin, Histamine, Amine, Glutamate, Oxalate, Salicylate, Sulfite, And Thiol Status. Food Sense Also Includes Compound Overviews, Reactions To Look For, Lists Of Foods High And Low In Them Plus The Ability To Create Your Own Personal Lists, And More
7:20 - Joel's Background
17:45 - Maintaining Health And A Lean Body
20:35 - Reductionism
21:30 - Long Term Effects of Fasting
23:30 - Fasting, Sleep And Leptin
24:10 - Language and Perception
24:40 - What is Fasting? Is It Starvation?
25:00 - The Reponses Of Food Cessation Over Time
25:45 - ADF and Alzheimer's Disease
27:25 - Leptin Serum Levels During Fasting
28:35 - Min/Max The Benefits of Fasting
31:05 - OMAD and sleep
32:10 - What, When, and how?
34:50 - How things really work, and what really happens.
36:50 - The microbiome, how do you jump in?
42:10 - baby-stepping in
43:40 - using amino acids
46:00 - pH In The Colon
48:55 - SELF DECODE: Get All Of Your Nutritional Questions Answered With Self Decode's Comprehensive Genetic Reports! Go To MelanieAvalon.Com/Getselfdecode For 10% Off With The Coupon Code Melanieavalon And Don't Miss A Thing By Signing Up For Melanie's Private Email List At MelanieAvalon.Com/EmailList!
51:20 - supplementing probiotics
54:10 - supplementing butyrate
57:05 - Dry Needling
59:45 - Apple Skins
1:01:45 - Establishing immunity in the gut
1:03:20 - Dendritic Cells
1:07:15 - aging and energy
1:08:15 - red phenols
1:08:45 - DRY FARM WINES: Low Sugar, Low Alcohol, Toxin-Free, Mold-Free, Pesticide-Free, Hang-Over Free Natural Wine! Use The Link DryFarmWines.Com/Melanieavalon To Get A Bottle For A Penny!
1:11:10 - "Fitness fantasy"
1:13:15 - Using carbohydrates
1:14:15 - bacterial guilds
1:16:30 - Nitrogen Partitioning
1:19:20 - high protein intake
1:22:00 - "medicating" cortisol with carbohydrate
1:23:10 - seasonal rhythms
1:23:40 - weekly rhythms
Melanie Avalon: Hi friends, welcome back to the show. I am ridiculously excited and filled with anticipation about the conversation that I am about to have. Little backstory for listeners. Well, first, I will say, this is the first time in the history of this show, where I haven't even had the episode or the conversation yet and I already told the guests or asked the guest, if we could go super long and make it a two-part episode because that's how much incredible life-changing information is in this man's work. Guys, get excited. This is part one, I will split it up, there will be a part two.
But backstory. I don't know when it came out. I don't remember exactly when it was, but I heard this guest on Ben Greenfield show. me of the things that he was saying just really blew my mind. I knew I had to read his book ASAP, and try to get him on the show. I got the book, it is called The Immunity Code: The New Paradigm for Real Health and Radical Anti-Aging.
Friends, I feel I often describe adjectives to the different books I read, but literally, I am not making this up. I think this was the most mind-blowing book I've ever read in my entire life. I read it slowly over quite a few weeks. As you guys know, I'm also the host of the Intermittent Fasting podcast. In the beginning of that show, like every single week, I was sharing all of the things I was learning. I was like, “Oh my goodness, I just learned this and I just learned this.” Prepare yourself for paradigm shifts for things that you probably had no idea where potentially happening in your body. Just get really excited because I am really excited. I am here with Joel Greene. Joel, thank you so much for being here.
Joel Greene: Thank you. Thank you so much, Melanie, I'm excited to do this. It's going to be great.
Melanie Avalon: It's going to be so great. We had some technical difficulties, but here we are. We're good to go now. A little bit about Joel. He is the creator of the VEEP Nutrition System, which was actually the world's first commercially available program based on targeting gut communities to affect health and body composition. He's been a featured author, a speaker, and a consultant for nutrition companies, for a lot of publications, other podcasts. His work has been featured on the Dr. Phil Show a few times. that's pretty, pretty cool. He has a really cool personal story himself, which I learned all about in his book. Maybe that's actually a good place to start for listeners.
Would you like to tell listeners a little bit about yourself about your own history because reading your book, it sounds, not like me, but I feel I've been doing a lot of the things that are becoming really popular now, like I've been doing them for quite a while, but you've completely surpassed that. You've been doing all the things forever. Would you like to tell listeners a little bit about yourself, and what led you to where you are today, and especially releasing The Immunity Code?
Joel Greene: I guess the best way to describe it is my history is just the history of the future for most people. It's really the road that we're all on as consumers. What happens if you play things out long enough to the majority of things that most of us think are going to solve the problems that we want solved, and that's been my road, and it's the road most people are going to find themselves on. It has a lot to do with reality versus fantasy and how things actually work in the body versus what we're told. I always get asked a lot like, “How did you learn all this stuff? Where'd you get all this?” The answer was just really a necessity because I had for years been doing prescriptions, things that were prescribed by experts, and I would do those things. I do those things for years on end.
I always noticed the same pattern, and it's the same pattern you see with the administration of just about anything in the body, where you see a short-term list of benefits, all great, and you think it solves your problem. Then long term, you actually see the reverse. You see problems long term. That's just true of most things, most things that people are going to do and those things really pile into much larger trends we'll talk about today.
For me, it started at a very young age, just being a Jack LaLanne acolyte. Like a lot of people now who follow other people, maybe people who-- or even kids right now following Instagram stars, it just started that way. I tried everything over decades, and I was the prototypical consumer for the mainstreaming of bodybuilding from the 70s and 80s, starting with Wieder and then moving into Bill Phillips, and all that. Along that road was, what you would call time-restricted feeding, intermittent fasting, what you call paleo, what you call fresh, raw, whole, just macro feeding, just about everything you can think of. It really began with me with time-restricted feeding in the early 90s and kind of understanding and MCTs and ketos. A lot of people don’t know this, but keto really made its first appearance in the early 90s with Bodybuilding Federation headed up by Vince McMahon, where they put everybody on keto diet. The mainstream bodybuilding community was just laughing their butts off the whole thing because everybody showed up to what appeared to be out of shape, except for Gary Strydom.
During that period of time for me, it was a lot of learning, a lot of exploration, a lot of reading, doing things that were prescribed by very popular people. I was eating one meal a day in the evening, I was taking MET-Rx when I was hungry during the day, I was very low body fat, probably 4% or 5%, look great. Everybody wanted to know my secret, blah, blah, blah.
About year five, I just started eating out of control, which is ironic, because I get a lot of people coming to me nowadays going on, “Ah, I’ve been fasting for so long, and I can't stop eating. What's going on?” It led me down a path primarily as a consumer to try and understand what I had done. In early 2000s, I had this website, and I was posting articles, just trying to try to make sense of new research coming out. All of this led me into this culmination about year 30 of just “doing the fitness paradigm” where I was not in fitness, not paid to be fit, I was in the real-world ecosystem that people live in, for the most part. That's the one where over time you encounter job pressure, family pressure, life pressure, all these different competitors for your time. I went from being super fit to super fat, running a company, during a startup phase, a three-year startup run-up. The net of all of that was I was very disillusioned because I had been a lifetime devotee of “the paradigm,” “the ethos of fitness.” What I discovered was that most of it translates very poorly over time in the real-world ecosystem.
Coming out of that, around 2006, there was one day that was very distinctive in my memory, and I was really thinking a lot about like the last three, four years, I was thinking, “Gosh, what could I have done differently?” I was looking at a play and I just started writing notes, like arrows to the food, like, “Take this, here, then do this now, do that then.” Everything came out of that. I was doing really well in a couple of businesses. My passion project was truth and health, that was what I wanted to do. I started this website. I just wanted to tell truth based on science articles. As I start publishing hundreds of articles, and it was all cutting-edge research. I quickly discovered, at least at that time, no one cared, everybody's wanted to lose weight. I created a software program. A lot of protocols got built into that very early on, things like the gut biome, and based on protocols that I've actually done for myself that were incredibly effective. A couple things happened early on about 2009.
