Could your health issues be caused by gluten? According to Dr. Tom O’Bryan, it is one of the biggest health triggers.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan is a recognized world expert on gluten and its impact on health. Today, we dive into the five pillars of disease: genetics, gut permeability, your immune system responding to leaky gut, the microbiome, and environmental triggers. Dr. O’Bryan creates a roadmap that can help you reclaim your health. There is no magic pill but through lifestyle changes and mini habits, you can heal.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan is the founder of thedr.com, and he is the visionary behind The Gluten Summit: A Grain of Truth, which is one of the first online summits that brought together 29 of the world’s experts on the gluten connection to diseases, disorders, and a wide range of symptoms.
He’s also the creator of the groundbreaking documentary series Betrayal: The Autoimmune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You, where he investigated the world’s leaders in health into why our immune system designed to protect us begins attacking the tissue. He’s also written two books, one of them which was released in 2016, The Autoimmune Fix, outlines a step-by-step development of degenerate diseases and gives us the tools to identify a disease process years before the symptoms are obvious.
Importance of Diet and Lifestyle
And I feel like… the first thing I say to them is you got to clean up your diet ASAP. And it took me a long time to realize that, and it’s really hard to do, right? And especially if it’s not like we have Crohn’s where you’re doubled over and you see the immediate results of gluten.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Right.
Mimi: But when you have a chronic illness, it’s kind of like it creeps up on you. So if you cheat for a day or two, the next you know you’re in bed, you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m not-“
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Right. You cheat a little bit and say, “I don’t feel bad.” And then, “I’ll have another piece of cake tomorrow.”
Mimi: I’ve come to realize over the last five and a half years, even though I was kind of into health, I mean, I went to school for nutritionist. I didn’t really… of course I understood, but I think until I got sick and realized the direct impact of how your body really won’t get better until you eat well. So I’m excited today to have you on to really kind of talk about gluten and eating and how important it is for a lot of chronic illnesses in addition to Lyme.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Well, thank you. Thank you so much. There are some basic realizations that are necessary when we’re diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory disease like Lyme or any other auto-immune diseases, Alzheimer’s. There are some basic understandings that we need to embrace, wrestle with, digest, absorb, and accept. And until we do, we’re like a dog chasing its tail. What drug do I take for this? Or what nutrition do I take for this? Is this pill going to help? What if I do this diet, or if I do that diet? We’re just chasing the tail of the symptoms, trying to figure out.
And so many doctors say, now they say, well, we’re going to address the cause. And the cause is that you have a coenzyme Q10 deficiency in your mitochondria, and that’s not the cause. That certainly can be a manifestation of an imbalance, but that’s not the case. So the first thing we have to understand is that the way we have been living our life, consciously and more importantly, unconsciously has produced the results we have right now.
And until we accept that there’s something in my lifestyle that has contributed to my body breaking down, whether it’s Lyme, Epstein-Barr, diabetes, losing your hair, alopecia, psoriasis, rheumatoid, it doesn’t matter what the disease is until we understand that something in the way I’m living my life that’s caused this problem, I’m not going to really get fully well. And it’s going to manifest in one way or another.
That’s a basic premise that people don’t know live by. What they live by is, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m going to look for the cause. Now what pill do I take to feel better?” And we all have grown up in that society wanting instant relief. We’re instant relief with the advertisements that are on every television show, every radio network.
Looking for Instant Relief and a Magic Pill
And we see these people, we see the lifeguard adonis-looking guy and the Baywatch babes bouncing around and they’re all happy and they’re talking about psoriasis. But the view on the screen is what we want. We want that happy life and we don’t listen to, warning this drug may cause high blood pressure, cancer, and it will kill you. We don’t listen to that. What imprints is what we see that we want. Does that make sense?
Mimi: Yeah, definitely. I mean, we’re the only country I think in the world that pharmaceuticals advertise on TV.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, you’re right. As far as I know, you’re right on that. So getting well from a chronic disease requires a paradigm shift, shift in the way you think. And that’s what’s really difficult for everybody because no doctor wants to tell you that because then you go, what do you mean I’ve got to give up wheat? Or what do you mean?
I’m getting plenty of sleep or I don’t have stress in my life, what are you talking about? And then the patient doesn’t come back and so the doctor doesn’t… In my generation growing up, we said, you call a spade a spade. You don’t call it a heart or a diamond, you call it a spade, right? So you’ve got to call it the way you see it.
Mimi: But I don’t think there’s a lot of doctors that actually see the connection.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: That’s correct.
Mimi: I think. I mean, a lot of the mainstream, like my dad had a 99% heart blockage when he had a stent put in and I’m talking to the heart surgeon and I say, “You need to tell my dad he has to start eating better.” And he’s like, “Oh no, he can eat whatever he wants.” And I’m looking at him like, “What are you talking about?”
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Yeah, exactly.
Mimi: He’s like, “He can eat anything he wants.” And I’m like, “No, he can’t. Obviously, it’s blocked for some reason.” Like-
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
I’ll just put another stent in five years.
Mim: So he, in front of my dad, dissed me. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, what just happened?”
Creating Your Roadmap
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Right. So the way I say it is I moved from Chicago to Southern California in 2010. And I packed up a Newhall and had a friend drive it and I drove my car. And you don’t just get in the car and start driving, you need a map. All right, I’m going to head West. Well, you’re going to end up in Oregon. Maybe. Unless you have a map that shows you where you’re going. So you need a map of how are you going to get well. So there are some basic principles that people need to understand in order to heal from any inflammatory disease, whatever it is. Doesn’t matter if it’s Hashimoto’s thyroid or if it’s just plain old obesity or if it’s lupus or if it’s chest pain.
