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In this episode, you will learn about chronic Lyme disease and tools for supporting recovery from Lyme and related conditions.
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About My Guest
My guest for this episode is Dr. Bill Rawls. Bill Rawls, MD is an OB-GYN and leading expert in Lyme disease, integrative health, and herbal medicine. In the middle of his successful medical career, Dr. Rawls’ life was interrupted by Lyme disease. As he struggled to overcome it, he explored nearly every treatment possible – from conventional medicine to a range of alternative therapies. In the process, Dr. Rawls discovered a dearth of knowledge about Lyme disease in the medical community, and a shocking amount of controversy and confusion around causes, diagnosis, and treatment that left thousands of patients confused, unsupported, and chronically ill. An avid reader and lifelong student, Dr. Rawls studied all of the research available on Lyme disease, and put everything he learned into practice in his own life. Ultimately, it was a combination of diet, lifestyle, and herbal therapy that resulted in his recovery. In the more than 10 years since, Dr. Rawls has helped thousands of patients find their path to healing from Lyme disease and chronic illness. He is the author of the best-selling book Unlocking Lyme, and the Medical Director of RawlsMD.com and Vital Plan, an online holistic health company.
- What is the average duration of treatment? Is ongoing treatment necessary?
- How are co-infections treated differently from Lyme itself?
- What lab tests are helpful in evaluation a patient for Lyme disease?
- What role does MARCoNS play in Lyme disease or mold illness, and how is it treated?
- How is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome approached?
- How is ME/CFS different from or similar to Lyme disease and/or mold illness?
- What role do parasites play in chronic health challenges?
- Are viruses a significant contributor to chronic Lyme disease?
- How important is detoxification and improving the terrain to recover health?
- What is the connection between Interstitial cystitis and Lyme disease?
- How can we repair structural integrity and regenerate the body?
- What tools may be helpful with hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome?
- What tools can be used to reverse the damage caused by fluoroquinolone drugs?
Connect With My Guest
November 6, 2019
Transcript Disclaimer: Transcripts are intended to provide optimized access to information contained in the podcast. They are not a full replacement for the discussion. Timestamps are provided to facilitate finding portions of the conversation. Errors and omissions may be present as the transcript is not created by someone familiar with the topics being discussed. Please Contact Me with any corrections.
[00:00:01] Welcome to BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts, empowering your better health. And now, here's Scott, your Better Health Guy.
[00:00:14] The content of this show is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or medical condition. Nothing in today's discussion is meant to serve as medical advice or as information to facilitate self-treatment. As always, please discuss any potential health related decisions with your own personal medical authority.
[00:00:35] Scott: Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode number 107 of the BetterHealthGuy Blogcast series. Today's guest is Dr. Bill Rawls, and the topic of the show is Ask Dr. Rawls. Dr. Bill Rawls is an OB-GYN and leading expert in Lyme disease, Integrative Health and herbal medicine. In the middle of his successful medical career, Dr. Rawls’ life was interrupted by Lyme disease. As he struggled to overcome it, he explored nearly every treatment possible, from conventional medicine to a range of alternative therapies. In the process, Dr. Rawls discovered a dearth of knowledge about Lyme disease in the medical community, and a shocking amount of controversy and confusion around causes, diagnosis, and treatment that left thousands of patients confused, unsupported, and chronically ill. An avid reader and lifelong student, Dr. Rawls studied all of the research available on Lyme disease, and put everything he learned into practice in his own life. Ultimately, it was a combination of diet, lifestyle, and herbal therapy that resulted in his recovery. In the more than 10 years since, Dr. Rawls has helped thousands of patients find their path to healing from Lyme disease and chronic illness. He is the author of the best-selling book Unlocking Lyme, and the Medical Director of RawlsMD.com and Vital Plan, an online holistic health company. And now my interview with Dr. Bill Rawls.
[00:02:01] Scott: I am really excited today to talk with Dr. Bill Rawls. He was on the podcast back in the early days of the show in 2017 on Episode Number 4. Now over 100 episodes later, I wanted to have him back on the show to share some of his latest insights with us. In most of my shows, I do try to include questions from listeners, and this conversation will be heavily drawn from your questions. So, thank you for submitting your questions, they’re excellent and thank you, Dr. Rawls, for being here today to share your wisdom with all of us.
[00:02:29] Dr. Rawls: Oh, my pleasure, Scott, thanks for the invitation.
[00:02:32] Scott: Thanks. We covered your personal journey in more detail back in Episode 4. But for those people that may not be familiar with your story, how you got to doing the work you're doing today, can you tell us a little about your personal journey, and then give us an update on how you're doing today?
[00:02:47] Dr. Rawls: Well, yeah, very quickly. I've been a physician for over 30 years. I started out practicing obstetrics and gynecology because it dealt with bringing life into the world and was very wellness focused. The downside of that is I took call every second or third night, it was highly stressful, and after 20 years of that, my mid-40s, my health was trashed. But even so I got every symptom imaginable, my whole body was falling apart, and my partners who were taking the same call weren't having that. And long story short, through figuring out did I have chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, was it MS? All of these questions that everybody goes to finally uncovered the microbes that are associated with Lyme disease. And I feel like I've probably been carrying them for much of my life, along with other things too like most of us do. And tried antibiotics and all the things that various people do try, and found out that that was just dead end. Ultimately, turned to herbal therapy. Was dabbling with herbs, happened, this was about 2005, long about the time that Stephen Buhner’s book had just come out and people were using it. And I hopped on board, took the herbs started getting better. And from there, it just totally changed my life and since then devoted my life toward understanding these really unusual illnesses, and it's been a window to really understanding all of chronic illness, and how to apply herbal therapy - which is really exciting. Here I am now, 62 and don't have joint pain, don't have fatigue, don't have really any of the symptoms that I used to have. I consider myself in robust health, and I'm doing all the things that I would want to do at this point in life and that's what it's all about.
[00:05:00] Scott: Beautiful, beautiful. Yeah. And it's fantastic because you make yourself very available to people, you do lots of webinars, really sharing the information that you put out there. And so I know that your personal journey has helped a lot of people, not that it was a fun journey to go through. But at least the opportunity that you now have to help so many other people recover their own health, I'm sure it's very rewarding for you.
[00:05:21] Dr. Rawls: It is a journey. And you know, I think all of us have this need to give back. And when you learn as much as I have, if that hadn't happened, I'd probably still be doing the same kind of practice that I was doing 20 years ago, and I'd be really bored with it. And it's so in many ways, even though it was very painful, along the way, it's enhanced my life. And so I tried to enhance the lives of others in the process.
[00:05:58] Scott: When people have dealt with something like Lyme disease for many years, like you did, what are your thoughts around kind of the average duration of treatment to get someone back to a fairly stable place? And then kind of adding to that is your perspective that the goal is eradication of these organisms, or do some people need to be on a more open ended herbal antimicrobial protocol to manage things over time? And one of the questions that came in from a listener was do you find the need to maintain your health? Do you find the need to continue with herbal antimicrobials?
[00:06:34] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, yeah. At this point, I'm looking at herbs and all the things that I do as an anti-aging program. Because when you understand chronic Lyme disease, you understand aging, chronic illness, in general, all of these things in a very different way. So, the first part of that question, how long does it take, what should your expectations be? It took me about five years to really get my health back. But then I had not been well or taking care of myself for a very long period of time. And I was learning in the process, and still trying to figure things out. But fortunately, a lot of that is streamlined now. And different people are going to have to work harder to get the ultimate goal. Factors that come into play or how long someone has been ill, how disrupted their immune system is, how old they are, and what microbes they have on board. Because I think it's pretty well known now that Lyme disease, this thing that we're defining as chronic Lyme disease is an infection with a microbe. We hear about the co-infections, but here, I want to talk about just the fact that I think about Lyme disease very different than a lot of people.
A lot of studies have come out that had really supported some suspicions that I had from the very beginning. And that's that we have microbes in our tissues. Everybody does. They were two studies that came out in 2016-2017, that they were analyzing brains of people who died of multiple MS and Alzheimer's, two independent studies. And they used autopsy specimens because they had to get like a big hunk of tissue. This isn't something you could use to on biopsy. And what they found was really remarkable that all of the specimens, every single one of them in the MS study and Alzheimer study had not one or two microbes, but a wide spectrum of microbes. But here's the thing, all the controls had a wide spectrum of microbes too. And the difference was that the disease brains had a wider spectrum, the pro-inflammatory microbes were more active. They were finding things like staphylococcus and P. acnes, the microbe that causes acne, and some of the things that cause inflammation in the gut in people's brains. So, I think its immune system functions and these things that were associated with Lyme, we talked about the Babesia, Bartonella and Mycoplasma, and some of these things we get from ticks, but a lot of when we just pick up through life, we have these, they become part of our microbiome, they are part of us.
And yeah, you'd probably be better off if you go through life without picking up Borrelia and a lot of the things that we get, if you happen to avoid that you might have a lower risk of chronic illness. But these things are there and so it's this immune disruption, this chronic immune dysfunction that happens that allows not just microbes associated with Lyme to flourish, but everything in our tissues. Because you can bet, if we've got microbes in our brain, a full spectrum of microbes in our brain, we've got it in our heart, in our blood vessels, in our blood. I actually found a studied last night that found that we do actually having microbiome of our blood. And so these things are there in really low concentrations. And people think about microbes and our cells as being kind of equal, but I have to think about the fact that if one of our cells was an office building, the microbe would be the size of one of the people inside. So, they're really small, low concentrations. But when these things get going, it can make you miserable. So, no, I don't think I've eradicated these microbes at all. And there's lots of good evidence that even six months of antibiotics won’t eradicate them from your body. It's all about immune system functions. It's all about immune system functions. That's the key.
[00:11:04] Scott: So, what I'm hearing is that we likely don't eradicate these, but that that's not a requirement to recover our health, and that it's probably less the bug and more of the host response and the immune system interplay with the bug that creates the symptom picture.
[00:11:22] Dr. Rawls: Yep, absolutely. And I think that's a key thing. Even looking at really bad microbes like Ebola. With this last Ebola outbreak, about a third of people survived it. It was generally young people with healthy immune systems survived it. They were able to get through, and finally their immune system figured out how to take care of the Ebola. But the interesting thing is, they were still finding Ebola virus in their bodies. I mean, it was still in their blood, but their immune system was controlling it, but had not eradicated it. So, I think that there's a lot of good evidence suggesting that we don't completely eradicate a lot of things. We may some things, maybe some people do eradicate Borrelia, but I wouldn't count on it with anything.