One was that we got a test shot with GNC to see if the thing would sell. It did, it actually sold, so that was fantastic. Then another key shift was not taking it out to the public, but instead making it a corporate wellness offering, and pursuing credibility instead of just trying to make it the next diet program. We went after a really big hospital chain, took about a year to sell them. Very first engagement was all medical professionals. It was doctors, physiologists, people that were really well educated in the science. I learned a lot. I learned a heck of a lot about the real-world ecosystem, because what I was able to see is that some of the most metabolically challenged people and medical professionals, which I've never understood. What came out of that was seen, the ecosystem they live in, is filled with pressure, it's filled with no time, it's filled with these 24-hours, 72-hour shifts, just eating on the go. All of these real-life sort of factors that impinge upon all of us in the real world ecosystem. What came out of that was two things.
One, I didn't do the measurements for that. They had their wellness centers do the measurements. I was apart from the data. The second thing was that it was all medical professionals. We have this fantastic data, like over a year we had these incredible results. We got it all on video. We have all these medical professionals, you can actually see these today as well, where you got nurses and physiologist talking about like, “Man, I can't believe this work like this. This was amazing.” That was the first big testing of the protocols and the technology.
Really accidental thing happened along the way, and it was basically that I have the software and we had these engagements, very large engagements, very large. If you go to transcend.fit, and you look, there's a video on the front, from 2012, you can see like, this was the city of Phoenix and you can see 500 people in a room. We would do flights of 500 people every four hours coming in. I had this data harvesting machine. I was able to subject very large populations to protocols and immediately see the results. What I was doing was, I was always a science junkie, I was in the science reading the bleeding edge research on stuff. I would find something and create a protocol out of it, put it in a system, test it and then within days I could get back and I could see if it worked or not. There was ability to do rapid trial and error on very large populations to see what worked and what didn't.
Out of that came this sort of treasure trove of IP, or rather protocols or things that you're just now hearing about, like circadian rhythms, and targeting incretin proteins for insulin sensitivity and all these cool things came from that. I was able to rapidly just find what worked and what didn't. I had this period of about five years where it was really just more about making things work in the real world, finding what worked, what didn't work on large populations using software to mediate the data. I wasn't really well known because I was in this little niche of corporate wellness and doing very large engagements with entities like the YMCA, big entities like that. It was very contained.
What came out of that was the base alloy of what you read in the book, in terms of realizing that solving the problem of the body had nothing to do with anything that we've been taught, like nothing, absolutely nothing to do for the most part. I would get these conversations with people. I wound up doing some consulting, one of the companies was with Quest. Ron Penna, the founder of Quest, super, super interesting guy, we've had these amazing talks over the years, just on all kinds of things. One of my favorite guys to talk to, we just love to talk about nutrition and pop culture and all kinds of things.
One of the things that came about in one of our talks was talking about refining depletion in order to expand lifespan, and he hadn't heard of it before. I came into class. At that time, Ron was putting together the knights of the roundtable, all these super intellectuals to work on different projects. It was a great, great period for learning. People would ask me and stuff about weight and body fat. I would give this long-winded answer, 30-40 minutes long relating to tissue translocation of macrophages, and blah, blah, blah, all this cool stuff. I guess the point was, like, I got to write a book, because I just can't keep repeating myself. [chuckles] That brings us to today.
Melanie Avalon: I love it so much. Not near anywhere on that level, but that was pretty much the reason I ended up writing my book was because I was just, not tired, because I love sharing the information. It's just nice to be like, when somebody asks you, like, “Here, read this, it's all in there.” Yeah, so many things, because a lot of my listeners practice intermittent fasting. For a lot of people, it can really work magically, for a long time. Maybe it works forever, but then some people seem to, especially with the whole quarantine situation, and rising stress levels, and things like that. I know, especially a lot of our listeners on the intermittent fasting podcast, feel like all of a sudden, they're spiraling out of control and they were able to do this fasting feasting pattern, and now, it seems like their body is just screaming for the feast side of things.
Involved with all of that, because you mentioned for example, how like when you were doing your own personal diet journey, that you are at a point where you're really low body fat, you looked really great. Then something flipped, and you just couldn't maintain that anymore. With all of that, so people who are low body fat, or people who look really great on the outside, or people who seem healthy on the outside, is that possible? What I mean by that is, does it require a certain state that in the long run is going to backfire? What's the connection between appearing healthy, like aesthetically, and like a low body fat percentage versus actually being healthy? How do we maintain that? With intermittent fasting, is it possible that people might be able to do that forever? Or is it going to backfire in the end?
Joel Greene: Let me throw a couple ideas out, and then I'm going to answer your question in park here and then the totality of everything I say today will be the total answer of it. Some ideas to think about. One is that there's two keys, two keys above all others, to get the result you want. You have to do two things. You have to deal with how the mechanisms actually work. Okay, so you have to deal mechanistically with how things actually work. Then the other key is that you have to deal with what really happens over time. Those are the two keys. It just makes sense if you think about it. If you think about it, if you're not dealing with how things actually work, and you're not dealing with what's really true about what happens over time, then over time, you're not going to get the result you want. Makes perfect sense. Your question takes us into time and thinking about time and thinking about the short term versus the long run. We have to begin with this understanding that if you just look over time, at what really happens with most things, you're going to see a sine wave, it's going to start at the top, the top end of the curve and that's all the benefits. Then over time, it's going to invert and you're going to see the bottom end, and that's all the negatives.
The first thing you have to understand is that a lot of time I've been talking about when I called baby talk, which is something that human mind loves to do. The human mind loves reductionism. Reductionism is this idea that we can reduce things to simpler things until we finally get a single thing. Our minds love it. The human mind looks for everywhere. It's a massive, massive problem, because it has nothing to do with the reality of how things actually work. When you look at the body, there's nothing simple about it. Nothing, not one thing. It is the most complex thing I've ever looked at. I've looked at a lot of things in my life. The body is so massively complex that the problem of reductionism is a mental problem. It's trick that our minds want us to jump into. We're always looking for these simplistic answers to extremely complicated things.
When we look at things like fasting, the first thing we have to do is we have to change the words that we're using, because the words program our mind to see it a certain way. You have to just substitute fasting with starvation. Once you substitute the word starvation, your mind is going to give you better answers. When you say, “Well, what's the long-term effects of starvation?” Your mind goes to a very different place from, what's the long-term effects of fasting?
Now, not having food has been around for 1000s of years. It's something the body knows very well and is programmed very well to deal with. That's what fasting is, it's the cessation of food. There are life-altering benefits to the cessation of food. The cessation of food also provokes numerous mechanisms designed to keep you alive. Survival. There's an interesting phenomenon where the more you do it, the better the body gets at keeping you alive, keeping you surviving. I mean, that just makes sense if you think about it, that's just sort of the narrative piece of it.
The practical piece is that long-term, what most people will probably experience long-term, and it depends on how much you do with fasting, is that you're going to see an upregulation and things like leptin. Leptin is very interesting, because it takes a long, long time to upregulate, sometimes years. You get this very long-term effect of leptin, and it's going to drive feeding behavior over time. In other words, the bills not going to come due for a while. If you stop using the word fasting, and just use the word starvation, your mind can connect the dots for you a lot faster. In the absence of food, cessation of food, or the periodicity of food, in the short term, there's benefits. There's lots of benefits to that, that we'll go into today. The long-term is your body doesn't know the word ‘fasting,’ it just thinks you're trying to starve it. The body is really good at 14-hour efforts. The body's very good at keeping us alive.
