Neuroinflammation & Plasticity with Brendan Vermeire – Ep. 210

In this episode of Next Level Human, Dr. Jade connects with Brendan Vermeire. Brendan is a Mental and Metabolic Health Scientist & Researcher and CEO at Metabolic Solutions LLC. They discuss how the root causes of neuroinflammation are deeply connected with trauma, stress, and mental illness. Most people don’t know that childhood adversities, for example, can influence and impact the nervous system.

Brendan explains that his line of work and the foundation of his company’s work is a mix of psychology and physiology. He highlights that once we understand trauma and start learning from it, we start rewiring the brain - which is called neuroplasticity - and helping the nervous system as a whole. Brendan also talks about metabolic health, holistic health, and the different treatments for neuroinflammation.

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Podcast Intro: [00:14] welcome to the Next Level Human Podcast. As a human, you have a job to do. In fact, you have four jobs; to earn and manage money, to attain and maintain health and fitness, to build and sustain personal relationships, to find meaning and make a difference. None of these jobs are taught in school and that is what this podcast is designed to do. To educate us all on living our most fulfilled lives through the mastery of these four jobs. I'm your host, Dr. Jade Teta and I believe we are here living this life for three reasons and three reasons only; to learn, to teach and to love. In this podcast, I will be learning, teaching, and loving right along with you. I'm grateful to have your company; here is to our next level.

Jade 1:18 

What's going on everybody? Welcome to today's show. Actually, I have a special guest on the show today. This is a podcast I've been wanting to do for a while. This is my good friend Brendan Vermeire. And Brendan and I have been trying to get together to do a podcast, it's probably been I don't know, Brendan , it's probably been about a year, we've been talking back and forth where I've been like, Yo, I want to get you on my show. And you're like, cool whenever you're ready. And we finally got to do this. And I'm very excited about it. And just so all of you know, Brendan  is a really, really amazing educator in the space of functional medicine, a lot of us in this space are really sort of paying attention to his content, learning from him constantly. He's definitely someone who you're going to want to pay attention to, if you don't know him already. And him and I are essentially just going to have a talk that we're going to let this sort of go where it goes. But one of the things I was telling Brennan as we got on is I am fascinated by the way he teaches and discusses and educates on the whole interface of the nervous system, and metabolism. And we know we can't really separate those two, the nervous system is the metabolism. But this idea of neuro inflammation and how inflammatory insults in the body are changing and adjusting the nervous system in ways that may not be very healthy for us and have downstream effects. We as we know, this is not one system. It's all a system, right? It's all a web. So it's the neuro endocrine, immune, blah, blah, blah, system, it's all connected. And so what I like about what Brendan does is he really helps us sort of lock into the idea that the nervous system is one of these areas that's constantly being insulted is a word influenced is another word by our environment. And so we are going to have a discussion about this on the mechanisms behind this. And so what are the some of the things that we can do so Brendan , what I what I want you to do to start if you would, is just give us a sort of a background into you your work, how you got into this work. And then let's you and I get into this sort of topic and those of you listening, just understand, yes, this is gonna be probably a very scientific discussion, but one of the things that's wonderful about Brendan  is he does bring this down to earth and so we'll take it slow. And make sure that you get it but Brendan  give us an idea of how you got into this stuff in the first place your interest you know, functional medicine, essentially your story, bro.

Brendan   3:47 

Yeah, absolutely, man. Yeah, Jade is such a pleasure as always because it's cool. When I look back over the course of my going on, you know, 13-14 years now with this whole career I started young. And the path I've been on for so many years where I look back across the past decade plus, and there's only a small handful of people that I would say like yes, that figure that figure that figure how to be influential role on my career path and you're on that very short list. You know, you John Berardi, Brian Walsh, Karan Krishna and those are kind of the top four that come to mind of people that inspired a lot of my work inspired my career path because you know, you started as a trainer, you're going through naturopathic medical school during the fitness thing. So I saw what you were doing with metabolic effects like many years ago and I was just a young lad like working through my own shit and all that and going through your program back in the day is really in my eyes what helped me start transitioning from your more kind of prototypical fitness nutrition PhD and bro science into then getting exposed to all these naturopathic medicine concepts and then kind of steering the into the functional medicine world. So getting to be here Now it's this amazing full circle. And yet it's been maybe like two years since I had you on my podcast. And this has been a long time coming. So it's really cool to be here. I appreciate you having me.

Jade  5:11 

Yeah, man, listen, I didn't know that necessarily, but I, I love that. Appreciate that. And it's really cool, right? Because now I get to learn from you. And I just think that's the way it works. Right? You know, so whereas you may have been learning from me in the past now I'm soaking up everything you got. So yeah, I really love when that kind of thing happens.

Brendan   5:30 

Oh, it's, it's beautiful. I mean, there's nothing better than that, those full circles in life. And even just yesterday, I was recording a lesson for my FHP program. And the two hours I was recording was just all about GLP one, and the role of GLP one mechanisms for, you know, neurodegeneration, metabolic syndrome, everything in between, it was actually like I first learned about GLP one in your program, like many years ago, was like, wow, this really matters and, you know, kind of digging into it from there. So I mean, you know, even just telling the story of you and I kind of told a little bit about my history where, you know, I've told my story so many times, and there's like, the painful grueling, like, long, detailed version of it, versus kind of the consolidated where it's like, you know, I was a high school athlete, you know, wrestling at that point in time, like, my dream was to either be like UFC fighter or a Navy SEAL. But it was I was 17, Senior High School, and, you know, doing the physical for sports, seasonal affective disorder kind of stuff, which, you know, no official evaluation of any kind who's just like, hey, I get depressed during winter and whatever. So I was put on an SSRI, Zoloft, sertraline, you know, and at the age 17. So, I'm just trying to figure out life. So then after high school, as soon as I turned 18, I signed a six year Navy SEAL contract and was, you know, following that path, which the long story short on that was I was medically discharged about halfway through basic training because they found it a inguinal hernia, they didn't know about the Diem that preexisting and you know, it's not their problem, it's not their liability. If it was preexisting, if you suffered injury in training, that's a different story. So my Navy SEAL dreams kind of got taken away from me, I was already kind of probably hindsight, you know, high functioning, depressed young man, for whatever reasons, and obviously, we'll explore some of those different root cause factors as we go. But then having my sense of purpose, which as you and I are huge on with both of our platforms preach that constantly have that sense of purpose as as a buffer, you know, against depression and mental illness and kind of existential crisis. So it was not a very low place in my life by that point. And it was ironic how becoming a fitness and nutrition professional, you know, I got NASM CPT PN one, because I didn't want to go to academia, the academia route didn't really interest me, you know, I was looking into diatonic dietetics or naturopathic medicine and still didn't quite feel like the right path for me. And of course, looking up to people like you and, and others within the space that had gone that route. And they all told me the same thing of like, you're not going to learn what you want to learn, you know, go into registered dietician, school or even naturopathic to some degree. So I was like, well, shoot, I gotta find my own way. So that's actually when I found your program that helped me kind of segue outside of the academia model. But during those years of my life, and I'm kind of consolidating many years, actually, in my early 20s, you know, I found myself in a pretty codependent narcissistic Empath, as cliche as those words are these days, but it was the prototypical example of that older woman and the whole thing that was really unhealthy situation, I didn't come into it from a good place, she had lots of root cause factors that are relevant for this conversation of unresolved childhood trauma and, you know, multiple concussions from getting dropped on your head as a cheerleader in a center, right? Plus, you know, water damage to the home mold, you know, whatever. So it's like this perfect storm. And through that journey, I actually ended up you know, attempting suicide and swallowing an entire bottle of my at the time antidepressant will future and the dopamine agonist you know, so I spent three nights in a coma and ICU, spend another, you know, four nights getting everything pumped and flushed. And, you know, I later found some blood work that I dug up and my liver enzymes were in the 1000s, right, because I poisoned my liver through that. So that was this whole journey and that essentially, I got that firsthand experience of what is the conventional approach to mental illness you know, whether it was when I was 17, getting put on an SSRI with no bloodwork no psychiatric or psychological evaluation or referral of any kind, just primary care, hey, high school kid, here's you know, Zoloft that now has these, you know, stern black box warnings and can increase suicidal ideation and the mechanisms questionable efficacy only about 30% Right, so all this stuff, but that was one of the 17 and then 20 And finally getting a referral. But then by that point, you know, it's like I'm suicidal and go for it. And then going through what happens when you do something like that. And then you're hospitalized and you're put in psychiatric ward and the way that they change your medications while you're in the ward, without telling you and you're just kind of like a guinea pig that they're trying to stabilize, pharmaceutically can't step outside, no contact with the outside world, no nutritious Whole Foods at all. It's just all processed cafeteria food, you know, so I saw just how dysfunctional the conventional psychiatric model was. And then trying to go back to my fitness, nutrition, health coaching career that was very, like progressive and science based. And, well, let's use lab testing, and VO two as part of the, you know, metabolic testing as part of the health coaching, transformative journey. So then it just became this very organic evolution from there as I was trying to navigate my way out of, you know, personal hell in that relationship that ended up with, you know, she ended up killing herself. In 2020. Tragically, I don't say that lightly, by any means, you know, my attempt, obviously, getting off all the medications on my own naturally. So it's like, having to navigate that all the personal struggles, the relational struggles, the professional struggle with not fitting into this billion dollar corporate box that I was trying to be, you know, put in with that specific company, you know, going through your program going through training in functional medicine and stuff. So to be here today is so tricky, because it's like, how did I get here, but it's like, well, I knew exactly how I got here, because I remember every single step of the journey, but to see, like what I've done with that, and taking the pain, turning it into purpose, figuring out how, you know, the business side of it, the clinical side of it, the research side of it, the message side of it. So it's been a tricky journey, but it just brings me enormous fulfillment. And I always say, my work is my medicine, I mean it and I don't even like thinking of it as my work. It's my mission. It's my purpose. It's what I identify with. So yeah, it continues to be trippy, the existential lens landscape continues to evolve and shift. And so I find a lot of my own healing, continues the medicine, the daily dose, as I pursue my path, and my knowledge, I'm just sharing bits and pieces I've learned along the way and trying to advance the clinical research trained practitioners while educating the public. And, you know, I've had to learn how to get really fluid with my languaging and the way people receive information. So it's, it's wild, and I continue to learn every day and the path continues to humble me and delight me and chant me every single day. So it's a pleasure to get to have opportunities, have these kinds of conversations with people that get it like yourself and somebody I've looked up to for so many years.

