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TMHS 455: The Surprising Truth About Cancer, Carcinogens, & Community – With Guest Dr. Christian Gonzalez
Cancer – the very word in and of itself can put a pit in your stomach. We often think of cancer as an indiscriminate misfortune that randomly occurs. But did you know as little as 5-10% of cancers are determined by our genetics?
That means that upwards of 90% of cancers are controlled by epigenetic factors, and therefore are in our control. There’s no one better to speak on this topic than Naturopathic Oncologist, Dr. Christian Gonzales. On this episode, Dr. Gonzales is sharing the science behind cancer susceptibility, and how cancer actually occurs in the human body.
You’re going to learn about the power you have to control your health outcomes, how to hedge your bets against cancer, and why having a sense of community can improve our health. Dr. Gonzales is a true expert in this field, and I hope this episode gives you the knowledge and empowerment you need to become your best and healthiest self for years to come.
In this episode you’ll discover:
- How Dr. Gonzales became interested in integrative oncology.
- What cancer actually is, and how it occurs in the body.
- The percentage of cancer cases that are truly genetic.
- Why cancer is multifactorial.
- How UV light can change your DNA.
- What genetic instability is, and how it happens over time.
- How getting closer to nature can help us prevent cancer.
- The importance of following your circadian rhythm.
- Why a variety of food is nature’s gift to us.
- How antioxidants can protect you from the sun.
- Better alternatives to chemical-ridden plastic food storage containers.
- Why some people are more sensitive to mold.
- How to build resiliency against mold.
- Which epidemic is more detrimental to our health than smoking.
- How to attract like-minded individuals into your life.
- Why trauma can be an obstacle to healing, and how to release it.
Items mentioned in this episode include:
- Foursigmatic.com/model — Get an exclusive discount on your daily health elixirs!
- Beekeepersnaturals.com/model — Get 15% off raw honey & other natural remedies!
- Eatsmarterbook.com — Order your copy today!
- Your Microbiome & Your Lifespan with Dr. Steven Gundry – Episode 336
- How Psychology Controls Your Biology with Katie Wells – Episode 443
- Together by Dr. Vivek H. Murthy
- The Swell Score
- Connect with Dr. Christian Gonzales Podcast / Instagram
Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!
Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. So excited about this episode, we're moving into the next month of 2021. Alright, how's everything going? Has 2021 turned things around for you or is it even more... We'll put it in quotations, "interesting" events happening. But for us, and our modus operandi here at The Model Health Show, is focusing on getting ourselves, our families and our communities healthier and more resilient. And today, we're going to be talking about a subject matter that is incredibly overlooked right now, in our susceptibility to the current viral epidemic, but so much more, and it's the issue revolving around cancer.
And one of the most recent studies published in JAMA Oncology, the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology, states that patients with cancer were found to be at a significantly increased risk of COVID-19 infection and far worse outcomes when contracting infections. And on the surface, this might seem obvious. The immune system is going to be compromised when we're talking about the body battling and dealing with cancer. But what's at the root of that? What's at the root of the susceptibility? This isn't getting enough attention. How can we get our citizens healthier? Because cancer tends to be this very vague, very mysterious condition that we don't seem to have a solution for, we don't even know what it really is.
And at the core of it, it always starts with education and helping to demystify these things so we can understand them. And I thought, what better person to have on, than somebody who's worked in oncology for many years and who's worked with countless patients and seeing all facets of this condition and what we can really do about it. Because at the end of the day, this isn't the last infectious disease to make its rounds. This one has already mutated and the question is, "Is the drugs that we now have for it, is it going to be able to match up with this new mutation of the disease?"
And I cited studies early, months and months ago, that it already mutated twice, noted in the data, this is what nature does. COVID-21, we got hot off the presses, we could name it, could give it a new name. It's a different thing. There's a movie, COVID-23, is the topic of the movie, I don't know if you saw. It's Michael Bay produced it. I'm not even going to say the name of the film. You can go to Dr. Google, if you're interested, I encourage you to not watch it, which makes us want to watch it. So let's just be real. But what are they doing? First of all, when did he make the movie? How did he... How, Michael Bay? He should be working on Transformers, but he's doing a COVID-23 movie, to create more fear and worry and doubt, and separation from humanity. Michael Bay, I expect better.
Alright, maybe he'll listen to The Model Health Show and be like, "You know what, Shawn, you're right, we're going to do a document... We're going to do a feature film, Transformers go into Erewhon Market. It's like a big Cybertron Erewhon, and they've got all this high quality food and high quality energy spark, whatever they need." So it can happen, it can happen. But again, today we're really going to dive into the subject matter and look at some pieces of this conversation that you probably are not going to be expecting, that are an important ingredients in cancer prevention.
So I'm really, really excited about this episode. And of course, our nutrition plays a major, major part in this, we have so many things that are clinically proven, time after time after time, to have massive benefit in the context of cancer, that are simply not talked about enough. And one of these, this was a controlled clinical trial conducted by researchers at the Department of endoscopy at Hiroshima University Hospital, found that one year of treatment, this was tracked long-term, one year of treatment with reishi medicinal mushroom, decreased the number and size of tumors in the large intestine for patients, versus those who did not receive reishi. Reishi has been found to be effective at preventing and fighting colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and more.
A peer-reviewed study published in Immunological Investigations, affirmed that reishi was able to enhance the immune responses in patients with advanced stage cancer, specifically by improving the activity of their natural killer cells. This exists. We can be stacking conditions in our favor. Our greatest treatment is that of something that depletes us, that damages everything about us, right down to our DNA, and to see if we can outlive the thing. Not to say that that treatment doesn't have its place. But can we not stack conditions to create a more robust and healthy ability of our body to defend itself and albeit even fight and to destroy rogue cancer cells? That's what the immune system's... One of its primary jobs, not to just defend you from infections, but it's constantly... It's incredible, it's evolved over countless millennia, to be able to do this job, to scan your body constantly for cancer cells. To see this break in the system and how they develop... This is what we're going to talk about today, but to take those things out. But when we have a suppression take place with our immune system.
And as we talk about today, you're going to find out how common it really is and the things that are leading to this suppression of our immune system. Man, but what are the things that we can do to heighten this intelligence, our body's innate intelligence and ability to defend us from all manner of diseases, including this one? It's powerful, but are we doing it? Are we getting educated in this stuff? We are today, because we have platforms like this, and nobody can stop you from getting connected, all you have to do is push play, get connected, and put it into action in your life and the lives of the people you care about. I drink reishi on a regular basis, in the evening, because of the benefits. I've shared it many times, there's randomized controlled trials, and one of them, looking at the benefits that reishi has on improving sleep quality. And this was published in one of the most prestigious journals that is dedicated to pharmacology.
The journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior found that Reishi is able to improve overall sleep time, to improve sleep onset, so meaning you fall asleep faster, and also to improve overall sleep efficiency, so you spend more adequate time in deep sleep and REM sleep as well. Pretty sweet, and plus, these powerful anti-cancer benefits, all right? But we want to make sure that it's dual extracted, so that means it's hot water extract and alcohol extract, so we get all of the different nutrients we're trying to extract from the reishi. Most companies don't do that. People post then they got their reishi, do you got the good stuff?