The short answer here is, there are ways to implement the benefits of fasting without the downside if we begin to think about it, globally, and get away from reductionism. If we get away from reductionism, “Oh, fasting is good. Yay.” If we get away from that, and just objectively look, coming back to how things actually work, you're going to see that, while all the mechanisms that you want to happen from fasting, and they're there during sleep, they're just much stronger, much stronger during sleep, and fasting to disrupt sleep by disrupting leptin. Disrupting sleep, to get the benefits of fasting doesn't make a lot of sense. There are ways to get the same benefits, without disrupting sleep, without disrupting leptin. It brings us into a bigger question, a bigger conversation, and it gets us out of reductionism. That's the laying the foundation for that question. Then, we'll just keep unpacking this as we go along in our conversation here.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, this is so incredible. That was one of the things I loved so much about your book was the appreciation to language and semantics because it can seem like not a big deal, like what we call things or how we're interpreting things, but I am personally obsessed with language. It literally creates how we're interpreting reality, like the way we're putting it into words. All of that, it's just so, so key. To that point, I have some questions about the fasting and what we're calling fasting. If we're substituting fasting with the word ‘starvation,’ what do you qualify as fasting? Is it how many hours without eating? People who are doing like a daily eating window, are they still entering a starvation period? Or does it necessitate a longer fast?
Joel Greene: In your question are elements of diurnal rhythm. Your question touches on 24-hour circadian rhythms. It touches on how food impacts circadian rhythms. It touches on the response to cessation of food over time. Whenever we cease food intake, there's always a response, like short term within an hour or two, you're going to see glycogen level start to pick up just a little bit, trying to get blood sugar up. Then you're going to see glycogen depletion start-- you're going to see things literally from within hours of ceasing food, you're going to start to see things. The only question becomes, what happens as time goes on? Well, there's data that is interesting to look at. For example, there's new data that shows every other day eating, in other words, so you're fasting 24, then you're eating 24, probably promotes Alzheimer's.
Melanie Avalon: So ADF? What people call ADF?
Joel Greene: Yeah. There's data on this, and you can go research that.
Melanie Avalon: What's the primary mechanism of action for the Alzheimer's?
Joel Greene: Well, it has to do with essentially brain metabolism of energy. There is a big cost to burning fat long term. Burning fat long term or feeding fatty acids down to mitochondria long term probably breaks the mitochondria. There's good evidence to show that there's things to be concerned about. The process of pushing fats through OXPHOS, whether through the peroxisomes or through the mitochondria, produces tons of reactive oxygen species. For the cell, any cell, whether those are astrocytes in the brain, endocrine cells, for those cells to maintain redox balance, a number of things have to happen. One of those things we'll touch on later is autophagy where you need clear peroxisomes. One of the ways we can practically clear peroxisomes or initiate autophagy of peroxisomes is through carbohydrate feeding.
Coming into feeding carbohydrates slams the peroxisomes out of OXPHOS, we go back into using glucose for energy and probably initiates autophagy. The way the body's using substrate over time in different tissues is something that it's not as simplistic as we'd want-- again, it's just reductionism, it's not as simple as we want it to be. The answer to your question, then, what do we see when we start ceasing food intake? What window looks good? Blah, blah, blah, all that. The first thing that we see is that we get an alteration in serum leptin levels when we start fasting. Leptin is a hormone that has a very large impact. Leptin and feeding go together. I've said this on other podcasts, but it's good to reiterate here. Intact sleep is the most important thing we can do to preserve our health span or lifespan and keep the body young, intact sleep is number one.
The most powerful effector of sleep cycles are food cycles. I have clients that I coach where I do this with like. We'll just simply shift meal size and meal timing into certain periods of the day, and we can induce sleep, like immediately. I've said this before, it's super easy to prove if it's like, what is it, lunchtime right now? Go eat 6000 calories right now and try and stay awake. It's almost impossible. Sleep cycles and leptin are connected, and so is fasting. The longer we fast, the more we get an alteration serum leptin, the more that disrupts diurnal rhythm. These are just things to think about. There's a short-term effect, there's a long-term effect.
What I've personally done through like in my book, and things that I'm putting out into the world, is mitigating the amount of time that we fast and maximizing the signal strength that produces the benefits from fasting. You get this chicken or the egg thing of like, Is it the fasting? Or, is it the signals from fasting, which is it? To avert large extent, you can make an extremely good argument that it's not fasting, it's the signals from fasting. If you look at like vegan diets, and why they work, they work on certain things. Well, they don't do very well and other things. One of the reasons that they work is they accidentally restrict both leucine and methionine, they accidentally restrict what's called fibroblast growth factor 21-- Excuse me, they accidentally stimulate FGF21. So, you restrict leucine, you restrict methionine, but you get a boost in FGF21. All these things have a very significant impact on the body. You age a little bit slower, and they help with a lot of different things in terms of keeping the body lean. Those are short term benefits. Is it really the vegan diet, or is it the fact that they just accidentally restrict these things? Same with fasting, is it really fasting? Or, is it the signals from fasting?
For me, strategy-wise, I prefer to maximize the signals and the processes and then minimize the time fasting. Which is not to say that every now and then it's not good to do a three day fast or something like that. It's probably a good thing, but just as an ongoing thing over the course of years.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, lot of you're probably familiar, but just in case you're wondering, so methionine and leucine are amino acids found in protein. Correct me if I'm wrong, but methionine tends to be higher in animal-based protein, and vegans tend to be on the lower protein side of things. Just some clarification there. This is so interesting, and it speaks to my heart, I just love all of this so much because on the Intermittent Fasting podcast, my co-host, Gin, so her whole brand, dare I say is like the clean fast. She's all about just drinking water, black coffee during the fast and nothing else. I've always pondered it slightly differently, because it seems to me that if-- it's what you just said, like, it's potentially not the actual fasting itself, it's the signals created from the fasting. It seems like to me if you were taking in substances during the fast that accentuated that signal that that would have the potential to amplify the fast and get bigger bang for your buck in a way. It's just an ongoing debate we sort of have on that show.
One more quick question about fasting, because you're speaking about how fasting and the circadian rhythms, how are starvation, dare we say, disrupt sleep rhythm. What about listeners who are practicing one meal a day, but they're eating in the evening, would that support? I know, it's like a very general question, but would that be more supportive of the sleep?
Joel Greene: Long term, no. It's probably disruptive. But short term, you'll see a lot of benefits from doing that. But essentially, what you're describing is Ramadan fasting. There's a lot of research on Ramadan fasting. Long term, you're probably going to see weight gain on it, like if you study Ramadan fasting. Short term, you'll probably see a lot of benefits. Whenever we're talking about anything, any protocol, we've got to get out of this thing of just wanting to create this reductionistic answer of, “Oh, well, it does this.” Because the answer is, it does this in the short term. In the long term, it probably does something else. That's the answer to that.
Melanie Avalon: Listeners in the book, which you just have to get the book, because there's so much in there, and there's protocols to follow and it's very specific. In the protocols, you talk about the importance of, is it the what, when, and how. It's not just do this and it's not just when you do it, but basically you have to do what, when, and how for everything. I know that that seems very vague. What is the thought there? When we're implementing these different techniques? What do you mean by the what, the when, and the how?
Joel Greene: Yeah, so if you think about it, there's all of fitness, all biohacking is just one question. It's a question that involves what, when, and how. That's really the answer to everything, is whenever you're asking a question, you're asking about something like maybe it's fasting. Then with that, because we are diurnal creatures, there's always a when, and then there's always a how to the thing. What I presented my book is that the idea that the biggest problem we have today is confusion, because you've got all these people who are allegedly experts, and they're all talking completely cross purposes with each other. One guy is saying, “Well, you should do X, Y and Z.” The other guy is, “No, no, no, you should do A, B, C, not X, Y, Z.” You really don't have a mechanism to know who's just completely full of it
What, when, and how is a syntax. It forms the basis of a new way of thinking, that syntax will actually help you to see through everything because whenever you're hearing this like polarized reductionistic, it's this one thing. You can be sure, absolutely sure that it's incorrect. It doesn't mean that there may not be truth to it, but when you're dealing with multiple spokes on the wheel, and the real truth is that all the spokes support the wheel, and someone's trying to argue none of this, this spoke, this is the one, the one upon which everything turns. You can be sure that's not the right answer. What, when, and how is sort of what I call it, it's the language of real health. It's the way to understand anything. When you start using what, when, and how for anything, everything changes, completely.