Jade  12:51 

Yeah, Brendan. I mean, honestly, man, that gives me goosebumps hearing that hearing that story. And if I wanted to do just allow me to divert before we get into some things really quickly, because I think what you just brought us through is so critically important, especially for podcasts called The Next Level humans. So one of the things I want to share with you listeners, if it wasn't apparent to you already, as you're listening to Brendan talk is one of the things I think we need to sort of be aware of that I, I just think is a beautiful aspect of life is that if you listen to Brendan 's story, right, there's trauma, after trauma, after trial after trial after tribulation after more trauma, right. So this is somebody who is struggling mightily. And by the way, we all do in our own way. But the difference is that somehow these things became bread crumbs for Brendan, like bread crumbs and directions to his mission. And his purpose, which, to me is the story. The Hero's Journey wrapped up in a nutshell is what you essentially just told us and it's also an escape from a pretty as you and I know, you know better than me because I didn't experience it, but I certainly looked at it from the outside looking in a system that does not serve their patients now not on purpose just out of sheer misunderstanding, misapprehension ignorance, call it like, you know, we just don't know and didn't know enough. A lot of people are listening to this show would not be surprised by the idea that people like you. And I would say the vast majority of health care professionals I will include myself in that too don't have all of the information. We know very little of what we really could know. But here's a person who's going through this and essentially saying, I'm going to take this hurt and turn it into a way to help I'm going to take this suffering and turning into a source of meaning. I'm going to take this pain and make it my path to purpose. This is essentially it What you did, and it's absolutely amazing to me too, as I'm getting goose bumps, and now all of a sudden, you're in a position after going through all of this. And now you're teaching and training, both the lay public and professionals and you're also somebody who came at this from a very different path, like you had to trust the fact that you know what, I can learn this stuff on my own, I can master this stuff on my own, I don't need to go the traditional route and look at where you are now. And I think it's a lesson, before we really get into some of the science stuff, it's going to be useful for people with mental health. The first lesson of this is this idea of, we can, in a sense, turn our traumas into something that is extremely beneficial for the world. And perhaps in doing so, we actually began the process of healing ourselves. And so I guess the first way to then start because it segues right into your story, is let's talk a little bit about adverse childhood events. And these traumas that we go through as individuals and how they impact the nervous system, and how they can set us up for potential health and or dysfunction and or disease. I just want to know, do you have anything to say on this? And like, what is your sort of take on it, and I just want to hear how you see this, because traumas can, in a very real sense, set our nervous system up to behave in particular ways. And I think this is something that the listener would be extremely interested in. And you are someone who obviously had these traumas, and someone who also obviously has overcome them in a very healthy way. So give us some understanding or your take on how this works with traumas and childhood adverse events.