Mimi: You could put cancer in there as well, too, right?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
Exactly. Or cancer. So if it’s okay, I’m going to share my screen and show you a few slides-
Mimi: That’s great, thank you.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
… that will help put it in perspective. What’s the big picture? What’s the big picture view about chronic diseases? Where do they come from? Well, let’s start with Professor Alessio Fasano. Now, if you look at his credentials, professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, professor of nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, chief pediatric gastroenterology, Mass General Hospital, Harvard, director, mucosal immunology center, Harvard, director, Center for Celiac Research, Harvard, then the list goes on and on.
Any one of those positions is a lifelong goal for someone at the top of their field. And he’s got all of these. Now, we think this guy’s going to win the Nobel Prize. He and his team are the people in 1997 that identified this concept, the leaky gut, and how the leaky gut occurs. Now, someone of this caliber, he’s always careful of what he says because he’s easily misquoted, easily.
Leaky Gut: The Beginning of all Disease
So he’s always meticulous in his language. Look at the title of the paper published earlier this year, all disease begins in the leaky gut. The role of zonulin, that’s the protein or intestinal for leaky gut, intestinal permeability, the role of this protein in the generation of chronic inflammatory disease. So all disease begins in leaky gut.
Well, what about chronic fatigue? All disease begins in the leaky gut. What about cytomegalovirus, CMV? All disease begins in leaky gut. What about herpes? All disease begins… What about psoriasis? All disease… from one of the great in the field. Now, you think about that. Well, my guts fine. My gut feels fine. It doesn’t matter what you feel.
For every one person that has a problem with wheat causing gut symptoms, there are eight people that have problems with wheat with no gut symptoms. They’ve got skin symptoms or brain symptoms, or energy symptoms, or hair follicles symptoms, or liver symptoms. They don’t have gut symptoms. So how you feel when you eat a certain food doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it, is that food good for you or not? The ratio is eight to one.
Five Pillars For Any Disease
So Professor Fasano tells us in this paper, as he explains this mechanism, now remember, we’re looking for a map here of how to get from Chicago to San Diego. So what does he tell us? He tells us that there are five elements: gut permeability, that’s the leaky gut, your immune system responding to the leaky gut, the microbiota, the good guys and the bad guys in your gut, your genetics, and environmental triggers.
They make the perfect storm for the development of chronic inflammatory diseases. Now I love this picture. I just love this picture because I’m sure this is how you felt many times with the years that you’ve been suffering the way you’ve been suffering.
Mimi: Even this morning.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Even this morning. Look at this guy, his left knee is bent, his foot’s against the back wall, hands in his pocket, kind of comfortable because he’s protected in the midst of all this chaos. But there’s a perfect storm all around him. So you’re someone who’s highly trained in nutrition, formally trained in nutrition, working your bottom off to get a handle on this disease that you’ve got, and even this morning you were having some symptoms.
So what does that tell you? You’re missing something. There is something that if you knew what it was, you’d dial into it right away. And that’s true for every chronic inflammatory disease, we’re missing something. So the perfect storm in the development of these chronic inflammatory diseases is these five different pillars for any disease.
Because what happens, genetics? Well, that’s the deck of cards that you were dealt in life. You don’t have any say about that. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting a disease. It means you’re vulnerable to disease. Over 80% now, the latest study was 87% of the diseases that we get are not because you have the gene, it’s because the gene gets turned on.
Mimi: Well, is it funny? Because what was it? 10 years ago, not even they used to be the flip-flop. They used to say, you would get cancer 85% from your genes, 15% from otherwise.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Exactly.
Now with deeper knowledge and better technology, we understand that if you pull at a chain, the chain always breaks at the weakest link. It’s at one end, the middle, your other end, the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys, wherever your genetic weak link is, that’s where the chain’s going to break. And we say, well, you’ve got that weak link, so 80% of the time you’re going to get… No, you got that weak link.
So now we know over 80% of the time, if you don’t pull on the chain so hard, the link doesn’t break. You don’t get the disease. So I’m talking big pictures here. So let’s just… because we’re trying to understand, how do I develop a map to get my body to a place where I want it to go? So you can’t do anything about your genes, whether they get turned on or not.
You can do a lot about environmental triggers, that’s what turns on or turns off your genes. And the most common source of environmental triggers is what’s on the end of your fork. That’s the most common. There are many others, but that’s the most common. But those environmental triggers, alter the ratio of the good guys and the bad guys in the gut called your microbiome.
Now, over 36% of all the small molecules in your bloodstream at any one time are the exhaust of this bacteria in your gut, it’s called the metabolites of the bacteria in your gut. Over one-third of everything in your bloodstream is the metabolites of the bacteria in your gut, your microbiome. So why is it in your bloodstream?
Well, we knew from Dr. Michael Gershon at Princeton back in 1999, he published the book, The Second Brain, and we know that the gut is referred to as the second brain. Actually, now we know it’s the first brain, that for every one message from the brain, going down to the gut, telling the gut what to do, there are nine messages from the gut going up to the brain, telling the brain what to do, what hormones to produce called neuro-transmitters.