I use the example of a book of a baked potato. Depending on your school of thought, like, a baked potato is bad. One school of thought is that, “It's carbs, carbs are bad, yeah.” Another school of thought, your vegans would be, “Oh, no, it's plant. It's good.” When you take that reductionistic stuff and just push it aside, and then go back, put what, when, and how to it, becomes well the potato, the when would be, well, the day before fast. Why? Well, because it's food for bifidobacteria. Bifidobacteria potentiates bacterial mitochondrial crosstalk and it helps to amplify all the benefits of fasting if you get it the day before fast. The how is cold. Why cold? Because the starches congeal into resistance starches which is food for bifidobacterial, so if you had a cold the day before fast, it doesn't feed you, it feeds the bacteria. Boom. I just took something that was either good or bad, and I made it actually fit a protocol that's real and useful.
Two things, how things really work, what really happens. I just fit something that is either good or bad into a protocol that's based on how things actually work. The bifidobacteria love resistant starch, so they feed on it. That's how things actually work. The other piece of the equation is what really happens? Well, what really happens is if you can time that the day before fast, you're going to potentiate bifidobacteria, which potentiates B vitamin production, which potentiates sort of all this mitochondrial bacterial crosstalk when you're sleeping, so you get an MK pathway activation, you get all these great things. It potentiates the signals of fasting. We just transcended the simplistic baby talk into something that is much, much more similar to a martial art than it is this baby talk, it's just learning to move, just like in a martial art, like, okay, you're standing up, your opponent just grabbed you around the waist, and he's going to try and take you down, there's a move for that, there's an app for that, there's a way to counter that. That's really what I'm doing. That's what I've been up to.
Melanie Avalon: My personal viewpoint of everything is that there's no one right diet for everybody, like, please. If there was, I think we would have found it by now and it would work for everybody. What you basically just said that everything is not good or bad. That said, I read your book and I want to thank you, because it definitely challenged my own paradigm of how I see the world because I read that section about where you were saying how things aren't good or bad, it's all more context driven. Then I think you challenge the reader to think about these things that some people think are bad, some people think are good. I forget what all it was, but it's like meat or protein or fat, or pretty much every single one I could, like, except the gluten one. I was like, “No, I think gluten is bad for everybody.” Then I was like, “Wait, so why would gluten be the exception out of this whole list?” It was definitely like a paradigm shift.
It's really interesting how hard it is to let go of these preconceived notions that we have in our brain and be open to new ideas. To that point, maybe diving into the whole gut microbiome, because that's a huge part of the book. With that example of taking the cold baked potato for the resistant starch and supporting our bifidobacteria population, so is a key piece to that-- because a lot of people, myself included, and I think a lot of my listeners often struggle with GI issues, and we feel like our gut bacteria aren't as compatible and symbiotic in a good way as they could be with our own body. With that situation, would a factor of the win be that person's baseline state of their gut bacteria; because you talked about the book the paradox of gut bacteria and fiber and supporting them and that you need the gut bacteria to digest the things, like the fiber and the different things, but you need those foods to create the gut bacteria.
So many people feel like that. They want to build up this gut bacteria, but the foods seem to create more inflammation and more problems, but they need those foods to support that gut bacteria. That was a long-winded way of asking these protocols to grow up your bifidobacterial and we could talk about Akkermansia as well. Does your starting point matter? How do you jump in? I know you've got your fun-- I say fun, but I really want to try it, the apple skins and the HMOs and all of that.
Joel Greene: Yeah. 100% matters. 100% matters. First thing to say is that there's no 100% solution, doesn't exist, nothing works for everybody. What there are is incremental probabilities of things working, and incremental probabilities of little shifts having massive consequences down the road. You're starting point matters a whole heck of a lot. The way to understand it is to use the word fitness. So, your gut has a level of fitness. When you're saying, “Oh, my gut doesn't handle this, my gut doesn’t, and all that,” blah, blah, blah. Really what you're saying is, you're equating your gut to, let's say obesity, for example. Let's say that your fitness level starting out was you were obese. I'm not going to have to run a marathon. You can't, okay. You're going to need to start at a different level. Or, maybe just start, you're super fit to start. You probably could run a marathon, but maybe let's just start you on three miles a day and see how you do with that. You have different levels of starter gut fitness. Those range all the way from the analogy would be morbidly obese to very fit. I hope this analogy is being conveyed, I'm just trying to give us something visual that we can lock on to relate to the gut.
One thing that's very common nowadays that I run into a lot is, you have people who have done sort of extreme diets for going on four, five years, and their guts are messed up. There are reasons for their guts being messed up. There's keto diets, long term are probably going to give you some very serious issues in the gut for a number of reasons. Then what they'll do is they'll change the diet up and then they'll find benefits in the new diet they're on like, “Oh, I'm doing carb, I feel fantastic now. Oh, it's awesome.” Well, once again, short term, long term, you're seeing short term benefits, but long term, you're going to see complications, most likely. Most likely probability that you're going to see that. More than ever today what we see is this overfeeding on probiotics, overdoing extreme diets, all these different things, and then combined into like, suddenly everybody's got a gut problem. There are different points of entry based on how bad you are.
The super inflamed gut, or the condition-specific gut cannot start on fiber because mechanistically speaking, when the gut is inflamed, there are number of mechanisms that are going to prohibit fiber working in the gut. I've said this on Ben's podcast before, but the transporters you need for butyrate are not going to be working, they're switched off. In order to get them switched back on, there's a triage that needs to take place in the gut. Typically, what you'll find is that the first step is amino acids. This is why people who do carnivore diets initially feel much better because there's amino acids in meat. Those amino acids feed the gut, and then potentiate healing of the gut, potentiate immunity in the gut. Amino acids are your first step usually. If you're on that far side of inflamed gut issues.
Then along with that, there are different levels and different entry points for how to begin to introduce fermentation of the gut bacteria back into the gut. In your most extreme case, is you don't have any bifidobacterium populations in your gut. I've seen that. In those cases, you're going to need some kind of probiotic. My opinion on this is that the future of this is in the hands of practitioners, where there are very specific outcomes you can get from the administration of very specific strains of bacteria, very specific, like within the bifidobacterium family, or the lactobacillus family, other Clostridium family, and they're condition specific. I think in the hands of a good practitioner, you can get some fantastic results. In those cases, in the way you're going to know, is like you try something initially like human milk oligosaccharides, and they're not working for you, it's because there's nothing there to ferment them. In that case, you need like a starter dough, so to speak.
Then what you'll find is that there are people who are a little bit farther down the road, they've got the starter dough. They don't really have gut inflammation, they just don't have the bacteria present to handle foods, a lot of different foods. In that case, it's just a question of baby stepping. What you're doing is you are hormetically introducing, going from smaller to more to greater, that's the key is the baby stuffing. The most common mistake that happens is that you've heard this what, the what is these foods, and these foods are going to solve my problem. You're missing the when and the how. The when is slowly over time. The how is usually in conjunction with aminos and other things. If you'll follow the right order of operations, you can over time build these tolerances back in the gut. I've done it myself, I've seen many, many people do it.
The biggest problem we get into is we overdo it, we do too much too fast. Then you have these symptoms outweigh benefits reality. The key once again is just baby stepping your way back in as you work up the chain of using different foods, and you can go from zero to hero. I personally have experienced massive dairy problems, like can't have dairy, any dairy, just horrible acne if I have it. Could drink a glass of cold milk, wouldn't bother me a bit. The research completely supports this as well. In the research there's a growing body that's, that shows clearly that the increased populations of things like bifidobacteria and Akkermansia basically, ameliorate much of the symptomology of things that we think are impossible, like gluten intolerances and dairy intolerances and all that kind of stuff.
