Your metabolic health is so important, but it’s so often overlooked! Wildly, only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy – but you can achieve metabolic health, especially following six different strategies. I’m joined by Dr. Gus Vickery to talk about the importance of metabolic health and the strategies he uses to help his patients reach optimal metabolic health.
Listen to the Episode
Labs to Request for Metabolic Health
- Fasting Blood Glucose
- HDL & Triglycerides
- Small Dense LDL
- Uric Acid
- Glucose Tolerance Test
About Dr. Gus Vickery
Dr. Gus Vickery is a board-certified family physician who specializes in personalized health consultations focused on total body and mind optimization. He is also a speaker and the author of Authentic Health (May 2018, MJ Publishing).
He founded Vickery Family Medicine in 2005 which has grown to multiple medical providers serving in 2 locations including The Clinic at Biltmore, an innovative direct to employer clinic for The Biltmore Company. He offers personalized health consultations both virtually and in person at his office in Asheville, NC.
He uses advanced biometrics, genetics, hormonal assessments, metabolic and nutritional assessments, and other advanced diagnostics to determine the proactive and comprehensive strategies that will help his clients experience their best health and lifespan.
Dr. Vickery is an honor graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society and teaches medical students for the department of family medicine of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Why Metabolic Health Matters
Dr. Gus Vickery brings his wealth of knowledge about metabolic health to explain why we need to start focusing on this aspect of our health. If you’re concerned about your own metabolic health, he provides a comprehensive list of lab tests you can ask your physician to order for you.
Dr. Vickery offers some strategies for combating and reversing metabolic disease. These strategies largely focus on improving your movement and nutrition. While he used to believe that what you eat was a bigger part of the puzzle than how you move, he’s actually changed his opinion and encourages you to move more.
In particular, Dr. Vickery states that strength training is one of the most important exercises you can adopt to improve your metabolic health. He also highlights some of the nutrition and diet options out there that will benefit your metabolic health.
More than Diet and Exercise
But it’s not just your diet and exercise that impacts your metabolic health. Dr. Vickery shares how good quality sleep is vital and provides some sleep tips and supplement options to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Your mental health also matters. Dr. Vickery provides some deep breathing techniques that can improve your metabolic health. He also encourages you to practice grounding exercises, especially getting outside in nature, connecting your feet to the earth.
Finally, we talk about the importance of the environment around you. Dr. Vickery says that your environment is much more than the quality of the air and toxins around you. He urges you to make changes to your environment that benefit the other aspects of your metabolic health.
How is the quality of your sleep? Do you feel you need investigations into your metabolic health? Call the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic today and schedule your first appointment at 319-363-0033.
“The human being is robust, anti-fragile, oriented to health, and if they have the right information and the right support, they can basically move in the direction of health.” [5:37]
“There is a healthy body composition for everybody. Most people are not experiencing healthy body composition. That directly ties into metabolic health. If we can help people optimize their body composition in the right way, without getting too cut up in exactly what that looks like for them, and optimizing their body’s ability to be metabolically flexible, use energy correctly, dispose of energy properly, they’re going to have a lot better health and a lot fewer issues with other conditions that affect them.” [7:30]
“If you want to activate your sympathetic nervous system, if you need a little cortisol or adrenaline, if you’re feeling tired, then you need to breathe in more than you breathe out, it’s that simple. You can do that for volume or for pace, but all you have to do is breathe in more than you’re breathing out.” [35:00]
“You really have to get to a point where you’re not going to blame anybody. You’re not going to blame yourself. You fully forgive yourself and recognize that this was not your conscious intent. This wasn’t an expression of who you are. Who you actually wants to feel good and be healthy. Once you arrive at that point, you do have to take responsibility.” [46:26]
In This Episode
- The benefits of focusing on metabolic health [6:00]
- What labs your primary care provider can use to check your metabolic health [10:00]
- Strategies for reversing metabolic disease [14:30]
- The best nutrition and diet type to reverse metabolic disease [16:00]
- What happens when you prioritize strength training [19:30]
- How sleep impacts your metabolic health [26:30]
- Why you need to get outside in nature more [33:45]
- How your breath can energize or calm you down [24:30]
- How your environment negatively impacts your metabolic health [36:45]
Links & Resources
Get Your Free Gift: Authentic Health Parable
Dr. Gus Vickery 0:03
started looking at all the things that are most likely to kill people in our population and every single one of them has a strong tie into metabolic health.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:12
Welcome to the your longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. Gus Vickery. I met him a few years back at a small speaker training with Brian Tracy. We both had just written books and we found out we had a lot in common. He's just one of those men that is so genuine, authentic, and he's someone I would have appreciated to have as my family doctor growing up. He's truly passionate about improving his patients lives guiding them back to authentic health, which we're going to discuss today. We're also going to break down the importance of metabolic health for healthy aging and key biometrics as well as strategies to reverse metabolic disease and optimize metabolic health. Let's get rolling.
Welcome to another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast. today. My guest is Dr. Gus Vickery. He's a board certified family physician who specializes in personalized health consultations focused on total body and mind optimization. He's also a speaker and the author of authentic health. He founded Vickery Family Medicine in 2005, which has grown to multiple medical providers serving in two locations, including the clinic at Biltmore and innovative direct to employer clinic for the Biltmore company. He offers personalized health consultations, both virtually and in person at his office in Asheville, North Carolina. He uses advanced biometrics genetics, hormonal assessments, metabolic and nutritional assessments and other advanced diagnostics to determine the proactive and comprehensive strategies that will help his clients experience their best health and lifespan. More information is available at Dr. Gus vickery.com. Dr. Vickery is an honor graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. He's a member of the alpha omega alpha honor Medical Society and teaches medical students for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Welcome to the show, Dr. Vickery.
Dr. Gus Vickery 2:06
Thanks so much, Stephanie. I'm so happy to be here with you.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:09
Tell me your story. Well, I know your story. But tell the audience your story, how you became so passionate about total body and mind optimization?
Dr. Gus Vickery 2:16
Well, I'm a family physician, you're I think you originally trained as a family nurse practitioner, is that correct? Yes. I mean, we go into family medicine, because we're already hopefully passionate about health. We want to see healthy communities we want the people we care for to experience great health, we understand what health does for somebody, it might be the most important attribute you can have in life is to have great health. And so you know, early on, I went through traditional medical training with the residency had great experiences and started my own practice right after I ran out of residency, and entered into the usual flow of traditional medicine, seeing people diagnosing conditions, treating them with medications and trying to give them good advice.
But you know, in that portion of my career within the first five to seven years, which are really primarily just trying to become competent at what you're doing and not hurt people, you know, you start we were seeing this upward trend and chronic disease, as you know, and I was seeing a lot of individuals coming in and including younger what we think of as healthy people who were just not feeling good. And it was when we were beginning to see a lot of fibromyalgia and migraines syndromes and anxiety and mental health issues were worsening, and then the people with metabolic disease, we had these tools, these pharmaceuticals, and that's what we were trained to use.