[00:12:14] Scott: So, you mentioned the brain. So, let's talk a little bit about the brain and how herbs potentially can be helpful. If we look at Lyme and co-infections, we look at neurological symptoms. When those symptoms may be the result of organisms in the brain or the immune interplay of those organisms that may be in the brain; do we know if herbs can cross the blood brain barrier and help us with those overgrowths that you just talked about?
[00:12:39] Dr. Rawls: The cool thing about an herb is you're not talking about one thing, you're talking about hundreds or even thousands of phytochemicals in one single herb. And yes, we know that a lot of those things do cross the blood brain barrier. So, I did have significant neurological symptoms, not enough that I would define my presentation is neuro-Lyme. But I had the burning feet and the brain fog, and so many things. And so you got several things going on. I had a lot of gut dysfunction too. A lot of the gut microbes are affecting brain by producing neurotransmitters that, if you have a nice balanced gut microbiome, then it's producing calming neurotransmitters. If you've got it the other way, it's producing exciting neurotransmitters, amines, cadaverine, putrescine, that are similar to histamine, so they're stimulating. I think it's one of the things that drives anxiety, which is more predominant than depression, but I think anybody gets depression with Lyme just because there's so much. But all the neurological symptoms that I think, come from just your local invasion by the microbes, we know Borrelia and others can cross into the brain. The brain, blood brain barrier isn't quite as tight as everybody thought it was.
But then we've got all that other, that normal flora, that microbiome of the brain. If your immune system has been trashed, those things start to flourish. And all these microbes are there because they want nutrients. And it's to their advantage for there to be a low-grade infection there because that breaks down tissues and frees up nutrients to make it easy for them to get. So, yeah, I think there's several variables and the herbs are really nice because they affect the gut microbe’s imbalance that they do cross over. There the things that you can do to help the brain even better you know, we know that there are certain restorative herbs that are really nice for the brain. Bacopa is one on the top of the list, gotu kola is very good, ashwaganda is an excellent verb for brain and brain function. All of those have some antimicrobial properties. Ashwaganda has been found to be really nice for Chlamydia, which is another one that ends up being in there. Essential oils are really nice. Aroma therapy, tea tree oil, Eucalyptus, these different things are really nice for mold toxins and things like that are also nice breathing these things in, lavender. They have some anti-microbial but anti-inflammatory properties too. And then I'm sure at some point we'll talk about CBD, which is really super good for this type of thing.
[00:15:50] Scott: Absolutely. Let's talk a little bit about the co-infections. So, listeners are interested in Bartonella and Babesia, they do present very specific symptoms oftentimes in people with Lyme, those are the microbes that seem to be driving a lot of the symptom picture. With your formulations, how does supporting the body against Borrelia potentially differ from Bartonella and Babesia? Is the approach different, is it the same when we're talking about the co-infections?
[00:16:18] Dr. Rawls: A little bit the same. It's hard to know what you've got in a lot of cases, and they're probably-- it's more widespread spread than the co-infections and the ones that we identified. The most recognized co-infection of Lyme is Mycoplasma, which is about 75%. But most people probably aren't getting it from a tick they picked it up as a respiratory infection as a kid or sexual transmission. They’re many varieties of Mycoplasma. Bartonella is definitely one we're seeing a lot. It definitely can be a significant pathogen in the right circumstances, but they're more than a dozen different kinds of Bartonella species; quintana and henselae are the most common Cat Scratch Fever, what used to be called Trench Fever. But we're finding these things, classically, they're spread by lice, but you can get them virtually, any biting insects and spread these things. Really common in pets, not just cats, dogs too, common in veterinarians, a lot of vets carry them. But the interesting thing is, when they've tested worldwide populations looking for those top two species of Bartonella, they found that about 30% of people are positive. And then you've got to consider that it's hard to diagnose, so probably there are a lot more out there that are positive too. So, a lot of people are carrying it that aren't sick.
So, I think you've got to look at this whole thing and say, okay, why are certain people sick? And I think it's genetics, I think it's how the immune system came to be. Had this disrupted, possibly strains of these microbes, some are more virulent than others. But because you don't always know it's there. I mean, I'm almost of the school that you have to assume it's there until you prove you prove different. And that's true with Babesia and a lot of other things too. So, some of the classic symptoms of Bartonella are the stretch marks, and I and I've seen some kids that do have this. It seems to be plaguing just randomly young people and a lot of teenagers are ending up with it. So, there are various ways that they can pick it up, but I've seen some folks that are really sick.
Acutely, sometimes antibiotics can be very beneficial. There are various kinds of antibiotics that you can apply there. But the herbs generally, I start people off with a standardized protocol. And if they're getting better over three to six months, then I feel like, okay, we're covering the possibilities pretty comfortably. If not, that's the time to start doing testing and start adding other herbs that might widen that scope a little bit more like Cryptolepis and Alchornea, Sida acuta. You know, some of these things, Houttuynia can cover for these outsiders a little bit better. And there are different ways that different people are going about it. Most of the Lyme docs are doing batteries of testing right up front, and trying to treat each individual microbe. But again, the problem with that is a lot of people carry these things that aren't sick, and a lot of people are carrying them and don't know it, and they're not going to have a positive diagnosis. So, that strategy of okay, let's start with a basic regimen, and see how far we can go with that I think is reasonable. And that's what we found with our protocols is that about 60 to 80% of people are going to respond to that initial protocol really well, and may not need anything else.
[00:20:42] Scott: I think this is really the beauty of herbs as compared to antibiotics. And certainly, as you pointed out, there are some cases where antibiotics are appropriate and potentially helpful. But herbs are just so much broader spectrum. There's so many compounds in them that I think it does really allow us to make a lot of progress. I think this is a good place for me to ask you a little bit about Biome Boost. And you did not ask me to talk about any of your products, but I'm interested, and so I'm going to ask you. I'm kind of in love with Biome Boost, actually, when I saw the herbs that you have in this new product. So, this is a new antimicrobial product from Vital Plan that's a liquid tincture. It does have things like you just mentioned the Cryptolepis, the Houttuynia, the Neem and so on, which to me seems like a great option for maybe addressing some of the Bartonellas and the Babesias and things. So, how does Biome Boost fit into your Restore Kit or your protocol? Do people kind of rotate that with Advanced Biotic? Give us some insights as to this new tool that you have that I personally am really enjoying?
[00:21:46] Dr. Rawls: Yeah. We're a small company and so it takes a while. It's a product that I've wanted for a long time. It takes a while to get new products out there. And I think, first of all, with the herb basic protocol, my strategy with that is to get something that was enough of a core and had enough range that it would affect at least 50% or greater number of people, and help them understand how good herbs, or give them a great foundation it's really easy to take and in the process teach them about other things along the way. So, that by the time they've been doing this six months, they're a believer in herbs, they understand how they work, and they can kind of move into that world of managing themselves after that point. So, that was the whole strategy is this, yeah, let's do a core of six months and see how far we can get you. And we use the powdered tinctures just because a lot of people that are herbs don't like the bitter taste. And you can frankly, get a lot more - chemistry into the powdered extracts than you can into the tinctures. But tinctures are nice too. I mean, I've taken a little bit of everything over the years and tried so many, many different herbs, just to get to know the herbs, which is another nice thing about herbs. You would never try out different drugs because you wanted to just see what they were like. And you can do that with herbs, which is really, really nice.
But some people can't take our primary product, Advanced Biotic that has kind of those basic core herbs in it for various reasons. Or after three to six months, they're looking for something a little bit different, or they just want to round out the protocol and boost it. So, it's good for different purposes. We went with a tincture this time, just to do something that was a little bit different, give people another angle and how to use herbal therapy that I think is important. And so the herbs in that are a little bit more focused toward those outsiders. I think the core does get those things because again, what we're trying to do is boost immune function, that's more important than anything else is getting the immune system back to where it can be. But for those people that may have Babesia, may be struggling with Bartonella, or other kinds of microbes, that possibly we don't even know about; those are some really nice herbs to extend that coverage. So, being a teacher, it makes it easy. When we have people with really bad Herxheimer reactions, it's also an alternative. They can do a drop or two drops or three drops at a time and work their way up. It’s a little easier to do with capsules. So, I think it just gives it product line with more range.
[00:25:02] Scott: So, is there a Restore Kit option with the Biome Boost versus the Advanced Biotic? Or is it always just an add-on?
[00:25:09] Dr. Rawls: Either an add-on or I mean, we allow people to pretty much do whatever they want. I mean, they can buy any of the products, a la carte, I think that's reasonable. We're pretty liberal with giving out the six-month email series, which I think is a really valuable resource. In the beginning, I saw that when you got a protocol like this, it's complex, even as much as we've tried to simplify it, it's a big ask compared to some other kinds of therapies that people are used to. And it's a new thing that people-- It's a confrontation, so I wrote an email series that in the beginning just helps people understand how to take these products. Just that day to day thing of how do you incorporate this into your life, and what are your expectations; all the way through to learning about the herbs, learning about the different protocols, learning about how to navigate around this thing we call Lyme disease. So, it started with a month or two and ended up being six months long. So, even people that aren't doing the full package can get that. All they have to do is ask for it. And customer service is awesome. They do a good job.
[00:26:36] Scott: Yeah, and I've seen most of the emails that you put out as part of that. I mean, it's almost like a Lyme library. There's so much information that you put out. I can't imagine how many hours you spent and the fact that you guys do freely share that. I mean, that's one of the reasons - I personally don't feel that Lyme disease is a self-treatment kind of condition. And so one of the reasons I feel comfortable suggesting that people work with Vital Plan is that you guys do have the support, the information, kind of the coaching and guidance that can go with it so that people are still kind of on a path that is appropriate for them.
[00:27:12] Dr. Rawls: That's the whole idea. I never meant that our restorative protocol to be a one size fits all. And from the very beginning I said, this is a foundation, this is something to start with. Start here, build out and so yeah, the email series and everything else is designed to support that, and help people to find their own pathway. Because when I look at this thing called chronic Lyme or really any other illness, I don't look at two people that are exactly the same. I think everybody is an individual, everybody is slightly different, and you have to respect that.