And it’s the ratio of those hormones in your brain that has a whole lot to do with setting you up for depression or anxiety or schizophrenia or bipolar. That the messages from the gut, from the bacteria in the gut, in the bloodstream, going up to the brain direct the ratio, the balance of the hormones, neurotransmitters in your brain, which then controls how you think, what you think, are you happy, are you sad, all of that. So understand it’s the gut, that’s the microbiome in the gut.
Now, when you have an altered microbiome, that’s called dysbiosis, it creates inflammation in your gut, and now you get the leaky gut. That the lining of the gut gets terrorists in it, it’s called the leaky gut. Now, Mrs. Patient, your intestines are a tube, starts at the mouth, goes to the other end, about 25 feet long, winds around in the center there in your abdomen.
If you think of a donut and if you could stretch one doughnut out, one big, long doughnut, and you look down the donut, that’s your digestive tract, that’s your intestines. So when you swallow food, it’s in the tube. It’s not in your body, it’s in the tube. That the food has to go through the walls of the donut to get into the bloodstream. That’s called digestion and absorption.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
Now, the inside of that tube is lined with cheesecloth. So only really small molecules can get through into the bloodstream. What does that mean? Well, it means when you eat protein if you think of protein like a pearl necklace, the acid in your stomach, the hydrochloric acid undoes the clasp of the pearl necklace. Now you’ve got a string of pearls and your digestive enzymes are scissors, snipping it, snipping it, snipping it, smaller, smaller, smaller, snip, snip, snip, snip, snip, until you’re down to each pearl of the pearl necklace called an amino acid.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
And amino acids go right through the cheesecloth, into the bloodstream. Then they travel the bloodstream and that’s the raw material to make new bone cells and brain cells and muscle cells and all of that, right? When you get tears in the cheesecloth, leaky gut, now these bigger molecules called macromolecules to get through the tears in the cheesecloth before they’ve been snipped down by the enzyme, small enough to each pearl of the pearl necklace to go right through.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
But now these big clumps of pearls from the pearl necklace get through, it’s called a macromolecule and your immune system says, “Whoa, what’s this? This is not something that I can use to make new muscle cells or bone cells. I better fight this.” Now you make antibodies to tomatoes if it was a tomato macromolecule that got through, or you make antibodies to beef or to chicken or to raspberries or strawberries or basil, and a person does a 90 food blood test to see what foods am I sensitive to, and it comes back they’re sensitive to 25 different foods.
They say, “Oh my God, that’s everything I eat.” Well, of course, it is because your immune system’s just trying to protect you because you got all these clumps of food that got through the terrorist in the cheesecloth before there was enough time to break them down into little pearls that go through very easily through the cheesecloth. Does that make sense?
Mimi: Yeah. So if I had taken some of those tests that you’re talking about, so if I came back, which was not the case, but if it came back with nothing, does that mean I do not have any tears?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Nope. It means that either your immune system is incapable of answering the question or you may not have a leaky gut, one of the two. But that’s a good question, but it means one of the two.
Mimi: So mine did not have that, mine had lots of red. Red things that I was-
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
Do you think?
Mimi: Yes. I-
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Except for being with a chronic disease, what do you think?
Mimi: I have lots, and I’m like, what’s left to eat?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: This is the platform, this is the foundation of all chronic diseases. So right now don’t think about what do I eat? Don’t think about that. Just focus on understanding this mechanism right now.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: And this is for all your listeners, just focus on understanding this mechanism. Because once you got a leaky gut, the macromolecules go through into the bloodstream and then your immune system trying to protect you has to fight this stuff. And this goes on for years and years and years. Now, here’s where the problem begins.
The Systemic Immune Response
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: The way that your immune system makes the antibodies to fight the macromolecules is that the immune system says, “You general,” and you’ve got lots of generals sitting around with nothing to do, army, Air Force, Marine Corps generals because your immune system’s just the armed forces in your body. It’s there to protect you. You now are general chicken, take care of this general.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
General chicken builds an assembly line to start making soldiers. These soldiers are trained to go out in the bloodstream and fight chicken. These soldiers are called antibodies. Now, how do they know when they’re in the bloodstream to fire their high powered rifles at chicken? Because they’re special forces, and they’re highly trained.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: They’re in the bloodstream looking for orange vests. And the orange vest is an amino acid, a protein signature of chicken. So the soldiers are looking for that protein signature, it’s an orange vest. Wherever you see orange vest, fire. And they’re going through the bloodstream to destroy this invader. That’s a good thing. The problem is that the orange vest, the amino acid’s signature, let’s say it’s… I’m going to say it’s A, A, B, C, D.
Now, it’s 30 or 40 amino acids long often, but I’m just going to say A, A, B, C, D. So the special forces are looking for A, A, B, C, D, and anywhere they find it, they fire their chemical bullets. Now, blood goes everywhere. So the blood is going past your thyroid. And the surface of the thyroid facing the bloodstream is made up of proteins and fats.
Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are hundreds of amino acids long, but the protein structure of the thyroid facing the bloodstream includes A, A, B, C, D. So now special forces say, “Oh, look over there.” Boom. And they fire their chemical bullet at that cell to destroy the invader. Now you’ve got a damaged thyroid cell. Now, if you do a blood test to check for thyroid autoimmune disease, you find out that there’s a normal reference range for antibodies to your thyroid. And usually most labs it’s under 42, usually.
And there’s a normal reference range for antibodies to your brain and to your nerves, and to your joints and your skin. Why is there ever normal to have antibodies, special forces, going after your own tissue? Because Mrs. Patient, you have an entirely new body every seven years. Every cell in your body regenerates, except for your teeth, every other cell.