So we'd use them and we'd see improvement their agency would come down with, you know, hey, that's great. And then a year later, of course, it was worse again, and you realize, wait a second, either. Human Systems are just fundamentally frail and oriented to disease. And this is just par for the course for human beings, or there's something really, really wrong with what's going on, and our population health and I think most of us know, there's got there's something wrong, right? That if we look at a human being anthropologically, we're robust, anti fragile creatures, we should have very good health spans lives,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 3:51
robust, anti fragile creatures.
Dr. Gus Vickery 3:55
That's what we should be, for the most part, I mean, things happen that you couldn't control for. But generally speaking, if those things don't happen, we should be generally in very good health and feeling good most of the time. And so I had to dig deeper, like a lot of clinicians do, I, you know, started studying nutrition and more biochemistry and looking into other aspects and environment. And as you would read and learn, you would begin to incorporate this into your patient encounters and you know, people with, you know, really bad significant insulin resistance, maybe you put them on a low carb high fat diet, even though that sounded like anathema. Based on my training, it was, yeah, no, let's just try this and see if it works.
Because these other doctors are doing it, they're getting these amazing results. And you see that it works. And there are other individuals that do great with carbs. So I'm not like, everybody should be on a low carb diet. But there's a population of people that clearly thrive, basically bit by bit, increasing my learning and understanding and then applying it to my patients who were kind enough to let me safely experiment on them over time. What I found was that as they begin to apply these lifestyle strategies and address, you know, systems that weren't working well within their own own body, they begin to get healthier metabolic Disease worse of reversing migraines improve their sleep improved, and you know, in their whole quality of life improved. And I also realized that these folks want to feel good.
They're not coming in complaining just because they're complaining, or they're not just coming in complaining because they want another medicine, which is what a lot of people think the population wants. They're just looking for a quick fix. I mean, some people are, but I realized the vast majority, these people, they want to feel good. They want solutions, the only option they're given is, here's a prescription or, you know, a token will try to improve your diet. What does that mean, exactly. And so a philosophy of health developed for me, where I began to really believe, of course, that the human being is in fact, robust, anti fragile, oriented, to help, and if they have the right information, and the right support, and they can basically move in that direction. And obviously diagnostic tests, you use diagnostic tests, I use diagnostic tests. So if we get more comprehensive with how we assess the human system, we can be much more precise, and the guidance we give people for their unique human systems.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 5:58
Well, let's get into some of that guidance. But first, let's talk about what metabolic health is. And why is it such an important focus in our human systems?
Dr. Gus Vickery 6:06
Obviously, there's all these different aspects of health. But when you think about metabolic health, there's a lot of different definitions of metabolic health. But the way I think about is really, how is your body how your how your cells and tissues, how are they able to utilize energy and dispose of energy properly, right. And so obviously, energy is the fundamental currency of life, we have to be able to use it properly and also manage the byproducts of creating it to stay healthy. One of the main reasons I focus on metabolic health as that was just sort of the defining condition I was or issue I was seeing in my practice, people who could not lose weight kept gaining weight, who had insulin resistance, and elevated uric acid dyslipidemia, and then of course, all the ways that connects to cancer risk, dementia risk, vascular disease risk, so you started looking at all the things that are most likely to kill people in our population, and every single one of them has a strong tie into metabolic health.
When you begin to look at a human system, from that standpoint, to me, it just kind of became the cornerstone of everything else, like you're an expert on hormones, among other things, but if all I do is take you and fix your hormones, perhaps whether it's through supplements or through direct hormone replacement, but I ignore the insulin resistance and every other thing affecting your system, you're not going to get a great outcome from that, right. And so it's really important that we focus in on our metabolic health. And I'm not suggesting that everybody has to have like a awesome body composition, meaning they're they've got six pack abs, and great, but there is a healthy body composition for everybody. And based on population health statistics, at that time, most people are not experiencing healthy body composition.
And that directly ties in to the metabolic health piece as well. And so if we can help people optimize, and the right way, their body composition without getting too caught up, and exactly what that looks like for them, and optimizing their, their body's ability to be metabolically flexible, use energy correctly dispose of that energy properly, they're going to have a lot better health, and they're going to have a lot less issues with the other conditions that can affect them.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 8:02
You might not know off the top of your head, but do you know any statistics, just regarding the prevalence of metabolic disease, like in the US,
Dr. Gus Vickery 8:09
so there's some really good studies, and one of the ones I like pretty sure this was the Chapel Hill study, it was a large population, I think seven or 8000 people it included, like adolescents. And they used five different metrics to assess metabolic health. So they didn't just look at of course, you know, fasting blood glucose, they looked at triglycerides, they looked at weight they anyway, long story short, they found that seven out of eight people had at least one finding that indicated their metabolic health was not optimal. They may, they may not have all been metabolically sick, but they were not metabolically optimized. And so that's 88% of the population. Whoa, yeah. And then so there was another study, and the definition they used was over fat.
And I work with a lot of people who struggle with obesity. And I'm very sensitive to the psychological impact of that, and how obesity is probably something that happened to them, not something they chose for themselves. And we know that folks who've had lifelong obesity, they can lose weight and get healthier, but then they may never get to the kind of weight that we would like to think of. So I'm very sensitive to how we communicate with individuals about these topics. But anyway, this study, they were just looking at over fat, not just from a BMI perspective, but body composition, and specifically this world fat, and the end result and that cannot remember I can get this data for you because I presented it recently, but it was in a adult population. And it was close to 90% of people were over fat. Holy smokes. Yeah. And specifically, it was focusing on visceral fat primarily. And so what they were identifying is that 90% of adults have some degree or some amount of visceral fat that really is not healthy for them,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 9:42
which is fat around your organs for the listeners so they don't know what we're talking about. That's astounding. Wow. 80 To 90% Sounds like Yikes. So my next question to you was going to be what biometric data points can we use to evaluate metabolic health and you kind of just mentioned a few of those, but can you tell the listeners for them to get a glimpse into it? They are struggling with this, which based on the statistics, they probably are, but what labs could they have their primary care provider drawn them to kind of evaluate their metabolic health?
Dr. Gus Vickery 10:07
Yeah, this is critically important. Because if you're just relying on what your insurance considers preventative care, you're not getting the metrics that matter. You know, this is like a stone in my shoe kind of thing. It really bugs me that we're doing this. We're waiting until people have measurable blood sugar issues, meaning they're pre pre diabetic, if not diabetic, to have told them that they have insulin resistance, and that maybe 10 years ago, they could have reversed it by just exercising more. So anyway, to get to that to answer the question. Obviously, a fasting blood glucose is a helpful metric, you can look at a fasting blood glucose, but there's a lot of variability in fasting blood glucose, some people have very healthy glycemic control but have a high cortisol push in the morning. So their blood sugar's a little higher than other folks.
So you can't just rely on a fasting blood glucose. You can also look at course, hemoglobin a wincy. That also can be variable, but that's going to give you a better idea of glycemic variability meaning this three month average blood sugar control, you know, I had a case this morning before I saw you the fasting blood glucose was 90 Not too bad, but Da Vinci was 5.7 borderline pre diabetic, we know that that individual probably after they're eating certain foods is having significant elevated blood glucose, which is not good for them. So we understand that and then a fasting insulin of course, because if before you know if you develop classic insulin resistance before the glucose gets out of control, the insulin will start to rise. So if you see an elevated you see a normal blood glucose and even an agency that maybe is in the mid fives, but a high fasting insulin, you know that person's likely already insulin resistant, the beta cells are already working harder to try and maintain stable blood sugar.