Brendan   16:53 

Yeah, it's a huge subject. I mean, we could spend hours just on that one. And, you know, so many thoughts, opinions, anecdotal observations, research findings, you know, pretty strong body evidence, kind of stand on and experience to speak from. And I think you're very perceptive, and I look at what you do and your platform and what I do in my platform. And there's more overlap than not, we're sure we have our unique branding and our unique message. But, you know, I know we're right in sync on this, and especially with the subject of trauma and adverse childhood experiences. That subject has never been more trendy. And I do want to give credit where credit's due where Nicola Paris, good friend of mine, former client, and you know, I give a lot of credit to her for what she's done at a pretty global mass level, with her holistic psychologist, platform. And then so many others kind of following suit. Now, it's this whole, you could really say, like traumas now in industry, a holistic, social, sociological industry in itself, that has nothing to do with really the healthcare system. This is all outside of the system. It's almost like pop culture, sociology. And so with that, you know, I think there's a lot of amazing content and work being done with the subject of trauma. But there's also a lot of sensationalism. And there's a lot of ambiguity and subjectivity, nuance. So something you know, there's the heart clinical research truth, which I'll drop a little bit of. But before even getting into that, I always like to delineate between, like conditioning and trauma, right? Because I think my experience in 13 years of serving clients and everything I've done, I would say one of the greatest root causes of all is victim mentality. You know, it's rampant in our population, it's rampant in our society and the social fabric. And there's no healing that can really take place, you know, within a self-victimization construct. And so with this kind of idea of trauma, first off, autism was the first to be recognized as spectrum disorder, but I argue and postulate every mental health disorder. And in fact, literally, pretty much everything in existence exists on a spectrum, even light and electromagnetic radiation. It's a spectrum. So if we create kind of this trauma spectrum of like, more severe trauma, and I think of like a soldier stepping on a landmine in a foreign country, like that's extremely traumatic, versus like, Oh, I heard my parents fighting in the kitchen once upon a time, and I didn't like it, right. We have to be sensitive and respectful, like some people have experienced very severe trauma, and we need to be sensitive to that. And I think it's almost kind of insensitive when you get people that their trauma is questionable, right. I mean, it's subjective, it's perception shirt, teach their own, everybody can have their own experience and is entitled to their perception of their reality. Sure. But is it serving, right is the narrative that you're creating based on your experience? Is it really serving your self-actualization path? So with conditioning and trauma we have to recognize like life, life is hard and you General there's always going to be hard. And these days the modern lifestyle is like way more cushy, convenient, done for you than ever before. We're not fighting off saber toothed Tigers or dealing with famine or whatever. At least not most of us are probably listening to this podcast, right? So delineating of like, okay, look, no athlete loves going through like a really brutal, brutally difficult conditioning workout. But what's the point of working out or that conditioning, it's to make you more resilient, right? The, the tree doesn't grow big and strong without a lot of wind trying to push it over. You know, that's what builds that resilience. It's that rubber band effect, you stretch it and it snaps back it grows bigger, stronger than before. So we need to some degree, embrace adversity, trauma, adverse childhood events, whatever it is, embrace it, what can we learn from it, right? How can we let it be a character building exercise and help us improve our spiritual psychological resilience to life, because there's always going to be that conditioning factor, but you can't heal from something that you ingrain as part of your identity, right? So whether it's like I identify as being traumatized, I identify as having nervous system dysregulation, which, what happened to HPA Axis dysfunction or adrenal fatigue, it keeps changing, I don't know. Because it's trendy, it's catchy. So I just think through some of that trendiness and sensationalism, there's some truth that kind of get distorted. And what we don't want to do as educators or researchers, or whatever it is that we are, we don't want to enable self-limiting self-destructive behaviors. So there's kind of that retort, but then all the while my thing with my whole area of research and focus being neuro inflammation, neuroplasticity, and microglial activation, which we might get into, I'm always looking at root causes that effectively alter our neurology, you know, psycho neuro endocrine immunology, genomics, whatever. Like I'm looking at that interface of what input signals whether it's trauma or head concussion or mold doesn't really matter. What input signals alter, you know that that biology essentially, so when you actually like cut through all the trendy stuff on the social media algorithm, in skip to like, look at the clinical research that's coming out on PTSD. For example, one of the big focal points with the neuro inflammatory aspects like I think it would be sensationalized to say, neuro inflammation causes PTSD, but what we can definitively say is neuro inflammation and compromised neuroplasticity and neurotransmitter dysregulation or neurotrophic. dysregulation is implicated in PTSD and what they're currently working on from a, you know, how do we pharmacologically treat PTSD clinically? Okay, well, the focus on that, obviously, historically, it's more SSRIs and neuro psychiatric drugs that modulate neurotransmitter signaling. But now the new generation it's all about inhibiting neuroinflammation and promoting neuroplasticity, which can be done in a lot of ways. You know, psychedelics, obviously, a huge area of focus for PTSD, MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, all of it, because that's kind of the main property of psychedelics is they reducing inflammation, promote neuroplasticity, but one of the main models that they're using for PTSD, clinical research, you know, they'll take rats in from ties the rats, whether it's, you know, forced swim test to make the rats feel like they're drowning, and traumatize them induce that biological trauma response at a cellular tissue level, tail suspension, dangled low rats by their tails until they're traumatized the electrocute their little mouse feet until they're traumatized. But they do these trauma models to then activate the immune system of the brain regulated by the micro glial cells to induce this neuro inflammatory phenotype. And then that causes the neurotransmitter dysregulation and the anxiety like behavior, the depressive like behavior, the app, apathy, the anhedonia, that, that behavior, those symptoms that we associate as they're traumatized, so they traumatize the rats, they do that and then they'll give them different drugs or supplements or whatever it is, he can retreat that, you know, with a pill or some sort of therapeutic. So like minocycline as an antibiotic is one of the main ones that they look at. So that's actually something that they're looking at is repurposing this antibiotic tetracycline antibiotic, that is minimal cycling, which is known to cross the blood brain barrier and have an inhibitory effect on those micro glial cells. And they see that when they do that, you know, cycling is the main one but there's others vitamin D or psychedelics or whatever. But they see that when they modulate the micro glial cells and reduce the neuro inflammation, boost the neuroplasticity, the trauma symptoms, anxiety, depression, whatever it goes away, the behavior changes when you fix the physiology the neurology at a cellular level. So my thing to sum all that up is like I feel like the internet is very focused on the psychology, you know, the belief systems and looking at trauma through that lens and nervous system dysregulation, which yes, the HPA axis is dysregulated in trauma and PTSD. But I feel like we're missing the mark because the clinical research the hard data, and what Big Pharma is trying to figure out how to monetize for their deep pockets, is you know, what pill with therapeutic can we give to treat it. And the focus is what I said of any kind of therapeutic approach that reduces the neuroinflammatory board burden and increases the neuro plastic remodeling and healing of the brain. So I think there's this whole conversation we're not having with trauma while everybody's getting really excitable about some of the soothing psychological narratives that are popular.

Jade  25:52 

It's time to talk about one of our sponsors of today's episode, ag one by athletic greens. Now many of you have heard me say this before, but I am not a fan of vegetables which I know is funny given I've been in the health and fitness industry for so long. I blame my mother and father for this when I was a kid, what they would do was essentially take the broccoli, the Brussel sprouts, the spinach, the collard greens and just steam them, no salt, no fat, no taste whatsoever, just these bitter greens and so I developed a distaste for a lot of different vegetables which has stayed with me into adulthood. One of the things I've done to mitigate that is use a greens powder. pretty much ever since greens powders have come out on the market and I've tried every single one, they started out tasting like swamp water, I found a few that I really liked the taste but recently, one that I have been taking for a very long time. As you all know, I wear a continuous glucose monitor, I found that it was actually spiking my blood sugar because probably the tapioca starch in it, which some people don't respond to tapioca starch with elevated blood sugars. I was and so it sent me on a mission to find another one. And one of my friends turned me on to AG one by athletic greens and I've heard about athletic greens and ag one for quite some time. I just never tried it. And now that I have tried it, I have become a huge fan. So much so that I partnered with athletic greens and ag one to sponsor this podcast. Now let me tell you what happened here. After I saw that my blood sugars were spiking, my friend gave me a couple samples of a G one I began using those and testing the blood sugar and found there was no spike. The other thing I found is that he was interested in his taste profile. It's very neutral, the one I was taking before it was a little sweet. I really loved it. But this one is very neutral which actually suits me because what I found is I can actually not only take this first thing in the morning in water and have it tasted very neutral almost like there's nothing there I can also add it into my protein shakes, which means now I'm getting double the greens that I was getting previously because I add this right into my protein shakes and it does not change the flavor of the shake at all. The other thing I realized once I started looking at the label is that this product is not simply a greens product. It also is a multivitamin multi mineral. It also has fiber which acts as a prebiotic. It has probiotics in it. And it has functional mushrooms, which act as adaptogens in it. That's four different products essentially in one and I've been taking mushrooms for some time I stopped taking them now because now I have this in my greens I have also taken my multivitamin and make this my multivitamin so I'm actually saving money and this is gonna save you money as well. The product ag one is also NSF certified MSC J What does that mean? The National Sanitation Foundation is a foundation that essentially does testing on products to make sure there are no harmful substances, no persistent organic pollutants, no heavy metals, and it does cost money to do ag one Athletic Greens has spent the money on this they spend money on making sure that the product that you are getting is good quality without contamination and you might say well, Jade, isn't this true of all products? And actually, no, it is not. If you ever follow some of the news in this area through consumer labs and other things that do us, you know, testing on these products, you'll see that many of them will have trace levels have things like mercury and cadmium and lead and things like that in them because they're not doing this testing. So this is an extra piece of insurance for us. The other thing I love about this product that I learned As I was doing my research on it is that this is the 52nd, tweak or adjustment they have made to this product in their existence. Ag one has been tweaked to fit these two times. Now you might say, well, Jade, why would they be doing that. And the reason why is because they continue to improve, we know that science is evolving. We know that it's not just about more nutrients, it's about Balanced nutrients, it's about the Goldilocks effect of this, and they are constantly learning as we all are, and then constantly adjusting their product to taste better. To be more efficient and effective in delivering the nutrients, it acts as an antioxidant. It acts as a multivitamin. It's a prebiotic, a probiotic, and an adaptogen. All in One, they have mastered this over several iterations of this particular product. And so I am a huge fan right now of ag one, and athletic greens. And I'm hoping that you will check this out, it's time for all of us to reclaim our health and arm our immune system with convenient daily nutrition. And ag one does that with just one scoop in a cup of water every single day. That is all you need. There is now no longer a need for a million different pills and supplements. To look after your health. All you need is this particular one, it really clears the stage to simplify your supplement regime to make it easy for you athletic greens is going to give you a free one year supply of immune supporting vitamin D, and five free travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit athletic level, that's athletic level to take ownership over your health and pick up the ultimate daily nutritional insurance. Check out ag one, I love it. I know you're gonna love it. And I'm so happy that they are on board to sponsor the podcast as well. Thanks so much check out ag one athletic level. And let's get back to the show. Yeah, I love that I'm gonna come in with a couple things just to kind of see where we want to go with this. One of the things that a lot of people you'll hear say is they'll say, you know, you can't take trauma and compare it. Right. But I'm a little bit more sort of on your side of things. I agree, you know that if you're someone who's never experienced rate, but you've experienced, you know, bullying, then bullying is perhaps the greatest trauma you're going to have. And that bullying could potentially trigger some of the things that essentially you're talking about. Now, on the other side of that you can have somebody who's been raped or been in war zones, and they don't have sort of these. They don't identify so much with the trauma, right? They had they're so resilient that even these horrible traumas don't result in the dysfunction that we might see from some people who have, you know, who some people might compare and say, well, that's not nearly the same trauma, which speaks to the fact that maybe yes, we can't compare traumas, maybe there's something else going on within the individual that makes traumas traumatic, and even makes a trauma that might seem minuscule, and you know, a low tier trauma to society via very high tier trauma to that particular individual. And so because we have this continuum, or gray zone of traumas, like all these gradations of traumas, and because we have the individuals who also seem to have, you know, a different abilities to handle trauma, some people even being through the most culturally, you know, scary traumas we can think of and being resilient to them, tells us right away, there's something else is going on, which speaks to sort of what you're saying, here, I think, and then the idea becomes, okay, so yes, there's different ways that we're beginning to study this and different,