Some cells are really fast, like the inside lining of your guts every couple of three days, some cells are really slow, but every cell regenerates except your teeth. So how do you rebuild healthy thyroid cells? Well, you got to get rid of the old and damaged cells. And the way you get rid of the old and damaged cells is antibodies get rid of the old and damaged cells to make room for the new cells. That’s why there’s a normal reference range up to 42. It’s normal.
The normal reference range for antibodies to your liver, antibodies to your eyes, antibodies to your skin, antibodies to your bones, every tissue in your body. It’s normal because you got to get rid of the old and damaged cells to make room for the new cells. But when you have elevated antibodies, you’re killing off more cells than you’re making.
When the blood test comes back and says, there’s an H or it’s in red, H stands for high, you’re killing off more thyroid cells than you’re making right now. That’s the spectrum of developing the autoimmune thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s. Same thing for MS. The antibodies to the myelin that wrap around your nerves. Same thing with rheumatoid, the antibodies to your joints, collagen.
There’s a normal reference range, but when you’re above the reference range, you’re killing off more cells than you’re making. So now remember, we’re on part five here of the five pillars. We’re talking about the systemic immune response. So your immune system trying to protect you is going after the macromolecules that came through the leaky gut, whether it’s gluten or chicken or whatever it should be, but the protein signature of those molecules, the orange vest, looks a whole lot like yours tissue.
And the result is the mechanism where the antibodies attacking the food start attacking your own tissue is called molecular mimicry. Molecular mimicry, very, very common cause in the development of the autoimmune mechanism. Very, very common. January, the first week of January 1978, my first genetics class, the professor came in one day really excited, had this research paper that was just published by a graduate student named Alan Ebringer in London, King’s College, London.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
And he published that if you carry the gene HLA-B27, that’s a particular gene, and if you get a bacterial infection called Klebsiella pneumonia, the number one infection in hospitals, Klebsiella pneumonia, you’re at high risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis because of molecular mimicry. Meaning when the soldiers attack the bug, klebsiella, their orange vest looks a whole lot like the tissue of your spine and they start attacking the spine and you develop ankylosing spondylitis.
Betrayal: The Autoimmune Disease Solution They Are Not Telling You About
This was 1978. It was the first paper on molecular mimicry that I’m aware of. Professor Ebringer devoted his entire career to it. And I interviewed him for our docu-series called Betrayal a couple of years ago. He’s retired now, professor emeritus, but he published many, many papers about when you fight a bacteria, antibodies fighting the bacteria can cause many different diseases. His main areas of specialty were multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, secondary to bacterial infection because of molecular mimicry. The same thing is true.
So this is the pathway in the development of all chronic inflammatory diseases, is that the environmental triggers you’re exposed to activate an immune response, usually altering the microbiome, causing more inflammation in your gut, whether you feel it or not, tearing the cheesecloth, creating leaky gut, big molecules get into the bloodstream, your immune system trying to protect you fights those molecules.
And because of molecular mimicry, here comes MS, here comes rheumatoid. Your clients or your viewers would really benefit from watching our docu-series. It’s called Betrayal: The Autoimmune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You.
And when you watch this, you see case after case, chronic fatigue, Epstein-Barr, rheumatoid arthritis, infertility, recurrent miscarriages. You see all these different conditions. What my wife and I did, we traveled to seven countries and I interviewed the world experts who wrote these research papers like Professor Ebringer. We went to Israel and Germany and Portugal and England, and we just interviewed all these people.
Then we interviewed doctors who were applying the concepts of these practitioners in their practice and we asked the doctors to bring in a few cases of people who were compliant with their recommendations. And then we interviewed the patient who reversed their chronic fatigue, reversed their Epstein-Barr, reversed their MS. I’ll never forget the woman in London, about 44.
And she said, “I took the tube to come here today,” that’s the underground train, “I took the tube to come here and the station’s about seven blocks away and I walked from the station here to the hotel.” She said, “It’s not a big deal. It’s a beautiful day.” But then she got teary-eyed and she said, “But it is.”
And then we show you that pictures of her two years ago in a wheelchair with seven lesions on her brain, on the MRIs. And here she is today, with no symptoms, two lesions left on her brain, reversing the lesions on the brain by changing her diet and changing her lifestyle.
Mimi: Amazing. So did all those doctors have the same recommendations?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: No. But they have the same platform. You have to identify what’s the trigger for this person. Let me give you an example. Chicago, 2015, this paper was published, 346 pregnant women in the eighth month of pregnancy, they collected the urine and they measured it for phthalates. Phthalates are chemicals that mold plastic.
And they only checked five phthalates. There are hundreds, but they only checked five. One of them was BPA, the one that most people have heard of, it’s of water bottles and things. And they took the results of the urine test and they categorized them in fourths, the lowest fourth, the next one, the third, and the highest fourth.
Then they followed these children, the offspring of the pregnancies for seven years. When the kids turned seven years old, they did Wechsler IQ Tests, the official IQ test. For every child whose mother was in the highest quartile of phthalates in urine in pregnancy compared to the children and the lowest quartile of phthalates in urine in pregnancy, every child in the highest quartile, their IQ was seven points lower, 6.7 to 7.4 points lower.