Melanie Avalon: So many things. Okay, clarifying question. When you speak about amino acids are you speaking about isolated, people taking L-glutamine or amino acids from like meat in their whole form?
Joel Greene: Either, or, you're going to see benefits. Either way, if you eat meat, you're going to get the amino acids. If you're just taking straight amino acids, like-- In some of these, you want to do in combination, like glutamine should go with arginine, and you want to have tryptophan, and you want to have glycine, you want to have this family of amino acids in the gut, but you'll get the same either way. The biggest problem here is the polarization of thought. If you're too over-committed into one way of thinking, maybe you're plant based or vegan, you're like, “I don’t eat meat. I never had that.” Well, again, you've gotten away from how things really work. Mechanistically speaking, the gut needs a aminos and the best sources of those are animal. Animal foods. It's not even an option. It's just they're essential.
Conversely, if you're hyperpolarized into the meat camp, the meat side of things, the gut needs butyrate. The best way to make butyrate is through fibers, hands down, bar none. If we have time, I'll break it down in this podcast exactly why that's true. There really is a need for both. What you see with meat in the gut is that meat by itself absolutely potentiates cancer, 100%. If we break down mechanistically what's going on in the gut, you're going to see an increase of pH in the colon, which by the way, again, more baby talk of high pH is good, low pH is bad. No, it doesn't work like that. Higher pH in the colon, it's going to be a cancer promoter. The addition of a little bit of fiber will bring that pH back down, bring it into the right range, it'll also suppress the colonic fermentation of bacteria that can ferment meat and cancer-promoting adducts as a result. Again, short term, long term, short term kinds of benefits to taking aminos into the gut via meat. Long term, you're creating probabilities that unless you offset those probabilities with a little bit of fiber, create a mathematical greater chance of cancer forming in the colon.
Melanie Avalon: Quick question, you said higher pH is mitigated by fiber, like a more alkaline state?
Joel Greene: If you're just eating just meat, just meat by itself, and lots of it, you're going to increase the pH in the colon. That's not good. That's not good at all.
Melanie Avalon: But doesn't it make it a lower pH more acidic?
Joel Greene: No, it's the reverse.
Melanie Avalon: It makes it alkaline?
Joel Greene: Yeah, 100%.
Melanie Avalon: I think I'm very confused now.
Joel Greene: Well, that's because we've been spoon-fed one-dimensional baby talk about how things work. We've been taught that meat is acidic, and therefore meat makes things acidic. Therefore, acid is bad, acid causes cancer. Has nothing to do with how things really work. This is why so many people are not getting the results, they want long term because they're following this course of action. It's not based on the mechanisms and how things actually work. You've got to come back to mechanistically, how things really work and what really happens over time. How things really work is that when you are taking large amounts of meat in the gut, you're going to get what are called alkylated carbonyls that form in the gut. These potentiate nitroso compounds in the gut, and it's driven by increases in pH.
Melanie Avalon: That's fascinating.
Joel Greene: Yeah. Again, it's just deprogramming, it's getting all the manure that's out there out of your brain, and just focus on how things actually work. I even had to correct someone on this who-- I won't say the name, but they had this whole thing going about the acidity of me is not bad, because X, Y, and Z, it's actually alkaline and I had to point out. Yeah, the alkalinity of it is bad. Alkalinity of it is, is what promotes that.
Melanie Avalon: Does the flip side also apply? Does a low meat diet create an acidic state? Or, does that also create an alkaline state?
Joel Greene: Well, you have to talk about the compartment of the body, so when we talk about acidity and pH--
Melanie Avalon: I guess not the stomach would be the--
Joel Greene: The colon. Yeah. The big misconception that needs to be dispelled, is the idea that taking in alkalinity makes you alkaline. This guy that does a better talk on this than me, and I'm using some of his stuff here, but I had him speak at one of my Body Hacks seminars. He makes a really good case that, think about it, the stomach is acidic by its very nature.
Melanie Avalon: Regardless, pretty much.
Joel Greene: Yeah, if the stomach becomes alkaline, you're going to be in big, big trouble. Big trouble, you might be in the hospital. If you drink your half-gallon of alkaline water, the stomach must immediately neutralize it, make it acidic. As you go through the digestive tract, what you're going to see is that different pH is work as switches. You'll have different pHs in different compartments of the digestive tract. They work as switches that potentiate different metabolic functions. All through the digestive tract, you're going to see different pH levels, and that's normal for the digestive tract, you're not going to see-- in some spots, it's going to be very acidic and in some spots, it'll be more alkaline, but it depends on the compartment.
Melanie Avalon: That was fascinating. Another question while we're in this world, so going back to bifidobacteria, as well as Akkermansia. We can supplement bifidobacteria like you mentioned, but you also mentioned how that's not always the route to go. What happens here with bifidobacteria, like, if we supplement it, what happens? How does it relate to Akkermansia? Which obviously, there's not an Akkermansia? I say obviously, but we can't supplement Akkermansia, but you talk about the connection between, is it that bifidobacteria feed Akkermansia, what's the connection there?
Joel Greene: Yeah, it doesn't feed it directly. What it does is it feeds other bacteria that produce metabolites that feed Akkermansia. Within the gut mucin layer, you've got two bacteria that really matter. You've got Akkermansia, and then you've got bifidobacteria and of those two, Akkermansia is by far the more important one. Akkermansia, it's a commensal bacteria, so it's something that we need to be healthy, for the most part, like in most cases. You will find a few cases where things like lupus or things like MS, that you've got too much Akkermansia going on, but for most people in most cases, figuring out ways to keep Akkermansia levels adequate as we age is a big, big deal because it's going to keep the gut mucin layer intact, the got mucus layer intact.
Melanie Avalon: Do antibiotics wipe out everything Akkermansia, bifidobacteria?
Joel Greene: Pretty much. Yeah. It's not a bad thing. It's actually can be a good thing. One of the benefits of certain types of antibiotics is they're going to help flush senescence cells. It's probably not a bad idea to do once or twice a year, just to flush senescent cells and then you can rebuild the bacteria in the gut from the ground up.
Melanie Avalon: Any particular antibiotics?
Joel Greene: Z-Pak is really good to flush senescent cells.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. This is fascinating. I wish I'd had this mindset last time when I had to go on a round of antibiotics. I was like, “No,” but I think you're probably would have been more empowering, if I was like, “Well, flushing senescence cells, here we go.”
Joel Greene: I have a course called The Immunity Crash Course where we actually do this, and you sit there, and you'll actually go through and do that. If you have a practitioner to get with, which I think this is such an exciting time for like health practitioners, because there's this whole new avenue via the gut that's opening up to do things that are incredibly powerful condition-specific things. I think that as practitioners get more and more adept at manipulating very specific strains. We're going to have this renaissance in health in society, because I just personally experienced and witnessed these things happen more. In my own family, I've seen these things where you can take things that are very condition-specific, and just through modulating the gut, you can get rid of the symptoms. I'm excited. actually work with quite a few practitioners. It's just such an exciting time right now.
Melanie Avalon: This is absolutely incredible. You mentioned the butyrate as well. Being generated by the bacteria, but then also the need for transporters to actually use that butyrate. How do you feel about butyrate supplementation, because I know a lot of people will supplement with butyrate, at least in my community, is that a potential problem? I was playing around with it, but then I read your book, and I was like, “Oh, maybe not.”
Joel Greene: Unveil my bias. My bias is I'm very food-centric. I'm of the bias that food is the most powerful thing out there when used correctly. The reason people don't have amazing results with food is the lack the what, the when, and the how, but when you implement food protocols, and that syntax, the syntax of real health using what, when, and how the food, you see things incredible. I've seen things that drugs can't do using food. That being said, the thing was supplementing butyrate, there's a couple things to consider. First, we have to think about the oral cavity. There's some mixed evidence regarding supplemental butyrate in the oral cavity. Butyrate uses the pyruvate pathway, I believe in the oral cavity. Don't quote me, I got that one wrong, because there's four different pathways that metabolic pathways that butyrate can use.