We don't want to just go get company X Reishi, we want to get the good stuff, organic, not also getting our reishi with binders and fillers and all this other crazy stuff. Four Sigmatic has the best reishi available. It's foursigmatic.com/model. That's F-O-U-R-S-I-G-M-A-T-I-C.com/model, and you're going to get a discount, at least 10% off, maybe 15% off, depending on which of the mushies you get. Mushie is short from mushroom. It's cute. Depending on what you get. But reishi is one of those things, I can see it right now, my cabinet is open for some reason, I can look right at it, and it's glorious. I appreciate you reishi. You're smart, you're loyal, I appreciate that. All right, so check them out foursigmatic.com/model, and now let's get to the Apple Podcast review of the week.
iTunes Review: Another five-star review titled, “One of My Favorite Podcasts” by Julie with the a K. “I've been listening to this show for quite some time now, and I truly enjoy his in-depth knowledge and information along with his honest, real, no sugar-coated straightforward messages and energy Shawn emits, and I love his sense of humor and his deep voice. So grateful for his great work.”
Shawn Stevenson: Julie with the K, that's incredible. Thank you so much. I don't know what Julie with a K means, but I feel that message and I appreciate that so much. It really does mean a lot. And everybody, thank you so much for popping over to Apple Podcast and sharing your heart. It really does mean the world to me, and just letting everybody know why they need to tune in to the Model Health Show and be a part of this movement. So thank you so much. And on that note, let's get to our special guest and topic of the day.
Our guest today is Dr. Christian Gonzales, and he completed a two-year residency position at the Competitive Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and here he became proficient in Integrative Oncology. And Dr. Gonzales rare balance of focus and bedside manner during his residency enabled him to grow very popular with his peers and patients, and he left the center having treated over 700 patients and having a long-lasting effect on them physically, emotionally and spiritually. He completed his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine, and his doctorate work included a thesis reviewing the current and complementary treatments for bladder cancer.
As part of his training. Dr. Gonzales completed clinical rotations in pediatrics, general medicine, oncology, physical medicine, botanical and mind-body medicine, along with a preceptorship at the NYU Langone Integrative Urology Center. Now, Dr. Gonzales has shifted from working with patients to focusing his energy on mass education, and Dr. Gonzales is the host of the weekly podcast called Heal Thy Self, which features some of the top voices in the health and wellness profession. And he's been featured in countless media outlets as well, and I'd like to jump into this conversation with the amazing Dr. Christian Gonzales. Which baseball team were you for?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: The Mets.
Shawn Stevenson: Mets, I knew it. I should've said you're a Mets fan. How can you tell the difference between a Mets fan and a Yankees fan?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Mets fan look, chronically, a little bit more depressed. If you look in their eyes, you could see just this empty glare. I don't know, it's hard to tell. If you're in New York, you could tell who's from the Bronx, and who's from Queens, so it's kind of like that. It's that vibe.
Shawn Stevenson: But you're from...
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Queens.
Shawn Stevenson: From Queens.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: Shout out to Queens.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: LL Cool J, right?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: LL Cool J.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: That was my guy. That's who I was listening to when I was little. I thought I was LL Cool J. I even had the shirt off and the red pants one time when I was little...
Shawn Stevenson: I've got to see... You've got a picture?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: I'm going to find it.
Shawn Stevenson: I've got to see that.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: My dad never got me the kangol hat, but I wanted the bucket hat.
Shawn Stevenson: That's a Throwback Thursday, for real.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: That's the Throwback Thursday. I know, I got to get my hands on it. Yeah, that was my guy.
Shawn Stevenson: Well, man, I asked you before why you chose Integrative Oncology, and I knew that there was a story there. So can you share what drove you to get into that field?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Well, I wanted to be a dentist, initially, and I thought that would be great because I want to help people. So I was in the realm of helping and health, but I didn't find purpose until I was in dental school. So when I was in dental school, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer my first year, and within that time I was able to one, expedite my learning about health, fitness, clean food, clean... Everything, because I had a fire under my butt.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Your mum.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Over that time... Yeah, so I would come back and I would go to some of her appointments when I would be on break, winter break and summer break, and when I... I was telling you after our show, behind the scenes, at one point, my mom gave me this book and it was called... I think it was a Martha's Vineyard Diet or something, but right on the front cover it said ND, and I was telling you how silly I thought, how can a publisher make such a... Editor or as a publisher make a mistake like that. It should say medical doctor, not ND. What are they doing? Then I read inside the bio of the author and I said, "What the heck is this medicine?"
So as soon as I touched down, 'cause I didn't have a smartphone back then, I went home and I went right to my computer and I started researching it. And I had this flush of intuition that said, this is where you need to be. Sense of purpose. So listening to that, I said, I got to go. Life happened such that within two months, I was out, and I was right there going to all the appointments with my mom. But it wasn't until the moment where I was in an appointment with her, and I asked the doctor/nutritionist what she should be eating, and because she was losing weight, it was calorically dense foods. But it was recommendations for cookies, baked foods, a bunch of cereal, make sure she's eating pizza, whatever she wants. And this is actually way more common than you think. Calorically dense stuff. Eat whatever you want.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, absolutely. I've heard this many, many, many times.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: And in my head, I go, wait a minute, I've been doing all this research. Why... What are they doing? I can give my mom calorically dense foods that are much more healthy. But it was that moment where it created a split in understanding where the state of oncology was and what maybe we can do. So she passed away my first year of naturopathic school. And within that time, I learned a lot more about the holes that need filling in oncology, and that's where Integrative Oncology comes in. To be able to complement and support patients... I know you know someone who's gone under chemo, radiation or surgery. It wears them out, they become a shell of themselves, side effects left and right. There's known side effects, everyone gets nauseous, everyone loses weight, everyone's fatigue comes. So here come our types of medicine, which we can support these folks, and we do support them. They're so much more resilient when they go through it. Integrative Oncology is incredible. So that's what really got me into it. That's the short-winded story because I could have gone into more detail, but that's what's up.
Shawn Stevenson: That's incredible.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, man.
Shawn Stevenson: It's such a good story. It was your first year.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, yeah. So my first year. And it's interesting because I saw the process of that happen, and my grandma died in '96, I don't remember that. My grandpa died in '94, I don't remember that. But seeing the process of death was very interesting because it's a loved one and they're degrading from a human being that raised you to someone who's a shell of themselves. But in that time, you find some... If you allow it, you find some sort of peace within that, and that's when... This is what we were talking about, I don't think we do... We don't do death right in medicine, especially in America.
My mom died under fluorescent lights and pumps and sounds and noises, and I think in other cultures, we actually glorify death a little bit more, especially because as a natural process, and understand that it's a beautiful transition. Beautiful, if you understand and believe that. So I think that... And it's hard for a doctor to say that, right? Doctor's, "We have to keep you alive. If we have 20 more days, let's insert a tube in you and then guzzle down some canned nutrition." But for me, it's like, How do we die with more dignity? And I think that more conversation needs to be made around that in the medical field.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. When you said that, it really struck me when we were talking the other day, man. That's incredibly powerful. But I'm so grateful to have you here because this is... It's an experience or a concern that is shrouded in a lot of mystery. It's shrouded in a lot of uncertainty. And we often believe... I think many people feel like cancer is just something that just happens. It's like, It's totally random and unpredictable, we can never... We don't know anything about it. It just happens, and now we have to try to attack it and kill it. So just to help to kind of pull back the veil a little bit and demystify it for us, we can get a little bit more educated on what cancer is, can you talk about what cancer actually is?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah. So in the most simplified way of looking at cancer, we have an insulting or inciting factor. And when that happens and it hits our genes, we have compensatory mechanisms which protect our genes so we don't have cancer happen. But through life, continuous insults, they affect our genes such that those genes that are protecting our cells from dividing rapidly, suppressing, they're putting the brake on, they're compromised, such that all of a sudden, that gene isn't working to its maximum ability, and/or it's turned off completely. And then the gene which puts the gas on cell multiplication and replication is on. So it's basically genetic instability that happens based on an insult to our DNA.
