“It’s inflammation at the cellular level that causes us to break down”
Dr. Veronica Anderson, Host, Functional Medicine Specialist and Medical Intuitive interviews Bob Miller about genetic variants and nutritional supplementation for optimal health
What’s holding back your optimal Wellness? Bob Miller has served as a traditional naturopath for 20 years and has spent the last several years engaged almost exclusively with genetic variants and related research. He helps others by analyzing genetic data and then suggests a nutrient program specific to the individual.
In this episode, Bob will provide solutions to the common genetic factors that are harming your health. Listen to the end for insight on the issues with over the counter supplements.
Listen to episode 53 on iTunes here or subscribe on your favorite podcast app.
53: Show Notes
Dr. Veronica Anderson’s Links:
07:00 – Becoming a naturopathic physician
09:30 – Gluten, dairy, and histamine foods
12:13 – Genetic factors
18:00 – Nos uncoupling
18:40 – Over the counter supplements
Female VO: Welcome to the Wellness Revolution Podcast, the radio show all about wellness in your mind, body, spirit, personal growth, sex, and relationships. Stay tuned for weekly interviews featuring guests that have achieved physical, mental, and spiritual health in their lives.
If you’d like to have access to our entire back catalog visit drveronica.com for instant access. Here’s your host, Dr. Veronica.
Dr. Veronica: I’m Dr. Veronica Anderson, medical doctor, medical intuitive. And I come to you as I do every week to bring you information to live a healthier and better life. I would like you to be able to do it the new way, not the old way, and feel good about everything. It is important that you know how to be well in mind, body, and spirit. And when you use your body you have to understand that there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.
I just saw in the newspaper, it’s been news about contestants on The Biggest Loser. And these people who go on that we’ve been cheering for. And they’ve gone on these really extreme diets. They’ve been working out all day. One season they follow these contestants who had lost massive amount of weight to see exactly what happened to them.
What happened to them? You guessed it. Many of them gained back their weight and gained back even more and were heavier than they were in the first place. What did they learn from this? They learned that these people’s metabolism actually slowed way down. And they needed to eat or consume less calories than they did before for what would be expected for their particular body weight at the time.
Why do I bring this to you, to disappoint you, to say, “You’re going go to go on a diet and your metabolism is going to slow down. You’re doomed and there’s no answers.” Well no, because those of us who are in health care who are practitioners, especially those of us who deal with people who are attempting to lose weight know that there’s more to the picture than calories in, calories out. We know there’s much more to that picture than just simple diet and exercise.
There is so much to this complex picture and yet people around the world are still subscribing to a math equation that those of us who are in health care know that just simple doesn’t work, and it’s not that simple. You have to know about your body type. You have to know about genetics, more on that today, your nervous system, your hormones, your digestive system, there are so many factors that go into having health and wellness and your ideal body and ideal shape.
When you go on a quest to lose a lot of weight and you do not take into account all of those factors you’re doomed for failure. And so to me it’s not a surprise that these people who are on The Biggest Loser who go and they exercise 9, 10, and 14 hours a day, eat hardly any food, then they come home and they attempt to maintain it where they can’t maintain it because there’s not enough hours in a day to do what they were doing and live a normal life.
But they start succumbing to their cravings. Their nervous system and hormones were still out of balance and they never got them back in balance. Their digestive system is a mess and they never got that back in balance. More and more that possibly could be their problems.
They have a bunch of researchers that are following them. And as you see the write up in the newspaper it makes it look like doom and gloom. Just consider it a disability and forget about it. No, that is not the answer. There are other answers.
Today, I will bring to you one of the state of the art answers that you must consider if you are interested in getting your ideal body. This gentleman that I’m bringing on, a fellow physician, a naturopathic physician, different than an allopathic physician, has developed a system that we can use our genetic profile… This is for practitioners, we use our genetic profiles to figure out what we are deficient in enzymatically. And we can script supplement protocols.