In other words, you have bacteria in the mouth, and those bacteria have metabolic pathways. One of them is pyruvate. You can essentially generate these cancer-promoting compounds from that. Then there's a little bit conflicting research that that shows that butyrate can actually help oral cancers, but it's mixed. You see a little bit of both. Erring on the side of caution, that's the first checkpoint for me against oral butyrate. Now, maybe you're taking encapsulated butyrate, but still, you don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Some people take butyrate not in a capsule?
Joel Greene: I couldn't imagine doing that.
Melanie Avalon: It smells [laughs] oh, my goodness.
Joel Greene: Yeah, it's like drinking vomit. “How is your vomit shake?” “Oh, fantastic. Would you like some?”
Melanie Avalon: I'm pretty capable of most things, but even the capsules, it smells so bad. Sorry, tangent. Okay.
Joel Greene: The other thing with butyrate, though, gets to the dose level, and you have to be a little bit careful about the dose level of butyrate. When you get beyond a certain level in the gut, the benefits of the butyrate, invert, and it can be possibly a cancer promoter. What you see with food is you'll get the light dosing of butyrate. With supplements, I don't know that it's adequately understood. Which is not to say that in the hands of a practitioner again, maybe there is a good place for butyrate. I'm just speaking to in general.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Oh, gosh, I tried butyrate enema, I'm like, [laughs] never again. The smell.
Joel Greene: That’s like shoving vomit up your butt.
Melanie Avalon: I know. But I was like-- maybe I don't even know. These are the things I do.
Joel Greene: What other things do you do?
Melanie Avalon: EMF canopies, hydrogen water, sauna.
Joel Greene: Okay, that sounds cool.
Melanie Avalon: Shooting myself up with glutathione.
Joel Greene: That's not bad either.
Melanie Avalon: Dry needling. There's a lot, probably mostly good.
Joel Greene: We’ll have to talk about the dry needling. I just got this little device that-- it's like a dry needler on steroids, it just goes [imitating machine] and it does all the work for you.
Melanie Avalon: You do it to yourself?
Joel Greene: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: It doesn't stick a needle in you though, does it?
Joel Greene: It does. It sticks like multiple needles.
Melanie Avalon: At home, dry needling, [laughs] oh my God.
Joel Greene: Oh my gosh. Basically, it's a jackhammer reduced to little small tip size and it just pummels. I got it and I thought, “Well, let's try this.” I did that. Then I use some GHK-Cu on top of it. I looked like I had sunburn for a week. I was doing this recording for this course I have coming out and it's just my face just looks like swollen and puffy and red. I was like, “Was this a good idea?”
Melanie Avalon: You did it on your face?
Joel Greene: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. So funny. Speaking needles, really quickly. Do you wear CGMs ever?
Joel Greene: I do not. I probably am going to just do some experiments on myself at some point. I just really haven't had the time to mess with it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I was just thinking about it because I'm trialing two companies right now. I'm bringing them on the show, but I'm trying both their devices. It's funny, like I said, I stick myself with stuff all the time in the name of biohacking. But I was really scared to put it on. It looks really intimidating with a needle, but you don't even feel it. I have it on right now, though. It's just fun. Also, the word ‘supplementing,’ and we already talked about it, but bifidobacteria. You mentioned that, yeah-- How do you feel about people taking probiotics, specifically bifidobacterial? My current blend is all bifidobacteria because of the histamine like aspect of the lacto family, how do you feel about supplementing probiotics?
Joel Greene: I think it should be condition specific. I would probably do it with a practitioner towards a very specific goal. That's how I would do it. I wouldn't indiscriminately take them, just because I've talked about this many times before, but I don't think that we can 100% control where they open up. I think that what I personally witnessed is over time, as many issues and problems as you have perceived benefits. Again, it's that inverted sine wave. Short term, the sine waves at the top, see benefits, long term, you see issues. I do think that when you look into the research, and you look at like condition-specific things for all kinds of things. Parkinson's and different things, I think that there's a real role there for taking very specific strains and administrating them under a practitioner’s care. I think that's a really good thing.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, awesome. Dying to tell listeners about your apple skin HMO protocol. A listener in my Facebook group the other day brought it up. She was like, “Have you tried it yet?” I said, “I hadn't.” She said that every person that she knew who had tried it that it was just like a game-changer. Yeah, what's going on with apple skins and phenols?
Joel Greene: Yeah, I mean, that's really good to hear. What I'll hear back is, I’ll hear back the one person that didn't work from. Like, “I did your apple skins and I [unintelligible [00:52:29], and I’m bloated, and I hate it. You suck.” Look, it's like I said, I used to do, when we were doing these big corporate wellness seminars, I'd have to get up and speak to a lot of people at once. The very first thing I would say is, because I was always extremely concerned with truth in this, because I was always the guinea pig. I remember taking supplements that I later found out were spiked and just been incredibly angry about that because you're taking my health in your hands, so I was always very concerned with truth.
The very first thing I would do is I'd get up and I would say, “All right, look, there's no 100% solution, nothing works for everybody. We don't work for everybody. Weight Watchers doesn't work for everybody.” I always wanted to frame things with that. That's just the truth about anything. That's because when we get into the body, there can be so many variations between genetic SNPs, secretome, all kinds of things that can have. What we know is, it's a bit like the universe and the observable universe. The observable universe is X and the actual real universe beyond what we can see is a billion times that size, we don't know. That's the way our knowledge is.
What this get to is, my book is really about one thing, and it's about paradigm shift into an immune centric approach to health. The idea that, when we keep asking the question, how do things really work? What we're going to come up with? The answer is going to be, “Oh, my gosh, immune mechanisms are how things work.” Immune mechanisms are at the core of everything, everything comes back to immune mechanisms.
When we look at the gut, and we look at how the gut got started, there's a sequence of things that happened. All those things impinge upon, revolve around immunity being established in a gut because really, when you think about it, the gut, we take in the outside world into the gut, and it stays the outside world, some of it, it never becomes part of us, and then it passes out of us. There's this selection process that has to be made. The guts, like a computer interface. It has to do all these complex calculations about what gets in and what stays out, and what to defend against, and what to let live. Okay, it's mind-bogglingly complex.
When we come back to looking at how the gut started, there's some there's some key players that right away come up. One of them is mother's milk, and contained in mother's milk, there are these very specialized carbohydrates called human milk oligosaccharides. These are sugar proteins, they're glycans, and they are extremely involved in the establishment of immunity in the gut. There's several immune mechanisms in the gut that benefit from these things. They work to help establish the initial colonies in the gut of the bifidobacteria. When we are infants, bifidobacteria is the key player in the gut. Then we begin to dive down and look at the different strains of bifidobacteria, suddenly, what happens is this picture opens up that links mother's milk bifidobacteria in immunity, sort of like equal players, one to one to one on the playing field.
What you see is that in the early gut, what happens is as bifidobacteria gets established, bifidobacteria has this incredibly powerful effect on dendritic cells or dendrites in the gut. Dendrites are essentially like go-betweens. They are antigen samplers, or antigen presenters. What they do is they grab antigens in the gut movement, and they present them to T cells. Then T cells have this job to bake up like antibodies and secretory IgA and spin that up in the gut. There's this daisy chain of events that happens in the gut. Bifidobacteria acts like a traffic cop, and like the rails on the train. It steers dendrite sensitivity and dendrite specificity antigens in the gut and really helps dendrites do their thing.