Jade  34:08 

you know, modalities, drugs, and these kinds of things that seem to be able to help, but what I'm most interested in is I'm most interested in Okay, so how do we is there a way simply through behavior through thinking through, you know, acting and exposing ourselves to traumatic events or scary situations? Is there a way to build up this resilience just through this idea of thinking, feeling acting in a particular way? Like you alluded to Brendan like you know, if you and I want to get stronger in the gym, we're both guys who spend a lot of time in the gym. We're going to challenge ourselves with uncomfortable you know, sort of weights and things like that. I know. I always look at Brendan doing these crazy deadlifts right but you know, He's gonna for you listeners, if he is going to max out on a deadlift, the heaviest weight he's ever used on a deadlift, it's going to be a little scary for Brendan. But he's also built up the resilience along the way, doing these personal records and attacking his heaviest lift over and over again, that allows it to be scary, but still be approachable. And so I'm most interested in a couple of things to see if you have anything to say about this. And I think it will segue into other insults right now we're talking about the insult of trauma. And the idea of one person's trauma is, you know, sort of another person's, you know, just walk in the park. And one person's ability to be resilient is another person's, you know, situation of just falling apart at the slightest insult. And so from my perspective, in the research you've done and looked at, have you seen there be any good evidence base for people being able to change this just through behaviors just through thinking, feeling and acting in particular ways that expose them to difficult stuff? Or is it a going to be a combination of things where yes, you have to do that. But also, then we can use things like psychedelics or nutraceuticals, or even drugs to address some of this dysfunction? Because it almost sounds like what you're saying, and I don't know if I got this right or not that it's perhaps a chicken or an egg situation. So okay, so you had trauma? Were you predisposed to that trauma ahead of time, which made you less resilient? And then once you have that trauma, is that sort of like a vicious cycle that makes you more likely to be traumatized by other events? And can we if that's the case, and it is sort of this chicken and egg cycle? Can we somehow reverse that cycle through psychological therapeutics, nutraceuticals, and things like that? And I'm just wondering if you have anything to say on that, if that makes your brain go in any sort of direction? Because I do think is a very important topic, and one that's very important for the times.

Brendan   36:57 

Oh, absolutely. I think it's absolutely critical. And those a perfect kind of retort postulate there. Because what's interesting, and what makes, what I try to do really difficult is trying to bridge that gap between kind of the psychological and physiological and even esoteric, quantum spiritual, whatever. And so like, my little yin yang, logo thing that's on all my posts, like, that's what that's supposed to really symbolize is like, Well, I've always looked at mental health. And what fascinates me so much about mental health as construct is, it's always that mixture of psychology and physiology, you can't ever fully separate that now, you know, when you're trying to, like, let's say, work with a client or patient, help them, you know, reclaim their mental health, you have to delineate between the two, you have to take the time to map out, well, these are the psychological healing opportunities that we see on the table. Here's the physiological. And for me, like when I was really struggling with my mental health, I've always known the more mechanistic science to be soothing, you know, when I have like a tangible, objective, measurable, quantifiable explanation for the suffering, you know, it makes me feel like, okay, it's not just me, it's not just in my head, I don't have like a shitty attitude or outlook on life. Like, there's more to it than that. And on the one hand, our whole population has been so conditioned for, you know, the pill for the hill mentality. And that's the problem with functional medicine these days is, you know, selling behavior modification, let alone coaching is extremely difficult. Whereas, you know, sell a tester to and sell fancy, well, concocted supplement protocol is very, very easy. And that's the issue that we all see in functional medicine is too many clients and patients, they just will, what's the lab that tells me the root cause, and then I throw some supplements at it, and poof, it all goes away, and then I feel amazing. And then all the while it completely spiritually bypasses the existential crisis of the human condition that none of us can escape, right? So I look at all the different areas of research. And so the mechanistic is cool, we'll talk about all day and my objective with that, and the mental map and all that is to at least make the psycho emotional journey and eudemonic journey for hedonic easier, right, because if we can just optimize your physiology, optimize your metabolism and microbiome, and everything in between, just optimize your soul vehicle that is your body, your meatsuit if we can just get that working really, really, really well. At least then your spirit your mind, your psychology, it's going to make that journey which we're all in have to face at some point more bearable to some degree, and it's really helpful to distinguish of like, this is a symptom being driven by neuro inflammation, oxidative stress HPA blah, blah, blah. Then let's not have that distort our existential vision or perception of self and the world around us. But even You look at like the psychological research of even, you know, meaning making in the face of adversity and trauma is actually part of what brings us fulfillment and happiness, this idea of, we're all going to face adversity, we're all going to experience traumas, but finding in making meaning, what does it mean for us and finding a sense of purpose in that that's actually part of what we need to be happy. So what I battle through my platform, is the content that performs will is the mechanistic root cause. And I think, I think the reason why is because people don't want to do that inner work so much. That's scary, it's daunting, you know, what are they can see within if they look within whatever, they it's a lot easier, like, just Okay, so Brennan, you're saying, If I buy your mental map, lab tests, you can give me a protocol that makes all my problems go away? And it's like, well, no, but then if I put up a post that's like, it's victim, mentality, or root cause it doesn't perform doesn't reach. That's not the message people want. That's the battle that I face. And even using myself as an example, you know, I, you know, live about as healthy as lifestyle is, I think a man really could these days, for the most part, you know, if you looked at my regimen, it's a masterpiece scientifically, and even still, like, I still have my human struggles, like, I'm the mental health guy or whatever. But it's like, I still have my hard days, right? My, my mental health was tested pretty heavily in 2022. And, you know, while I'm medication free, like I still do therapy, I just started doing therapy again this past year, because I was like, I need to start back up. And they have an amazing therapist. And I think there's no substitute for talk therapy. So something that I'm always encouraging people on, you know, I look at as my place to educate, empower people, right. That's what I tried to do have like, there's a time and a place for those neuro psychiatric drugs, there's a time and a place for tripping on Iosco and Costa Rica, if that's your jam, there's a time and a place for talk therapy, but you know, the lifting weights and the lifestyle. So that's kind of ultimately what I'm trying to do is I want to educate, you know, enough on the mechanism. And science gives people hope, like, I can get better and giving them a deeper understanding of like, Look, you can't escape the human condition, but we can optimize that there's so much that we can do. And I also tried to bring a lot of objectivity to it, because I think these days, you know, trends, right? Like, even with the dietary trends of, it's not just keto anymore, paleo, it's vegan and carnivore, it's more confusing than ever. So I'm really big on bringing some objectivity to it. And to wrap that up, were you asking about the predispositions and whatnot, where there's plenty of studies of like, okay, you know, veterans that had higher inflammatory markers that then went off to war, and experienced trauma had more severe PTSD than the veterans that had lower inflammatory markers, pre trauma, or different observational studies of, well, they experienced trauma, and then they all had higher inflammatory markers, right. So that's what's really cool about it, in why I've kind of used like the neuro inflammation neuroplasticity angle, because it's scientifically sound into mechanistically sounds, but then you can kind of spin it in this other way. Because like with trauma, what you're, I think, alluding to a little bit is we have to change our belief systems to some degree to make it something that empowers us rather than breaks us. And that's hard to do if you can manage to take the most dramatic thing that ever happened to and turn it into one of the most meaningful things that ever happened to like, I think I'm a testament of that's really powerful. And so then to kind of put a cool sciency spin on it, where would it change your beliefs about something, you literally have to change your neural networks, the way that your brain is wired, which then means, you know, synaptic trimming and pruning, which is how we essentially disintegrate neural connections and guess what the micro glial cells regulate that and it takes a lot of neuroplasticity to then create new neural networks associated with new knowledge, new learning memory belief systems behaviors. So huge thing is like, ultimately, we need behavior modification which requires belief modification, which requires neuro plastic remodeling. And so then from a metabolic illness with 80% of Americans being metabolically ill in a chronic inflammation crisis, will neuro inflammation and neuroplasticity are antagonistic mechanisms and we need homeostatic balance between those those mechanisms. You know, acute neuro inflammation is good that protects our brain but chronic meta neuro inflammation that's why Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death. So part of what I kind of tried to angle it is like, Hey, I can't find your sense of purpose for you. I can't change your belief system of your trauma for you, but I can help you objectively. Look under the hood, assess that neuro inflammatory burden, use holistic interventions to bring down that cytokine storm in your brain. So that way you can more readily change your neural networks change your belief system look within it stabilizes behavior and mood. So I like to take that holistic approach of we have to do that inner work cycle emotionally. But we also have to address the dysfunctional physiology. And when you have so many Americans that are physiologically dysregulated, dysfunctional, to me, that's the low hanging fruit. That's easy part, your labs and protocols easy finding your why finding your purpose, you know, facing your traumas, doing the therapy. That's the hard part. So I look at as how can we make that a little bit easier?