And then you can look at lipids lipids can tell you an enormous amount about insulin resistance. And often you'll see it in lipids before you see it in blood glucose and insulin and a one C. So I'm the first time when I first sit down with someone I'm always dissecting their lipids first. So you can look at HDL and triglycerides and the ratio of triglycerides and HDL and that can tell you a lot about metabolic health. There are some genetic genomics that influence HDL levels that you might not be able to account for, for some individuals, but generally, triglyceride HDL levels should be less than two to one, and preferably even less than that. And then you can look at particles like small dense LDL, small dense LDL is your smallest densest form of LDL, it's the most potentially atherogenic form of LDL, if you're in a platforming state, small dense can become part of pipe pretty easily. But when you look at your total SD, LDL, but more importantly, the percent of your LDL that small dents that can be one of the first indications you're moving in an insulin resistant direction.
And to make it more complicated, you can also look at other peripheral markers like uric acid and ferritin, which will often start to rise when people have insulin resistance before blood sugars become problematic. And you can look at this real fat if you're able to measure it, we use index or other measures, the next step to really pin down glucose, of course, you can get into glucose tolerance tests, most people aren't going to get those, but those will catch it even before everything else I just stated. Yeah, so you can go to that level. And if you can get a lab to do it, you can do a glucose tolerance test where you measure both glucose and insulin. That's what's really, really going to catch it early. But it's not feasible for most people to be able to get those particular tests for individuals who aren't likely I'll often get my patients to make a modest financial investment and a continuous glucose meter. And then we can have them do their own kind of form of a home glucose tolerance test. And we can get that 24 hour glycemic variability curve and begin to see are they already having, you know, what is their carb tolerance, or maybe it's stress, maybe it's when they don't sleep well, and we're seeing glucose issues. So I know that was long winded, but you really want to get a more complete picture.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:37
And I break all of those most of those labs down in chapter seven of my book, Your longevity blueprint, as well just want to point that out,
Dr. Gus Vickery 13:43
which has become the main book, I point people to who need to go deeper than where I'm taking some of these topics. By the way, Stephanie, because it's so great, how simple it is, and straightforward and how you took these very complex things and broke them down and made it really easy for people. And so when people are really needing a helpful guide, and I'm talking to him about hormones, or toxicity, or these other things, your book is the one I'm like, Just get Stephanie's book.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 14:10
That's why we keep selling, and I'm just kidding. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Yeah. So what are the most effective strategies for reversing metabolic disease and really optimizing our metabolic health? I know you could probably talk for an hour about this, but kind of what are some of the most effective strategies?
Dr. Gus Vickery 14:26
Yeah, so there's a lot it's it's obviously a comprehensive in terms of the health is a comprehensive approach, but the two main, I mean, time tested, do work strategies that I mean, and again, there are other things that you have to pay attention to that could sabotage it, but the two biggest levers you pull on are your physical activity and your nutrition. Right. Those are the two main focuses and you know, several years ago, my focus was like it you know, I looked at both is equally important, and they are they're both necessary. You can't just do one at the expense The other, but if you looked at it as a seesaw or like an order of priority, I would have probably weighted it more 60 65% Your approach to eating and nutrition and 35%, your approach to fitness and physical activity, my seesaw has tilted in the last year, based on both clinical data that's been coming out about actually reversing insulin resistance at early stages.
And also some mentors I had that have become real experts at reshaping body composition for people with obesity. And my seesaw is now physical activity takes the higher priority, and nutrition comes second. Now, both are important. But if I had a patient, this doesn't happen, but if I had a patient, he said, I'm only gonna do one, you have to pick which one, I would actually get them physically training before I would necessarily ship change their diet, but you should attend to both.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 15:45
Wow, let's talk about diet changes. I know you're a fan of intermittent fasting. We've talked a little bit about that on the podcast, and a ketogenic diet. Talk a little bit about some of the nutritional strategies you recommend to patients, maybe those are included amongst that.
Dr. Gus Vickery 15:58
Yeah, so may not have, you know, three foundational principles of eating that apply to everyone, regardless of the diet you're going to follow. And I know you have these same principles. One is, of course, mindfulness of eating, you have to really become mindful about eating, if you're mindless, you're going to have problems with our modern food environments. The second is food sourcing, you know, your food needs to be whole nutritional, you know, all that we all understand that eliminate processed foods, foods that contain a lot of high fructose corn syrup, and high omega six fatty acids that drive eating behavior and drive blood sugar issues. And then the third, of course, is balancing feeding and fasting, right. And so the timing of your eating and how much you're eating is really important.
So those are the like the foundation, you got to get those three things, right. Regardless, if you're going anti inflammatory with autoimmune paleo or you're going, you know, whatever you're choosing, but specifically for metabolic health, most of these individuals do have insulin resistance, and many of them have measurable blood sugar issues. And when individuals are in that state, regardless of what say their genomics would say about macronutrient utilization their body, we know that they're probably going to do better with a lower carbohydrate diet, with the very least getting rid of simple sugars and you know, refined carbs and all the things that most people understand that most people likely will improve their blood glucose, reduce inflammation, and begin to develop some metabolic flexibility if they lower carbohydrate intake deplete some glycogen.
So I will usually move them in that direction. And I do believe that when it comes to reversing insulin resistance, or especially people who already have type two diabetes with significant blood glucose issues, if they can tolerate it, ketogenic diets are very effective for that. And so often use a ketogenic diet, if the person is willing to go there, if they can go there. You know, I don't believe that necessarily, a person would need to be on a ketogenic diet all their life, they could be for different reasons. But I do believe it can be used as a medicinal diet for people who have insulin resistance and blood sugar issues. So I'll usually move in that direction, but then I'm very cautious with the fats, they might really have saturated fat concerns based on their lipids and other factors. And so we might need to be careful with how much saturated fat and then I definitely talk a lot about polyunsaturated fats to try to get people of course, more omega threes, most people are deficient, but I measure in fatty acid balance test, I do measure in the cell membranes, you probably do the same thing.
And there's an epidemic of high linoleic acid in cell membranes. You know, we don't have like clinical endpoints on it yet, but mechanistically we know that high linoleic acid high concentrations do drive eating dysregulates satiety, it increases the lipid stat for fat storage, it creates an insulin resistance state. We also know that pre industrialization, the only higher linoleic acid foods would have been nuts and seeds. I'm not saying nuts and seeds are bad. We did not have vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, safflower, sunflower oil, and all this oils, obviously, linoleic acid, it's also president and chicken and olive oil and things like that, too. But it's just not in higher concentrations. So it's not just that if we go ketogenic, and we're trying to lower carbs, so we can fix this problem, we really do focus on the fat composition of the diet.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 19:00
Okay, I want to go back to exercise for a moment, since you're putting heavier weight on that from a training standpoint, in a few minutes, what would you share? Is it really important to incorporate with physical activity and training, you
Dr. Gus Vickery 19:12
know, it's all important, obviously, just generally being more physically active and less sedentary. And some people will disagree with me on this. So this is all an evolution of our learning. And we're doing these experiments with our patients, and we're watching their responses. But I've really gotten into strength training for people who are metabolically sick and what I've found, they need to lose weight. And they all it's gonna be hard for him to lose weight because their fat flux is all screwed up because of high insulin and high inflammation. So they're really having a hard time accessing stored fatty acids. They're at great risk of beginning to lose lean body mass when they lower their calories because of that situation.