We can figure out these days why people are not functioning optimally. And then work with their body to be able to correct some of these issues. And therefore people can all of a sudden be healthier than they thought they ever could be. And that includes people who have difficulty with weight loss and difficulty with addictions.
I would like to introduce to you Dr. Bob Miller. He’s a researcher and developer of MethylGenetic Nutrition Analysis software. And this is a software that is changing the way us practitioners especially those of us who are helping anybody with any kind of chronic illnesses including weight loss. We can use this software to be able to use your genetics from a service like 23andMe.com. Go on there, get your genetic test. It’s really fascinating to get your genetic tests back and see.
But then we can figure out, “Is there something wrong with me? Do I have the fat gene? Am I deficient in something else that’s causing me to feel sad, or bad, or be genetically predisposed to something?” And people believe that when they’re genetically predisposed, that’s it, you’re doomed. End of discussion. You may as well just lay in your grave right then because there’s nothing we can do.
And this is so false. We now know that genetics, though the field of what’s called epigenetics is only about 15% to 20% of the equation. And the other 80% to 85% is based on lifestyle factors. And some of those lifestyle factors are strategic eating and strategic supplementation so that your body can work optimally. I would like to bring on Dr. Robert Miller. Dr. Miller, welcome to Wellness for the Real World.
Dr. Miller: It’s a real pleasure to be here with you. I’m looking forward to sharing hopefully some great information for your listeners.
Dr. Veronica: First, tell us what made you decide to become a naturopathic physician? Most people are familiar with the allopathic physicians or traditional MD. But naturopathic physicians are out there. They’re wonderful. I work with a lot of them, know a lot of them. But most people aren’t so familiar with them. What made you decide to take that career path?
Dr. Miller: Sure. Actually it was a second career for me. I was an executive in telecommunications and got a very severe case of ulcerative colitis where I was hospitalized for 21 days and told the only solution was to cut out my colon and wear this little bag on my side.
I’m in Lancaster County and I consider myself a stubborn Dutchman, so I decided that I wanted to look at alternatives, and just became fascinated by the naturopathic philosophy which is it’s the environment of the body that allows pathogens to be there.
And it’s a completely different paradigm of looking at things that you change the environment and then virus, bacteria, inflammation tamps down and the body heals on its own. I’m way past my mid-30’s now. I’m 61 and my colon has been fine. That took me down the path of naturopathy and switched gears, and just having a blast ever since then.
Dr. Veronica: We have to go back on that story because there are so many people out there suffering from digestive issues like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel, irritable bowel, all those bowel issues. What did you do that allowed you to come out of it and have a colon that’s fine as you approach maturity?
Dr. Miller: Sure. Back when I was doing this I wasn’t aware of all the genetic factors. But now I realized that I have genetic factors, that I don’t handle gluten very well. I don’t handle dairy very well. And I don’t handle histamine foods very well.
When you have a combination of gluten and histamine the body creates something called zonulin. Zonulin opens up the tight junctions of the intestinal tract, allows proteins to leak through that normally wouldn’t leak through. Your body sees them as a foreign invader and creates immunity to it.
For me it just happened to be the colon. For somebody else it may be the thyroid. For somebody else it might be Crohn’s. For somebody else it might be rheumatoid arthritis. And I think we’re now beginning to see that although symptom suppression and immune suppression may certainly ameliorate some of the symptomology, now genetically we’re finding ways that we can actually find the root cause and take steps.
By making some dietary changes and doing some soothing, cooling herbs, back then I realized that what I was doing even though only now do I realize the underlying genetic effects that caused it.
Dr. Veronica: People are familiar with gluten today, and everybody believes that the answer to every health problem is gluten. And it is a big part of it. But you’ve mentioned histamine-related foods. What are the histamine-related foods?
Dr. Miller: That’s anything fermented. Unfortunately a lot of people, they’re not feeling well and they might read some book about the benefits of fermented foods. And by the way, if you can handle histamine fine fermented foods can be wonderful.