That doesn’t mean anything to anybody until you realize a one-point difference in IQ is noticeable. A seven-point difference is a difference between a child working really hard, getting straight A’s and a child working really hard, getting straight C’s. This kid doesn’t have a chance in hell of ever doing well in school. Why? Just Google phthalates, P-H-T-H-A-L-A-T-E-S, phthalates, and neurogenesis, nerve growth.
Here come the studies, how phthalates inhibit nerve growth. Mom, who was in the highest quartile of phthalates, the brains in those babies never developed properly because of the phthalates inhibiting nerve growth. Well, pretty good phthalates. Nail polish. You put nail polish on, within five minutes, the phthalates are in your bloodstream.
Well, there’s no evidence that the number of phthalates that leak out of nail polish and get into your bloodstream in five minutes, it’s toxic to humans. That’s how they get away with this crap because there is no evidence of it. But this stuff is accumulative over 20 years, over 30 years. Leftover food put in a plastic storage container in the refrigerator. The next day you take it out, you eat the chicken, it’s got phthalates in it.
Now, there’s no evidence that the amount of phthalates that leak out of plastic storage containers into food is toxic to humans. That’s how they get away with this, is that they had the legislation passed, it’s called the Toxic Substance Control Act. And you have to prove that that amount of leakage of chemical is toxic to humans. It’s not, but it accumulates in the body.
Most little girls start nail polish at five years old. What do you think happens by the time they’re 25 to 30 and want to have their first baby? And then you wonder why autism is going through the roof. It’s not vaccinations. Please don’t say vaccinations cause autism, because if they did, every child would be autistic. That’s not the case.
There’s no science to that, but there’s a lot of science that if vaccinations take a child over the edge of tolerance for toxicity, now you may have a problem with brain function. And there’s lots of science for that. So the vaccines may contribute to autism, but they do not cause autism.
Mimi: It’s the boiling over of the pot, boiling over.
Indoor Air Pollution
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: That’s exactly right. It’s accumulative. You ever look towards the window in your office or your study and the sun’s coming in through a particular angle, you’d see the dust in the air a little bit?
That’s what you’re breathing. All of that. Well, what is that? The plastic blinds on the window outgas phthalates into the air 24/7. Well, there’s no evidence that the amount of phthalates that reach of plastic binds is toxic to humans. The formaldehyde on the countertops, board cabinets in the kitchen or in the bathroom, if they’re not solid wood, outgases into the air 24/7.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
Now, there’s no evidence that the levels of formaldehyde outgassed on pressboard furniture is toxic to humans. The Scotchgard on your sofa is outgassing into the air. Now, there is no evidence that the amount of Scotchgard chemicals that are outgassing out of your sofa is toxic to humans. The sheets and the blankets that you sleep under that are soaked in flame retardant chemicals, there’s no evidence that the amount of flame retardant chemicals that outgas out of your sheets, even after 30 washings, is toxic to humans.
That’s how they get away with this. Never before in history have humans had to deal with this, ever. We don’t have any mechanisms to deal with the number of environmental toxins. And the Journal of Pediatrics tells us it’s 247 pounds of chemicals per person per day in the US that are manufactured or imported into the US, five 50 pound bags per day.
You wonder why your energy level, why your vitality level is so compromised. Many of these toxins go deep, deep into your cells, it’s called the nucleus of the cell. So people have elevated anti-nuclear antibodies.
ANA antibodies, because your immune system’s trying to protect you. It’s trying to get this crap out of there that’s in there. It’s huge.
Mimi: And what’s funny is that the government… I know this because I’m in the beauty industry. The last lot that was passed, it was like 1928. The entire personal care industry is not regulated. All these chemicals that are being put in your products are not [crosstalk 00:36:32] crazy.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: That is a high five to the lobbyists for the cosmetics industry. They make millions and millions of dollars to make sure they don’t have to list what’s in cosmetics. Now, you’re in the cosmetics industry. What do you mean you’re in the cosmetics industry?
Mimi: Well, we just invested in a company that is trying to get clean products out there, they’re safer.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Great. But what’s your work history?
Mimi: What’s my work history? I just invested in the company.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: So you’ve not been a beautician or anyone that’s exposed to all of these chemicals.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: So you’re like the masters out there that will just be exposed to these chemicals in our home 24/7 every day. If you read the science, indoor air pollution is much worse than outdoor air pollution in most areas of the country. So what we’re all breathing, everybody needs air filtration systems. If you go to my website, you can just see all this.
We’ve got handouts up the wazoo and we’ve got a recommendation list of what’s the best air filtration system out there, what’s the best water filtration system. NASA published a study. They showed that two, six-inch houseplants in a 10 by 10 room, just two six-inch houseplants absorb over 70% of the toxic chemicals in the air.
Mimi: Those are really long.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: I know. It’s like, what? Well, I don’t do well with houseplants, so they die. Buy some more.
Mimi: You need to some more. I know, I need to go get some.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Right, right. They’re inexpensive. And they’re going to suck up the toxins in the air and they produce more oxygen in the air.
Now, understand it’s going to take you six months to a year to get control over your environment. You don’t do it in a day.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: It’s going to take six months to a year.
Mimi: I’ve been doing it for 10 years. I keep finding different things. I still haven’t figured out the-
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: So let me ask you something.
Mimi MacLean: I haven’t even figured out the EMF thing. I’m trying. This computer is like logged into the wall, but there are so many other things that you can be doing.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Let me ask, what was it that you just took a sip of?