When you talk about cancer being random, it's not necessarily random. Most of us, a lot of us go, Alright, well, man. My mom had cancer, my dad had cancer. I'm going to get prostate cancer, I know it. It's not necessarily true. Actually not true at all, 5-10% are going to be genetically determined. What about the rest? That's epigenetic factors, 90%, meaning that we have the power to make those interventions in multiple ways, 'cause cancer is not just, Well, I didn't eat that well in my life. Now, I have cancer. Cancer's multifactorial. Different factors that contribute, but we have the power to make those interventions and protect ourself to our ability, and starting young. So this is what I try to educate people, is just 'cause your mom had breast cancer, let's start doing these things now for you, you're 20 years old, you're 30 years old, to protect you in the future. And that goes for any type of cancer.
Shawn Stevenson: Right. I really hope people get this piece, and I just want to circle back to it, and the same thing has been echoed from cell biologists, from top people in the field of epigenetics, saying only 5-10% of cancers are actually genetic, and 90-95% of these have massive environmental inputs that... These epigenetic controllers. And these are things from our external environment and the internal environment that we create within ourselves, and also our state of well-being and our thoughts, and our levels of stress. And these are things we're going to talk about. And I'm so grateful, again, just to have you on to look at this. So the cancer itself is... And this is something a lot of people hear, that people get cancer cells all the time. Is this true?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, absolutely. We have those mechanisms that come... They're off in our body. We have those... Every single day, we are exposed to UV light, which... And I can go into the sun and how much I love it, but we're exposed to UV light, and that has an inflammatory change in our... Or inflammatory influence, it changes our DNA, or can affect our DNA. Environmental toxins, processed food, stress every single day. Those things definitely affect us. But guess what, our mechanisms are in place where we're not going to lead to cancer. The genetic instability doesn't happen. We have a stable genes. And on top of that, the immune system clears it out, especially when we sleep. This is important stuff. You wrote a book on this. When melatonin is high at night and cortisol is low at night, that's when our immune system is scavenging for those cancer cells, cleaning 'em up, cleaning debris, reducing inflammation. But the first thing we do is sacrifice sleep when we don't have time. So yeah, it's true, we do have potential cancer cells, but that potential is never reached to a realized cancer, not unless the instability or the inciting factor is over and over and over hitting us and hitting us, multifactorial. It's sort of like the perfect storm that's created over time.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah. Let's talk about these factors, because... And I love that you said this is multi-faceted in and of itself because, again, both of us being very passionate about food, but there's so much more that influences human health. So in using that term that it seems like it's random where these things just happen, but these insults, we have this category, we call them carcinogens, they have carcinogenic activity. So let's talk about what some of those are that we might... We're inundated with that we might even not realize. You mentioned already sleep. And one of the studies that I put in Sleep Smarter, and actually, this study that I have right here, this was published in the International Journal of Breast cancer, found that women who work the overnight shift had a 30% greater incidence of breast cancer. And this was after considering the effect of other possible cancer risk, like high body mass index, smoking, pregnancy history, age, place of living, education, the list goes on and on. The odds of developing cancer were often twice as high in the group of women who were doing shift work, versus those who had normal sleep schedule. Melatonin is a powerful anti-cancer hormone, but the WHO classified sleep deprivation or working a shift work as a carcinogen, a cancer-causing agent.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Isn't that incredible? Isn't it incredible, because how many people are doing shift work? I remember when I... As soon as I came out of residency, for some weird reason, I got a bunch of flight attendants that I was treating, young women with breast cancer. And they were all doing the overnight flights. And for us, it's like... And I think there's other factors that have to do with being in the planes and environmental toxins as we will talk about, but carcinogens, known carcinogens, smoking, drinking, we know that certain viruses and bacteria cause cancer, we know some even occupational hazards, chemicals cause cancer. I think the bigger conversation needs to be in how do we create the fundamentals around us to ensure... Because in my field, people just want a pill for an ill, just like they do in pharmaceutical. So, Man, Dr. G, what pills can I take to prevent cancer? What the hell? First, let's start with the foundation. And for me, what I've learned seriously in all my years, I've been looking and trying to figure out, for me it's how do we return closest to nature. For me, that's the closest thing to prevent cancer.
Eating closest to nature, sleeping, being in communities or having a community, the sense of purpose, exercise, movement, the dietary factors, reducing environmental toxins. Getting those circadian inputs from the sun, again, this is where we talk about, this is what you just mentioned, shift work, it's reversed. And there's a reason, our body follows these rhythms, these diurnal circadian rhythms, and we follow it with the sun, which is why I tell people, "Go outside, put your feet on the ground, watch the sunrise, if you can. If you can't, certainly watch a sunset, get some midday sun." Those light inputs are helping our body and biology react. And stress, man, stress is... It's told people that like, Stress causes cancer, but there's mechanisms as to why. So if stress is the number... It'll age us more than anything. In just under 10 years, it'll age us biologically, stress, more than alcohol, more than smoking. So if your stress is out of control and you're... You find yourself out of touch with those factors of nature, then yes, you are predisposing epigenetically yourself to cancer.
Shawn Stevenson: Ah, so much there. I want to talk about, one, you said this a couple of times, sunlight and sun exposure, because how it helps us to really refine and to help to set in place that biological clock. And everything about us is running on this clock. When certain hormones are getting secreted, our immune system function is all... Our digestion, the list goes on and on. So it's a real thing. But isn't the sun a carcinogen itself? Can we... Let's talk about that.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Let's talk about it, man. I love these questions. I'm fired up. When it comes to the sun, we evolved with the sun. We would not be human beings without the sun. So it's very important for us to understand the sun's place in our physical health and our biology. And you mentioned it. First and foremost, seeing the spectrum of light in the morning tells your body, Good morning. Let's set up all those process for the day. Midday sun tells your body something else. It says, It's midday, absorb all that vitamin D, which is so essential for health in the state of the world that we're in right now, especially for the immune system. And then at night, it tells your body to start slowing down those processes, it increase that melatonin. We are so detached from our connection with the sun. Some of us wake up, it's still dark outside, go into... Back when the world was where you're going to work, in our work space, we go and we're under a fluorescent light, maybe see the midday sun, and then we go home and we see the sun's already going down. That's how it was when I did my residency in Philadelphia, man. I hardly got the sun, but I made sure to get in the midday.
Midday sun, more than anything, will expose you to the most amount of UVs, UV rays. Those UV rays, on paper, are carcinogenic. They can... What happens is the UV rays hit your skin, they cause localized inflammation, the white blood cells come, infiltrate and then they cause more inflammation. Over time, that can affect the skin cells. So this is the predisposition that we say to basal cell cancer, squamous cell melanoma. But one thing we are not understanding is that, more important for me, is what I tell people, than sunblock, is the concentration of antioxidants in the body. So many of us are antioxidant-depleted that it's natural for us to understand and we will put two and two together then. You're antioxidant-depleted, your skin and your whole system is not protected, that the sun is going to affect you. The UV rays are going to affect you.
Shawn Stevenson: It's an oxidant.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: It's an oxidant. It causes that oxidation. Antioxidants negate or they quench those reactive oxidant species. Not only that, they protect your cellular DNA, they protect the cell membrane. They activate glutathione system for not only detoxification, but also protecting you from other oxidation. They promote the synthesis of more oxidants in the body. These are things like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, the catechin found in green tea, EGCG, like one of my favorite, carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene. This is stuff that we find in food which is what you're talking about, Eat Smarter. The variety of food has such an important place. Different colors, fruits and vegetables which should be at the top of the pyramid... Or the bottom, I'm sorry.