Jade  45:37 

Yeah, that's beautifully said. Let me I want to go through in detail, this sort of the major mechanism of neuro inflammation and these insults before I do. And before we leave this, because I think it's so important, is I just want to point out a couple of things and made sure I heard you right, so in and make sure the listener doesn't miss this. So if we're listening to Brennan, there was a part there, where he essentially walked us through this idea that if you change your beliefs, which is not necessarily an easy thing to do, which is why Brendan saying, you know, the sort of lower hanging fruit is dealing with some of the physiological stuff. But if we can change our belief, which is another way of saying changing our underlying stories that we tell, in our subconscious, there is a way to do that. But if we can begin to change our belief about a trauma, and he said it, you said it's so beautifully man, where it's essentially like the one way to start is to say how does this trauma and by the way, all the exposure therapy, written exposure therapy, all the stuff regarding exposure therapy, as it pertains to trauma, including PTSD essentially says, if we can get people to make their trauma mean, something positive, something they can learn from grow from and help from? That is the step that helps them begin to move out of the victim state more into the hero state. And if we're listening to Brendan, that is also very clearly something that seems to be beneficial for neuroplasticity, if I'm hearing you correctly, reading the data is essentially rewiring the brain. And it's a rewire the brain, we need all these other mechanisms that disconnect neural connections and connect other connections. So you're literally changing the brain when we change our belief. And Brennan just gave us a really beautiful way to think about this, which is essentially stop thinking of your trauma and identifying with your trauma as the thing that harmed you start seeing your trauma and identifying with your trauma as the thing that has helped you and will help you to help others, which is very clearly what Brendan 's story is. And so that in itself explains a very powerful shift in belief that we can all start now. And as a matter of fact, this is what I do bread and I don't know if you know, but I, I run something called the journey, which is essentially people come stay with me in my house for four days. And we essentially use written exposure therapy, micro dosing, along with fasting walking and deep psychological principles and lectures to essentially change those underlying seed stories that people don't know exist regarding their trauma, what you'll find is that whether we like it or not, we all have a victim story. And we don't necessarily know how to tell the hero story. So Brennan is pushing us to this idea that the heroes story is a pretty easy story. It just essentially says take your worst trauma, figure out a way that it helped has helped you taught you and will help you help others. And that is the story of the hero. So what's really interesting about that is that that seems, if I'm hearing you correctly, seems to be one of the very first ways to decrease neuro inflammation and begin to increase neuroplasticity. Now, when we began to put on some of the other physiological aspects, not only would it seem and correct me if I'm wrong here, but not only would it seem to begin to make a difference in terms of decreasing neuro inflammation, but it starts to push us in this feed forward cycle now, or even the physical things that we do supplements, things like that diet will also start to enhance that a little bit. And so what I want to know from you as to where am I getting that wrong? Is that accurate from your perspective? And secondly, let's start getting into the actual mechanisms for other insults. Like what are the other things besides just trauma and adverse effects events that trigger this neuro inflammation? Things like I know you talk a lot about mold and you know, sort of dysbiosis in the inflammatory signals coming from things like LPs and other things like that that can impact On this but two questions, the first question is one, would you say that's accurate in terms of traumas and two, what are the mechanisms you can begin helping us understand on the physical side with the neuro inflammatory insults?

Brendan   50:14 

Yeah, I think that's a perfect segue. It is accurate, I always like to say thoughts become proteins, which you know, is really just kind of speaking to our very thoughts being an input signal to our epigenetics, that's then going to ultimately dictate what kind of proteins our body is really making, assuming we don't have like endoplasmic reticulum stress, which most people do. So, you know, it's just like a fun kind of sciency way to connect, you know, the psycho emotional spiritual to the very tangible, biological, physiological. You know, it's a weird thing. I'm one of those guys, I like to keep my head and head on head in the clouds and feet on the ground, right? You know, it's like, I like to go out there and explore, but also stay kind of grounded and truth and objective reality to some degree. And so, you know, I think it's really interesting with trauma in how we change our beliefs about something, where, and that's why I love the neuro inflammatory neuro plastic aspect is, you know, it's like a documentary. I mean, psychedelics is the perfect kind of subject that ties it all together. Because you know, psychedelics are so popular because most of the spiritual experience, you know, how we, those of us that have done psychedelics, and it's like, if you haven't done it, you just, you just don't know, you don't know what you're missing really, in a lot of ways, because that very spiritually profound experience that that psychedelics can help you tap into and elicit kind of unlike anything else, really, in that ego disillusion, being able to see like your entire life more objectively, kind of through this third eye open, deep sense of understanding connected to the fabric of life itself, that is just pure love and realizing all of your false narratives that you're in your own way. That's, that's kind of some of the verbiage I would use to try to describe what is kind of an indescribably magical experience on psychedelics. So that's more of the psycho emotional sort of experience, but then you look at what's going on. cellularly, neurologically, physiologically, it's like well, like psilocybin LSD in particular to the more popular, they're both serotonin five HT to a agonist, they stimulate the serotonergic system stimulates tyrosine kinase V, which then transcribes for BDNF, which is our main neurotrophic factor to help with facilitating neuroplasticity. So more of a cellular level mechanistically like more of a pharmacological mechanism of action perspective, these psychedelics have that very promising effect of reducing that neuro inflammation which is degenerating our brain and disrupting our neurotransmitters and making our behavior volatile and increasing symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, brain fog, the list goes on and on. So that's why it's like I'm all about then exploring, like, Hey, maybe I can't do that hero's journey for you. Maybe because I've had my own hero's journey. Maybe I can help guide and motivational interview, dropped some breadcrumbs, try to get you thinking tried to reflect some things back to you a little bit, and I do what I can. But something like I was saying that low hanging fruit is, well, gosh, a lot of these people have a laundry list of neuro inflammatory insults that contribute to this, what I like to call that neuro inflammatory load. So to your point, then segwayed into some of those root cause factors. I mean, it's so many things, and even today on social I posted kind of a summary because I call it micro glial activation syndrome. It's the phrase that I coined and it's just kind of this concept of you know, when these micro glial cells which are just the innate white blood cells of your brain that really regulate your own inflammation and neuroplasticity, and synaptic trimming and pruning and neuro development or degeneration, they steal the show with all of it. So looking at like, well, what factors piss off the micro glial cells because what I don't like whether we're talking about mast cells or neutrophils, macrophages or Mike doesn't matter. Sometimes people talking in the functional medicine space, they talk kind of in like well mast cell dysfunction or cellular dysfunction, it's like the cells are not behaving dysfunctionally they are doing what they evolved to do, which is respond to the milieu to the environment. So then the question is, what kind of juices if you will, are your micro glial cells or any other immune cell floating around it? You know, so if it's like a hyperglycemic You know, high free fatty acids and ceramides and oxidative molecules and pro inflammatory molecules or you know, pathogen associated toxins like mold and mycotoxins are the life of polysaccharides which, that's kind of a cool clinical pearl to that ties a lot of these elements together. There's like a polysaccharide from the gram negative bacteria in your gut. And obviously, if you have a leaky dysbiotic gut, you have more of this endotoxin burden and translocation, but a cool Pearl is the main thing that scientists and researchers use to induce neuro inflammation in mostly rat models to study mental illness, neuro degeneration, neurodevelopmental issues, they use LPs, you know, they'll take rats, inject them with LiPo polysaccharide, in that is one of the most potent activators of the microglial cells into their cytotoxic neuro inflammatory M one phenotype. So even with like, neurodegeneration or whatever it's like, they'll take rats injected with LPs to activate the neuro inflammation and decrease the neuroplasticity. But then give them like, well, what drug can we give them to then reverse that effect or treat that? Whereas obviously, it's like, well, wait a second as root cause providers were like, well, what if our clients and patients have increased endotoxin burden, they have more LPS floating around in their bloodstream and, you know, crossing the blood brain barrier and pissing off their micro glial cells. So rather than giving a drug to fix the problem that LPS started, which is so validated, that's the primary neuro inflammation research model, you know, so that opens up that whole gut health microbiome leaky gut dysbiosis, like as one major root cause hubs. So I find myself preaching a lot about mindset, metabolism and microbiome, I'm very much of the mindset and believe you, me, I mean, I have a little curriculum where we go into all the things metals, and stealth infections and glyphosate, and all these other, you know, kind of root cause factors that could be contributing, but to me, the three big rocks that matter more than anything else, mindset, metabolism microbiome, you know, and when you look at whether it's the microbiome angle in the dysbiotic, leaky gut and sort of the existential or extinction crisis, of the microbiological world, you know, in modern society, that aspects, the metabolic crisis that you and I are obviously various due to the importance of weightlifting and sunshine and sleep and, you know, nutrient dense food in the mindset that we've talked about so far. So to me, I'm kind of constantly preaching these three interfaces are what matters most if we really want that healthy, psycho neuro endocrine immunological complex, right? Because that's the thing while you sure like I love talking about micro glial cells all day, and I, that's my main, you know, lecture and thing for functional medicine practitioners, but my message to the world is so much more broad, right? You know, it's changing those input signals that your cells your tissue, your genetics are receiving. So, you know, there's so many different root cause factors that can be explored. And all these people that you know, come to my practice or anybody else, they all have a laundry list of psychological healing opportunities, and those root cause physiological. So in all too often, I find clients and patients consider herself healers, whatever you want to call them, they kind of go down one path or the other. Some people get really into, you know, self-help and psycho emotional. Some people lose themselves down the psychedelic rabbit hole, other people burning 1000s and 1000s on functional lab testing and root cause protocols. But the magic happens when we combine all the above and then of course, I like to kind of track all this objectively quantifying their symptomatology and their biomarkers. So we can really see like, well, you can do whatever intervention resonates with you. But is it working? Is it moving the needle? Is your perceived quality of life improved improving? Are your symptoms going down? And are your biomarkers stabilizing If I can prove those three things? I think my work here is kind of done.