[00:27:56] Scott: Let's talk a little bit about testing. So, what are some of the tests that you find most helpful in the chronic Lyme disease realm or mold illness realm? Do you use any of the biotoxin markers like transforming growth factor Beta 1, C4A, MMP9, those types of tools? Do you think that testing early on even make sense? Or do you generally suggest that people wait until they've gotten down the path a bit and then look for some of the outliers as you term them? What do you think is the best way to look for what might be priorities for a specific unique person?
[00:28:32] Dr. Rawls: Sure. Yeah. Well, I think access and cost is a big deal. So, what I've tried to do over the past 10 years of my career is, look for ways to help people have the best access for the lowest cost. And early on in my practice, when I was really, you know, I just got my own life back I was really into Lyme disease, and I was doing all this testing, and we we're using several different labs and everything that I could get that might be covered by insurance for the patient I would do but there was a lot of things that weren't. But then I became aware of some other Lyme docs that people were walking out with out of pocket bills from their first visit of somewhere between $2,000 and $8,000. And they were coming to see me because that person didn't help them at all. So, I think testing can be valuable, but I think sometimes we over test. And what it basically boils down to is everybody's an individual. Yes, there are microbes there. Yes, the entire microbiome has been disrupted, and that's going to disrupt everything in the body and cause a variety of different things. So, if you concentrate back on how do we restore the immune system function? What I found is the harder-- the more I work directly with the person and spent time with them, the less testing that I did. And I think that's really important.
I mean, our system rewards us not for talking to people, whether that's insurance or physicians who practice outside of insurance, to make a living to pay the bills to pay your office rent, you gotta have income. And talking to people generally doesn't pay very much, quite frankly. Doing procedures, diagnostic therapeutic procedures, doing things to people, especially things that they're willing to pay for out of pocket, pay your bills and there's a huge incentive to do that. So, over the years, I found that I was doing all this testing, but I was using it less and less. And the more that I talked to the patient, the more I understood the patient's situation than the last actual testing that I needed to do. If I can talk to a patient, and if I can understand what factors have come together to disrupt their immune system function. And so basic microbial testing is sometimes variable, it is nice to know if Borrelia is actually there or not or Bartonella is actually there, and Mycoplasma, and other kinds of things too, that might slightly move you one way or another. But as far as really complicated testing, I don't think it's necessary most of the time. And the interesting thing is I did my practice for years and years.
And the last five years of my practice, I found that I was doing less and less testing. And I was kinda talking to people more and more, I was accepting insurance, but I was spending well over the time that I got paid for. In the last five years in my practice, the only way I got any revenue at all was just the fact that we sold good quality supplements in the office. My revenue from talking to people or doing testing, and that sort of thing was breakeven. So, it's kind of crazy. And then, over the past several years, I've just been doing consults, and the interesting thing is I've, through consults, I've helped people all over the country, just through helping them understand their situation, get their lives back. I have helped people in Great Britain and Scotland and in Europe, doing consults and just helping them make good decisions and troubleshoot and figure out what's keeping you from getting well, which is really important.
[00:33:39] Scott: One of the challenges, I think that we have with lab testing is that there's often false negative results as well. And so we might mark something off of our list that really is still an issue that we need to explore. And so I think that's a potential downside of some of the testing that's available as well.
[00:33:36] Dr. Rawls: Here's the deal, Scott. Last year, I sat down and calculated all the intracellular microbes out there that could be present in someone's system without causing illness, but could cause chronic symptoms that overlapped with Lyme disease if the immune system functions were disrupted. And I came up with well over 100 different species of microbes.
[00:34:08] Scott: Let's jump into mold illness a bit. My observation has been in those with chronic Lyme disease, that mold exposure in their living environment, work environment, school environment, that that does often play a key role for people in recovering health. And that optimizing the environment around us is a critical part of well-being and a really good treatment strategy. So, how do you view mold illness in the context of your chronic illness recovery protocols?
[00:34:35] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, it's huge. And just getting back just to wind up the testing thing. I think testing is reasonable. We work pretty closely with Galaxy Labs, which probably does some of the better bartonella testing, but even on their website, they'll you if this is a chronic infection, our potential for finding that microbe is dramatically lowered versus acute infection. So, all of these, all the testing is designed to test acute infections. And most of the people being tested are having chronic infections. So, it's really hit or miss. Sometimes again, you just have to assume that it's there. But I think you know, if you can afford the testing, it's valuable. If somebody comes to me and says, look, I've got $600 for the next six months, I can invest it all in testing, or I can invest it in buying different regiments of herbs, which should I do? Every single time I'm going to say, take the herbs first. That's a better investment. Every single time.
Mold, huge. I mean, it's everywhere in the country, but especially Southeast, Midwestern states, Northeast, it's a plague, big office, apartment buildings, homes. And we really do struggle with it. I mean, one of the things of our time is that we live in tightly enclosed houses that don't particularly breathe very well, and they hold moisture inside. And that's just a wonderful environment for mold. And mycotoxins severely disrupt the immune system, and have a range of different kinds of things that they do that can be just devastating. I don't think someone can get over chronic Lyme disease until-- If it’s associated with a mold problem, you're not going to get well until they figure out a way away from the mold
[00:36:47] Scott: Yeah, I absolutely agree with that. It is definitely critical. I think in my overall journey, personally, the mold piece probably ultimately, was bigger than the Lyme co-infection piece. And it just was one of the things I learned about later in the process. Let's talk a little bit about MARCoNS. So, this multiple antibiotic resistant coagulase negative staph that really was first discussed by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. What are your thoughts on MARCoNS, in terms of its overall impact on our health and recovery? And then kind of extending on that sinus discussion if someone has long term exposure to a water damage building; do you feel that those fungal organisms can potentially colonize the sinuses and then also need to be treated to recover health?
[00:37:34] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, yeah, and the whole thing is difficult. So, what we're talking about here is antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus. So, even though it's antibiotic resistant, it's still a flora, right? I would expect a lot of people that are healthy are walking around with antibiotic resistant strains of staphylococcus of various kinds. It has become very prevalent in our society because antibiotics are so heavily used in hospitals. And these things have been generated in hospitals, and folks we live in these tightly controlled buildings and there's so many sick buildings out there that people are having to work in buildings that have mold, and that disrupts the mucosa in sinus passages. So, folks end up with secondary infections of Staph and Strep and they go to the doctor and it’s antibiotic, antibiotic, antibiotic, along with steroids, and they never particularly get well. So, over the years, we've created these diabolical strains and microbes. They're not particularly, you know, we talk about it as this terrible pathogen. It's like other Staph except it's resistant to antibiotics. So, if you are healthy and you have a healthy immune system, this can behave like any other Staph. It's only when your immune system functions get disrupted, and that mucosa is disrupted, and it's there that this thing can take hold. So, a very high percentage of people, I don't know right off the top of my head, but a high percentage of people with chronic sinusitis, secondary to mold issues are carrying the Staph.
And then you've got the mold, which do set up shop. Unlike-- you don't really have the mold growing inside of your body, but all of these things, I mean, microbes include fungi, protozoa viruses, and bacteria. So, all of these things are opportunists, they're looking for a way to get nutrients, get resources so they can survive. And when you talk about a … mucous membrane and the sinus passages, wow, what a great environment. And they definitely come and set up shop. And the problem is, people just get pounded with antifungal, antibiotics, and steroids which blast the immune system, so they just are in this perpetual misery. Part of the solution is eradicating the mold and we probably we can go into that as deeply as you want, but that's a big part of it but there are things that you can do. So, the herbs are really nice, just helping to restore the immune system is key. Getting plenty of sleep at night, getting outside and breathing fresh air instead of indoor air.
Other things that are really nice, using washes that can kill the bacteria and kill the fungi without causing or perpetuating more the antibiotic resistance. So, there's some really nice washes out there, NOW Foods makes one that has-- and there are others too. You may know of some, Scott. But Xylitol is an alcohol sugar that has really nice suppressive effects, it’s very soothing, and your essential oils; Eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lavender, all of these oils in dilute form, either an aromatherapy or spray mist can help kill the microbes and also restore normal mucous membranes that can be really helpful in healing the chronic sinusitis without ending up perpetuating the problem.
[00:42:08] Scott: Very helpful, very helpful. Just briefly, a listener asked with your dosing recommendations, how they differ from the Buhner protocol. So, oftentimes people that are on the Buhner protocol you've mentioned he was one of your mentors, he's been one of mine as well. But generally speaking, the dosages of the herbs are pretty high. So, if we look at the dosages of the Buhner protocols compared to yours, which are a little more moderate, what leads to that difference? Why are your doses generally lower and yet people still seem to do quite well?
[00:42:41] Dr. Rawls: Right. It really boils down to practicality. You know, in the beginning, I did the full Buhner protocol, all of it, and I started taking your three times a day, but hey, I still had a busy office practice that I was disabled and still trying to run and keep up with life. And I found that about the best I could do is get those herbs in twice a day, that middle day dose, it just wasn't practical. So, for practicality, I pretty quickly changed to twice a day dosing and looked for ways that I could just streamline the whole thing for myself. And then when I started seeing more and more patients, it was like, how can we make this thing doable for them? Because, especially people that are new to the herbal therapy, they're often reluctant to make that investment for the amount of expense, really good herbs can be expensive, you can't get around that. I mean, you can get junky herbs pretty cheaply, but really good stuff that's pure, that's been tested, you know it doesn't have contaminants, you know that it's got the level of the phytochemistry in the herbs that you want and the correct phytochemistry is more expensive. And that adds cost to our products because we have it tested like three plus separate times during the process of between the farm and the actual product to make sure that it is the level that we are looking for, that it is going to have consistency.
So, I was looking at those issues in my practice and I found that a lot of people just couldn't do that full Buhner protocol. They just weren't making it happen. So, when I was in my practice, I was defining okay, if we can just get this and get you started with this, and these number of capsules, see if you could do that every day. And over the years, we kind of refined it down to what is practical for most people. And my target was if I can get at least 50% of people 75% better over three to six months, on that basic protocol, then I was doing well. And it actually beat the expectations with the levels of herbs that we're using now. It's closer to 80 to 90% of the people that stick with it for more than four months have a pretty remarkable response. So, I'm comfortable with it. That being said, if people want to add other herbs or if they want to take extra doses of the Advanced Biotic or the Adaptogen Recovery, or just spike their protocol with other things, add in Biome Boost and other kinds of stuff, take CBD oil; I don't have any problem with that. A lot of the time, more is better. So, I think it's good, but I still, I get back to that foundation. The whole goal was to build a foundation for people to get something that was easy enough that most anyone could start on it, get going on it, and see a response, so that they understood how remarkable these things were, and they can move on to build on it from there.