Shawn Stevenson: Right. Yeah.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Well, the top as far as importance and the bottom as far as consumption, but that is nature's gift to us, not only in the fiber, but in the antioxidants. I'm going to tell you, and I know you love citing studies 'cause this is what you do. Every time I open my Instagram, you're talking about a new study and I love it. So what they did is a double-blind study and they had the placebo group which was taking in just a pill. But the other group, the subjects were taking in lutein and zeaxanthin, these are nature's antioxidants, orally and topically. And they had different measures of how it affects the skin, but the most important one for us to talk about is photosensitivity or photo-protective effect, how it affects the skin from lipid peroxidation, meaning the anti... Or the inflammatory effect, the oxidation.
What they found was that the oral ingestion of those antioxidants was more important than the topical application, but together, it provided the most amount of benefit. So what I say is you're... Let's say you're about to go to the beach. Sure, put on some sunblock, but make sure you eat berries, carrots, leafy greens, chlorophyll-rich foods, a variety in your breakfast. Make yourself a juice. Make yourself a smoothie. And this is what we need to understand, antioxidants are so, so important for protecting us from the sun.
Shawn Stevenson: This is so good. And again, just the language with the sun being an oxidant and having the antioxidants in our system, that's that natural protection.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Of course.
Shawn Stevenson: For something, but we're protecting from degradation, but we need the sun to thrive in the first place, so this is a very strange balance and definitely, that balance is skewed. A lot of times, folks are getting sunlight in unusual ways. They might not see the sun for nine months and then they go to the beach, beach vacation for a few weeks, and they're just immersed and then they get sunburnt.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Of course.
Shawn Stevenson: It's just like... Even our melanin is like this built-in sunscreen that builds up over time. So for myself, I get dark very quickly, but I also lose that color pretty quickly as well and so I could tell just by my complexion whether or not I'm getting the sun, the adequate amount of sunlight. So it's super fascinating stuff. And there's a melanin in food. I think it's in chocolate or coffee. It's in coffee. Very strange and again, it's a very high source of antioxidants, but then we get into the conversation where I really want to talk about... This is really what I want to talk to you, about the quality and all the other things that are coming along with these products and these toxicants that are just... We're so immersed in it, pesticides, rodenticides, herbicides, so many of these synthetic chemicals. So when you mentioned putting on sunblock, man, I've seen some really scary stuff in the data already about all of the other things that are carcinogenic coming along with the sunblock. So let's talk about that a little bit, about some of the things that we need to be more mindful of and removing proactively from ourselves, from our products and then also, hopefully, we can start to make a shift in our communities overall.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, yeah. So the whole... So I would say when someone says, "Hey, Dr. G, what do you specialize in?" I'll say, "Oncology, particularly breast and prostate cancer, and environmental medicine and mind-body." These are my favorite things to talk about. Environmental medicine really came to the forefront when I came out of my residency. And my first patient, I drew a pie, a little pie chart, and I tried to figure out how much of a role environmental toxins had in this person's health or this person's cancer. And then I started doing tests for environmental toxins, testing the urine of these patients and it's incredible what you see.
There's certain tests that test over 200, 300 different chemicals in the body and so many of these cancer patients had... I'm talking about 90th percentile off the chart, over and over and over these chemicals, and I'm looking at heavy metals and I'm going, "What the heck is going on?" And then I'm testing myself and healthy subjects, and they're lower. Some people had them a little higher, but maybe some of them were high, but not all of them. There's so many patients who present like this. So then I was like, "We need to talk about this."
Someone needs to start talking about the role of environmental medicine. Environmental medicine is not sexy, no one wants to be talking about formaldehyde, but if we can empower folks to understand what's in our house, the air we breathe, what are we putting in our mouth, what are we putting on our skin and what's the culmination of the effect in the body? There's a lot of argument and controversy behind environmental toxins. You'll have food science folks or toxicologists go, "Well, the dose is in the poison." The dose makes a poison, right? And that was semi-true in the '90s, but now we're at a place where we understand that it's not necessarily true. It's in a vacuum. If you look at formaldehyde, they test it in a vacuum with no other chemicals.
The most important thing for us to understand about toxins is there's more than one toxin in the body, they work synergistically. It's called the entourage effect. What is the effect of not only formaldehyde, but benzene, BPA in the body, other chemicals. What about heavy metals? They bioaccumulate in the body. They bioaccumulate in the fat. Very important for us to understand that these toxins have a role in our overall health. So my question was, how do I make environmental medicine sexy? So for me, it's taking a stance of empowerment and teaching people that environmental toxins are present in their home, in their food, in their water, but also empower them with other options. What can we do to reduce this, what I call toxic load? Many of these environmental toxins will be contributing to inflammatory diseases in our body, autoimmune disease in our body, cancers in our body.
So for me, it's like, "Why are we not talking about this? This needs to be one of the number one topics." We can have 10-100 times more toxic air in our home than outside. We don't think about that. We don't think about when we're using cleaning products on the floor, how it's affecting us, our children, our pets. We know the bleach, for example, it's not only an asthmagen. It not only exacerbate asthma, but it also can cause asthma in children. It could be the root cause of why your child has asthma. The lotions in our body, cumulative effect, our body absorbs it, right? So our bed. There's flames retardants in our bed, volatile, organic chemicals that we're breathing in over the life of the bed, not only when we first get it. So what I try to do is teach people, what are the interventions that we can do, where do we start, and how do we not feel overwhelmed? And there's ways to do it, man. We can build the resilience in the body, so we're strong against environmental toxins, but also while reducing environmental toxin load. It's so important. It's so important.
Shawn Stevenson: For you to see it in the data, to actually get the numbers back and working with cancer patients and seeing these elevated rates of all manner of these synthetic chemicals, again, this should definitely be a bigger topic of conversation, but this is why, again, I'm grateful you shifted and you're working with education right now at the larger scale for everybody it's super important. And when you just said that last thing you said about the lotions, and if you just read the ingredients on the every day lotion. I was using like Suave, or whatever, and especially if you're ashy too, you can absorb so much. It disappears. The skin just sucks it right up.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Sucks it up. Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: And our skin literally eats. And I don't think we think about this very often, and we're trying to... Like you mentioned in that study, topical and oral of these different antioxidants are very valuable, but understanding that our skin eats, and in particular, when we're looking at you eating all the array of the berries and all those things for the zeaxanthin, what really struck me was a conversation I had with Dr. Cate Shanahan, and looking at biopsies of test subjects for the early 1900's and seeing even our body fat content being about 2% PUFAs, polyunsaturated fats. And now, today, our body fat on average is about 30% polyunsaturated fats. Literally, our body fat is made of different things than it was made of, and it's just the proliferation of that fat. Basically, we're out in the sun cooking canola oil on the beach in our bodies.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: We're one big canola oil piece of skin, right?
Shawn Stevenson: We're a big bag of Crisco.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: I know.
Shawn Stevenson: And wondering why we're having these very seemingly strange side effects, but they're really direct effects of us having such an abnormal way of eating now.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, and again, to go back to the sun, it's like, sure, the sun is giving us UV rays, oxidizing, but what's in the body that it's oxidizing?
Shawn Stevenson: There you go.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: And you just talked about PUFAs in our fat, and one thing I'll bring to light about those environmental toxins is... So I was talking about toxicologists and food science folks, and talking about it in a vacuum saying, "Well, it's the dose. This dose causes this." So you eat way less than that, you breathe in way less than that, and you absorb way less than that in your body, but one thing that they're missing, and this is what endocrinologists would talk about, is something called the non-monotonic dose response, meaning that under FDA and EPA levels, we'd expect a small amount of the dose would have a small amount of effect and it increases the more the dose increases. What they find is at levels lower than EPA or FDA there's a spike in different effects in the body, particularly in the endocrine system. So this is so true for BPA. When it comes to BPA, we know at high doses it affects the body, immune system, it's inflammatory, affects our endocrine system, neurological system, but then at low doses we see that it also disrupts our endocrine system, our hormones.
