Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Dr. Jay Davidson, for the Depression & Anxiety Series.
Jonathan Otto: What do you see as some really effective solutions as a clinician, what do you see as what people can do today to effectively prevent Alzheimer's and dementia or to use these same strategies, potentially to then turn back the clock as well, somebody seeing the early onset or even the later onset of some of these things?
Dr. Jay Davidson: 09:30 Yeah, I love healthy fats. You know our brain is made of mostly cholesterol, which then goes to our culture right now, what's happening Jonathan is, your cholesterol's too high. We're just going to pick the range we want, and keep lowering that so that everybody eventually will be into the cholesterol lowering medication category and we're going to lower your cholesterol, and the brain is mostly cholesterol. So when we lower that, we're literally like taking cholesterol away from our body that could be used for health of our brain. So I see kind of a correlation between the statin drugs or the cholesterol-lowering medication. The more that that goes up, then the more brain issues it seems like we're having right now. I think we want to take almost the opposite effect of healthier fats. There's been some great research on medium-change triglycerides, or otherwise known as MCT, or MCT oil. There's MCT powders now that are out there and things. But essentially it's a ketone body. MCT is processed in the liver. Only takes a few steps versus regular fats that take multiple steps to kind of get energy from it. The ketone is very clean, burning.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 10:45 Ketone, I like to think of it as natural gas burning, versus regular sugar burner, which most Americans unfortunately are. Sugar burner. But when you're a sugar burner, think of it like a old-school fireplace. A smokey fireplace, right? The black smoke, like the more dirty smoke coming off versus the natural gas where there's like nothing given off. There's no unhealthy byproduct or something like that. Ketone bodies are basically fuel for the brain. If we're stuck in not consuming a lot of health fats, not giving nutrition for the body, and we're stuck with a lot of sugar-ridden things: High sugar foods, artificial, processed ingredients. Things that actually spike blood sugar. Toxins actually spike blood sugar.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 11:33 But if we're consuming higher sugar foods or we're exposed to toxins that spike our blood sugar, affect the insulin, then, now, all of a sudden, that's burning dirtier, and then it causes more damage to our brain. I believe diet is a big piece to it, like what we're eating and how. I don't think there's one diet for everybody. I always take a step back, and I'm like, "What fat are we in now? Ketogenic, paleo, vegan, raw?" There's a big spectrum. I like to think in the diet category that there's a season for it and then also look at your own blueprint. But diet's huge. Engagement, you had mentioned, with the relationship side that when we actually have a relationship with the community around us and we're not huckered in and kind of hermit-ish.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 12:23 And my wife would laugh, because I'm like the hermit of the family. She's like, "Hey, do you want to go out?" And she's like, "I already know you answered no, but come on, let's go. Let's go over to Jonathan's house and see Jonathan or Lori." I'm like, "Yes," because I feel so much better being around people. In the chronic illness category, when you're having unexplained illness, autoimmunity, it's really easy just to ... nobody understands. They don't get what I'm going through, and then all of a sudden, you're like you stay in your house. You don't leave. You don't have that community.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 12:56 So when we're looking at keeping the brain healthy, relationships are huge. Not just with family, but like community. Looking at your why ... challenging your brain. The people that do the word puzzles or Sudoku versus just the people that sit on the couch and watch TV. You can already see the path that those two are on are different. Somebody that's engaging their brain and working that "muscle" versus somebody that's just kind of like, "I'm checked out, and I'm not using my brain."
Jonathan Otto: 13:27 Wow. I love that. I see a powerful, beautiful message for people to take that the path of health is also the path of happiness. How amazing, like what an insight to come across that these things are deeply woven together. Would you agree with that?
Dr. Jay Davidson: 13:42 Absolutely, yeah. When one thing goes well in the body, it's the domino that other things go well. I mean, so when you really find the true source or sources, it's like everything starts elevating. You get healthier. You have better relationships. I mean, you're happier.
Jonathan Otto: 14:00 Yeah. So, that's a wonderful thing to strive for. It does bring in some of these factors that somebody may want to get well, but they may not believe they deserve to get well. So there is something that we've all been familiar with, if we've lived in this world, and that is called self-sabotage. We've all done certain sabotaging things to ourselves through our lives where we've had something beautiful right in front of us, but we just couldn't accept that we were worthy of it. So we've shut down that opportunity, or sometimes it can happen even with relationships.
Jonathan Otto: 14:33 You could love your spouse. Your spouse could love you. But if there's this feeling of unworthiness, it will sabotage relationship. Same thing can happen with our health. We can sabotage our healthy by not believing that we deserve to have good health. Would you see that that's something important? I know that you're a clinician. I've even worked with you as a doctor. So, would you say that that's important for somebody to understand their worthiness to accept health?
Dr. Jay Davidson: 14:57 Yeah. Well, your mindset is one of the most important things in your journey of getting well, is understanding our thoughts. As I've heard people say, "You're stinkin' thinkin'," that we've been brought up in a certain manner like tradition, environment or around. It might not be perfect. Most people don't have that and that's what makes it actually perfect. We all have different baggage and emotional traumas. The more we have, the more likely we are to have symptoms and illness. The emotional traumas and emotional stresses is the big piece. There's one, I guess, statement I'd like to share. I shared with you the other day, Jonathan. I said, "Really, the ultimate level of forgiveness is realizing there's nothing to forgive."