Jade  58:53 

And let's get back to the show. Yeah, yeah, I want to I want to just bring because I think you know this, Brendan, but there's a lot, a lot of practitioners who listen to this podcast, so I have a lot of late listeners. And I would say it's easily 5050. But one of the things for the lay public, those of you who aren't practitioners, one of the things that just gave us, which is a powerful clinical pro member, he was talking about the mice and injecting this LPs. We have a source of LPs, one source of LPs for us humans, it's coming from the gut, as Brendan said, and so this is why people like Brennan and I focus so much on the microbiome, and sort of gut health. And it's so important to Brendan, if you're listening to him that it's one of his big three rocks, his big three pillars, that he knows if he gets this right, he can undo a lot of this insult. So you can think of this gut endo toxin, that's what we call it LPS that is released from the gut into the digestive system or into the blood, the bloodstream, rather irritating the brain, so to speak. And when I want to give just an analogy, or a metaphor, and maybe I'm gonna get this wrong brand. And so if I get it wrong, just correct me. But one of the things I like to think about the microglial cells is I think about it as you know, the immune system of the brain in the sense and I like to think of them as essentially gardeners who are essentially pruning hedges weed in the garden, you know, bringing in soil and, you know, essentially keeping the garden beautiful. And Brendan alluded to this, but as the different inputs come in these gardeners can only work with what they're given, in a sense, right. So like, if they're not the ones purchasing the soil, necessarily, they're not the ones necessarily purchasing the plants, but they are the ones trying to take care of it in a sense. So if you're bringing in shitty plants, you know, depleted soil, through your lifestyle, these micro glial cells, as Brendan alluded to, are simply going to react to that they're going to do the best they can with what they have. And so one of the things that we want to be aware of is if we see this as essentially, and Brennan may or may not like this metaphor, we'll see what he thinks about this. But one of the things we could think of we can think of these as gardeners in the brain, and you supplying them with the best soil, the most beautiful plants and things like that to help them do their job. And then think of your mindset and things like that as the weather conditions. And if you're always sort of in this victim mentality and this and that, well then the microglial cells can't come out. They're not going to be in the garden because you know, It's raining and storming and lightning all the time. And the weather's just too bad, perhaps so bad that it's doing damage that would be essentially your mindset. And of course, this LPs and stuff like that is sort of the soil. And so this particular metaphor for brain irritation. I want to see what you think about that. Brennan, would you say? Yes, Jade? I think that's pretty accurate. Are there other aspects of the microglial cells? We should be aware of that? Maybe it's too simplistic to call them gardeners in this sense, but just for the listener to sort of understand is would you say this would be a good model? And is there anything? If so, is there anything that you would correct about that or any things that you would add in terms of how to think about this?


Brendan   1:05:43 

Yeah, no, I love that analogy. And it was cool to hear it. Because I think if we combined mine with yours, it's pretty magical. Because the gardener analogy is amazing. Because with like neuroinflammation in neuroplasticity, the analogy I usually use is like you think about, you know, farmers when they burn their field where the point it's a cute controlled, strategic, temporary burn, for the sake of clearing land recycling elements back to the soil so that new crops new life can grow, right? That's like acute inflammation or acute neuro inflammation, you know, within the brain, which is a good thing. It's helpful, as opposed to that chronic inflammation or chronic neuroinflammation being that forest fire that's, you know, gotten down to control, whereas like neuroplasticity, and neurogenesis versus new neurons and changing the way that they're wired, you know, I picture like the rain forest, or I guess we could use the farm field or the garden of all the vegetation that's growing and flourishing the neurites that they're reaching out with their branches and everything. So that's kind of one analogy that I like to use for the neuroinflammation, neuroplasticity side of it. But with micro glial cells, I've always described it the way I like to teach it is like, they're the guardians and the architects of the central nervous system. And the garden analogy works perfectly. I've always described it where, you know, with a any kind of immune cell, but in this case, the microglial cells, when they're sort of inactive, they're what we call quiescent, which isn't really inactive. I use the analogy of that's like a police officer that's just doing his patrol. He's just driving around the city. He's just cruising, he's chill, nothing going on. He's just doing his rounds. So that's like your quiescent microglial cell, patrolling the brain. But then obviously, if that cop gets like a radio signal of like, hey, there's a bad guy that you need to go like shoot or arrest. What's he gonna do? He's gonna flip on his lights, go GI Joe mode, where he's, you know, flying down the highway sirens and lights blazing weapon out has gone firing off rounds, you know, it's a battlefield potentially. So that's what happens when microglial cell gets activated into its m one phenotype. It's this pro inflammatory, neuro destructive, potentially, now, you know, he's going after bad guy. But you know, sometimes bullets are flying, there's collateral damage, oops, I shot a neuron. Now that neuron is popping open, guts or flying, whatever, it could get messy. Versus like, let's say the cop gets a radio signal that's like, hey, there's a sweet old lady that needs a little help or something. So that's what I call the M to phenotype. It's cellular protective. It's neuro protective, neuro regenerative. And we have to keep in mind because everybody always asked me if, like, Will, so how do I know if they're like M one polarized? And then how do I switch to m two, and it's like, Hey, we are talking about cells that are extremely dynamic. In fact, some of the emerging research where they're looking at surface protein expression to dictate is this microglial cell and, and one neuro inflammatory phenotype or, you know, and to anti-inflammatory phenotype, it's like, actually, it seems like it can kind of do both, like at the same time, right? Almost picture like a welder where it's like, use the fire to soften the metal use the water to solidify it, you know, it's molding, it's molding, the fabric of our central nervous system, changing the way the neurons are connected and everything. So it's kind of that fire and ice have used the pro inflammatory mechanisms to burn up the pathogen or remodel the tissues. And using the neurotrophic factors. That's the cooling water to solidify this new neural network. And so you know, then you look at how the input signals from the environment from the milieu are going to influence the morphology of that micro glial cell. And it's this spectrum. So I have a graphic that I you know, it's on my social and everything, but graphic illustrates this. And so essentially, it's the spectrum and we have to be thinking about all of our micro glial cells, are they spending too much time in that pro inflammatory phenotype? And the answer for Americans is a resounding yes. Under normal physiological conditions that system is homeostatic. It's in balance. It's in harmony as it should be. But you start looking at the standard American metabolism and the standard American gut, you know, we have the hypertension, the dyslipidemia, the hyperinsulinemia, the homocystinuria excess body fat in in, there's so many side conversations we could have. And so it gets me excited, because even like, you know, putting that we know hyperglycemia is damaging to the brain and the microglial cells, you know, now some people are starting to chirp about Alzheimer's as a type three diabetes because the neurons are becoming insulin resistant, which is true, but there's other factors with that. So like the high blood sugar, high lipids, high body fat, we know body fats, very pro inflammatory lot of interleukin six secretion, which stimulates CRP and causes leaky brain and activates the microglial cells in the brain. So this is a cool pearl that rather than going on and on and on and all these directions, but to finish the analogy and a cool spin on it, even just that, like a metabolic interface perspective, just good old fashioned nutrition and fitness or even body composition, right, we know that the extra adipose will drive more pro inflammatory cytokines that can activate the glial system in the brain and cause this neuro inflammatory phenotype. But then we're skeletal muscle actually releases BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor that's like our main, you know, quenching neuro protective molecule. So it's secondary name. Originally, when scientists first found it, they're like, well, it's brain drives. So it's brain derived neurotrophic factor. But then some years later, they realized, Wait, our skeletal muscle also produces this, it's also a mitochondria. So you think about even what would happen with 70% of Americans being overweight or obese, even if we just focused on a more superficial conversation of decreasing the body fat that's promoting that neuro inflammatory phenotype in increasing lean mass, and that's going to result in more Neurotrophic activity. So it's like that's the mechanistic explanation for why we've been telling, telling geriatric patients with Alzheimer's to exercise and do puzzles and do physical therapy, it slows down the neurodegenerative process, why that's the mechanism. Now we just understand the mechanism that we've known this for a long time. Right. So I think it's a very empowering conversation. But yeah, I love the gardener analogy. That was perfect. The cop analogy. So I think that makes, you know, neuro immunology, maybe a little bit more understandable and relatable.