Mimi MacLean: I know. I never have one of these. I know you’re going to ask this, ever, because I’m actually not supposed to have seltzer, but it’s a Waterloo, and I know it’s terrible. But I’ve literally been going back to back and I haven’t had lunch so I just grabbed one of these because I’m dying. But I know I’m not supposed to have that.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: I understand. Well, those cans are lined with bisphenol-A.
Mimi MacLean: Yes, with this stuff that you were just talking about.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: So what does this mean? This means that even our experts, sometimes you can’t be your own doctor, right?
Mimi: I know, it’s terrible.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: So you need to have some counseling on how do you set yourself up so that when you’re going back to back and you don’t have time for lunch, you’ve got things there that are safe for you.
Mimi: I know. I have my water here too, but the other one is cold and refreshing. So I…
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: I understand. But this is a great example, excuse me, but you’re modeling for all of your viewers here, what they’re all up against. You can’t be drinking that crap.
Mimi: I know.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Ever, ever. But you don’t know what to do instead of it. And so we make kind of rationalizations. We’re trying it, I don’t mean to jump on you, but it’s a great opportunity.
Mimi: No. I’m glad you are. Forget the can. I’m not supposed to be having club soda either. So it’s a double whammy.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Right.
Mimi: And the natural fillers. Let’s just keep going on with this one. The natural… and that’s why I know it’s so bad, right? Because I haven’t had soda in 25 years, since high school. This is my soda. This is my treat, which is a club soda, which is crazy. But also it’s the natural flavors, which are terrible for you.
Boosting the Immune System
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Let me give you a better natural treat. Early on in March or April, our government came out and said, hydroxychloroquine was a drug to use. And then said, well, maybe it’s not, or it helps sometimes and not other times. Why were they saying that? Back in the 1800s, the British soldiers in India were at high risk of getting malaria.
So there was a product from the fever tree, the Cinchona tree, also called the fever tree, the bark of it that has an ingredient in it called quinine that reduces fever and protects you from malaria. So the soldiers were given quinine. But that stuff tastes so bitter. I mean, it’s bad news. But they mixed it with a little fruit juice water and a little bit of sugar, that’s where the song came from, just a little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down. That’s where it came from.
And they formed this tonic of this water and fruit juice and sugar and put the bitters in there, that was tonic water. And they got permission from their officers to add a teaspoon of gin. That was the birth of the gin and tonic. That’s where it came from. So I read that, I read the studies on all of that and I said, “Whoa, quinine. I’ve never thought about quinine.”
Why is quinine good for you? Well, we know there’s lots of science behind when you’re exposed to this virus, the only way that it can shed, it doesn’t really reproduce, it sheds. But it sheds inside your cell. It has to get inside the cell to shed. The bits in the bloodstream, it doesn’t shed very much. Those are the people that find out they’re positive for antibodies, but they never got sick.
They never knew they were exposed because it didn’t develop in them. Their immune system did exactly what it was supposed to do right away. But if the virus gets inside your cell, that’s when it sheds and that’s when it can grow inside your cell. Now, the virus really can’t grow inside your cell if also inside your cell, you have enough of this protective mineral called zinc.
Now, zinc in the bloodstream, it doesn’t really help. It’s got to be inside the cell. Well, how do you get zinc from the bloodstream inside the cell? There are compounds that are called ionophores, zinc ionophores. They are escorts that escort the zinc inside the cell. Quinine is a very powerful zinc ionophore. That’s how it protects people from malaria, is that it carries zinc that’s in your bloodstream from the food that you eat inside the cell, and now you’ve got all this protection.
So if you’re exposed to a virus, it can’t shed inside your cell. So as soon as I read all of that, I started looking at tonic waters. Tonic waters have a whole lot of sugar, some of them are really bad, a lot of sugar. But I found a company called Fever-Tree, like the tree in India, the Fever-Tree company has five tonic waters, different flavors.
One of them is called India Lite and it’s only got three grams of sugar. So what my wife and I do every day is we split a small bottle of tonic water. So I get a gram and a half of sugar, which is just about nothing. And we fill it with ice and a slice of lime, organic lime, and then fill it up with water.
And that’s what we drink two, three times a day, because it’s just a zinc ionophore that’s going to escort zinc inside your cell to protect you from this virus, and it tastes pretty good. So when you need something, instead of club soda, you can do tonic water with a slice of lime, diluted 50/50 with water, and do the India Lite, and it’s low in sugar, and you’ve got a great beverage that you can sip on.
Mimi: What was the brand again?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Fever-Tree. Now, you have to be careful because some of the popular commercial tonic waters don’t even have quinine in them, they have chemicals that reproduce the taste. So just read the label, if it says quinine, that’s it. But usually, there’s so much sugar and that you don’t want to do that, right? But that’s just an example. There is so much to learn. It’s going to take a year, it’ll take a year to learn. So-
Mimi: Can we find that information on your website?
Mini Habits That Can Transform Your Life
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Read my books. My two books, they’re all about this. My most recent book is called, You Can Fix Your Brain: Just 1 Hour a Week to the Best Memory, Productivity, and Sleep You’ve Ever Had. And that’s not a cutesy subtitle, that’s the only way to be successful. Because I’m overwhelming you here, I know that I am. That’s my style. But I hope that I trigger you to want to learn more.
And you allocate one hour a week, every Tuesday night after dinner, whatever it is, every Sunday morning after services, whenever it is. But one hour, every week, I’m just going to learn a little bit more. And in six months you’re using glass storage containers in the kitchen, the Tupperware is out in the garage, your husband uses it for nails.