Dr. Jay Davidson: 15:47 So we can hold and say, "Well, my mom or dad was so hard on me and they constantly did this and that." It's like we can look at it from that angle and then of course we can be stuck in a certain pattern and self-sabotage and continue to exhibit that. Or we can also look at it and say, "Well, they were a little more stern financially, but because of that, now look at how good I am at managing money." Or you can look at it, and say, "I think they really did the best they could," and not have this negative emotion associated with it.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 16:25 So it's digging through your life and really peeling that back. But the mind, mental, emotional piece of it is so important. I always like to remind the listener, "You were born a champion, but we've been conditioned in a mediocrity." It's time that we step out of that mediocrity, step forward and we become that champion again, because, really, we were meant to. Really meant to function at a high level and to be healthy and to be happy.
Jonathan Otto: 16:50 Dr. Jay, I recently did some research on a 75-year Harvard study that was quantifying happiness. What made people happy? This was studying the lives of people over the course of 75 years. These were big guys that were — some of them — building huge companies and these tech startups that went and multi-millions of dollars. And then you had people that were living more regular lives and everywhere in between. So then what made these people happy and they were looking to see, "Does wealth make that different?" Especially this kind of enormous wealth. Obviously, there's a certain amount that's amount. Like, if we don't have enough to put food in our bellies and that certainly doesn't make us happy, right?
Jonathan Otto: 17:34 So money had some bearing but to a very small extent in this Western society. It wasn't a factor. They studied this based on interviews, information. They even did blood tests to try to look at the health of the person to quantify their happiness. The result was the people that were the happiest were those that had deep and meaningful relationships. It was their ability. This was the thing that was most profound to me — their ability to be authentic and true in those relationships. So, to fully be themselves, and that for me was one of the most beautiful things. That also showed they were deeply engaged.
Jonathan Otto: 18:16 Their minds were invested in those relationships and other minds and hearts and people were invested in them, and that was a huge part of their happiness. And considering that was such a long study, they studied people that lived longer and they could quantify their happiness and the fact that it had on their lives. So I just think that's a huge reminder for us to continue to do things that make us happy and build strong relationships and not be afraid to be real with our loved ones and to express our true vulnerabilities and really put that relationship on the line and test the relationship. And then, sometimes, that means cutting relationships, but it's about ... and because they don't protect us. They hurt us.
Jonathan Otto: 18:59 But then it's also about deepening those relationships, and realizing, "Hey, I've been putting on a mask in this relationship. Why don't I just say what I really feel," and that opens reliability to love and affirm people and all these kinds of things. Dr. Davidson, when you're looking at the brain, looking at problems there, and we're going to discuss later on more to do with depress, anxiety, but I'm going to just use it as a small reference right now. Is the problem in the chemical imbalance in the brain ... and that's same with Alzheimer's, dementia. Is it something that's like deformed or unusual, that it's not right in the brain, or is there a gut related problem that is really the hub of that problem? What do you understand?
Dr. Jay Davidson: 19:44 For brain issues, there's a massive connection between our gut and brain. If we're having leaky gut or what's technically called intestinal permeability, there's going to be "leaky brain" or brain permeability basically where things are going to cross that shouldn't. So, the gut and brain are intimately connected, and any time that there's brain issues, you always want to look to the gut. Any time that there's autoimmune issues, always look to the digestive tract.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 20:14 There's multiple things you can do for the digestive tract. You can look at bacteria, whether it's probiotics or eating more fermented foods. There's also great tools like bacteriophages that help to clear up infection in the gut. They're actually viruses that kill certain bacteria. It's called bacteriophages. There's probiotics that are soil based.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 20:37 There's some that I ... I have a biochemist friend that tested one brand specifically and showed that that soil based probiotic actually just grew mold. Not all soil based probiotics are safe.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 20:51 There's multiple different probiotics. There's some that are really great at recolonizing the gut. There's some that are really great for maintenance. There's soil based. There's also now more of the spore probiotics, or the sporebiotics, where it's actually you're taking spores that can essentially hatch in the bacteria, instead of just the bacteria itself too. There's so many tools out there.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 21:13 Fermentation, probiotics. There's also doing things that help calm the gut inflammation. When I'm looking at the brain, not only considering the gut, but also what's inflaming the brain outside of that. Blood sugar levels is a big thing. There's researchers out there that consider Alzheimer's and dementia in the category of type III diabetes, meaning it's really like diabetes of the brain, which then goes back to diet.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 21:42 Often times with blood sugar levels, to make sure that you're eating good foods, putting good stuff in so your insulin and blood sugar's not all over the place, because when it is, insulin spiking a little bit can actually trigger autoimmunity of thyroid. Insulin spiking could then create inflammation, and then obviously cause negative effects to the brain.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 22:04 With the brain you want to definitely consider blood sugar levels. You want to consider the digestive tract. You want to look at toxins. A couple toxins that specifically affect the brain, aluminum, which is a modern day epidemic right now. Even the bioengineering of dropping the stratospheric bioengineering chem trails, people call it, but aluminum in there to try to reflect some of the sun, so we're not having damaging effects from the sun. Aluminum exposure is everywhere. Aluminum loves the brain. Mercury loves the brain, as well, too. If you have dental amalgam fillings with mercury inside, we know there's gonna be a certain amount of mercury in the brain for every amalgam that you have, and for a certain time period.
Dr. Jay Davidson: 22:48 The other thing that can effect the brain too, which anything that affects the brain can then put you at risk of some kind of condition or disease of the brain, whether it's autism, Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, etc. the other thing is looking at infection. Lyme disease, when they actually did autopsies on Alzheimer brains, they found Lyme spirochetes in all of them. With certain research that they did they've seen Chlamydia pneumonia, certain human herpes viruses found in the brain of Alzheimer type cases. I think chronic infection is really important. I think toxicity is really important. I think our diet, which is obviously affecting blood sugar levels, is really important. Our overall digestive tract is really important. All those, I believe, are important factors that, if we want to prevent having brain conditions, that we want to address. If we want to heal them or slow them down, that we need to address as well too.