Then from there, you get what are called microbe-associated molecular patterns or MAMPs. These are downstream signaling cascades that affect T cells, secretory IgA, and then all these signal cascades, like all of these interleukins, and interferon-gamma and all these other things that are potentiated in the gut, by the presence of HMOs bifidobacteria. Along with that, there are key substrates like phenols to help to feed the right bacteria in the gut. It's funny, because when I put this in my book, what I was doing was, the first part of my book is sort of corrective in nature. The assumption is most people are coming in, their guts are a mess. We got to do a little triage. We're just going to start with simple steps that you can add on. First step is, take some skins of apples, that's like a stupid step anybody could do, go get some apples, go get a bag, skin them and eat those. Then the next step is add in these red phenols and then add in these milk carbohydrates, these HMOs. The idea was to create simple steps that you could do to do the triage. The analogy I use is, it's like changing the oil on your car.
When the oil hasn't been changed in a long time, you haven't had a tune-up, you need something special, you need to take it to a shop and then you just do a few things, and boom, car’s running great, and you don't have to come back and do it for a while. All these protocols in front of my book were meant to be that. What happened is they took a life on their own. I go to Google now and it's like, “Joel Greene Apple Peels.” [laughs] “Joel Greene Apple Skins.”
The reason for having the apple skins in there was that they're very complimentary to the red phenols and the HMOs. I explained this on Ben's podcast, but essentially, you have these extremely long-chain phenols that are contained in apple skins. They are what's called highly polymerized procyanidins. They are huge, 30,000 Daltons long. They're so big, they don't digest. What they do is they tend to park in certain places in the gut and they help bifidobacteria ferment. Then, if HMOs are present with that and red phenols, you get this perfect brew. What most people will experience doing that is the first couple days is they're going to get nauseated. The reason you're feeling nauseated is a war is going on. Just picture Braveheart. On one side, you've got Longshanks and the English. Then on the other side, you've got William Wallace, and the two are meeting, and there's blood spilling everywhere. Only in this case, it's not blood, it's lipopolysaccharide. Lipopolysaccharide is [unintelligible [00:58:43].
Melanie Avalon: The bane of my existence.
Joel Greene: It's a cell wall fragment, and the gut doesn't like it. It exerts very specific signal mechanisms in the gut. It's like a key, it opens the gut up, it gets in the blood, and then it translocates and finds our fat. All kinds of things happen with lipopolysaccharides present, it changes the polarity of macrophages. We'll talk about macrophages later, but it changes them and it does all these things. When you have a fever, and that fever breaks, what happens is you kill bacteria, and when the bacteria die, their gut spills up and they spill like a polysaccharide. What happens is you get nauseated, that nausea is lipopolysaccharide penetrating gut, because you're getting sick from that. That's exactly what happens that first couple days is you're killing off the bad bacteria.
Then what happens a couple days later, what a lot of people report is their energy just skyrockets. It's like, “Man, I feel amazing. I feel this energy. What’s going on? I didn't do anything. I just ate these stupid apple peels.” What's going on is that you are restoring the physiology you had when you were very, very young, which is bifidobacteria centric and bifidobacteria make tons of B vitamins and so your energy's going up. We've had this sort of conception of getting old, like, “Ah, I'm getting old, my energy's waning because my metabolism is going down.” Well, that's true. What's equally true is that gut bacteria populations are going down and they're taking your energy levels with it because you're not producing B vitamins anymore and that's predisposing you to Alzheimer’s, and all these other things. That's what most people experience in the first week or so of that protocol.
Then I get all these questions like, “Should I do it forever?” The answer is no. No, you shouldn't do anything forever for the most part. It's meant to be a toolset that you have that you can pull out when you need. If you went out and eat a whole pizza, you might want to do it for a couple days, and then two, three days or a week, and then you go off until you need it again.
Melanie Avalon: Some follow-up questions about that. Does it need to be red apples?
Joel Greene: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Those red phenols in general, are they in all red fruit? Are they in strawberries? I know there's something special about the apple skins, but in general, like the red females, I just want to know if they're in strawberries, because that wasn't mentioned in the book. I like strawberries.
Joel Greene: Oh, yeah, for sure. In fact, there's really good research with strawberries and glucose metabolism, as crazy as that sounds. Consumption of strawberries on a regular basis, probably aids insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. One of the reasons is that you get this impairment of alpha-glucosidase and alpha-amylase from the phenols. Then the other side of it is it helps bifidobacteria. Answer is yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I found myself, and we can talk about this maybe in a little bit, but I found myself stuck in a low-carb rut. I say that because the diet I felt really good on for a long time, and I know it's hard to know context because it could have been that that was setting me up for problems, like we talked about in the beginning. When I was doing like a higher carb, lower fat diet, I felt really good on it. Then when I went lower carb, since then I struggled. Every time I bring back more carbs, I feel I've lost all insulin sensitivity and it's a little bit frustrating.
Joel Greene: You probably have. This gets to the question of ecosystems and the thing that I directly experienced. Again, the other thing I mentioned top of the show was two things, how things really work and then what really happens. One of the biggest problems we're up against is fitness fantasy. If you want results over time, you've got to get real about the fantasy aspect of things. Fantasy is great. It's motivating. Sometimes it's great to just pull up in a magazine, or go on Instagram before workout and look at all these people in great shape, “Ah, man, I want to get like that,” it motivates you and that's great. It has nothing to do with real life. Not one thing. In fact, what you're going to find is that a lot of the protocols that work in the fitness ecosystem will not work in real life, and the reason is time because the time becomes a commodity in real life that has a different set of equations, or different mathematical probabilities to it, that are not found in the fitness ecosystem.
It doesn't take anything away from people who work in the fitness ecosystem. That's a dream for a lot of people, if you can do it, you should. The key for people in the fitness ecosystem who are practitioners is to understand most of the protocols in that ecosystem will not translate in the real life. A really good example, I have a doctor who is one of my clients, and you'd be surprised at the pressure the life doctors are under these days. They're some of the hardest working people out there, they're working their butts off, and they're in a system that it just doesn't give them a lot of love. One of the imperatives that I have with this client is that, you hear all this talk about low-carb, and low-carbs are bad. In the real-world ecosystem, for this client, carbs are central, has to help them. That's because he's under so much pressure, making so much cortisol, got to give him carbs during the day at specific times in order to mitigate cortisol because if we don't do that, what's going to happen is he's going to get this cortisol built up during the day, and then it's going to drop at about 2:00 AM, while he's sleeping, wake him up, and he's not going to sleep. He needs carbs during the day, cortisol level needs to keep your energy up. This is a really good example of the real-world ecosystem. The difference between protocols that don't work in that system, because they're not dealing with the reality of it. Sorry for that tangent, it just came to mind that I should build it out, so.
Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. I welcome all tangents. I felt in a way, I have the best of both worlds when I was doing super high carb, low-fat with intermittent fasting with one meal a day type situation because then I was doing high carb in the evening, felt my cortisol would go down, I felt I slept well. Then, during the fast, I felt I was primarily running on glycogen, but dipping into the fasted state as well. I don't know, I felt really good. then I went low-carb, now I'm like on the struggle bus. Every time I bring back carbs, I get sugar cravings, and it's upsetting.
Joel Greene: Well, one thing to understand is that there's a lot going on there. One of the elements is the way butyrate is being produced in the gut, from carbs versus protein. They're very different. You get some very different outcomes, which are going to affect things. They affect bacterial populations, and then those populations have their own effect on energy and metabolism.
Melanie Avalon: That was going to be my next question. The guilds.
Joel Greene: Oh, yeah, bacterial guilds. Well, in my book, I had this whole section about what I call-- I don't call them. Actually, this was in a research paper, what are called bacteria builds. There's a sort of perplexing thing in the research, which is that you see commonalities for substrate metabolism with bacteria that have nothing to do with one another. You don't. They don't really seem to be related, but they are related. They do seem to impact on host metabolism. There was a concept put forth that I thought was really important a couple years back, and it really has to do with what were called bacterial guilds. It really gets to taking a look at the chemistry of how bacteria use basic elements, like nitrogen and carbon.