And what I have found is that if you take somebody who does need to lose visceral fat, improve their body composition, reverse metabolic disease, and that's all intertwined, you simultaneously can lower their calories to create calorie deficit you can use fast For that, to course, make sure they get adequate protein, it's really important during that time, because if they don't get enough protein, they're going to get ravenous. And they're going to have a hard time maintaining lean body mass, but if you push them into the gym to strength train, and you create that stimulus on the muscles, bones and connective tissues that we've got to keep our strength and maybe even build our strength, while we're doing this, what I've seen is people can simultaneously get stronger, while they're dropping fat, which is not easy to do for the human system, it prefers to do one or the other gain or lose.
But when people need to really lose weight, it can do it. And what I've seen happen is that as they build up their muscle mass, we know they're increasing their metabolic rate, which actually helps them to be able to eat more when they finish their, whatever weight they've lost. And also, as you know, the best glucose disposal tissue in the human system is muscle, the more activated muscle you have on your body, the bigger glucose disposal tank you have when you eat foods that will create a glucose, you put glucose in the bloodstream. So I've really moved in the direction if I'm going to choose one form of structured exercise.
And again, this is specific to this context, I want to be clear, we're talking about a context of optimizing metabolic health, I'm going to actually push them to focus on strength training, while they do the dietary interventions I'm describing, but I will emphasize, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be taking walks or playing tennis and playing with their dog and doing all the other things we should do, right to get good physical activity. And if they're willing to add one more onto it, I'll do the high intensity intervals, right? So but if they're only going to do one or the other, I'm going to choose strength for that initial push while we're trying to retrain to improve metabolic health.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:32
Simply stated, you want your patients to lift weights to gain muscle, because muscle burns fat. Yes.
Dr. Gus Vickery 21:39
Muscle burning fat. Yeah. And it takes up glucose. It lowers the blood glucose. Yes, perfect, perfect.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:45
Back to nutrition for a minute here. So a lot of people would like to improve their nutrition and lose weight, but struggle with managing hunger and eating behaviors. So do you have strategies to help them succeed there?
Dr. Gus Vickery 21:55
Yeah, this has actually been I mean, the great thing that happened in the earlier part of the practice, when I started really looking at this obesity issue is I had a lot of opportunities just to have conversations with people and learn about what was going on with their eating behavior. And you know, a lot of them have a lot of guilt and shame because they think that they lack willpower, that they're just undisciplined. Of course, they don't they I mean, they have willpower, just like your videos, it's just that it's it struggles in this one particular area. And so I you know, and I didn't have any science to support it, but I just kept trying things that would maybe make sense. And sometimes they worked. And we'd keep trying and with other folks. So now we have a lot of good science, about hunger sensing and how you what is the gut sensing for when you eat and what creates satiety.
And, you know, the first thing and this is back to you know, primarily the behavior, we know this, somebody who really struggles with eating behavior, if they go to a whole food, natural diet, Whole Foods, I'm not talking about plant based or anything like I'm doing the omnivore diet, but every their food is whole natural, minimally processed, that fixes it right there it food is hydrating, fibrous, nutrient dense, a little lower in calories, adequate protein that will create satiety signaling, it will not the lack of hyper palatability of it will not override the satiation function of your body and cause you to binge eat, it controls it right there. So you know, that's step one, choosing whole foods, but a lot of folks in the moment where they're struggling with craving, they know that but they really want to choose the not you know, whatever the Danish or the whatever else it is, and that's, you know, a big portion of that hedonic eating.
So when you get to a point where you're primarily eating for some emotional reason, the first thing is that that's very powerful. We know that and you are probably going to lose that battle. If you just rely on willpower alone, right, you're probably not going to have what it takes, you might do the first part of the day, you get to the late part of the day, and you've lost it. So you have to stack the deck in your favor. And the first thing you do, of course, is make sure you're hydrated, right? Because a lot of times hunger is hydration. And make sure that provided you're not over salted, that you have adequate minerals in your human system, right? So mineralized water mineralized beverages that at least take care of that piece that you're not really seeking salt, you're not just seeking fluids. So that's going to help a little bit with satiety. And then there's the really important piece of mindfulness.
You basically know that you've got particular triggers, you know what a craving feels like, you understand that this is causing you problems. And if you don't really stop and develop a plan for yourself, what you're going to do when this happens and really engage your higher mind, it can kind of give you some self determination, you're going to struggle and you have to recognize so you're seeking something I mean, a lot of times people carb crave because there's carbs are higher and tryptophan and they get serotonin right? They're really looking for serotonin, they want to feel better. If you're looking for dopamine sugar can create dopamine, I understand what are you really looking for? And then can you get it a different way and you can you can get serotonin through alternative mechanisms.
You can get it through a good conversation with a friend playing music, dancing, walking in nature for 20 minutes, but you can also take amino acid supplements you can go ahead and take tryptophan, some people might need five hydroxy tryptophan, many will just do fine with tryptophan, and that tryptophan will enter your system and it will go to the brain the same way the tryptophan and the carbohydrates would have, and it will actually help facilitate serotonin production. So I'll give people these little tricks. And I know, we don't have time to go into every little trick. But if it's dopamine, then we have an amino acid. And we have a strategy exercise, breath work, things that will actually improve dopamine and adrenaline and turn off hunger. And so we begin to identify what are they really looking for?
And how can we give it to them without them giving into the craving, and then the mindfulness piece is them recognizing when the craving happens, they still rather would eat the rich sugary carbs than take tryptophan and go take a walk in nature, they would rather the one than the other. But if they recognize that 30 minutes from now, they can make either choice and the craving will be gone, the craving will have been satisfied, it'll no longer be a problem for them. But they have a choice that 30 months from now it can be because they actually did something very helpful for their brain and help them to feel good, and that they got to the same endpoint. Or they went they gave into the thing that made them feel terrible. And so that's the mindfulness piece where they keep recognizing what are they really after they use some little tips and tricks to kind of fool the body, not really just giving it was looking for. And then they know when they get to that 30 minute point cravings gone.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 26:16
That's so good. Love that I want to come back to mindfulness too. But first, what are some other influencers of metabolic health? Other than nutrition and physical activity, which we've kind of talked about for the most of this interview?
Dr. Gus Vickery 26:28
I mean, if I have to pick the top one, it's sleep, right? If you're not getting enough sleep, you're sabotaged. You know, I mean, if, in fact, sleep probably should be ahead of physical activity and nutrition in a way, but you can't you really, you know, you can't sort it out. But yeah, if you don't prioritize and get the restorative sleep, your body needs that you're going to have multiple levels, you're going to struggle, you will either we've got studies showing clearly blood sugar is higher stress signals are higher, you're going to have more dysregulation metabolically. Secondly, your brains tired, you're more moody, more emotional, you're more likely to get into cravings. You're just Yeah, so sleep is number one.