You’ve found organic nail polish. You’ve got an air filtration system. You’ve got these beautiful plants in every room of your house. All of these little things that every time I autograph a book, it’s the same… I always put the same thing. I ask the person’s name and then I write their name and I say, base hits, win the ball game, is all the little things you do because you have a chronic disease that’s immobilizing.
And you’re doing well with it, you’re functioning well, but you know you’re not where you want to be. That means you have to change your paradigm. You have to change the way you think. Not keep looking for another cure that this platform, these five pillars, this is the paradigm by which… and it’s going to take you a year to learn all the environmental triggers.
Do you know how toxic dishwashers are? Because they’re not airtight. And the dishwashing soap you put in there with that hot, hot liquid creates the steam that’s out of… you’re breathing those toxic chemicals. Do you know every time you pump gas and you smell the gas, you’re smelling benzene, which goes right up to your brain killing brain cells right away? Well, I don’t feel bad when I… That’s because it’s not killing off a third of your brain. But give me 20, 30 years of smelling a little benzene once a week, now you’ve got some damage that’s accumulated.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: So there are all these little things that you have to learn. You get the book, You Can Fix Your Brain, and this other book is called The Autoimmune Fix. The Autoimmune Fix won a national book award, I’m still proud of that.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: But just because it’s such a good book. I mean, holy cow, you learn so much in these books. But it’s one hour a week. And I gave you the URLs for organic nail polish, URLs for glass storage containers, air filtration systems, water filtration systems, all this stuff, organic linen for your bedsheets. It takes time to do all this stuff, but it’s the only way to stop the onslaught that this picture is showing you.
Gluten: The Ultimate Trigger
247 pounds of chemicals per person per day are being manufactured or imported into the US. Where do you start in reducing the environmental triggers? Let’s go back to Professor Fasano. And what does Professor Fasano tell us about leaky gut? The two most powerful triggers for leaky gut are the bacteria exhausting your gut from bad bacteria, it’s called lipopolysaccharides, and gluten.
They’re the two most powerful triggers to cause leaky gut. Now, I’m going to stay on this for a minute. This is Dr. Maureen Leonard, also at Harvard. And she did a review of many different studies, I think it was 63, 64 studies about gluten and leaky gut. And this is the summary she came to. Previous studies have shown that gluten in wheat causes an immediate and transient increase in gut permeability. This process takes place in all individuals who ingest gluten.
This is from Harvard. Now, what does that mean? It means anyone who’s listening to this. This is you. Unless a dog’s listening to this and you’re not human, in that case, it doesn’t relate to you. But for everyone else, this relates to you. This process takes place in all, well, I feel fine when I eat wheat. The ratio is eight to one. It doesn’t matter how you feel. Doesn’t matter at all. You have to test, you have to test to see.
Now, Why is this happening? The most common trigger is wheat. That’s the most common one, and what’s going on in your gut. So we teach all of our patients, I teach all of our doctors, how do you rebuild a healthy microbiome? Because that’s a critical component in reducing the inflammation in your gut that tears the cheesecloth, that allows the molecules to get through that cause chronic inflammatory diseases. Which chronic inflammatory disease? All chronic inflammatory diseases.
You have to understand the depth of this. This is why we think he’ll win the Nobel Prize because this is… what disease is not a chronic inflammatory disease? There is none. This is the mechanism that sets you up for wherever your genetic weak link is. This is it.
Mimi: But maybe they don’t want us to know that.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Well, of course, but you want your people to know that. That’s why I’m here.
Mimi: No, it’s true. No, of course, that’s the secret, right? But then if we’re all well, then the hospitals will go out of business.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Unfortunately there’s a business side to this, and that’s big business. I have some friends who developed some formulas that were really great herbal formulas to fight cancer, they were very successful and they sold them. They were in the research department of a major university and the university sold it to a large pharmaceutical company for $9 million and they buried it. They never brought it up.
Because they make much more profit with what they have as opposed to that. But I’m not going to go there with any more of that. So that’s the concept. The concept is you need a map to get from Chicago to San Diego. What’s the map? The map is the five pillars. And all along the way, there’s going to be detours, there’s going to be construction.
You got to go off your path a little bit. You’re going to have to make a little U-turn here. Now, that’s going to happen with chronic inflammatory diseases. There’s no pill that’s going to fix it, especially for you, our host, because you’ve been dealing with this for years and you’ve gone down the checklist of everything that you’ve learned so far, which allows you to function at the level that you do. But you’re not satisfied yet with where you’re at.
Mimi: So typically I know each individual is very different, but typically when they come and they say… when they have leaky gut, it’s obviously changing their diet specific to them, right? It’s just by changing your diet and reducing the toxins enough to repair the cheesecloth or is there other things that are
specific to everybody?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Oh, there’s a lot to do. It’s a multi-step process. It’s all outlined in the books, but there’s no cookbook.
Mimi: Right. Do you think the gluten today is what’s causing it because it’s GMO or is that nothing to do with it?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: No. You have sanctuaries just inside the first part of the intestine standing guard, that if anything comes out of the stomach, that shouldn’t be there, the sanctuaries activate the inflammation right away. They’re called toll-like receptor 4.
Toll-like receptor 4, you see, because you have the same body as your ancestors’ thousands of years ago, the same kidney, gallbladder, heart, lungs, liver, everything’s the same, that if our ancestors ate something that’s really bad for them if the acid in the stomach didn’t kill it, toll-like receptor 4 was right there of anything coming out of the stomach into the small intestine to say, “Wait a minute, let’s get some inflammation here to kill this thing.”