Jade  1:12:36 

Yeah, I'm gonna give one more. One more metaphor analogy, then I want to go into really just picking your brain about some key things that we can actually do. So one of the things that just reminded me, as Brendan was talking is one of the analogies I like to use for the metabolism is like a dual head satellite, right? It's a sensing and responding apparatus. So one, one satellite dish is focusing outside and looking at the environment, and looking for essentially stress to respond to, and there's another satellite head focusing in the body, and it's essentially looking at what the cells signals are sending. So you know, Brendan  alluded to this idea that the fat cells, the different kinds are sending one, one signal, the muscle cells, the mild kinds are sending another signal, the immune system, the cytokines and by the way, there's a lot of overlap between these signaling molecules are sending another type of signal, the brain is essentially picking all these signals up, and also picking up the signals from the outside world, you know, temperature, light, food availability, emotional stress, beliefs, all these things, and integrating them. And if you're listening to Brennan, one of the things that we're essentially talking about here is that a lot of these insults, whether it be LPS from the gut, whether it be mycotoxins, from molds, and things like that, whether it be an inflammatory an infection from a virus, whether it be any kind of other inflammatory mechanism from belief, or whatever is essentially for lack of a better term, irritating and disrupting the ability of this satellite to sense and respond and integrate the two signals of what the body needs versus what the body's essentially dealing with. And I think this is where I really liked what you said Brennan about your sort of three big rocks versus focusing on all the other things that are important and maybe more important, depending on who the patient we're talking to is, but these three big rocks have sort of microbiome sort of metabolism, which I know muscle, and that aspect is a big aspect of that for you and mindset, as well. These are the three big ones, and then there's these, these other little ones there. So that's one way that I would say we should be looking at metabolism. And now I want to ask you, and maybe I'll just throw some things out for you. Since we're sort of clear now and sort of aware of some of these ins salts coming from inside and outside the body. So as the satellite is looking and seeing, let's say, compounds coming from the gut, primarily, let's say we've talked about LPs, there's others, but what would be the major thing that you would do to deal with that? I know that you know, you're someone who likes a very particular type of probiotic myself as well. Probiotics are the all over the place. Not all of them do the thing, but there are some that have been shown to decrease this LPs. I want I know that I've seen you recommend one that I use also in the past I want to see if you still do but give me a little bit of feedback on what you would do there. Is it as simple as taking probiotics? Is it a particular type of probiotic is it you know, decreasing carbohydrates because they feed these gram negative bacteria? Is it decreasing fat because gram negative this LPS hitches rides on fat to get inside us? What would you say that three things I know, we could, you know, go forever on this particular topic. It's a whole other three podcasts. But if you were gonna say, Okay, everyone, if you want to deal with some of the insults that are coming to the brain, immune system from the gut, what would be your primary one, two or three interventions there?

Brendan   1:16:15 

Yeah, you know, what's really cool about a big part of my strategy I'm very transparent about all this is it's like, the I mean, most peer reviewed literature is pharmaceutical funded in general, and there's so much amazing information, we can extrapolate from the pharmaceutical research and science. So in some ways, a lot of like, what I do is I'm looking at what Big Pharma is having success with at a synthetic pharmacological agent that has this specific mechanism of action, or maybe it's kind of misunderstood to some degree. And then I reverse engineering of like, okay, well, what can we do holistically to modulate the same mechanisms, you know, maybe it's not gonna be quite as like Putin as that cyclooxygenase inhibitor or the monoclonal antibodies, which are a big thing they're starting to try to employ for mental illness so much. So there's an interleukin six monoclonal antibody, so designer antibody, you know, we heard a lot about monoclonal antibodies through COVID. And they have this drug through phase two clinical trials for treatment resistant depression, or you see if somebody that's depressed, they've already tried frontline treatment of SSRIs, 30, person F FC, not great, they didn't respond well to treatment. So then the idea would be second line treatment of this designer antibody that works by binding and blocking pro inflammatory cytokines, the idea being, Let's prevent those pro inflammatory messengers from then activating that neuro inflammatory storm in the brain that then causes the depression, anxiety, blah, blah, blah. So I always like to kind of compartmentalize, I created this functional intervention spectrum for the sake of my institute and training providers, because it can get very overwhelming very quickly, you got people worried about EMF or gluten or glyphosate or the mold in their windowsill. But then what about that trauma I haven't resolved? And then what about my diet? And how do I work out all these things? So I like to, you know, with this functional intervention spectrum, be looking at well, we've always got the pill for the ill with farm and pharmacological side, that's great, it's time in place. But the psycho emotional intervention, the environmental aspects, the lifestyle, and then supplemental, you know, those are my domains, those are the areas I focused, and, you know, sure, of course, popping pills, that's what we're all conditioned to do, and reach for. Yeah, you know, the probiotics and the Zinc, you know, the mega threes and folate and B vitamins and magnesium, and, you know, there's many nutraceuticals, and botanicals and probiotics that can be very, very powerful for modulating these mechanisms at a relatively potent degree. Right. And where's that synthetic Band-Aid, it's not really fixing the root of the problem, some of the supplements can address some of those roots of the problem. But as you and I can appreciate, and probably all of your listeners, like you can't supplement your way out of a toxic environment or a self-destructive, you know, lifestyle right? So that always brings me back full circle of like, well, we have to get the mindset you know, whatever it takes psychotherapy or psychedelics and whatever it is, whatever it takes, but then that environmental side of you know, the mold, you're in a water damage home and you're breathing in mycotoxins and the LPS from the environment as well and your health and all that and we're, you know, you think about the train derailment in Ohio and what's that fitting into the air, the EMF and the glyphosate. So I'm huge on the environmental side of things and of course, lifestyle medicine, which is you know, our bread and butter with the nutrition, the fitness the sunlight exposure. You mentioned earlier too, I love that you did of how the brain is integrating all these input signals from all the above which is so perfect, because even like there's some things out tighter control that might make us feel depressed for a day or two of like, you think that allergies and the seasonal allergy and boom, you're histaminergic. So you're feeling depressed and Anhedonia and brain fog for a few days are like barometric pressure. I don't know about you. But like when the barometric when the pressure drops off, I'll get depressed. And there's even studies that show that of like something that's totally outside of our control of the pressure of the atmosphere itself, can then have that impact on on our body and make us feel depressed or I'm personally very sensitive to sunlight, like I crave sunlight, more than I crave food or sleep. This is light therapy boxes lighting me up right now. So I like to I'm glad that we're taking the time to kind of expand this conversation because what I never want to do because I think there's too many functional medicine people doing this is pulling people down these rabbit holes of just this one thing. I get inquiries all the time from wannabe clients that are like, Well, I'm working with two functional medicine doctors, this one says it must be mold. This one says it must be parasites. What do you think? And I'm like, well, one, hire me before you get my professional opinion. And maybe get some cooks out of the kitchen. There's too many cooks in the kitchen. But also like, you know, what basis do they have to stand on? So this is why I also am huge on the objectivity. Right, because people are going to latch on to whatever ideas resonate with them. And a lot of times they're spiritually bypassing the work that they know they need to do. They know they need to eat better, they know they should start moving more they know they should get out in the sunlight more they know that they know that they probably should go to psychotherapy. But what do they do instead appears like protocol because somebody pushed on their arm and said they've self-infection somewhere. And I just, I can't stand that stuff. So that's why I'm huge on tracking the data of like, let's get some solid biomarkers that we can track objectively, let's track your symptoms, your perceived quality of life. And then let's begin that mindful journey, where we're transforming your mindset, transforming your microbiome, your lifestyle, your environment, supplementation, the whole mantra of my business, is prevention is the greatest treatment and the greatest medicine most teach people not to need it, you know, but at least I'm doing it in what I think is a more evidence based objective data driven way. Because otherwise, people start just losing themselves down all these things. And you know that sensation of well, if I just consume all the free Instagram content and integrate none of it, at least I tried, and I did something, right. So it's a complex journey, which is why I'm so glad we started with you depicting the hero's journey that brings it all in the foot. Now imagine if that hero along the hero's journey. Well, if he's metabolically ill, and compromised, you know, okay, well, that's a huge opportunity that the hero can do to optimize his is more altruistic journey. So there's a lot of components to it. But I think, through this conversation, we've created actually a pretty good like model and roadmap that then people can kind of start seeing how it all relates back and then picking like, where do I begin? You know, where would the work do I begin?