But if you have what are called genetic variants or genetic defects that you don’t make the enzyme that breaks down histamine in foods, or you don’t have what are the called HNMT gene, histamine N-methyltransferase working properly that breakdown histamine, histamine’s actually an agitation to you and you’ll get spring and fall allergies. You can get running eyes. Histamine’s actually a neurotransmitter than can make you very agitated and anxious. And the list goes on.
It’s fermented. Even like aged cheese, of course wine, very, very high in histamine. So if somebody has a sip of wine and all of a sudden they get all red and flushed, or they have a lot of reactions to mosquito bites they very well may have too much histamine. Consequently they’re digestive issues.
Dr. Veronica: Foods such as sauerkraut, kimchee, sour pickles would be included in that?
Dr. Miller: Oh yes.
Dr. Veronica: And so what you’re telling us is that for people who tend to be allergic, environmental allergies like those seasonal allergies, those are people that should be highly suspicious that they are sensitive to the histamine foods?
Dr. Miller: Absolutely. And there’s plenty of websites that just Google histamine intolerance, foods high in histamine, you’ll find plenty of websites where they’ll list them. And there’s many people that are extremely sensitive to histamine foods.
And the really cool thing now about genetics is we don’t have to guess. We can look at our genetic profile and see if we don’t make diamine acid oxidase, the enzyme that breaks down histamine. We can see if we have the HNMT’s. We can see if we have the gluten sensitivity or celiac genes to get a very good idea where our difficulties might be arising.
Dr. Veronica: Yes, wonderful. Let’s talk a little bit more about genetics because it’s so fascinating and I feel like anything else at this point in time is like Neanderthal. It’s like get on the boat, get the test, have somebody help you interpret these tests. Because this is pretty complicated. We sit and talk about the genes in our… You’re going to get your test back. It’s going to give you a nice, little, “Hey, these people are your relatives and you’re a bitter taster or a sweet taster.”
Yes, that’s important. But what we’re talking about is how do you process food, how do you break down food, are you sensitive to something, should you take this or not take that, what has been your problem? Tell us more Dr. Miller about MethylGenetic nutritional analysis and how you came up with it and what we can do with it now.
Dr. Miller: Sure. Let’s go back to naturopathic philosophy and that is that illness, premature aging, and the breakdown of the body comes from inflammation. And it’s just been recently that the scientific world has now come to the conclusion that naturopaths have been saying for a long time that’s inflammation at the cellular level that causes us to break down.
When we look at somebody we kind of guess their age. But what we’re doing is we’re guessing how much free radicals they’ve been exposed to and how much that has caused them to stoop over, be wrinkled, skin tone changes, those kind of things.
As I took that premise that inflammation is the problem I started looking at how can we tell from our genetics what our inflammation is. And there’s two things that go on. Either we are creating more what are called free radicals, and a free radical is an oxygen that has an electron missing and it’s going to do damage inside the body. And there’s genetic factors that will cause us to make more free radicals.
Then we’re incredibly made. The more I learn about the body the more amazing it is we actually have genetic instructions how to make enzymes that make antioxidants. We’ve all heard of antioxidants, and we get them from our food. But there’s even some debate as to the antioxidants we get from our food really give us that much benefit because the plant makes the antioxidants to protect the plant.
Our own body makes very important antioxidants called superoxide dismutase, glutathione, and catalase. And when there’s a superoxide free radical superoxide dismutase turns that into hydrogen peroxide. Then glutathione and catalase come along and turn it into water and oxygen. So this bad thing that can break us down if we have the right antioxidants made inside our body we’ll turn it down to water and oxygen.
An interesting study was done, elderly people 101 to 109 years old who were still doing well and they tried to figure out what was going on with them. The only medical thing they could find was they had the glutathione of the average 50 year old.
Glutathione levels determine how fast you’re going to break down. We can now look at our genetics and see how our genes are doing that make superoxide dismutase, that make glutathione, that make catalase. You see our genes are instructions on how to make enzymes. And when we have what are called genetic defects, that enzymatic reaction might be reduced anywhere from 20% to 80%.