Stress, obviously, stress, it's not all bad. Stress is good. But when there's too much too often, or you feel like you have no control over it, then it's problematic. And how are you going to be proactive? And how you approach stress and stressors that occur? And how are you going to have good strategies to manage that? And so that your autonomic nervous system is well balanced and you know, not hyper sympathetic or high percent parasympathetic. And then finally environment you toxins. I mean, basically making sure that your air your water, your food, what you're drinking it up, what your food is stored in what you put on your skin, what do you I, you know, you've got a lower toxic burden, or that will absolutely through backdoor mechanisms completely sabotage, weight loss and getting healthy. So let's
Dr. Stephanie Gray 27:41
break those three down, spend a little more time on each of those. So do you track your sleep my guy wear or ring Do
Dr. Gus Vickery 27:46
you try to do I have tracked it for years, my aura ring battery family went dead. And I was about to order a new one. But you know, for the last two and a half years, I've had identical data 90% of the time. That's great good data, I assume. Yeah. And the most important metric for me from the or, or rang, my sleep day was great, but was the heart rate variability data. And I found a different device with an app where I could get more heart rate variability data. And so I decided that I was just going to kind of run with that. But the aura ring made a huge as my sleep metrics improved dramatically by tracking sleep
Dr. Stephanie Gray 28:19
to get more rem and deep sleep specifically, what are a few strategies? And maybe this actually goes into the second point, which is more stress reduction. But what are your top tips for improving deep and REM sleep? Sleep quality in general?
Dr. Gus Vickery 28:32
Yeah, it always starts with sleep hygiene, right? And I think you've probably shared that with your audience plenty of times right? Dark, comfortable, safe, quiet, cool environment, right? And then of course, the lead up to sleep, you've got to settle your brain down. So your lighting man prior to bed time? What are you doing? Are you watching cable news and geeking out because the world's gonna blow up tomorrow are you relaxing reading something having a nice conversation with a family member maybe doing some journaling something that's much more you know, soothing to the mind and the body. Having those routines is really really important cuz your body wants to sleep, we're the ones disrupt the sleep, the body is geared to one asleep. And so that you know the environment is the main thing.
And then it depends if a if an individual is really struggling maybe because we have sleep genomic and we can look and some individuals will have sleep latency issues that are based in genetics, and some people have very high sleep disruption based on genomic they're very visual and at night so we have to figure out ways to we can try and help their brain feel more relaxed breathwork is a great tool. Essential oils can be very helpful. I do find that certain supplements can really help magnesium glycinate or magnesium three and eight is like a mainstay of mine Oh, I almost always start with that because I know that it's good for the system you're not going to hurt anybody and most people are magnesium deficient anyway right so we know that safe. I will try melatonin but I have to be very careful with it because you can actually do too much with melatonin and some people don't have great response. So I'm real cautious with melatonin but I'll use it if we need to.
Definitely things like Phosphatidyl serine that can be helpful lemon balm that can be helpful. And I try not to you know, they have sleep formulas where it's like 18 things. I really tried to be precise and start with, you know the things that one or two things Yeah. And then we kind of keep coaxing and trying I very rarely I'm a medical doctor and occasionally after treat severe insomnia and I might use an actual pharmaceutical but never, never medicines like Ambien and stuff like that will use others but occasionally I'll have to do that. But the main thing is the environment and calming the mind and calming the nervous system and getting I mean, the main issue is just feeling safe. If as long as you don't feel safe, like there's a problem that needs your attention. You will not go to sleep your brain is trained to stay awake and stay vigilant. So you have to get to a place where you feel safe. Personally, for me spiritually right prayer, reading the Bible, I mean, that really gives me comfort and gets rid of my stress.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 30:50
Could you be missing out on magnesium. If you aren't already taking magnesium you likely should be our deficient food sources caffeine consumption, stress and exercise Robba sub magnesium which is an important cofactor for hundreds of processes in the body. It can calm your mind and ease your nerves to help you sleep at night and help reduce anxiety, PMS and headaches. It can relax your muscles when you have cramps your bowels when you're constipated, and it's required for energy hormone production and vitamin D absorption.
If you're interested in exploring more about how magnesium can help support you living a longer healthier life and the exact type of magnesium supplement to look for, check out my blog post the magnificence of magnesium found at your longevity blueprint.com forward slash blog and use code magnesium for 10% off our magnesium keylite product at your longevity blueprint.com Now let's get back to the episode I want to go back really quickly and comment just because a lot of our listeners are middle aged women on the melatonin I'm with you I err on the side of caution with that and that melatonin is an aromatase inhibitor which is why it can be beneficial for breast cancer it can block estrogen but in this population it can induce hot flashes sometimes especially if they use too much.
So I am cautious with use melatonin but I also want to mention if you didn't the five HTP and tryptophan we had just talked about minutes ago. You know those can help to boost melatonin, serotonin and melatonin those can help facilitate that calming sleep pathway. But then the Phosphatidyl serine. You mentioned that's a phospholipid. We haven't talked a lot about that on the show. So just for the listeners that can help dampen adrenaline dampen cortisol that kind of fight or flight. So a lot of patients who do feel revved up at night taking that can kind of help reset their circadian rhythm and just calm that cortisol down. That could be peaking at night. But that needs to be combined with lifestyle meditation, prayer, the other things that you're you'd mentioned.
Dr. Gus Vickery 32:36
And then Gabin theanine sometimes I'll try. Okay, I didn't see any and things like that to see if they helped glycine just to read glycine supplementation can be quite helpful or gelatin or you know, something, I mean, I don't know that drinking a cup of bone broth at that time is going to help you sleep but like you know, a little bit of gelatin or just some glycine powder glycine capsules can also help asleep as well.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 32:56
very calming amino acids love it. Okay, so we talked about sleep. Let's talk a little bit more about stress. I don't know if there's anything else you want to say there. You've talked about meditation. I know you talk about that in your your book, deep breathing, do you want to expand on either of those,
Dr. Gus Vickery 33:10
there's a few quick breath tricks that can make it really easy for people with this. Yeah, stresses like you could do 15 podcasts on stress, right? Because most of the individuals we're working with good people, hard working people, but our modern environments have tweaked out our autonomic nervous system, I mean, they're way out of balance. And if you started looking at heart rate variability and looking at low frequency, high frequency ratios, you start seeing how out of balance it is, people really need to return that autonomic nervous system, I definitely am a big advocate of getting outside as much as possible, trying to immerse yourself in whatever natural environments you can, and specifically trying to exercise in nature, whether it's a walk, or a jog, or bike ride or whatever, but go spend time in nature, it does so much just to settle our nervous system and of course, grounding. But I ground every morning, my back yard until my toxicant panel showed that I have broadleaf pre emergent herbicides. And I realized, okay, so I'm good at this, we have this back lawn, we play badminton and stuff like that there. And we do actually spray it and try to keep it a nice lawn. And I realized I'm standing in every morning. Exactly, I better find out when the chemicals are applied.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 34:17
There's not spray a little patch.