Well, we can see this family of bacteria here, they're not related strange, but they have one thing in common, and that's they all depend on exogenous sources of carbon. From this, we begin to see things that are somewhat predictable, like you can actually make predictions about diets and where they're going to take you from this. A good example is when we look at the endogenous production of nitrogen, so this would be from fasting, it's going to feed very specific guilds, and you can make predictions about that. You're going to see an increase in Akkermansia, short term. Long term, you're going to see other things happen, like bacteria that depend on external carbon in the diet. What you see with bacterial guilds, is you can actually make long term predictions about things like weight gain, and what's going to happen.
For example, surprisingly, taking in what we would call carbs, taking in carbs, which is feeding carbon exogenously into the body is going to give you the highest probability long term of staying lean, which is shocking. We think exactly the opposite. We think, “Well, that can't be. We know carbs make you fat,” that makes no sense. When you look at the chemistry, what comes in what goes out? We take in oxygen, and out come CO2, nitrogen, we take in carbon, we get nitric oxide. The end product of all these things is we're just moving around chemicals, essentially. It's the bacteria that are doing it.
In my book, I introduced this idea called Nitrogen Partitioning. It just talks about like, where do you get nitrogen from? You get it from the diet or you making it internally, okay. That leads us into what's called Quorum Sensing, where you have different species of bacteria that can actually work together, and they can cooperate to get nitrogen from the diet. The idea of the guilds tell us how things like the sheer amount of food you're eating, not the who, what, but how much. How much food you're eating, how that's going to impact the gut, or how not eating is going to impact the gut, or the how the macro composition is going to impact the gut.
What this does is we can make predictions based on specific foods, and the impact specific foods are going to have on individual species. For example, we know like, well, if you take in more polyphenol, as you're going to get more like commensal bifidobacterium. Okay, so that's an example of specific foods driving specific food species. The concept of guilds does is it tells us the impact of macros, and it tells us the impact of total food intake versus cessation of food intake. It takes us into ways to predict like, well, what are these macronutrient ratios? What are they going to give us? Okay, so a couple takeaways. One is that when we make nitrogen internally, so that's a combination of fasting, and then a combination of certain other things. It tends to promote health, so and it tends to promote Akkermansia, that's great. Then if we get long-term feeding of protein, what we're going to see is that we're going to starve Akkermansia.
As we're going to go look at carbs, protein, fats, we can see with macros, how bacterial guilds are going to predict things. The concept of bacterial guilds tells us that sustained high protein intake is going to drive nitrogen from the diet versus nitrogen internally. It's going to advantage certain kinds of bacteria. It's going to disadvantage others. One of the ones it's going to disadvantage is Akkermansia. That is an extremely fascinating thing to ponder, and that gets into high protein feeding at different ages and what that's going to do. There's not a simple answer to it.
Our takeaway is, is that balance is key. That's really the takeaway, when you study bacterial guilds, is that we can use different protocols at different times for different reasons, it's a really good idea over 65 to increase your protein intake, particularly for men. Particularly for men in their 50s, it's a good idea to lower your protein intake, and you're going to reduce your risk of cancer. We can use different eating protocols at different times for different reasons. But long term, we need balance, so that's probably my longest winded thing here in this whole thing, so I'll try and keep it a little shorter.
Melanie Avalon: No, I love it. I'm hanging on every word. The bacterial guilds thing in the book was, going to say it again, one of the most mind-blowing things. I had a huge epiphany because the consistent in my diet for the past, [exhales] ever since- probably ever since I went low-carb, I've always had high protein intake. That's been the one consistent. I'll switch macros often between high-carb versus high-fat, but proteins always really high. If the protein is high that necessitates a state of external nitrogen. Does it override internal nitrogen production potential of the carbs, for example?
Joel Greene: Well, so high protein intake is going to be delivering exogenous nitrogen into the body versus endogenous. Simple rule of thumb is high protein feed, and you get nitrogen from the diet. Fasting, you get nitrogen made internally. What this tells us, and then high carb, you get carbon from the diet. You can make a case of higher carb, plus fasting could be a really good thing, which I guess you could say there's-- in my book, I have this thing called the two-day pattern, which is a foundation for putting all this together. You could make an argument, that's what it's doing. The only difference, again, is the semantics, like, we tend to call a lot of fibers, carbs, but they're not. They're not what we think of as carbs because fibers when you break them down are very unique substances, and very often they don't even feed us, they feed bacteria more than they feed us.
Melanie Avalon: When I was doing low-carb at the begin, just low-carb, and then fasting, I still felt tendencies towards wanting to overeat or feeling I was missing something. Then when I did go for a really long time, like I said, with really high carb, but fasting every day, I remember, I didn't quite understand because we get so many questions on the Intermittent Fasting podcast about people struggling with like binge behavior, or feeling they're going to fall off the wagon or hunger. I was like, “I feel like I could do this for life,” like the protocol that I have. I don't know if that was true or not true, because I switched and went low-carb again, and now just having trouble bringing it back.
Joel Greene: What you see a lot of in the real world is the reverse of that. What you'll see is people try and eat strict during the day, because they're doing diets. They haven't taken into account seven-day rhythm. What they'll run into, for example is Monday. The rule for Monday, as far as diets go, is that the meal plan never survives the first meal. What will happen on Mondays is a lot of stress related to the start of the work week and cortisol levels go up. What you'll find is that people on low-carb diets, they do really good the first part of the day, and then they get home, and they blow it. The reason they blow it is that their cortisol level shot grew from stress during the day and then they're medicating on carbs at night to get the cortisol levels down. That's actually a very necessary thing because cortisol-- the body can make glucose from cortisol. What's going to happen is if you don't get that cortisol dump at some point during the day, you're going to get it during the night, when you're sleeping, it's going to wake you up, for the most part.
What you're doing is actually doing that. You're fasting during the day, and then at night, you're having this big carb meal, you're getting this massive cortisol dump, and then you feel like going to sleep, which is great. That works. There's other aspects to that long term that-- I think that works. What I'll say of anything, is that we've got to stop thinking about things in terms of diets and start to think of them in terms of protocols, or another word for protocol that will program our minds the right way, is move. In martial arts, we have moves, and you learn to apply the right move at the right time. It's a way of thinking that begins to equip your mind to learn at an exponential rate. Also, to begin to think about when is the right time to do something.
In your case, that's probably a fantastic thing for a while. It's probably a great thing for a while. You can fast during the day, for season, you're getting some benefits, you're getting good sleep at night, but then, it's time to change it up and maybe do some other things. That gets into seasonal rhythms.
When we look at seasonal rhythms, like one example is testosterone. It's higher in the winter. There's a good line of thinking, let's take advantage of that during the winter. We sleep more during the winter, testosterone is higher, let's have a season, where we're putting muscle on during the winter. That means higher protein feeding and all kinds of things. Again, coming back to how things really work. Well, that's another layer of how things really work. We're taking into account daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms, and then we're creating protocols around that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I love it. I think it was in your book about the Mondays, and doesn't the stress on Mondays, it's like universal, the rhythm that you're talking about? You gave the specific days; Thursday was the day to-- like stress is lowest or something?
Joel Greene: Yeah, it's a real thing. It gets into chrono-immunology, chrono-nutrition. These are very real things. There's a tendency to think like to poo that kind of thing, like, “Oh my gosh,” but it's actually, I'm not making this up. Doctors are using this stuff to decide when's the best time to administer a medicine and then you can quantify it. Then, you can actually measure it and say, “Oh my gosh. Wow, we did this one particular medicine on a Wednesday, and we got 30% better results,” or we look at statistics on things heart attacks, and we can go, “Wow, they really happen during winter,” or on this particular day. We look at sodium retention, sodium balance, we say, “Wow, it's got a seven-day cycle,” and it's independent of sodium intake.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that was the salt. That's crazy.
Joel Greene: Yeah. What this does is, if you want to be on another level, you've got to take into account the next level. The next level of getting beyond like macros and calories, and all that stuff is this stuff. It's beginning to understand circadian rhythm, and circaseptan rhythm and seasonal rhythm. It's as real as it gets. It's 100% real.