[00:46:19] Scott: And being myself a recovering type A personality, I now joke that I'm a Type A- personality. I think I also used to be drawn to the hammers in the solution realm for Lyme disease. And I think sometimes the body just needs a bit of a nudge and not such an aggressive intervention. Sometimes I think the really aggressive interventions actually do more harm than good in terms of creating more inflammation in the body. And so I think many of us are kind of drawn to the kill, kill, kill and we'll get better approach. But as you pointed out, that's not necessarily the goal. It's more around the immune modulation, reducing the microbes. We're going to talk about detoxification and all of those things. So, sometimes the more gentler approach does lead to higher ground in a very solid way. I want to get your thoughts on Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. This has come up a lot in the last few years, it's a fairly significant conversation in the chronic Lyme discussion now. So Mast Cell Activation, histamine intolerance, people use things like Quercetin, Luteolin, Holy Basil, some specific probiotics, and then even CBD which we're going to talk about. How do you generally approach Mast Cell Activation and histamine intolerance, and do you feel like it is a significant part of the puzzle?
[00:47:39] Dr. Rawls: Well, yeah. Yeah, again, every person is a little bit different and we see a wide range of things. I did not have Mast Cell Activation myself that much. But when you look at the immune system, we talked about all the different aspects of the immune system because the immune system, it started out pretty basic, and then we layered on. It's been this microbes and our immune system, the vertebrate immune system, and then one upping each other for millions and millions of years. So, it's layered. So, microbes would come up with a new thing and - would come up with something else, and it just has gone on. So, you have these, what we define is Th responses, there's Th1, Th2 and all the way down to upper Th17, lots of others. And this is the layering of the immune system. But the basics, the T1 response is the response of the immune system toward intracellular microbes. So, virtually, everything we're talking about with Lyme, they all have this characteristic of having these intracellular properties. And so they infect cells, so you want the immune system to go after cells that have been infected. Well, the microbes, one of the things that they're doing, and I think this is a really interesting way to look at Lyme disease.
So, when a microbe enters the body, whether it's Borrelia, Bartonella, Mycoplasma, any of them; the first thing they do is in fact, white blood cells. That allows them to do two really important things. One, they get a ride to all the tissues of the body so they can affect different kinds of tissues, and different microbes like different kinds of tissue. Mycoplasma, like some cells that line things. Bartonella and Babesia like linings of blood vessels. Borrelia goes straight for the cartilage, you know, that little corkscrew comes in really handy. So, different microbes like different areas, but they all get a ride on white blood cells. So, the white blood cell ends up being-- Another purpose is they can manipulate. So, it's kind of like if you had criminals in a large city that specialized in hijacking police cars to get the radio so they could send erroneous messages to Central Dispatch, and get all the cops on the other side of the town, from where the crimes going on. Well, so they're sending out erroneous messages from these infected white blood cells that gives the microbes a little bit of lead time to get it set up in tissues and flourish. It's like if you and I were trying to have a conversation and somebody turned you on a TV in the room, we'd have a really hard time communicating - the louder that TV got, the more that we would have difficulty. Same thing, so it's basically a distraction, and that allows the microbes to perpetuate so you've gone that going on.
Well, one aspect of that is okay, well let's send the immune system off in an odd direction. Let's send it off to this Th2 response that's more toward worms and other kinds of things and allergic type responses. So, it's causing these white blood cells to send out messengers that push the immune system away from attacking infected white blood cells toward other kinds of things. Well, mast cells are part of that. And so we have mast cells throughout our body and basically, what mast cells do is produce histamine, and histamine does a lot of things in the body. It's an exciting neurotransmitter. But in this regard, what's reduced the histamine produced by mast cells is basically dilating blood vessels, and opening up the cracks between the cells so white blood cells can squeeze through. But it does a lot of other stuff too, and it makes our system leaky and so we get itching and hives and all of these other kinds of things that come with it. So, I think it's kind of that part of the immune dysfunction. So, any of your herbs are going to be really nice, quercetin is top of the list, nettle is really good, reishi mushrooms are really, really nice for balancing that immune response, those immune modulating response is really nice.
Some people do have to use antihistamines and some people get so bad as far as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome that they end up on steroids, or the immune modulating drugs, or other kinds of things. But what I find is, most people aren't that bad and if we can just modulate that immune system function, a lot of times we can control that activation. So, what happens is people get triggers and they just really get miserable. So, if we can help them avoid the triggers and calm that immune system down, and suppresses inter cellular microbes, most of the time, that helps a lot.
[00:53:23] Scott: Yeah, it's kind of ironic how we humans think we're so smart. And then you hear some of these tactics that the microbes have and they're pretty intelligent too when you look at it. Let's talk--
[00:53:33] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, I mean they're all communicating for sure.
[00:53:36] Scott: Yeah, absolutely. CBD is one of the tools that I've heard some people also suggest could be helpful in this immune modulation realm, in the mast cell realm. The Vital Plan Select CBD line is something that you introduce relatively recently compared to some of the other products. So, maybe talk to us a little about CBD, why you went down that path, how it's helping people, some of the feedback that you're getting, and how is it different from the hundreds or thousands of products in the CBD realm that have emerged on the market over the last several years?
[00:54:09] Dr. Rawls: Yeah. Well, yeah, that's a nice one to talk about, Scott. First of all, you're talking to somebody that was afraid of cannabis when they were younger. And because I became a physician, I never used marijuana. I certainly knew a lot of people that did, and had respect for that. I've never considered it the sinister substance that often it was branded to be. But it was through herbal therapy that I happened to go to several lectures given by a guy named Ethan Russo, that is one of the world leaders on medical cannabis, and he's put a lot of time into researching this CBD, the hemp version of cannabis, and I just became infatuated with it. It was kind of like, wow, this was this huge wonderful thing in this whole system that we call the endocannabinoid system that I didn't learn about in medical school. And so I immersed myself in really studying this system that's kind of left out of the textbooks. And interestingly, my son was in medical school four years ago and I asked, well, did they teach you about the endocannabinoid system? Really, really important. Nope, nope, not a bit, still didn't hear a word. It's crazy.
But the endocannabinoid system is basically a fine-tuning system of the whole body. So, every single system in the body is basically being fine-tuned by the system that's this over- regulatory system called the endocannabinoid system. So, there are several endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. The most common one is called Anandamide. And so it affects our mood, it affects our immune system, it affects our pain mechanisms, endorphins; it virtually affects everything in the body. So, with THC for marijuana, you're binding to the endocannabinoid receptors very tightly; so you get this exaggerated or euphoric response. But along with that, you suppress Anandamide and other natural receptors in the body, and you develop habituation to it. Turns out this CBD, so it's a matter of one enzyme, so varieties of cannabis that produced THC and CBD have enzymes that makes THC, where hemp doesn't have the enzyme that makes THC not to a significant amount. It's all the same species of plants, it’s all cannabis sativa. But the varieties are what make the difference. So, legal hemp has less than 0.3% THC that has in its place, lots of CBD, and other cannabinoids and terpenes like you find in essential oils so it's really nice.
But CBD has a very different effect on the endocannabinoid system. It modulates it, it doesn't bind to those receptors as tightly. So, you actually make more Anandamide and other endocannabinoids and you upregulate the receptors, you make the system more sensitive, it works better when you use CBD. So, the more you use, the more regularly use CBD, the better it gets. It appears, that's what most of the research is saying. So, you have modulation of pain, you have stress resistance, you have modulation of immune functions, balancing that Th1/Th2 response. So, it's fine tuning everything, but it's different than say if you took a narcotic. If you take a narcotic, that narcotic is going to hit opioid receptors directly, so you get this pretty intense response. Whereas with CBD, you're actually up regulating your endorphins, you're making more endorphins that are affecting the opioid receptors. So, it's not as intense as a narcotic, but the other side of that is you don't have any habituation at all, zero. In fact, CBD has been shown to actually be wonderful for decreasing addictive behavior and helping people off of things that they're addicted to. So, it just has so many wonderful properties that make it a very, very attractive herb for a wide range of things.
[00:58:58] Scott: What are some of the things, feedback-wise that you get on the Vital Plan Select CBD? What are you hearing from people that are using it?
[00:59:06] Dr. Rawls: Oh great, great responses. Everybody really loves it. At first, we had just a 600 milligram product. Now it's up to, we've got 1,200 milligram product and that's really the concentration. So, there are various different methods of extracting the oil from the plant, and the oil contains a standardized portion of CBD, and it contains other cannabinoids, none of which are euphoric like THC. Plus, terpenes that I mentioned that you find in essential oil, so you want that full range of effects. So, it's not just the CBD, it's all these other things acting together that we call an entourage effect to get the benefit. It's a wild, wild west show out there though, because the FDA presently isn't regulating anything anywhere. So, you've got products that are labeled as hemp with CBD that actually do have THC. There have been cases of people getting positive drug screens from CBD products and found out, well there was THC in the product. There are products that are using really cheap extraction methods and then spiking them with just CBD so you don't get as much of that entourage effect. And you've also got what's going on in the big industry, and the bigger players out there that you hear about, I won't mention names are doing bulks hemp. They're basically buying hemp from a lot of places and basically, just throwing it all in a processor to get what they can get. Being a very fairly small company, we have been, and just my standards, I’m very particular about everything that we do. We are, even though hemp is legal in North Carolina, they still aren't quite producing the level product that I would like to see. So, we're working with a gentleman in Colorado who has done probably more research into the different strains of the cannabis plant than anybody out there.
We are buying and it's a good bit more expensive, but we're buying a specific cultivar called Green Cherry extract, and so it's cultivated for a particular spectrum of terpenes, cannabinoids, and the CBD. And so we're really happy with it. Using extraction methods that we're getting the full spectrum of all the chemicals, and you can tell that by the taste. You know, that classic taste of cannabis is actually from the terpenes, not from the CBD, they are flavorless. So, it's the terpenes that gives that characteristic odor or taste. So, I feel like it's a better-quality product. It is greenhouse grown. We are-- and it's grown under organic conditions. So, you can grow hemp outdoors under organic conditions and end up with a bad product because it pulls a lot of things out of the air. So, it's really important to grow it in the greenhouse under organic conditions. So, the entire process is very, very carefully done to produce a product that's not only going to be the most reliable product that you can get, but also the cleanest product that you can get. We do several levels of testing to make sure that there are no contaminants, no bacteria, and no heavy metals in the product whatsoever. So, we're trying to provide a product that that people can feel good about using and we can feel good about selling. And I think [is just really, really important. I mean, if you're going to do something, do it right.