That's incredible, because how many of us are exposed to BPA, all right? CDC did this test a few years ago, 2500 folks, around there, 93% of them had BPA in their the body. That's incredible because BPA has a half life of about a day. So that means within the past day or two those folks were being exposed to BPA. BPA is everywhere. And that's just one chemical, but it's a major one that we need to talk about more.
Shawn Stevenson: Right, yeah, yeah, because of the xenoestrogen?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, the xenoestrogen. Yeah. So it's literally... And here's the thing, what pushes breast cancer is the excess influence of estrogen, but it's a very particular type of estrogen. It's when we're not metabolizing estrogen correctly in the liver, men and women, also prostate cancer, when we think about it.
BPA acts and influences the body the same way as that type of estrogen, which is incredible. So it affects men, our hormone, it lowers our testosterone, we want all that testosterone up, especially in middle age. Well, one of the major things that cause a forest fire in our healthy testosterone production, is BPA. Same goes to women. How do we protect women from breast cancer? Look no further than removing BPA and all of its analogs. And especially, I'll say this real quick, BPA-free is not a substitute, it's not a healthy substitute, it's a very clever thing that the plastic industry did, they used analogs to BPA that are just as detrimental to our health. So instead, I go get stainless steel or glass.
Shawn Stevenson: Because there's other compounds. We got BPA, there's BPS, these other things that are coming from these plastics that we're still... There's data on this and stuff, and so I actually wanted to pull this up here, because you just brought up something. I didn't expect us to talk about this. But how the xenoestrogen, specifically BPA, having such a stark impact on male and female reproductive hormones. And so this study, and I actually cited this study in my book, Eat Smarter, and this was published in Fertility and Sterility, found that men with detectable levels of BPA in their system, were three to four times more likely to have low sperm concentration and low sperm count, while a study cited in Environmental Health Perspective, discovered that women undergoing fertility treatments, who had higher levels of detectable BPA, were up to two times less likely to become pregnant. And again, this is correlation, not causation. But the data exists, and we should be talking about this. So I'm really glad that you brought this up. That's one of the most pervasive that we realize, but you've been sharing so much information and of course, everybody should be following you on Instagram too. What's your IG handle?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: It's @dr.christian.gonzales.
Shawn Stevenson: There you go. Make sure to follow him. His videos are so dope. But you've been talking about some of these other environmental toxins that we're exposed to, and also some of the ramifications. We haven't really talked much about this, here on the show, but mold. So let's talk about that. How does that play into this whole health equation?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, mold is huge. And I'll give a quick testimonial about what happened with me. I moved into a place two years ago, two and a half years ago, in Venice, and within two months, my health was going down fast, and I couldn't understand why. And I had a friend who was a researcher, she goes, "Christian, it might be mold." I go, "Mold? We touched about that in school, but people aren't really always affected like that with mold, are they?" Well, damn, I dove into the research, and what I found is that in America, estimated 50% of homes have water damage and mold. Okay, that's all fine and dandy, but in a family of four, statistically speaking, one of those members, 25% of us, can't break down those mycotoxins, which are created by the mold, those spores which we breathe in. So for me, all of a sudden, I'm starting this new podcast, and the first 10 shows, I can't remember words like almond or supplement or green tea, because...
And it's interesting because you know you can't remember a word that's very simple. So the cognitive effects immediately came. The sleep changes, the fatigue, the muscle aches, the nervous tingling, you have tingling in your hands and feet, it's interesting. And then I found myself being insatiable, drinking so much water at night, every night, urinating, and what I learned is that mold is major. In fact, I believe mold is a root cause for many of these issues and diseases that we can't put our finger on. So say, for example, I'll go back to the family unit analogy, let's say your son all of a sudden gets a sinus infection, then starts getting sick, constantly recurring infections, fatigue, sleep disruption, all of a sudden in school, the teacher is saying, "Your son's not remembering anything here, what's going on?" And then you go to the doctor and they go, "Well, it seems like this," and they're checking the sinuses, "Your son has allergies."
And they got a medication for allergies, but no one ever thinks to look into mold in the house. So this is why I find something as simple as an intervention of an air purifier, good quality HEPA filter in your house can completely change... And it's sort of diagnostic in many ways, we can see improvements based on that, that the air quality is a root cause of disease. So mold... This is what... I get very passionate about mold, because I have an experience with it, but it's something that if folks can't put their finger on an issue, that we look at.
Shawn Stevenson: So what the hell is mold? I think about... It's just a weird term, but this is something we do have, we carry mold, as a part of our make-up, a little bit, but I think when it gets out of balance or certain types of mold, is there a little bit more... Because again, I think that this is really important, and unfortunately, it's tested so much later. So what are some things for us to be aware of, in this conversation?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, so mold usually, will start growing in water damaged areas. So there's some things to look at. If you have a flat roof, that's precedent for mold, if you know that there is an area in your house, let's say a flood in the bathroom or those leaky pipes, you have to remediate that mold, you have to do it fairly soon, 'cause that mold grows, not all mold is black, not all mold is visible, but mold releases these things called spores, mycotoxins, the mold spores release mycotoxins and it's these toxins that we breathe in, and they initially affect our sinus tissue, they go to our brain, they go through all different parts of our body, our body has those compensatory mechanisms, where it wants to... Urinate it, of course, causes us to drink more so we can urinate them out. It's fascinating how it does that. But in reality, molds affects every system in the body.
Now, my question is, if there's 25% of us that don't have the gene or have a gene mutation, which where we can't metabolize those mycotoxins as efficiently as say sister, mom and dad, then how do we build resiliency in those folks while protecting the home too? So get the mold remediated, get an air filter, but also let's go again closer to nature. Resiliency, sleep, diet, exercise, movements, stress, community, sun, grounding, these are all things that we can help build that resiliency even if you are living in a moldy place.
Shawn Stevenson: This is so good. I want to talk about... You said it multiple times now, community, and the ramifications that this has on our health, especially right now, and we're going to do that right after this quick break. Sit tight, we'll be right back.
One of the most important topics of the day is how to have a healthy, robust, functional immune system. Our immune system evolved to have a myriad of weapons at its disposal, from the T cells to our B cells and humoral immunity, to our natural killer cells and so much more. It's an incredibly intelligent and powerful system when it's all online and working correctly. But as we know today, we have many things that suppress the function of our immune system, which suppresses our ability to fight and defend our bodies against all manner of infectious diseases, but also chronic diseases as well, like the management of cancer. Our immune system has a major part to play, the major part to play, defending our body from cancer.
And so this is a topic that needs more attention, and we have right now access to things that have massive clinical evidence to support the function of our immune system, especially right now when viral infection is such an important conversation. And one of these things is highlighted in the peer-reviewed journal, Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy, revealing that propolis, powerful product from bees, has significant antiviral effects specifically in reducing viral lung infections. What's on top of people's minds right now? Viral lung infections, and we have things clinically proven to help the body to defend itself against these things.