Dr. Gus Vickery 34:21
So anyway, kind of a funny story. But those things help but the back to the breath. So the breath is very powerful, as you know. And I'm going to really simplify it because you can do a ton of different types of breath work and they're really cool. But balanced breathing is just simply symmetrical breathing, breathing in and out at about the same pace and to hit what we call resonance where you kind of get your coherence where you get the brain and the heart everything tuned up. The typical recommendations is that you slow your breath to about six breaths a minute, and that's a symmetrical form of breathing, typically five seconds and five seconds out, nose diaphragm, right not chest, mouth, breathing nose diaphragm, and that's just a very balancing form of breathing. It's not really sympathetic or parasympathetic, it just calms you down and helps focus you If you want to activate your sympathetic nervous system, if you need a little bit of cortisol and adrenaline and you're tired, then you basically breathe in more than you breathe out.
It's that simple. You can do that for volume, you can do it through pace. But all you have to do is see to it that you're actually breathing in more than you're breathing out. If you want to learn more about this, Dan, Andrew Kuperman is Huberman lab podcast. He's a Stanford neuroscientist. He's taught me more about this than just about anybody else. And it's really amazing because he gets into the neuroscience of it and why it happens. And he's really simplified it. So don't do that if you're trying to calm down, right. So if you're trying to get activated, you breathe in, breathe out, the reverse is true for calming yourself down, breathe out more than you breathe in. And that can be accomplished many ways. You can have a shorter inhale, longer exhale, you can have a long inhale and just a longer XL. But you actually ultimately your Net Breathing out is longer than your breathing in.
Now, a lot of folks will use what's called Four, eight breathing real simple, that way, they have something to pace it to, you know, and that doesn't mean for seconds, it could be it's just a four count in a count out. And some people will use the 478, where you breathe in for four paws seven seconds and breathe out for eight, that can be too much for people, if they don't have good carbon dioxide tolerance, if they've been over breathing, that they'll get short of breath doing that. But that's really good for training carbon dioxide tolerance to so that they can reset that system. But yeah, I've just tell folks find what feels comfortable and you're not straining, because if you're putting too much effort into it, then it is going to end up enhancing focus and dopamine. And if you're really just trying to relax, but just breathe out more than you breathe in.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 36:30
Love that breathe out more than you breathe in. Okay, let's go to the environment. Well, we kind of just talked about toxins in your backyard environment, how does our environment impact our health? And how we how can we program our environment better to support us rather than erode our health?
Dr. Gus Vickery 36:44
Yes, that, you know, for years, I didn't hardly talk about environment at all. And now it's become that and community, those have been the two things that talked about anything else, because I think those are the foundation stones of us, you know, we're health advocates in a lot of people are, we're part of a big community, we want to see a complete sea change and health in our country, right, we're not just doing this just to work one on one with individuals, we're trying to get a message out there, so that the next generation of children growing up can have the opportunity to really experience great health. And that human isn't going to be thwarted by this, we want this for people because we know how important and how good it is. And I've realized that without community and focusing on community environment, it's just not going to happen, you can get individually healthy, but you're still going to have to focus on finding a community that supports that, and encourages you because it is hard to do in our time. And then program your environment and program, the environment is not simply cleaning up the environment.
So it's suitable for a human meaning clean air, clean water, you know, lack of mold, all the things I know, you teach over and over again, I'm sure you've had experts to talk about that. I won't go into all the toxicants I'm not really an expert there either anyway. But it also means how do you program your environment, so you have success with the health behaviors you're trying to engage in. Because most of the time when people don't have success improving their approach to nutrition or physical activity or stress, it's because they didn't program their environment to give them success, the thing that they need to do isn't easily accessible. And the thing that they don't want to do is way too easy. And so you begin to recreate your food environment around what are your priorities? What are your goals? What are your values for your food, you create your living habitat and your office habitat, to promote movement, less sedentary, more movement, you begin to create your lighting environment so that it creates less stress, you know, and so you really start looking at comprehensive environmental programming. So that all of the things that you want to do on a daily basis that are going to just help you get healthier and healthier or just become automated because they're programmed into your environment.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 38:36
Love that. That's what you meant by environment. Love that.
Dr. Gus Vickery 38:39
And and the healthy habitat. Right? Sure. toxicant, free all that kind of stuff. Yeah. We
Dr. Stephanie Gray 38:44
talked a lot about that on the podcast. Yes. Yeah. So in your book here authentic health, you teach about mindfulness and how important it is to experience optimal health and well being so what what does it mean, I know you talked about being mindful with our food selection, and when we're having cravings and whatnot. But what do you mean by being mindful when it comes to our health?
Dr. Gus Vickery 39:01
Yeah, so the first thing of obviously, is that you have to step back and really ask what are my goals for my health, because a lot of individuals I've seen and even right now, a lot of people who seek a consultation with me they have for health, they're struggling, you know, it could be metabolic, it could be chronic inflammation, it could be all that but they're struggling, obviously right now, if you just go with our modern cultural flow, for the most part, with a vast part of our population, all what I think are good people who want to feel good, I'm not blaming anybody or anything like that. You're going to end up in an unhealthy environment, the foods you eat will generally be not good for you. Right?
They're going to have ingredients that are actually hurting your health and they're gonna miss ingredients that you need for your health and they'll have too many calories and you'll eat too often and all that you will be more sedentary you'll sit in your car to you sit in your office chair so you can sit in your car till you get home and sit on your couch and then go to bed right i mean you will you are environments are programmed to this concept of comfort. You'll never get cold you'll never get hot right? So absence of sauna absence of cold thermogenic assess these things that create greater resiliency and a more comprehensive, you know, expression of who we can be. So obviously, if we're mindless about this, if we just go with the flow, the likely endpoint is a state of poor health.
But because so many people around us are occupying that same state, and it's become status quo, we don't think of it is for health, where I need to work on my blood cholesterol, and I should lose a little weight. And in the meantime, you know, I am tired all the time and feel brain foggy and often depressed, but I'm not. Because they're bailiffs, I know is also this is just normal for human beings. So we just normalize it, rather than recognize there could be something completely different available to us. So the first thing is in the big picture, you've got to be mindful, you're, you know, I think Yogi Berra, the quote is, I'm paraphrasing, but it's like, if you don't know where you're trying to go, you'll end up someplace else. Right? So it's like, what are your actual goals for your health? And that starts with understanding what is the value proposition of health, it's not just your doctor gives you or your nurse practitioner gives you an A, because you have good cholesterol and good blood pressure. That's, that doesn't really motivate anybody that
Dr. Stephanie Gray 40:59
and that doesn't give you back good health, either. Right? I read that in your book you talk about, you say your doctor can't give you back your health. So they prescribed a statin medication and bring your cholesterol down, that doesn't bring your health back?
Dr. Gus Vickery 41:10
Yeah, that's exactly right. You know, the value proposition of health is this state of being within a human system where every all cells and tissues are functioning at an optimal way in the way that they were designed. And so that the actual expression of that is, most of the time, barring things you couldn't have controlled for your mental and physical and emotional well being are phenomenal. You feel good, you feel able to fully engage in life and find out what is my potential, that's a euphoric thing, when people begin to experience that ahead is like a drug in and of itself, you want to feel that good. And then you automatically program yourself for health? Because the moment you do something that takes that from you, you're like, Well, what was it? Was it what what did I do? What was it something in my environment? Was this something I ate?