Toll-like receptor 4 is your protection against bugs, bacteria bugs. So gluten is misinterpreted by your toll-like receptors as a harmful component of a microorganism. That’s why when you eat wheat in all humans, you activate this transient intestinal permeability. Because your sanctuary’s standing guard, they’re just doing what they’re supposed to do.
There’s a bug here, let’s activate leaky gut. Why? Because we have a leaky gut, water comes into the intestines and washes it out like a garden hose washing off the mud on the driveway. That’s what leaky gut is for. It’s normal. It’s normal that it’s supposed to be, but it’s not supposed to happen after breakfast, toast, after lunch, sandwich, after dinner, pasta, after snacks, a cookie day after week after month after year after, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
That’s why you get the pathogenic leaky gut and the macromolecules get through. It’s called loss of oral tolerance. This is really geeky stuff, I know. But it builds up over time, but it happens in all individuals when you eat wheat. So who can eat wheat safely? Nobody. Who’s going to get symptoms from eating wheat? Everyone that crosses the line of tolerance because now the macromolecules are going through.
That’s just how it is. And if you want to know if you’ve crossed that line of tolerance, there’s one test that’s very, very accurate. It’s called the Wheat Zoomer because you zoom in on the problem. You can find out on my website, you can Google it, go to your doctor and say, please do the Wheat Zoomer test. They’ll probably say, “No, the hospital won’t allow it.” Then order it from us. It’s so easy. It’s just a fingerprint.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: You can do it by a fingerprint or by a blood draw. But it’s the most accurate test out there.
Water, Water, Water, and More Water
Mimi: What are your favorite ways to detox?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Depends on the individual. The first thing is they have to be hydrated. They have to be well-hydrated. You see, we should be drinking a third to a half-ounce of water per pound body weight. So if you weigh 120 pounds, that’s 60 ounces of water a day, that’s eight eight-ounce glasses a day. Oh my God, I’ll be peeing all day. That’s the idea. That’s what detox means, right? So, well, what else could I take if I don’t drink water? Sorry.
Mimi: That’s the key.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Yeah.
Mimi: Water is the key.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: There is no magic detox pill.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Things that help the individual. But it depends on the individual.
Mimi: Do you think now I feel like we’re in the gluten-free craze now, you can get gluten-free pizza, you can get gluten-free pretzels, is that good or bad for this?
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: It all crap. It’s all crap. It’s not enriched, it has no vitamins, no minerals and it has no fiber. Now, 80% of the prebiotic in the Western diet comes from the arabinoxylan in wheat, 80%. So when you go gluten-free, which is a very good thing to do, you’ve just eliminated 80% of the food for the good bacteria in your gut. You must replace the prebiotics in your diet. If you don’t do that, six months down the road, you’ve got a really bad gut. Because you starved all the good bacteria that were dependent on the arabinoxylans in wheat.
Healing the Person, Not Treating the Disease
Mimi: Okay, great. This has been awesome. It’s been a lot of information. I’m so grateful that you came on. And I have a lot of homework along with listeners to read your two books and also to… I checked out your website and you do have a lot of great classes and courses and you can hire consultants to work with you. Because I know you’re not seeing patients directly, but you spend a lot of your time. And there’s also this summit, The Gluten Summit that you did as well. So there’s a lot of great information there.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Even Betrayal, yes.
Mimi: And Betrayal.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan:
And those are all free. I mean, our consultants, they’re all trained. They’re highly trained, certified functional medicine practitioners and everyone’s trying to make a living here, but we have so much free information for you. Because you need to understand, you need a map. You need a map, stop looking for, well, what goal do I take to detox? Stop that. It’s just not going to work. And it keeps us chasing our tail.
We really need to be getting a bigger picture of this whole premise. All right. So what are the environmental toxins there? That’s the kind of question you have to ask. And so okay, what foods… How do I check for foods? Do the Zoomers, and they’re on my website, you’ll see all the Zoomers there. What about chemical sensitivities? What about heavy metals? And what about nutrients deficiency?
I mean, there’s so much you have to check for, but by the time you’ve gotten to the point of chronic disease, you’re way down the path. The boulder is going down the hill like this. How do you stop a boulder going downhill? You don’t, you don’t. All you could do is taper it off, get more dirt down here so that you flatten it out and then you can slowly roll it back up the hill. But everybody thinks because they watch all the commercials on television, that they can just take this pill and they’re going to be fine. They’ll be fine now, right?
Mimi: Right. I love your analogy throughout the podcast today. When you have… and I promise you this is my last question. So if someone has Lyme and works with one of your consultants, have you found that… I would think I know the answer, but I just want it confirmed, that once they go through your protocol, you kind of almost don’t even need to treat the Lyme.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Oh, you never treat the Lyme, never.
Mimi: Your body will be able to do it itself.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: Yeah. You never treat the disease, ever. You meet the person with the disease. Well, Mrs. Patient, it looks like you’ve got a Klebsiella infection. See here on this test, that your antibodies klebsiella is through the roof. So we need to get this klebsiella out of there. So that may mean a natural antibiotic or a prescription antibiotic or detoxing or some different nutrients, herbs, it just depends on the individual. But you don’t treat the disease ever, ever.
Mimi MacLean: That’s great. Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate your time.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan: You’re welcome Mimi. Thank you so much for the opportunity.