Jade  1:23:07 

Yeah, 100%. And what I want to do to wrap it up, is let's just take your sort of your three, you know, sort of models, mindset, metabolism, microbiome, those are the three right, yeah, your biggest ones?

Brendan   1:23:19 

Yeah, you know, ultimately, I feel like, those are the three areas that I'm kind of, we need to be actively working in, in all three areas constantly. Because a lot of the other details, you know, are going to follow through with that and fall into one of those buckets, right? Because, sure, we've talked about well, what about like COVID? And viruses? Right? It's like, well, yeah, you know, that can absolutely trigger, the neuroinflammatory storm, but it's like K, but I mean, we learned a lot through COVID of like optimizing the metabolic functionality and metabolic health, optimizing microbiome is going to improve your immune system and make you more resilient to that stuff. So with the psycho emotional side, that one I know, that's a harder one for me to advise on because I think that's such a journey that's so bio individualized, you know, some people it's going to be Reiki, some people it's going to be yoga, I am a big yogi. I love walking in nature, I do psychotherapy, like whatever it takes, and I do like the psychedelic conversation that falls into that bucket just as much as any other bucket with changing the belief system in general making, you know, instead of a self-limiting narrative, you know, self-empowering narrative. So that's the bucket there, you know, metabolism, man, you know, it's cool seem like When did weight training get so trendy? Like we've been doing it forever, and now all of a sudden, it's like, what cracks me up Jay, because you're one of those like, you're one of those muscle doctors. You're one of those few like there's very few of you on this planet and we need more of you. But it is funny seeing some of these more like traditional doctors and now they're starting to catch on of like, oh, this fitness thing in this weightlifting thing. Hmm. So they're getting on board with that, like codes are starting to, you know, pick up a barbell once in a while. But, you know, I argue all the time, I think at least 80% of the problems that we see in functional medicine everyday at least 80% of that could be fixed with, you know, a good well, you know, prescribed functional fitness regimen, nutritional coaching regimen and journey, sleep, sunlight, stress management, you know, lifestyle, at least 80%. Right. And then, of course, with that microbiome, you know, I've talked about the gut brain access for hours, but I just, you know, simply will say, well, that the probiotic well, and on that clinical Pearl, because it's like, I can't say enough about the microbiome. And there's actually a lot of really beautiful, esoteric postulates and truths and retorts that come with that, you know, I look at it as this is more philosophical, but I think humans, we're kind of the dysbiotic organism on this planet. Like, we're the only species on this planet that doesn't live in symbiotic harmony with the natural world. So it's like, not I'm not cynical, I'm not nihilist. You know, humans are beautiful to some degree, but like, we're kind of the dysbiotic organism. And at a greater collective level, I don't think we're going to reach you know, you demonic utopia, or whatever, until we re achieve symbiosis, we had it can hunter gatherer days, not anymore, we broke out of that natural biological law and world. So there's that and the microbiome is what kind of brings us to that truth, because we need to get back to the soil, get back to the building blocks of life itself, which are microbes. And so that's what gets me really jazzed about the microbiome conversation. And so you know, like with megaspore, is the go to spore biotic and everything. As just one example, where with those micro glial cells, clinical pro wrapping up, we talked so much about the LPS from a dysbiotic. leaky gut, are the most like Putin stimulators of neuro inflammation. And there are strong research papers that argue this is kind of like the root cause of root causes like this might be one of the leading causes of non-communicable diseases and inflammatory disease, this mechanism, and it's more than the endotoxemia. But that's kind of the main mechanism, those LPs. And that's where if you look at like a healthy microbiome that is diverse, and produces a lot of short chain fatty acids, like butyrate, in particular view, and I have a great graphic that illustrates this, but like LPs, one of the most pro neuro inflammatory substances in existence so much, so the use of research, short chain fatty acids, like butyrate have the exact opposite effect. So if you took a micro glial cell, like in vitro v2 line of micro glial cells, you give them LPs, neuro inflammation, you know, brain on fire, mental illness, neuro degeneration, you give them butyrate, that's what actually matures them, matures them and helps with neuro development in general, but also turns them into the empty phenotype. So whereas the LPS drives them to that end, one pro inflammatory, short chain fatty acids drive them to the empty phenotype. So that mechanistically right there kind of encapsulates the power of the microbiome and microbiology, in shaping our metabolism and shaping our neural networks, the shaping our mindset. So I love kind of how we're wrapping all together with mindset and tablets, and microbiome, and all these plethora of healing opportunities within those buckets.

Jade  1:28:44 

Yeah, man, that was that was really perfectly, perfectly said sort of, to wrap up. And I'll just give mine real quick in terms of the mindset. I'm very similar to Brent and lots of the same kinds of things, lots of you know, walking in nature, lots of relaxation, very much a fan with psychedelics like you, Brendan, very much, I'm actually going back, I don't know if I told him going back to get my PhD in transpersonal psychology and getting a psychedelic certificate through my naturopathic degree because I want to study that. But there's a lot to be said there in terms of the metabolism, you know, for me, same with you, it's a lot of weight training, really just cutting out junk food. You know, if most Americans would just, you know, watch their blood sugar levels start, you know, sort of weight training more, it's going to be more powerful than any real supplements they can take. And then in terms of sort of the microbiome, the same things we do to help metabolism are going to help the microbiome less junk food means less, you know, less of this fat and sugar sort of combination, which I see is a big issue in dysbiosis. And then, yes, targeted evidence based things that can decrease endotoxin like megaspore, biotic probiotic Um, those are sort of my big ones as well. So we find that we, you and I overlap a lot in those areas, which is not surprising. So to wrap up, I know so just so all of you listening know, Brendan has because as you can tell, he's got a wealth of knowledge and he does a ton of education. So for you providers, rent until till the providers where they can get your education and do some of your certifications and things like that.



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