I'm not doing that to myself, again, because this is so much preferable to that. And I know this, and you know this, because we've both seen lots of folks who arrive at that place, you we don't have to help them anymore. They'll figure it out all the time, because they're so addicted to their good health, they're not gonna do anything to give it away. And that's where we we try to get people. So you have to start with saying, I want that, right. And in order to have that, then what about my approach to my daily habit matrix has to change what's keeping me from having that experience, and you have to do the inventory on these things. We've talked about your environment, your community, your nutrition, your physical activity, your stress your toxin burden, you have to do that inventory. And it can be very helpful to work with someone like you who can actually get the data to really know where you stand, right? What systems before, you know, that kind of stuff. But if you can't get that data, you can still do this.
And you can still get very close, because your body will teach you as you help it to get healthier. And then when it comes to each of those areas, change is challenging. And if you're just working out of your, what I call your lower mind, your automated habit programs that are deeply tied into reward systems and memories, you're just going to keep doing what you've always done. The only way you get victory over that is to activate the more powerful cortex of your brain, which is the prefrontal cortex and begin to train new circuits, so that you can actually now be self deterministic about what is it? How am I going to make progress to my goals. I'm not just a victim of my culture, my habits and everything that came before me. I'm the one who decides, you know how I'm going to do it. And it's a journey, meaning you have some victories, and you have some setbacks, but you're just committed to that journey. Now, mindfulness is a deep topic, we could talk about it all kinds of different forms of mindfulness. But at the end of the day, that's what I'm talking about mindfulness about health.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 43:37
I probably don't need to tell you this, but we as individuals and as a society are more stressed than we have ever been before. And while dealing with the stress alone is bad enough, living in a constant state of stress has serious long term effects on our overall health. stressful lifestyles combined with inadequate diets can deplete an essential neurotransmitter in our brain called serotonin, which is linked with healthy mood and sleep cycle regulation to factors that help combat the stress in our lives. Essentially, this means that being stressed actually makes it physiologically harder to deal with stress. Talk about a vicious cycle. Luckily, there's a solution to the problem. five HTP or five hydroxy.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that plays an important role in the production of serotonin. five HTP is a direct precursor to serotonin and readily crosses the blood brain barrier, allowing for natural increase in serotonin synthesis by our central nervous system. When we increase our serotonin we're able to promote a more balanced and positive mood and naturally combat stress more effectively preventing the vicious cycle from spiraling further and causing more long term damage to our health. That's why I recommend five HTP for anybody looking to get control of to de stress and support that mood. In short, it's wonderful for anxiety, depression and sleep. If you're already on medications for your mood, you can likely still take five HTP but please consult with your personal medical authority. Use code mood for 10% off at your longevity blueprint calm.
I love that I I told you before we push record today that I read your book so long ago, because we met a couple years ago, I need to go back and read it front to back, because it's just so full of just great chunks. But one thing I did write down something I'd underlined in the book, when I'd read it was what you just said was that, you know, we have to have the courage to want to change your habits. So we need to do an inventory, right, assess what the where the problems lie, but then have the courage to want to make the change. And then you say that it's our responsibility to claim our health for ourselves, right? It's our responsibility to do that. It's not our doctors, we have to make those changes. I don't know if you want to expand on that. Or maybe you just did. Well, yeah.
Dr. Gus Vickery 45:32
So I mean, a lot of times I start by trying to unburden people, they come in feeling ashamed. They believe that their poor health is a consequence of their character, their integrity, they've been told that they're too fat, they don't move enough, they would, you know, they eat the wrong foods. And so you know, the first order of business is to help them understand how this programming started. And it started, you know, even we know now from EPI, genetics, it started before when they were a sperm in ANOVA, some of that programming was already starting, and help them understand No, you didn't really consciously choose all this for yourself, you're not in the state, because you just consciously decided as a young person, this is the state I want to be, and this is something that happened to you.
And it doesn't do any good to look at conspiracy theories of food manufacturers, and chemical many, yeah, we got problems there. And there is powerful, and we got to deal with them. But it doesn't do any good on your individual health to begin to say, well, it's all their fault, right? Or it's the healthcare systems fault, or it's my family's fault. Blame is a disempowering, like emotion, right? I mean, then you're a victim of other people, and you can't. So you really have to get to a point where you're not going to blame anybody, and you're not blaming yourself, you fully forgive yourself, and recognize this wasn't really ever my conscious intent, this wasn't an expression of who I really am, who I really am actually wants to feel good and get healthy. But then once you arrive at that point, you do have to take responsibility.
And that's challenging, because once you know, you know, and if you choose not to take the journey, you are now willfully choosing to stay in a state of poor health, that can create some cognitive dissonance for folks. All it means is you take one little baby step in the right direction, most people have years to do this. I mean, some people are so sick, they better do it quick. But most people can do this over years. One, baby step, right. And then once that baby step became automated, three months later, let's take one more baby step. And then that's across the different categories, like there was one little food substitution, there was one little bit more movement a little bit more sleep. And we just keep stacking and stacking and stacking until two or three years later, this person is in a completely different state of health.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 47:25
Love it, love it, love it, have just a few more questions, and we'll wrap up here. So what is authentic health to you? Like? What's the definition of authentic health? Why do you name your book that
Dr. Gus Vickery 47:34
is to be what friend think of the literary fallacy I'm about to use this to be authentically healthy. It is that state I described, right where your unique human system, right, that has all of its, you know, genetic variants. I mean, you and I both know that 99.5% of our genetics are the same, right, because we have the same basic makeup as Homo sapiens. But we have these like little tiny variations between you and me, that really make a difference in methylation, phase two detoxification hormone, right macronutrients whereby we can get those blueprints for people so that instead of homogenizing, everything, they can begin to individualize and get their best expression.
And so, for me being authentically healthy, I alluded to it earlier, when I talked about the value proposition of health, it is that I am attending to my human system to the best of my ability, so that all of those systems that might need a little help and support are getting the help and support they need. And then all the systems that are robust or as robust as they can be, so that the entire human system is working in an optimal fashion. So that every single day, I am experiencing the highest possible level of emotional, physical and cognitive well being that I can experience. And then to keep exploring that potential, because we have so much untapped potential as human beings, our genetics are so more, there's so comprehensive, right?
Like, human beings can become free divers, they can actually train the mammalian dive reflex and go 100 feet into the sea for five minutes. I'm not going to do that. But that potential exists to say, bye. And then they can go walk up a 20,000 foot mountain where they can figure out cognitively how to go into space and study and do right we have these amazing potentials, really, God given potentials to really create good things, right? We're supposed to use them the right way. And most of us are not coming close to exploring this potentials. Because we're coming nowhere close to an optimal state of health.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 49:21
Love it, love it. Love it. We want that authentic health. Okay, I gotta ask one final question. And then we'll kind of wrap up here. Can you give us an example a case example? I mean, you went over a lot, obviously, that you work with your patients, but you dive into how to get them back to metabolic health. Can you give us an example of some things that it may be one of your patients changed, that took responsibility for themselves, change some habits and the transformation that they had?