[01:03:15] Scott: Beautiful. Let's get to a couple of other listener questions. So, what are your thoughts on me ME/CFS? Is that late stage Lyme? Is it mold illness? What are the differences between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and either Lyme or mold in terms of underlying contributors, causes, treatment, approaches; what are your thoughts?
[01:03:34] Dr. Rawls: It's kind of gotten to the point that I just don't differentiate anymore. When I was first in this, I was wrestling, well, do I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, do I have Fibromyalgia, or is it something else? And everybody thinks well, do I have MS because I've got these weird neurological symptoms. Am I developing Parkinson's? Every goes through this whole scenario. And you look at the symptom overlap between chronic Lyme disease, and what people report with chronic Lyme disease, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and it's almost identical. It appears that the folks with chronic fatigue have less pain and more fatigue. And people with Fibromyalgia tend to find more-- tend to have more pain. But there was a study a couple of years ago where they look at diagnosis, and it was like only a third of people that were being given the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia actually met the qualifications for being defined as Fibromyalgia. So, diagnosis is just really frustrating thing. So, to me it's basically all the same thing. And the biggest difference between somebody with one of those things and somebody with chronic Lyme is a guy with, or a person with chronic Lyme disease has had a test that showed they had Borrelia. But it used to be considered well, Lyme disease is a microbial illness and these other things, MS and chronic fatigue, and the various different names of chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia. None of those things are microbial.
So, if you've got Lyme disease, that's a different, we can treat you with an antibiotic. None of these other things respond to antibiotics. But then we don't even recognize chronic Lyme disease as a true diagnosis. And we know that those folks don't respond to antibiotics because once the microbes are deep in tissues, so I think it's just a function of the spectrum of the microbes, and how somebody has an immune dysfunction. But the key thing with all chronic illnesses is immune dysfunction. And it's different for finding specific markers, specific illnesses hasn't work. People have different variations of immune dysfunction with MS, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, virtually, all the different illnesses, but chronic immune dysfunction is central to all of these things. So, I have to think that it's just the spectrum of microbes. And quite frankly, I mean, when you get back and you say, okay, we're going to do everything, we can restore your immune system. You got to do a better diet, we gotta get you moving again, we gotta get to you sleeping again, we have to do all these things. And we're going to do herbal therapy to modulate your immune system, and rebalance that microbiome and suppress any outliers that might be in the microbiome. You know, we get great results across the board. I mean, I've had people with traumatic brain injury, which is very closely tied to immune dysfunction. Most of those people test positive for Mycoplasma, and other microbes, they do great on this protocol. So, you get back to that core of addressing the immune dysfunction and what's driving the immune dysfunction, and people typically respond.
[01:07:23] Scott: Listener question, if someone's dealing with significant gut issues, malabsorption, chronic diarrhea, can the herbs and a protocol like you're still move that person forward or do they need to first focus on addressing the GI dysfunction?
[01:07:37] Dr. Rawls: Okay. It's kind of both. That was a thing early on when I did that six-month email series, I included a gut protocol in it because it's so key, somewhere between half and three quarters of people with Lyme also had significant gut issues. I know I did. Mine was more toward the direction of constipation, but certainly would move back and forth. 75-- I had bad leaky gut, I was sensitive to 75% of the foods that I ate. And there’s no doubt that that was part of the spectrum of my misery. So, when you disrupt immune system functions, you also disrupt the gut and the balance of the gut, 70% of the immune system in the gut. So, you disrupt everything about the gut, and it becomes very sensitive, you become, you know you develop leaky gut. So, you start becoming sensitive to different kinds of foods. Most people are sensitive to wheat. I'm still sensitive to nuts, and so people end up with wide spectrums of different food sensitivities. So, that gut issue becomes a big issue. The biggest thing that’s the impediment sometimes to using the dry herbs is if someone's stomach and intestines are really irritated, they just, they don't tolerate the powders.
We tell everybody, use something like coconut milk to take them because that does help protect the stomach. But it was enough that we developed some products just for gut. I have one called Gut Balance that has a high dose of slippery elm, dandelion which is a wonderful herb that does have some immune modulating, and antimicrobial properties, and berberine is just wonderful for balancing the flora in the gut, complementing that with digestive bitters. And then chlorella is just an extraordinary substance for so many different things. And we talked about it primarily for detoxification, but I just found chlorella just had extraordinary healing properties for the gut, in my recovery, and it was one of the primary things that I used. So, sure, it can be part of or it is part of your recovery protocol. Sometimes it precludes taking the full regimen of supplements, and you have to get a certain level of gut function back before you get started. But I tell anybody, you probably need a certain level of it. Changing your diet, changing the way that you're going about life, often adding chlorella into the regiments, and CBD for that matter too, can really do wonderful things for gut, restoring gut function.
[01:10:48] Scott: Some of my mentors Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, Dr. Simon Yu feel that parasites play a very significant role in chronic illnesses like Lyme disease, and that they're readily acquired without foreign travel. What are your thoughts on parasites, what treatment recommendations do you suggest, are they important in these chronic illness protocols?
[01:11:09] Dr. Rawls: Yeah. That's a question that I've pondered and searched for answers for years and years and years, and I've always reminded my wife what they are. So, here, when you say parasite, really any organism that uses a host or is reliant on a host is a parasite. So, all the Lyme microbes are parasites, the viruses are parasites, everything is a parasite. - when we talk about parasites, we're talking about either protozoa, or more commonly, intestinal worms. So, protozoa, Giardia, and various others can reproduce in the bloodstream and in the gut, predominantly in the gut. But when you're talking about intestinal worms, here's the deal, you have to be regularly inoculated to maintain worms in your gut. All right. Bacteria, protozoa, any single celled organisms can multiply in your system, whether it's in your gut, in your bloodstream, in your tissues, all right. But multicellular worms cannot, they cannot multiply in your system, all right. So, what happens is you've got to ingest either the eggs or the larvae depending on the different kind of worm that you're talking about. And we've got roundworms, flatworms, tapeworms, so there are a lot of different ones out there. You have to ingest the eggs or you have to ingest the larvae to get it. It does not multiply in your body. It basically goes through a cycle, it goes through different tissues in the body and ends up in the gut, and it basically sticks its rear end out into your intestine and sheds eggs and sheds eggs out into the environment.
If you are reinoculating yourself with those eggs, or from someone else's eggs, then you keep that cycle going. If you don't do that, then you don't keep the cycle going. So, what that means is to be infested with worms, you have to continually be consuming the eggs, and the larvae. It is an enormous problem worldwide in third world countries, where they have fecal contamination of food and water. That is the key, you have to have that to perpetuate the cycle. So, if you live in an area where your water is clean, that you're not getting fecal material in your water, so you're not picking up the eggs and the larvae, and your it's not in your environment, you're not getting it in your food, you're not getting inoculations of viable eggs or live larvae in your food, then you're not going to keep that cycle going. So, the question is, how bad is our food? Are we getting some of it in our lettuce, or different vegetables that aren't cooked? But if you cook it, you kill them. So, that's one of the things that I recommend for that first several months in our protocol is don’t eat anything raw, eat all your food cooked. So, I think we may get it a little bit in our lettuce, and that sort of thing. But when you test people in developed countries looking for worms, you don't find very much. It exists, but it doesn't exist in the levels that you have in developed countries because we don't have that same cycle.
Most people are getting clean water, most people are getting clean food. That being said, there are a lot of our herbs, cat's claw, andrographis traditionally, all of these things were used for intestinal worms because historically, it's been a huge problem in human culture. It's it's only been in the vast 75 to 100 years in developed countries, that we've really started seeing a remarkable decline. But another thing about this is as I researched that, see, okay, what is it like in developed countries where this is a day to day fear, where you got an outhouse, and things aren't clean and people are living on a dirt floor, and they're getting contamination of their food and water, they're getting continually, reinoculated and they're carrying this burden. It was really interesting if you look at that question in third world countries where this is really common, people with a really healthy immune system, despite being not treated, don't carry a heavy burden of worms. It's only people who have really bad immune systems that end up having a problem with these things. So, I don't put it quite as much at the forefront, but I think a lot of our herbs do cover these things very well. Again, that's why I tell people to cook food. If you've got concerns about it, make very sure that your water is clean, and your food is clean because those are the two big areas that you're going to be most apt to get it, and cook your food. If you think your food could be-- If there's any potential for it to be contaminated, just cook it and you're going to eliminate that risk and slowly just by attrition, you would decrease your burden of microbes.
[01:17:02] Scott: Let's shift to the chronic viruses. What's the role of Epstein-Barr, HHV-6, Herpes Zoster, and even the possibility of retroviruses, or endogenous retroviruses that we all have activating, how important is the viral component of recovery?
[01:17:18] Dr. Rawls: I think it's part and parcel of everything else. Fortunately, a lot of our herbs do have antiviral properties, Epstein-Barr and the others are herpes viruses. But if you study Epstein-Barr, it's really interesting with the primary infection. Or most people pick up Epstein-Barr when they’re children, and it's not a severe infection, 95% of the world's population is carrying Epstein-Barr virus, very, very, very common. Mononucleosis occurs when someone doesn't get it as a child, and they happen to get infected when they’re in college or about their working life-- adult life, and they get stressed, and it's much more devastating then. Initial infection or Mono will respond to various types of antivirals that have been designed for herpes viruses. But the way that the microbe-- the virus is reproducing itself, when it becomes reactivated, it doesn't respond to antivirals. Now, that's unique to herpes, some of the others, like genital herpes do respond to antivirals, but Epstein-Barr doesn't. So, chronic infection chronic reactivation with these microbes is different than that initial infection. But we're carrying a load of different herpes, there are eight different possibilities that different people carry.