Why is this so powerful? Well, there's over 300 active compounds in propolis, the majority of these compounds being forms of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols that are well documented to reduce inflammation and fight disease. Even more specifically, polyphenols have been proven to inhibit the activity of coronavirus according to recent data published in the peer-reviewed journal, Archives of Virology. This data exists. This exists, and these are things that we have easy access to today more than ever. And this is something I regularly give to my family, and even my kids. There's a wonderful propolis spray that actually uses third-party testing to ensure that you're not consuming pesticides, and herbicides, and DT, and all these different things, arsenic, and all these different compounds that are finding their way into our bee products today. So they're making sure that you're not getting any nefarious thing along with these powerful compounds.
I want to share another really interesting study with you, because this is looking at a viral infection that tends to not have a lot of solution. And this is from a recent study published in Viral Therapy Research that found that topical propolis, even putting it on topically, applied three times a day, accelerated the healing of cold sores, herpes simplex 1, faster than not having treatment from propolis. The researchers found that topical propolis not only reduced the amount of herpes virus present in the person's body, but also protected the body against future cold sore breakouts.
And again, this isn't information that you hear very often. So definitely check out this propolis. It is amazing. It's propolis spray from Beekeeper's Naturals. That's B-E-E-K-E-E-P-E-R-Snaturals.com/model, beekeepersnaturals.com/model and you're going to get 15% off this incredible propolis spray. They even have one for kids. It's this cute little bottle for the kids, and this is what my youngest son uses all the time as well. Especially during times like this, just to give you that added edge in defense, definitely check out Beekeeper's Naturals. Go to beekeepersnaturals.com/model, and now back the show.
Alright, we're back and we're talking with Dr. Christian Gonzales, and we've gone through many different aspects of health, and also, of course, kind of demystifying cancer and some of the susceptibility regarding that. And before the break, we were talking about the inhalation of mold. Alright, mold and how that can have an impact on our health, and being able to metabolize these things. And I think the smells, I don't really think we really understand. If you could smell something, it's in you, alright. So now it's by going to figure out a little bit if you smell a fart. Just throw that out there like, "you put that fart in me." Anyways... Anyways, what I wanted to bring up for everybody was, not the fart aspect, but the smell of these oxidized PUFAs. And we talked earlier, it's not that polyunsaturated fats in real natural foods is bad, that's wonderful, but the concentrations we're consuming them in and these highly oxidized, corrupted, polyunsaturated fat oils, "vegetable oils", that are not made from vegetables, canola oil, the list goes on and on, that we were bred to believe that they were healthier.
They're called vegetable oil, of course, but a study published in Inhalation Toxicology, really the gold standard in this space, noted that even inhaling the smell of them while cooking, can damage your DNA. Come on. Why are we not talking about this? This is very abnormal. And again, we're making our tissues out of this stuff, even smelling them can damage your DNA and again, lead to the outcome, ultimate outcome of cancer taking place. So it's a very, very real thing. But one of the solutions for so many of the things that ail us, are social interactions, it has such a magnifying impact on our health and our well-being, and you're one of the best people to talk about with this. You've put out some great work. So let's talk about how our social structures and social connections impact our health.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: This is one of the most foregone, neglected parts of medicine, is the importance of social structure and community. And for me, I'm putting up a post soon, but I did a little story of my top health interventions for 2021, and community was number one, community was number one. And this goes back again, to returning to nature, but there's something to be said about loneliness and the epidemic of loneliness. The past 10 years, there's been a three-fold increase in people reporting they don't have a confidant, they don't have that support system. I don't even know what it's going to be, after last year, because more loneliness, more isolation. Loneliness in itself, is found to be more detrimental to health than smoking, than chronic smoking and alcoholism; loneliness. On top of that, loneliness is a better predictor of hypertension than diabetes and aging; loneliness.
But when you think about community, think about the aspect of social support, and we think that the mechanism of why this helps, is because you have someone that you know will be able to support you, as well as multiple people who will be able to support you, you have a community, a net. And what that does is, it translates to how cortisol is being released in the body, chronic cortisol, chronic inflammatory proteins, just think of the mental emotional connection to it. But when it comes to community, man, community is everything. Community is more of an important factor to health than obesity, exercise, smoking cessation, blood lipids, cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides and hypertension, which blew me away, when I understood that, when I read that. Because for me, as a doctor, when you come into my office and sit with me, it's my responsibility to ask you before weighing you, before asking if you're smoking, before even reading your blood work on cholesterol and taking your blood pressure, if you have a sense of community.
What is your sense of community? Do you have a community? And I'm not talking about me and my friends, we go out for drinks. That's not community. Community is... And this, I always believe, the common interest is a Trojan horse for something deeper. So we have a community of basket weavers anonymous, we have a community of St. Louis Cardinal fans, but within that community, can you get deep? Do you feel safe and vulnerable enough to be like, "man, I'm going to let you guys know something. I've been going through this." And do you feel safe enough to let that out? That's real community, don't be fooled by, "This is the baseball card collectors anonymous community," that's not it, it's the depth of which you feel the safety to indulge and divulge with other people, that's true community.
Shawn Stevenson: Baseball collectors anonymous. Shout out to those guys, you guys need to get deeper. Man, that's so powerful. And again, some of the data that you've been putting out, it's really... I know it is difficult for me, just my logical mind to be like, "How could that possibly be? How could a sense of community be more impactful on your health than smoking, than diabetes," when we're looking at risk factors for having a heart attack. But that's what the data shows, it's very clear.
The former US Surgeon General actually put together, prior to the pandemic, his book actually came out right when it was all starting, his book was based on the signs of loneliness because he felt that was the number one health epidemic facing Americans, and then this happened, all the shut down, and it's all been magnified even more. Like you said, we don't even know the ramifications that's going to take place. But I want to talk about... Before we even get into that aspect, I want to talk more about why it matters. What is the benefit that we're getting? You just mentioned, there is some... An ability to express oneself, to be open, to communicate. But what's the good? How does it have such an impact on our overall health like that?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Yeah, again, getting back to nature, how did we evolve? We evolved in tribes, and we saw maybe 10 new people in our life, back when we were in tribes. You go into the subway of New York, you see a thousand people in a day. What is that doing to the body's physiology? There's signals where we... This industrial revolution is, it's not that old, it's been around... It's new, based on the timeline of evolution. So I think that getting closer to nature, where we are more tribal, and I'm not saying, Shawn, you and me go into the jungle of Ecuador and live there for a year, we don't have to do that.
Shawn Stevenson: With the loincloth on.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: With the loincloth. And all of a sudden, we got...
Shawn Stevenson: Gucci loincloth.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Gucci loincloth. We got to keep the swag. But what I am saying is that, can we get in touch closer, even in our own communities, to nature, and why? I was just mentioning, the thought is, is that, that social connection, social net, social support, the confidants that we have, reduces inflammatory proteins in our body, reduces prolonged cortisol. And we know prolonged cortisol, it literally affects every system, every organ in the body. Think about what it does to the brain, reduces brain health, shrinks the brain atrophy over time, just prolonged cholesterol... Not cholesterol, cortisol. And what that does, pre-disposition to cancer, we're talking about stress and cancer.
So this is why loneliness is an epidemic, this is why community is the answer to so much for health. Because I truly believe, I truly believe, if you're in a community, a strong, strong community, you have a sense of purpose, you have people who mirror your greatness, you can divulge and indulge with them. When you have that community, then that allows for more room for dietary liberation, for whatever lifestyle you choose. It just allows that precedence, because you're at a state of a... Your overall, at a healthier default state. Then you work on all the other stuff. That's the way I take it, that's the way I do it, and that's a way I preach it, man.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, I love it, I love it so much. And a little bit of added benefit, when you... And this is the thing about humans, like you just mentioned, as we evolve, it might be 10 people in our tribe, but today, we can choose our tribe, we are products of our environment, we're also creators of our environment, once we become conscious of it, and we can actually proactively join a band or a community of people who have the principles that we want to strive towards, who have a passion about eating real food, who have a passion about fitness and movement, and what it does is, it actually makes those behaviors so much more accessible and encouraged.