Dr. Gus Vickery 49:42
Yeah, I could give you a lot of those. But well, since we're talking about metabolic health, we'll just go with that at a recent case. 49 year old female, lovely person, fairly discipline in her life, but had been carrying probably 30 pounds for too long, but she carried it well. She came to me later, but she went through some blood testing in about 18 months and she'd had a checkup the last checkup everything looked okay. and her doctor called her highly concerned her fasting blood glucose was over 400. He added in a one C, it was over 14. She wasn't at that point like her over basic metabolic like sodium and potassium and kidney function were fine. So she wasn't like a critical case, you got to send it to the hospital or something of that sort. But essentially, she found out that 18 months you progress that level.
And it's interesting because the first instinct of medical doctor would be this is type two diabetes, this person is overweight, but we know that nobody develops type two diabetes with that level of glycemic dysregulation in 18 months, right? We know there's a beta cell component, there is a condition, late onset autoimmune diabetes in an adult where they actually have a mixture of potentially of insulin resistance and compromised beta cell function. And so she went to an endocrinologist who immediately suggested what we would typically suggest insulin therapy, right then we have insulin therapy is very expensive and time tested. So she ran it she curbside me because she's a friend and ran by me and I was like, Look, you may end up needing insulin, I don't know, I haven't looked at your C peptide levels, your insulin levels, blah, blah, blah, blah. I got all that data. And it turned out she had just gone into menopause within the last year, completely undetectable reproductive hormones. She had been catabolic for about three months because she'd been losing weight and getting tired because of the hyperglycemia. Her growth hormone was down like down to like a 50.
Right and so that so we know that she was experiencing this sort of chronic catabolic stimulus, thyroid was definitely not optimal. It wasn't technically abnormal, but the TSH was like for free T three was like 2.2. So you know, we use a lot. Yeah, a lot of the endpoint. So it's real good a comprehensive case. And I told her, I've been looking at data for this specific form of diabetes. And yes, you do have insulin resistance, but you primarily have lost your beta cell function, but you still have some when I tested her C peptide and insulin, she still had some inappropriately low for the level of hyperglycemia. But she still had it. I was I think, if you could follow a ketogenic diet, you might be able to stabilize this and avoid insulin. I looked at just found a study and it did show of course, improving insulin resistance, but it actually showed improvement in the health of the beta cells on ketogenic diets.
They hadn't been able to measure that the production of the beta cells improved, but they saw all these markers that the beta cells might be healthier and being reinvigorated. So she did it is hard to do this, right. But she went 100%, ketogenic committed quit all alcohol. She wasn't a heavy drinker, but she drank wine on the weekends, quit all alcohol. I'll flash forward. We did also start bioidentical hormone replacement, I actually did use a growth hormone secretagogue peptide to give her some growth hormone stimulus. She had some targeted supplements, cleaned up some of the diet. And six months later, her agency is 5.5. Wow, yeah, her fasting blood glucose is at her continuous glucose monitor shows a consistent range of 70 to 110. No drugs.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 52:41
I mean, it was
Dr. Gus Vickery 52:43
I did use an SDG stLt to inhibitor I don't know if you're familiar with those. You know, ultimately, now she doesn't need it because she's not urinating out any glucose because glucose is so well controlled. But I did use that in the beginning because I was just trying to give any edge I could. She's not on any drugs. Now. That's amazing. That's incredible. But so she did that meaning she disciplined herself to go from a standard diet to a ketogenic diet low carb and did it and completely through the diet itself. And then after a few months, once growth hormone had come up and reproductive, we got her into the gym and got her strength training. Yeah, cuz she was losing lean body mass. But she did it. And she did not need insulin therapy and still does not indeed insulin therapy and she has better blood sugar than most of my regular patients. La da.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 53:28
That's amazing. That's amazing. Congratulations. happy and blessed that she had that connection to unit saved her from what could have been a very different path. So what is your absolute top longevity tip and then we'll get into where listeners can find you.
Dr. Gus Vickery 53:42
Alright, so there's a ton of them and they're all important, but my top one is spend a lot more time outside.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 53:46
We love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. Do you live in the mountains here in North Carolina?
Dr. Gus Vickery 53:50
Are you I'm in Asheville, North Carolina. So I do live in the mountains.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 53:52
You get to hike in Yeah, yeah. I got to relocate. Not Not Now eventually.
Dr. Gus Vickery 53:58
Yeah, I spent a lot more time outside, explore nature. Turn it off.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 54:02
Vitamin N Get your vitamin in nature. Yeah. Well, I hear you have an incredible free gift for our listeners. So why don't you share that with our audience?
Dr. Gus Vickery 54:11
Yeah, so about a year and a half ago, the book that you've been talking about authentic health that I wrote, I did make it available free, not the hardcopy that's available on Amazon and places like that. But the e book which you can download onto a Kindle or an iPad is free on a website. It's ebook.dr Gus Vickery calm, not www just ebook.dr, Chris vickery.com and the audio file. So I did it had we have an audible version. Now you can't put the audible version on there. So they're like mp3 1000 files that you have to download. But if you'd rather listen to the book, you can download this file. So that's free for anybody who would like to explore it.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 54:44
Incredible and very generous. So thank you so much. We will definitely post that link in the show notes. And you have one more gift to share.
Dr. Gus Vickery 54:52
Yeah, so by that, you know, by the time this podcast comes out, I did and I'll keep this very short, but essentially the book got a lot of positive have, you know reviews, people were really helped by the simplicity of it, the action steps that helped him feel good about themselves. But also realize I can make it shorter and simpler because every time I received feedback about what were the things that help people the most in these different areas I wrote about and I thought, you know, I can make this smaller, shorter, simpler, so that folks who are intimidated by reading a book over 200 pages will just feel like I got it, I got exactly what I need. But I also had this I feel really goofy when I talk about this. But it was more like a spiritual revelation, I felt like I should tell it in the form of the story. So I've been working on that.
And it's done. It's just got copy editing. But basically, here's a short book that takes all those essential truths from the first book simplifies them, and presents them in the form of an engaging adventure story. And so and that's going to always be free. It's just my way of trying to get the message out to as many people as possible. And so I wrote that to giveaway and I'm just sharing it with, you know, any platforms that I share with and saying, Please download it. If you like it, you think it's really a great way to understand this material, read it to your children, share it with your friends and family. You know, hopefully, we'll get a lot of folks engaged in this message. And they'll make this decision. And we'll build this incredible health community and program our environments together. And I'll have good health.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 56:10
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, thank you so much for those gifts. And thank you for coming on the show today and just reminding us that we get to choose right, we can avoid change and stay sick or we can courageously start our journey back to authentic health.
Dr. Gus Vickery 56:22
Thanks so much. Thank you for all the work you're doing.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 56:28
I love talking to that man. He so genuinely wants to change the health of our nation and he's got a plan to make that happen. I encourage you read his books, links. Again, I'll post in the show notes. Truly start being mindful, like he mentioned of your environment of your movement, your nutrition and physical activity. And if you want to work one on one with Dr. Vickery. Learn more at Dr. Gus vickery.com. Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck. You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book. Plus for a limited time the course is 50% off, check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the Course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I do read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics, guests and how you're applying what you learn on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. The podcast is produced by the team at counterweight creative as always, thank you so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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