And again, these things are in our tissues, most of us have several of them, everybody has some of these, and it gets back to our microbiome being quite a bit more complicated than we give it credit for. Viruses are so ubiquitous in nature, it gets crazy. As you and I are breathing right now, we're breathing in viruses. Most of them are innocuous, they can't do anything to our cells. But every surface, every environment is basically covered in viruses because these things are so durable, then they just hang around. But fortunately, the vast majority of them don't have that lock and key mechanism that they can affect our cells. So, it's a smaller number of the viruses, when you look at the total viruses, it's a much smaller number that have-- that are designed to be able to specifically affect our cells, to affect human cells. That's different than bacteria. Bacteria, it's like our influenza viruses. I think a really interesting, you can have viruses and other species that don't typically affect us unless they are in just the right situation. So, viruses are more specific to cell surfaces than bacteria are. It’s like Bartonella, we think about it being spread by fleas. And it takes advantage of very, a wide range of biting insects in and infects a huge number of different organisms. Same with Borrelia, they are highly adaptable, where viruses are a little bit more specific. But these are the ones that are natural to us. And generally, our immune system knows them well, and keeps them under lock and key until your immune system gets disrupted and then they flourish again and they can cause viral-like symptoms.
[01:21:06] Scott: Let's talk about detoxification, how important that is, any a broader protocol? Is the terrain really the more critical aspect of all of this? How do we improve the terrain? How do we get rid of metals and plastics and chemicals and pesticides? How do we support the liver, the kidneys, the extracellular matrix, all of that? And then maybe, you mentioned chlorella are binders important, just give us an overview of detoxification in your protocols.
[01:21:34] Dr. Rawls: All right. Yeah. Yeah, I think you have to start with the environment. I mean, I see people doing detox protocols. I'm going to do a detox protocol and I'm going to take all these, these capsules and stuff, many of which are mainly just laxatives, and I'm going to detox my body, and I'm going to be great after that. No, it's our environment. Toxins can enter your body, basically, through your mouth, through food and water, you can breathe them in, or you can get them through your skin. And we get most of our toxins through breathing and through our skin. Our world is much more saturated in things than it has ever been before. There's upwards of 200,000 different man-made chemicals floating around in the environment, mostly petroleum derived at this point. So, petroleum is this huge thing that is the most wonderful thing in our lives, it makes everything possible. We can fly across the country in a day and get to the grocery store in five minutes, and we have our food distribution system is so extraordinary and we have grocery stores full of wonderful food all because of petroleum. But the downside of that is you've got these abnormal hydrocarbons that are being spread around. So, basically what is happening is if you look before say about 3,000 years ago, on the environment, this system that we live in, the earth’s capsule of environment was pretty pristine, except for occasional volcanoes and things like that, that would spit out toxic substances. But the atmosphere was pretty clean.
We started using coal 3,000 years ago in China, and that became a dominant fuel source because it saved a lot of toil. It allowed us to build machines, and become and get heat and do a lot of things. But coal, you're taking plant material that has been pressed in the earth for millions of years, and that has changed those hydrocarbons that were in the plant to something different. You can still burn them, but it also impregnated in with heavy metal. So, when we burn coal, we got a lot of heavy metals. That's where the mercury and cadmium and everything else is coming from, it's coming from coal, we burn a lot of coal. Second to that, we do petroleum which is basically algae that was compressed. But it changes the configurations of the hydrocarbons, such that they're not compatible with life forms. And then you take that to an extreme, when you look at what we use hydrocarbons for, whether it's carbohydrates and fats in our food, or hydrocarbons that we burn in our car; those are really high energy molecules. So, basically, plants take the energy from the sun, and they take very low energy molecules, carbon dioxide and water, and they build them into these complex molecules that really enclose a lot of potential energy. So, when you burn those things with oxygen, you get energy.
So, what's coming out of the back of everybody's tailpipe is carbon dioxide that's been stripped of electrons. And electrons are the key, we use electrons in our mitochondria. We burn fats and carbohydrates to get electrons to build up energy sources, and that's kind of the energy currency. Well, that's what cars and everything else we're using is we're burning these hydrocarbons to get electrons. And so we strip the electrons off of those, so we end up polluting our environment with these molecules that are just bottom of the energy scale. That's why it's really frustrating to know what to - can do with carbon dioxide. Basically, the only thing that can use carbon dioxide is a plant. But they're stripped of electrons, which are called positive ions, right? So, here we're talking, we get into this discussion of inflammation. So, what is inflammation? Inflammation is the body's response to cleaning up things or white blood cells produce acid and free radicals. Well acid and free radicals are electron deficient substances that cause other molecules to break down, other high energy molecules to break down. So, it's how we break up debris and dead cells and everything in our body, and all that's going on. Well, if it's going on excessively, if we've got a lot of stuff going on in our body, and we're breaking down a lot of stuff, it more than the system can handle and we get inflammation.
So, inflammation is a high concentration of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are electron deficient molecules. So, basically, when we're inflamed, we're electron deficient, all right, So, when we are eating foods that generate acid like wheat and corn and processed forms of wheat and corn and meat, we're robbing our body of electrons. When we breathe out carbon dioxide that's been stripped from electrons and other positive ions, we strip our body of electrons. So, all of these things in their environment are stripping us and enhancing our inflammation. Plus all these toxins poison our natural processes in our body. And so you have to take care of that. So, living around plants, having plants in your house, taking a walk in the woods; all of these things are really important. Letting your house breathe or circulating air in your house, cleaning up the air, being careful about cleaners that you use, eating more vegetables than anything else because no matter what you ask, plants are the answer. Whether it's herbs, whether it’s food, it’s plants are the answer. Plants in your home, plants walking in the woods, surrounding yourself with plants is one of the best things that you can do to detoxify.
And coming back around kind of got off on a tangent there. Sorry, Scott. But it's chlorella, the chlorophyll in chlorella is just wondering for pulling toxins out of our body and healing tissues. And so chlorella is one of my top things, but then you have things like mycotoxins and things like that, that you actually want to bind - or toxins that your body you know, you go through your liver and you neutralize the toxins, and you need to get them out of your body, but they can be reabsorbed in your GI tract. So, you want to get rid of them in the body. Well, chlorophyll is a good binder. You mentioned clay, charcoal, they can be too. My experience has been a lot of people get pretty significant constipation if they use the amount of clay or charcoal that they need to actually pull toxins out of the body. One thing that I've been using lately that I think is a nice option that doesn't tend to do that is zeolite, which is a volcanic material, and it has little pores that basically, the molecular charges hold on to the toxin, different various kinds of toxins. So, zeolite is a really nice thing to compliment chlorella with. But those two things alone, just clean air, clean food, eating lots of vegetables, just being conscious of your world, making sure your water is really really clean or whatever you drink is really, really clean. Those kinds of things are remarkably important. Alkalinized water is electron loaded water, so it helps us decrease inflammation in our body. Yep, for sure.
[01:30:41] Scott: Let's talk about interstitial cystitis. It took me a while to even get that one to be pronounced over the years. So, interstitial cystitis, a very difficult condition for people, lots of pain and discomfort. I've seen some people associate this with protozoans, I've seen some people associated with various bacteria. You've connected the dots between Lyme disease and interstitial cystitis. So, talk to us about the approaches that can be really helpful here with this very challenging condition.
[01:31:11] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, that one was something that I was really aware of well before Lyme disease, that and another similar and closely related syndrome we called vulvodynia. And it's basically, vulvodynia is pain in the vulva or vestibulitis, and they're different versions of it. But it was something that I developed a sympathy for people that came in with it. I started seeing this occasionally in my practice, and I found that the response of most gynecologists was to load people up with various kinds of antifungals or whatever and then when it didn't work, it's kind of like well, I just can't help you. Go away. And I just felt sorry for those people. So, I started really looking for ways that I could help them, and this was well before Lyme disease in my understanding, and always had microbes in the back of my mind, but I was exploring the literature, I never could find a microbe connection. It's interesting that both vulvodynia and interstitial cystitis are related to a particular patch of tissue on the vulva and up into the bladder, that that particular anatomy comes from-- it’s kind of parsed together from three different layers. We have the ectoderm, which is our skin, we're an embryo, you know, we're divided up into three layers is ectoderm, which turns into skin and mesoderm around which turns into muscle, and endoderm which is our spinal cord and nerves.
And the area that becomes and flamed is right there at the vaginal opening and up through the bladder, and it's an area that comes from that middle layer. And you can take a Q-tip and very specifically map out where someone has discomfort and it's always in that layer. At least most of the variants of it, there's some other variants it's basically everywhere. But more commonly, in this particular area of the body. And people, God, there were just some crazy therapies of anything from lasering people to injecting alcohol. I mean, they just truly tortured people. It was really sad. And it was just a shotgun approach to see what we can do to get rid of this thing. So, I found that diet was helpful that, about a third of people if you put them on a low oxalate diet, that was really helpful, but only about a third of people, not everybody, because it's in-- And now I know that probably those people had leaky gut. So, if you have a leaky gut, and folks that have this often have immune dysfunction, so they also have gut problems too. So, they probably have leaky gut if you've got leaky gut and you absorb oxalate, which is a substance that’s in a lot of food, and it combines with calcium and forms a crystal in the body, that can really irritate tissues.
So, low oxalate diet helped some people. I worked with a compounding pharmacy and found different creams that work. I didn't do quite as much of this work, but there was work with urologist, some urologists, we're instilling a substance called DMSO, which is really interesting because it has some antimicrobial properties. And when I looked at the studies of DMSO, it was like, wow, that's interesting that we would be doing this. Well, what we weren't checking for back then was all the different forms of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma. And you look at-- these are microbes, these are the smallest microbes, or smallest bacteria that exist. They like linings of tissue. And so bladder linings, gut linings, lung linings, that's where they go, and we're finding that these things are remarkably common and sexually transmitted, but because they generally don't cause symptoms or don't cause extreme symptoms, most people don't even know that they have it. And looking back on a lot of those patients, a lot of those patients were under the kind of stress that would cause the kind of chronic immune dysfunction that we find in Lyme disease. So, you put that together and you recognize that 75% of people with chronic Lyme disease are carrying some form of Mycoplasma. It's not surprising that we might see more of that. So, that I don't have any absolute proof to say, okay, yes, it's this species of Ureaplasma that causes interstitial cystitis, but I put it way up on my list. And a lot of these people do respond to herbal therapy, but that whole approach of just restoring the ability of the immune system to take care of itself seems to be very effective. Houttuynia and some of the others, Chinese skullcap are nice for Mycoplasma. I often put people on an herb from the Amazon called Anamu, A-N-A-M-U. Anamu is a really nice herb. We don't use it in our products because it makes your urine and your stools smell really strong. But it's often one that I recommend in people that have different kinds of pelvic issues, chronic prostatitis, interstitial cystitis; these kinds of things that I think could be Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma related.
[01:37:20] Scott: And so many of us in the Lyme realm think that we're doing a good thing by having our green smoothies that are spinach, and all of these high oxalate things not realizing that that may be triggering some of these other conditions, right?