And it's just like, if we're hanging out, chances are, you just went to Irwin, you got your grass-fed water over there, we're not going to go, me and you... We're hungry like, "Let's go somewhere and get some food," we're not going to roll up at Micky D's, we're not going to... That's not something that would happen, because of the community and the overarching mindset that we carry. So if you're with people who are health-conscious or looking at things that are more health affirming, it just makes it easier for you to do the thing. I want people to think about this in a proactively... And you know the power of this. Once you get clear on what you want and what that looks like, start to articulate it a little bit more, that you want... If you feel like you don't have that community right now, what are some things people can do, for them to start to see it manifest in their life?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: I love that you say, getting clear, because literally, the show that I have coming out on Monday is on how to create community, but I go so deep into understanding who you are first. But really on a surface level, when it comes to creating community, I say, step up as a community leader. First of all, what is your interest? We're in the health field, we have health interests and the subsets of it, diet, we have folks who are into fitness and exercise, I love it. I'm not a fitness or exercise guru, or you won't see me in Santa Monica Greens, lifting up people, doing... That's not my vibe. But within that, we can find our subsets of community.
So be clear on what is your true passion, what is your interest, what is it something that brings you light every single day when you start Googling it, when you start watching videos about it. But truly, to attract the community, that's the power. And you just said, getting clear on who you are, understanding that, "Alright, community... A common interest is that Trojan horse, but attracting people who allow you that space, who create the space for you to open yourself up, well first, you got to be open with yourself, first, you got to be clear with yourself, first, you got to be conscious of yourself. You got to look at yourself and go, "Who am I? Am I rooted in love? Am I rooted in fear?" If I'm rooted in love, I'm going to attract more people who are rooted in love, who are going to create a space where I can be more loved, give more love. And damn, I'm telling you, when you're in that state of presence, of love, of vibration, I don't believe that disease can thrive in that environment, I don't.
Most of us are out of it, we're rooted in fear, we're going in fear, and guess what, we're attracting communities of fear, we're attracting instances, people, places, situations, circumstances, fear-based. And of course, we're not going to be in a community that is where we're thriving. So get clear on who you are. Are you rooted in love or fear? Your thoughts, your words and actions, and if you're not, you have the power to make the shift, and when you make the shift, quote me on this, look at the change of the manifestations of people you get in your life and it'll be beautiful, a beautiful shift. That's true health.
Shawn Stevenson: Yeah, so good. We were talking about this before the show, having Dr. Gundry on, which is incredible, but he's been practicing in one of the Blue Zones for 40 years, he's at his medical practice, and the thing that he's noted and his wellness is just across the board. Because we try to identify, "What are the consistencies with these Blue Zones?" the diets are radically different, they are generally centered around real food, which is one thing, but it might be a different ratio of animal products, different plants, people are eating different places, the one consistent factor above all, is a community, the sense of community. It's remarkable, man.
And there's one more thing... Well, it's many things I want to talk with you about, but this is such an important topic, and man, it is... Wow, it is so, so so powerful and important, but it is not talked about, and this is the role that trauma can have in our lives and different experiences, trying experiences, negative experiences, heartbreaking experiences that can happen. And one of my guests I had recently, Katie Wells, Wellness Mama, who was just epic, epic brand, but she's been struggling with her weight for many, many years, and it wasn't until she addressed the psychological issues. The things that she was carrying around her psyche, were literally weighing her down, from experiences with abuse and all manner of these negative things, and finally...
Because she also has this thing of like, "I…it’s my edge, I don't want to lose my edge, it's made me stronger, it's made me fight, it's made me resilient, nothing can hurt me." But yet, not addressing that trauma truly, and processing it and making it a priority, once she did that, the weight came off. And she tried everything, quote, everything prior to that, but by addressing the trauma, she lost weight. And it sounds so far-fetched, but our minds control our bodies in such a profound way, our minds, just our way of thinking or even damage or different processes happening in the brain, communicating with self, can lower our rate of calorie burn by hundreds or even thousands of calories in a week, easily.
And of course, like you mentioned, thoughts of stress, cortisol can create systemic inflammation or inflammation in your brain, and we know that hypothalamic inflammation, for example, can reduce your rate of calorie burn again, by hundreds of calories a day. And you're cutting your calories like crazy, and it's just not working. So let's talk about this. I want to ask you about how trauma affects our brain and how does it affect our health overall, and what can we do to begin to address this issue.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: I love that you're bringing up the mind-body part, 'cause that's the last part of what I love talking about. And I think the best doctors out there will first look at the mind and the body connection before we treat physical. The way I say is, iceberg, on top of the iceberg is those physical manifestations. Asthma, gut issues, weight issues, pain. Why is that there? Under that, we have to look at all of those mind-body, the mental, emotional part. And God, I can't tell you, when I was really practicing, the amount of times that we've had mind-body trauma liberations, is the amount of time where we've allowed that river of health to flow.
And the way that I've always done medicine is, what is the body asking for? It has an innate intelligence. We know we cut our knee, it heals. Can we give the body what it needs to heal in the form of nutrients, all the good stuff in there, but can we remove those obstacles to healing? Obstacles to healing, we don't talk about enough. Obstacles to healing, sure, movement, exercise, you're sedentary. Okay. But trauma plays such a major role as an obstacle to healing. And it was illuminated by what you just said about Katie. But when it comes to trauma, I think the blind spot that so many of us have is that we identify so much with it as us. And again, you just mentioned Katie, that's her... That was her edge. That's what she was holding onto. The irony is that it's not us. It never has been us.
So a lot of these traumas come in childhood. We're such sensitive beings. We're so egocentric. Something happens with mom and dad, it's our fault. That's what we think as kids. We don't have that... We can't associate and just go through why and where. But when we're young, we identify the world, ages one through seven, we're already building the filing cabinet of what dog is, table, uncle, everything. It's funny because the way you grew up, your experience of all those things is very different than my experience. But if and when those traumas occur, all of a sudden we find our way around it as egocentric children, how do we show up with that trauma? So let's say, for example, mom is a raging narcissist, and we have three children who... Their adaptations to those traumas manifest differently. One can be super nurturing to mom. Mom, Okay, I want to keep... I want to keep the household fine, so I'm going to be overly nurturing. I'm going to get the newspaper, I'm going to make sure her shoes are off. The other one could have nervous comedic humor. The other one can be a really step sister, sister.
What I'm trying to say is this. We have these adaptations as children, compensatory adaptations to trauma to protect us, and how we show up and how we can get love. So our survival, we believe our survival depends on it. If I don't show up this way with this compensatory mechanism, then I'm not going to get food on the table because mom is going to be mad at me, or dad's going to be mad at me, or whatever trauma. But what happens is, that integrates into our personality and our persona. And as we get old, we forgot that it was an adaptation. So me, 38 years old, all of a sudden, I grew up, and it's okay, with the idea that boys don't cry. Boys are macho. Latin father... You understand, right? Tough, be tough. And unfortunately, it affected my relationship with what true emotion meant. Crying. And instead, I hold in the emotion, which can be very detrimental to your health, especially long-term with cancer. But the moment I understood that it's only part of personality, and personality is not the true you, then I was able to call, well, damn, all these years I thought that I was an... I was a guy who didn't cry, but the true fact of the matter is, is that it was a false adaptation to a situation that is not me. And once I had that liberation, I was able to let it go.
So what I'm trying to say is, bring more awareness to the trauma in your life. You don't even... If you can't remember, you don’t have to go to the root cause, but understand what is not serving you every single day, day-to-day. Second, understand that it's not you. It's never been you. Thoughts, words, actions, incidents, things that happen in your life, they're not you, and you don't have to identify with them. When you cause that split from identity is when you start liberating, because then you can look back at and go, Okay, I can release this. And that's the most powerful thing you can do, 'cause when you release that trauma, that glacier all of a sudden breaks and then the physical part starts healing. And I've seen some crazy, crazy incurable diseases reverse, when people truly, truly identify and address their deeper inner trauma. We need to talk more about it, doctors need to talk more about it, but if I can educate people with this stuff, I think we can make some massive shifts in health.
Shawn Stevenson: I love it, man. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I love this because it's addressing all parts of the person, growing up in the conditions, and I was just thinking about this a little bit while you were sharing, sometimes just walking down the street to get to the bus stop or to get home, and I'm literally... I have to watch my back for, I don't... For a drive-by, whatever the case might be. It's just this constant state of alertness. And because of... And the thing is, you just become adapted to it. That's the thing about humans, we become adapted, we accept it as normal, the gunshots, the sirens at night, you just... We just adapt to it, especially as children. But those things made me exceedingly cautious later on in life, especially who I dealt with. I was constantly just very, very standoffish and cautious. And of course, this could be like a... It seems like a cool thing. I'm the guy... The shy guy in the corner, kind of mysterious, but really, I'm worried about you. I'm trying to be cautious.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Are things going to pop off over here, right? Yeah.
Shawn Stevenson: That's it, that's it. And I found it enabled me to survive the environment, but in my endeavors of being successful in getting out of the environment and being able to make an impact on the world, that exceedingly cautious behavior prevented me from having relationships with other people who would... Again, truly, to make a big impact on the world, it's going to be with and through other people, that's why we're sitting here together with each other right now. And until I really got that and saw some of these things that I was carrying in my psychology, "Why am I like this? Why do I have this lone wolf syndrome?" is what I would call it and starting to see, "Man, this thing happened. That thing happened. Is it serving me?" And just to bring it up, just to kind of think about it just to bring it up and to ask questions, we can start to identify some of these things and move past them. So I'm just so grateful for your work and you bring these things to the forefront. Can you let everybody know where they can access your podcast, where they can find your podcast, and also again, where they can connect with you online?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Oh yeah, man. The podcast is called Heal Thy Self, which you were just on, and we kicked the front door and blew it out of the water, man. It was amazing. Heal Thy Self podcast, all platforms, the Instagram is @dr.christian.gonzalez, where I put up... I'm constantly putting up information. As you said, I try to diversify everything, mind, body, physical health, community, everything, I cover everything. And I don't have a website yet, I should have a website. I do have a program that launched, it's an online store basically, and you can buy all those... We talked about product quality, this is hand-picked by doctors, nutritionists and scientists, this is my company, and you're able to go on this platform, and it takes all of the stress out of researching, all of the stress of being, "Is it real? It's it counterfeit?" it's there. So you want B vitamins, there, choose three of the best ones, whichever one your doctor says is good for you, you want collagen, boom, there's a collagen, you want protein powder, everything. So it's called The Swell Score, and I talk about that online too.
Shawn Stevenson: Can you spell that?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: The, and then, S-W-E-L-L S-C-O-R-E, the science of wellness, swell. Yeah, and I wanted to create a platform where people can shop without having to worry about all of the stuff. I get a DM, "Dr.G, what's the best Rhodiola? What's the best ginkgo? What's the best B vitamin?" Here, go here. And all the best is there, take the stress out. We don’t need... We talked about stress, no more stress in our lives.
Shawn Stevenson: Love it, man. So final question. What is the model that you're here to create for other people, with how you live your life personally?
Dr. Christian Gonzales: On the deepest level, the model I'm trying to create, is helping people remember how powerful they are. And I think by the work that I'm doing on myself, I'd love to be a radiant being so they can see that and remember how powerful they are, and then make massive shifts in their community, in their household, in the world. That's my number one goal in life and why I'm here.
Shawn Stevenson: Perfect. Amazing, thank you so much for hanging out with me, man.
Dr. Christian Gonzales: Alright, brother, thanks for having me. I appreciate you, man. Thank you.
Shawn Stevenson: Awesome. Dr. Gonzales, everybody. Thank you so much for tuning in to the show today. I hope you got a lot of value out of this. Such an important topic, really the emphasis of this episode is the importance of community, truly, and this is something that at no other time in recent human history, have we seen such a split take place, both physically and psychologically from each other. Particularly if we're talking about here in the United States, there's so much polarization taking place, and there's... Obviously, there's physical separation taking place. And what are the ramifications that it has on our health? Right now, we're far more susceptible to all manner of chronic diseases and infectious diseases, because of how we've responded to this issue.
We've seen it on the forefront of depression and anxiety and loneliness, we've seen it on the forefront of the consumption of processed fake foods that are not even designed nor should they even have the capability or the right to be in the human body, with the dramatic decrease in physical movement and getting outside and getting sun exposure, which is so vital to the health of our genetic expression, and the list goes on and on and on. But community is not talked about enough and the data is shocking. I want you to look into this, and I'm so grateful to have him on to talk about this subject.
And I wanted to highlight this just even a little bit more, when we talk about... We're talking about the out-picturing or the printing out of our DNA and our genetic blueprint, and the role that our telomeres play in this equation. Our telomeres are the greatest biological marker that we really have, that has enough data on it to say this, that it's going to tell us how long we're going to live. And the telomeres, they're basically little in-casings on our chromosomes that essentially, in a way, keep them from an unraveling, like the in-casings on our shoe strings, the aglets that keep your shoe strings from fraying. And as our cells divide, the telomeres continue to get clipped off more and more and more until they're gone, and essentially, we have this in essence, we have the end of this experience, of this... Of our DNA.
And so the telomere length kind of matters, and in association with all manner of diseases, telomere length has this huge component, and I wanted to share this with you in the context of how much community impacts our health. A study published in the journal, Cancer, monitored the telomere length of 88 distressed breast cancer survivors, who were randomly selected to participate in either a mindfulness meditation, supportive group therapy, or no additional intervention. After a three-month study period, it was found that cancer survivors who implemented either the mindfulness meditation or the group expressive deep therapy, had no additional loss in telomere length, while the telomeres of cancer survivors who did not receive either of these interventions, their telomeres shortened even more.
So what does this mean in the context of cancer, for example, there is early evidence that suggest shortened telomeres are associated with the likelihood of not being able to survive several diseases, including breast cancer, as well as overall cellular aging. In addition, longer telomeres are generally thought to help to protect us from diseases including cancer. So mindfulness meditation, and group expressive therapy, connecting, talking with other people, having that social connection. But going deep, this is therapy. Both of these have a protective effect in literally preventing the loss of your telomeres, stopping your body from accelerated aging and the onset of diseases, including cancer. It's that powerful. This is just one, this is published in one of the most prestigious journal relating to cancer, in the journal, Cancer, itself, stating this. But this isn't front page news, we have to make it front page news for ourselves, on our own mental television screen and also for our communities. But it starts with us and realizing how much this matters.
I appreciate you so much for being a part of this community, and if you got a lot of value out of this, make sure to share this out with your friends and family on social media, you can tag me, tag Dr. G, just share what you thought about this episode, it really does mean a lot. And listen, I'm telling you, we've got some powerful, epic shows coming your way very soon. So make sure to stay tuned. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon.
And for more after the show, make sure to head over to themodelhealthshow.com, that's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much. And take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.
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