[01:37:34] Dr. Rawls: That was one of the things with the Lyme diet that I use. I sat down and really work through well, what are foods that you can eat that don't have any potential for harm, and it got down to a pretty narrow list. So, we ended up with doing it in three phases. So, that first phase is pretty tight because it has low oxalate, it's low oxalate, it's low inflammatory, we get people cooking everything, it doesn't have nightshades in it. I mean, it's pretty sparse, but most people can work through that in weeks. But I found that for people who have really bad gut dysfunction, bad interstitial cystitis, these kinds of things, they have to stay on it for months and months. And if they do, their gut function will be restored. But yeah, there are a lot of things out there that can affect you in one way or another. And so the phase one, it’s pretty sparse as far as variety of foods, but it is the foods that people will tolerate the very best.
[01:38:47] Scott: You talked about Borrelia’s impact on our collagen, how do we repair the body structural integrity after dealing with a serious chronic illness like Lyme disease? How do we fix the joints, the cartilage, the ligaments, and the tendons? Are there certain amino acids or maybe collagen supplements or minerals? What do you recommend for regenerating our structural integrity?
[01:39:10] Dr. Rawls: Sure. Yeah, I think collagen is a very reasonable thing. Vitamin C, extra vitamin C, I think most people who were under stress, some vitamin C, a basic assortment of vitamin C, and then certainly, when they're in significant stress, more vitamin C. But collagen, I think is really a nice solution. The big question is, how much of collagen do you actually get intact? And I think mostly it's broken down in the gut. But I have learned over time, it's like glutathione supplements and some of the bigger molecules, we do absorb that, and we do have mechanisms for getting it in and as much as we can because it's kind of one of those things that the body is going to save energy wherever it can. And if you can get something from a dietary source that it doesn't have to remake in the body, I think it's a very reasonable thing to do. But most, any of the good protein supplements are going to give you most of the things that your body needs to make collagen. What isn't coming in that are silicon and other kinds of things that don't necessarily come in just a plain...so protein supplements are actually getting collagen. Basically, what you're doing is giving the body all the resources it needs to build new collagen, and can make it easy. That being said, if you look at all the studies, there is benefit to taking collagen supplements, but it's not like massive. There is a significant difference in people with chronic illness and elderly. So, I think collagen is a reasonable thing to do. I don't think you need to spend tons of money on collagen though. A lot of people are getting really, spending kind of going overboard with the amount of money they're spending on it.
They’re lots of good collagen supplements out there, and so I think that just a basic collagen supplement I think is a reasonable thing to do. People do get the impression that oh, man, I've got these microbes that are just munching on my collagen, and I need to get in collagen, but am I feeding the microbes? And again, think about it in the terms of one of our cells is the size of an office building, the microbes would be the people inside. The microbes are really small, and they are causing illness by manipulating the immune system and generating inflammation which breaks down tissues. So, this isn't something that you find high concentrations of microbes in tissues. It's very different like if somebody gets a really bad pneumonia, they've got a consolidation of microbes in high concentrations in one place in the body. Here with these kinds of infections, we've got low concentrations of microbes distributed to all the tissues in the body. So, it's not like we're suddenly becoming hugely collagen deficient. It's the inflammation that's breaking down the collagen or damaging it so it's just less functional. So, yeah, I think collagen supplements are reasonable, especially when you're in the recovery phase.
[01:42:49] Scott: Beautiful. I've had my collagen this morning, I've had my silica, and I'm drinking my alkaline water. So, we're resonating here on the same channel. Let's talk about another significant condition that we're hearing more and more about these days. So, this is Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. So, hypermobility, structural laxity, this seems to be a really emerging topic in the realm of chronic illness. In some cases, it can be genetic, in others it can be acquired, and there has been some association between Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Bartonella. So, what are your thoughts on Ehlers-Danlos, and what do you recommend for those people dealing with it?
[01:43:27] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, it's-- just for those who aren't aware, it's a Ehlers-Danlos is a connective tissue disorder. And people with Ehlers-Danlos get hypermobility of joints and stretchy skin. You know, and there have been people throughout history that have had that, a lot of them have ended up in circuses because they could do all these crazy things. And it doesn't necessarily shorten life, but it can increase risk of damage to your joints because you just, you're not put together quite as well. There are a variety of different genes that have been associated with it. I think there are a dozen more genes. So, there's a lot of genetics out there. But I think we're seeing a little bit more of it as we are seeing chronic illness. So, you don't have to have, you know, you might have a genetic predisposition of it. But then you've got these microbes that are coming along and generating inflammation. So, you look at Bartonella, Mycoplasma, Borrelia, and one of the primary resources they want is collagen. We have collagen in our brain, we have collagen in our skin, we have collagen in our joints, collagen is basically what holds us together. So, if you impair that collagen, and the collagen is like a fiber, it's like a root that is entwined with other pieces of collagen, and stuck to your bones to basically hold everything together. So, if that's being compromised within, yeah, you're going to be more stretchy, you're going to be more mobile. And that's basically what's happening in folks with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
How much reversibility of it once it's established? I don't know, and I can't say that I've worked with a lot of people with Ehlers-Danlos, but it does seem that we're seeing more of it, and again, I think it's controlling the microbes and restoring the immune system function. I mean, it's the same things that we talked about over and over as far as support. And note for those people the collagen is probably much more important, but also just protecting their joints, protecting their skin, and being really careful about how they go about life.
[01:46:05] Scott: In people that have been floxed by drugs, such as Cipro, or Levaquin and so on, are there any tools that we have to help reverse the damage that these medications have caused that really can be very, very debilitating long-term for people that have had negative reactions to them?
[01:46:24] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, we do. One of our writers and I did an article on floxing recently, so that's out there somewhere. And that was a big question that came up that she asked me well, what do we do about it? So, floxing is using this particular class of antibiotics called quinolones. And Cipro is one, what's the other one?
[01:46:55] Scott: Levaquin, Avelox, Factive, yeah.
[01:46:59] Dr. Rawls: Right. And they're really variety of other ones. I can remember when these things came to be, it was right after I was in medical school and these were going to be the drugs that were going to end all antibiotic resistance, it would be impossible for bacteria to ever become resistant to these antibiotics. And we were going to get intravenous levels from using just oral doses of these medications, which I think is fine. But immediately, the drug reps were just pounding doctors to write, write, write, write, write for these things, and it's kind of like, really, don’t you kinda want to save that in reserve? But everybody was writing for it like crazy. And we really overused these things and very quickly found out that bacteria were smarter than we are and yes, they do become resistant to it. Along the way, we found out that this also interferes with collagen synthesis and mitochondria and energy pathways, and it's a pretty bad deal. And everybody doesn't get it severely, but I think everybody gets it some, that there were cases of athletes having bilateral Achilles tendons breaking, and all kinds of these crazy things. So, I've never used tons of it in my practice, and I really just - curtailed it at that point when these things started coming out, but it's crazy, they're still using them. Urinary tract infections, simple respiratory infection that we can use something innocuous like Bactrin, or amoxicillin, they hit them with Cipro and Levaquin. And it's like, come on. And a lot of people are being hurt by it and they're still on the market, even though they're kind of scary. Even though they these drugs now how black box warning, which means that the FDA put out a warning that says these drugs should only be used if there is no other alternative. And people are just writing them like crazy still.
[01:49:25] Scott: So, are their tools to help people then that once they have been damaged by them?
[01:49:31] Dr. Rawls: You know, again, that was a question that the writer asked me what can we do? I think it's just support. I couldn't find any specific therapy that was beneficial. I think you've just really got to support your system, restoring the microbes back to normal, protecting your mitochondria. The glutathione we use in our products and just cellular support, and all of the things that the herbs do to protect mitochondria, restore protein synthesis, restore collagen. So, I think it's just that basic protocol. I would suspect that we're going to-- would see benefit over time. But people have been hit pretty hard, it's going to take time for the body to rebuild. But the body's just amazingly resilient. If you give it the right opportunity, it will repair itself. It's absolutely extraordinary.
[01:50:29] Scott: What have you seen in working with children that acquired Lyme congenitally in terms of later development of things like autism, PANS, PANDAS, and conditions that many people incorrectly view as more psychological illnesses?
[01:50:44] Dr. Rawls: Yeah. That's a tough one and I can't say that I have any firm data on it, Scott. It's certainly that, the autism question and the whole spectrum it’s a tough one to answer, and I don't think anybody has any absolute answers. But I can't help think that microbes and how we're affecting someone in their early life doesn't affect these things pretty remarkable. When you look at that gut-brain connection, and you look at our microbiome, basically all of us inherit our immediate microbiome from our mother. And I've often wondered, so many times when we look at illnesses like Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and so many others where you go, okay, well, it does appear to run in families, but we can't really find any genes that define that this illness is going to happen. I'm starting to think, well, is it because of the microbes that they inherited from their mother and their surrounding environment that they live in, and that's why we're seeing these things run in families, not as much because of genetics, but because of the inheritance of a specific microbiome. It is true that Borrelia is less apt to be passed through the placenta than say Syphilis or some other microbes, but it does definitely happen.
And I've certainly seen families over the years that carry it, and definitely children that have been born with it. It definitely happens. There's no doubt in my mind, what the rate is, the statistics that are being released suggests that it's extremely low. I think it's a lot higher than is being recognized. But it's really hard to define. And again, it's a whole spectrum of microbes that people are inheriting. And not only that, kids get pretty hit pretty hard with a lot of different toxins we use, we're starting to get a little better. But you think of all the plastic bottles and the plastic stuff, and the antibiotics and all the things that we hit young kids with when their immune system is just developing. And these really strange microbes and antibiotic resistant things that are in the environment now, wow, we’ve created a fairly toxic environment for children. So, I can't help but think there's some connections there.
How vaccines play into that? I don't know. And I'm not an advocate of no vaccines for children. But I do have questions about how we do it, when we do it. Are we doing it properly? And I think, fortunately, the pediatric groups now are starting to say maybe we shouldn't be using so many antibiotics in children and they're really trying to instruct pediatricians. But a lot of family physicians are just hitting kids like crazy with antibiotics, and I think we have to move away from those kinds of things.
[01:54:13] Scott: As we start wrapping up, I want to ask you a couple of questions that are more around physics. And so first one around electromagnetic fields in our environment, potentially draining our vitality and ability to deal with all of these things that impact our health. Do you have any thoughts on mitigating the environmental influences of EMF?
[01:54:33] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, I think we all have a certain amount of reserves. We are built to tolerate stress, and we are hit with a lot of different stress factors in our lives. And if you're healthy and you're well, you tolerate EMRs, electromagnetic radiation fairly well. But I like to think of the body is not as much a whole, we look at ourselves, we see our face, and we see our body parts, but we're really a collection of cells. And every one of those cells is turning on energy and puts out a field of energy, and collectively, that energy field surrounds us. And the Chinese defined pathways of energy called meridians. I practice Qigong myself, I can feel my energies running through my body, I can move my energies in my body. And so we're definitely beings of energy, and when we surround ourselves with all of these electromagnetic devices, cell phones, sitting in front of the computer, being in the car, now, I mean, it's all electrical now, and I worry about what electrical cars are going to do to us. I think that's a good solution. But I still kind of wonder about that electrical field that's coming out of that battery in that engine, that motor that we're sitting on top of. But if your reserves are rock bottom, you're just not going to tolerate a lot of stress factors.
So, these electrical fields disrupt the fields that are being generated by our cells, and they disrupt our meridians. And I think that can have pretty significant consequences. I've definitely had people over the years that had to live in remote places, and be totally disconnected from the grid, and not be able to use electrical devices. It's tough. There's so much of a part of our lives. You try to mitigate it as much as you can. I don't tend to carry my cell phone on my person any more than I have to use ear plug microphone with an extension like you've got on right now when I talk to people on the phone, so I don't have that thing up next to my head. My biggest professional liability as far as health right now is the fact that I do a lot of work on a computer. And I just have to get up every hour. So, get away from the thing go out and move. Moving rebalances your energy, the practice of Qigong, and I think certain forms of flowing yoga, help balance your energy pattern. So, avoidance as much as you can, but getting away from you know, getting out in fresh air or walking. When we finish this interview, I'm going to go walk a mile or two. So, those kinds of things help rebalance us and bring our reserves back up. So, not only are we moving blood flow, I've been doing this long enough to recognize that just walking around the block, I'm rebalancing my energy. So, movement of any kind can really help that. And I do Qigong practices, just simple things before I go to bed, and it helps balance my energy, and I get a little better sleep at night. So, all of those things. The big unknown out there that I think is potentially really scary is 5G, what's it going to do? That one is scary.
[01:58:35] Scott: Are there any tools in the physics realm that you recommend as adjunct therapy? So, let's talk about foot baths or saunas or pulsed electromagnetic fields, light, sound frequency; any of those types of tools that you find consistently helpful for people?
[01:58:52] Dr. Rawls: I couldn't find any evidence that the foot baths were really doing a whole lot as far as pulling toxins out of the body. PEMF, I think is extraordinarily good. It's all electrons, you know. And that other thing out there Rife, I'm not sure that when you think about all the microbes in the body, I'm not sure-- I haven't seen the evidence that would show that we can tune to a specific frequency that's going to eliminate a specific microbe. But I think that Rife therapies, PEMF, a lot of different kinds of things, CES for sleep that you put things on your earlobes and you have-- I think basically what we're doing with those low energy current is donating electrons to the body. So, if you accept that inflammation is a deficiency of electrons, when we drink alkaline water, when we breathe negative ions walking through a forest, when we expose ourselves to those gentle earth-like electrical fields, or electrical energy, we're absorbing electrons, which can reduce inflammation in our body and make us feel better. And that helps our immune system and that restores our ability to get well. So, a lot of those things are common in that respect. Beyond that, sauna of any kind, but the thing that is tolerated best and easiest is the far infrared sauna that's radiant instead of convective.
Basically, from an old-fashioned sauna, you're heating rocks, and it heats all the air in the room. So, you gotta get the air really, really hot to get the effect. Whereas with an infrared sauna, you're basically have heat coils that are radiating the heat at you. So, you don't heat the air quite as much, you’re more heating your body directly. But if you're going to do that, do one that's a nice spruce or some kind of wood. I see these plastic units. It's like, no, you don't want to do that. So, get a nice sauna if you're going to do it, it's worth the investment. So, I'm going to do a lot of things, and especially people that can't exercise readily, the nice thing about sauna is that it moves blood, it generates endorphins, it stimulates stem cells, it makes you sweat, it gets rid of toxins. It's one of the best ways you can get heavy metals out of your body. So, sauna is really good. I had one for several years during my recovery, and then got to the point that I just really didn't need it anymore, and got back to exercising and doing other kinds of things. So, I don't use it any longer, but in my recovery, wow. It was really beneficial, really beneficial.
[02:02:02] Scott: A listener asked if you could take only one herb to maintain your immune system and keep your toxic burden low, what would it be? And then I want to extend on that and say if you could only take three Vital Plan products on a deserted island, which ones are your must-haves?
[02:02:35] Dr. Rawls: Yeah, like any of them… So, quite frankly, I still use a lot of Vital Plan products, and I put a lot of work into them, but I'm constantly trying new herbs too because I like experiencing herbs. So, I can't say I've found any one absolute herb that's like, that's the herb. More than anything else, they're all good. But as far as products, top of my list would be Advanced Biotic because I think we're exposed to so many microbes and those have, herbs have significant antiviral properties and immune-modulating properties. And I still take that in regularly. And I kind of go off and on of it because I think it's good to rotate things around. But here, knock on wood, I tell you what, I can remember getting colds and flus two or three times a year. That you know, you start getting that scratchy throat and you think, well, I'm going to go and exercise and drink lots of fluid and by tomorrow, I'll be better and you're not and the next day you're clogged up, and then it goes down in your throat and into chest and you're miserable for two or three weeks. I haven’t had that in 10 years. It's been probably 10 or 15 years since I have one, and it used to be two or three times a year. And it's got to be the herbs, it's gotta be the herbs man, my protocol is, if I get that kind of scratchy throat, it's coming on and it gets up in your sinuses. And you know, it's like it's coming. Man, I take about 6 to 10 Advanced Biotic and a couple of thousand milligrams of vitamin C. And I do it whenever I start feeling that. And then I repeat it about 12 hours later, and I do that for two to three days, never happens, just never progresses and never get this nasal congestion and just knocks it right out. So, that'd be top of my list.
You can do the same thing with Adaptogen Recovery because that has really nice antiviral properties too. But those would be the big ones. And then just for stress HPA Balance is just-- that was the first product that I ever formulated and it's still just a wonderful product for just making you more stress resistant and getting better sleep and just make making life easier. Boy, it's a good one. So, those would probably be my top three.
[02:05:06] Scott: We talked earlier about my excitement about the Biome Boost. But I would say the other one that's a favorite of mine in your line is the Revival Bitters because I think there's just so many amazing things that bitters do, not only for digestion, but for bile flow and supporting the gallbladder and supporting detoxification. I mean, I think that's a pretty great tool in your line as well.
[02:05:28] Dr. Rawls: It is nice, it has a lot of, you know, we use them for bitters because if you look at an ancient forage food diet, it was basically the same thing that herbs are. I mean, people used to eat whatever they could scrapes and calories out of and it was leaves and bark and roots and wild berries and it’s basically all the things that we defined as a herbal therapy, and it was better. It didn't taste good. That's why people started farming, or one of the reasons. But we did that for several hundred thousand years and our power digestive system is programmed to be activated by bitter. So, getting that bitter in surrounding a meal, which our meals typically aren't bitter anymore. Now, I've gotten so that I like to get more bitter vegetables of various kinds in my food. But we don't do it routinely, so the bitters really give you the opportunity. But all those herbs, man, they’re great herbs, they do so many wonderful things. So, it's not just the bitter it's the herbs themselves. And if you're doing the bitters three times a day with meals, you're getting some really nice doses and some really good herbs.
[02:06:42] Scott: Yeah. Last question is the same for every guest and that is what are some of the key things that you're doing on a daily basis in support of your own health maintenance?
[02:06:52] Dr. Rawls: The top things on my list, the diet thing, I try to simplify it for people and myself. My goal every day when I get up in the morning is by the time I finished the day, I've eat more fresh vegetables than absolutely anything else. And more fresh vegetables I can get in, the better. And outside of that, if you do that you're automatically going to decrease your processed foods. Whether you go vegan or whether you remain a meat eater, if you're eating more vegetables than anything else, you're going to have a good diet, and just avoiding the processed foods, which helps us avoid plastic. I mean, it's just crazy that you know, you look in somebody's cart in the grocery store and they've got a cart full of boxes of plastic, and bags and nothing fresh, and I think that's just crazy. So, more vegetables than anything else. I try to walk at least three miles a day, I’m still very active, very different kinds of activities. And that's a cool thing, I'm 62 and I'm still kite surfing and paddleboard surfing. But I try to walk at least three miles a day, I do a lot of biking. So, moving, I mean and there are a lot of different ways that you move. I mean if you cook a fresh meal, you're going to move a lot. We live in a neighborhood and the leaf blower thing drives me crazy because everybody's out there just waving these leaf blowers around, where you get so much exercise if you'll just get out and rake your yard. So, getting any kind you can incorporate movement, I think is really important. I’m very protective of my sleep. I truly try to get at least eight hours of sleep every single night the best that I can. And I take a really good regimen of herbs every day, every single day.
[02:08:52] Scott: Beautiful. This has been a fantastic conversation. I learned a number of things. I know people are going to learn from listening to your encyclopedic knowledge. I just want to thank you for not only your willingness to freely share information, share knowledge for the course that you've put together, but also for the products. I mean, I think Vital Plan has some great tools, and it's fantastic that you've taken your own journey and your own difficult period of time with your health and really reached out to help people in so many ways. And so I just want to honor you, thank you for being here today and for sharing with everyone listening.
[02:09:30] Dr. Rawls: Well, thank you so much, Scott. It's been my pleasure and I do appreciate the opportunity very much.
[02:09:36] Scott: Thanks, Dr. Rawls.
[02:09:39] Scott: To learn more about today's guests, visit RawlsMD.com or VitalPlan.com. That's Rawls, RawlsMD.com or VitalPlan.com. RawlsMD.com, and VitalPlan.com.
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[02:10:24] Thanks for listening to this Better Health Guy Blogcast with Scott, your Better Health Guy. To check out additional shows and learn more about Scott's personal journey to better health, please visit BetterHealthGuy.com.
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The content of this show is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or medical condition. Nothing in today's discussion is meant to serve as medical advice or as information to facilitate self-treatment. As always, please discuss any potential health-related decisions with your own personal medical authority.