Now what we can do is if we can see if someone doesn’t make enough superoxide dismutase it’s probably a good idea for them to take some. If they don’t make enough glutathione it’s probably a good idea to stimulate either the production or to take some.
If for example they don’t have enough L-carnitine, L-carnitine takes fats from outside the cell to inside the cell for energy production. So if they don’t make enough L-carnitine perhaps you need to make or take L-carnitine. So as you can see pattern that I’m talking about here, although this is cutting edge, although is very scientific, and although we use some very fancy words, in other regard it’s incredibly simple.
We look for it genetically we’re maybe not doing something well enough, either overproducing free radicals, under producing antioxidants. And then rather than create symptoms we jump in and say, “You know what, I don’t think you’re making enough superoxide dismutase. Here, let’s take some. I don’t think you’re making enough B12. Let’s go ahead and give you some of that. I don’t think you’re making enough choline to break down your fats. Let’s jump in and give you some of that.”
This is a paradigm shift. This is no longer take this drug or even this herb. Even natural health in the past was, “Oh, you have this symptom. Take this herb for it. This is a complete shift of where is the body a little bit deficient and let’s bring it into homeostasis so that we don’t have what’s called dis-ease, meaning that the body’s out of balance. And the symptoms are the body’s way of saying, “Please help me. I need some help.”
So we’re not just suppressing the symptom we’re putting into the body what should’ve been there in the first place isn’t because of genetic factors. But what’s exasperating this is our environment as you mentioned. Our ancestors or great grandparents didn’t live under the environmental pollution that we’re living now.
So they have these genetic defects as well clearly but they weren’t exposed to their furniture degassing, herbicides and pesticides, air pollution, water pollution, lead in the water, all of those likely are combining with our genetics to cause what we see this rise in autism, this rise in Alzheimer’s and dementia, this rise in diabetes. It’s a combination of genetic factors plus environmental factors as you spoke about.
Finally I’d like to talk about a very important thing we’re discovering in genetics and that is what’s called NOS uncoupling, nitrous oxide synthase uncoupling. Or rather than making the important gas nitric oxide which dilates our blood vessels, we make more free radicals causing something called peroxynitrite, that causes massive inflammation in the body, and is likely a root cause of many of the common maladies we’re seeing today because of that NOS uncoupling. As you can see I’m excited because we can really help people in ways that we weren’t able to help them before.
Dr. Veronica: Let me ask the question, people are going to listen to this. It sounds very scientific, but you’ve given some great information about, “If you have this problem you might deficient in this, you might be deficient in that.” Those 100-110 year old people, glutathione is the answer.” Let me run to the supplement store and grab the glutathione.
This is the way. We’re very reductionist in our culture and society. We hear a few things. Everybody comes into me, probably to you too with bags and bags of supplements. Why isn’t the answer since we know this to just run out and buy glutathione and L-carnitine and start taking it? We see it on Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz said, “This is good for that.” And so therefore people go run out and buy it. Why is that not the best answer?
Dr. Miller: Well, I see a lot of people who have done that and they’ve actually made themselves worse. For example, a lot of people now know about Methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase. They do their 23andMe. They do an online program. And it’s like, “I’ve got MTHFR. I need methyl folate.” And they go online and they buy some methyl folate, and they absolutely feel great for about three to five days and then they crash and burn either filled with anxiety or more inflammation than they’ve ever had.
The reason being is if you don’t have enough glutathione folate stimulates phase 1 liver detox, and then you’re in the dumpster with inflammation. If you have some other problems with neurotransmitters it overstimulates it and makes you anxious,
To your question about glutathione, if you just buy what’s called glutathione off the shelf your stomach acid will chew it up and it’ll be absolutely worthless. Many times what we have to look at is something called a acetyl glutathione that actually passes through the intestinal tract. Or we need to support the genes, and there’s various herbs that will stimulate what’s called NERF 2 nuclear transaction factor that stimulates the production.
However, on the other hand, somebody’s production of glutathione might be just fine but they’re creating massive inflammation because of some other cause. In the case of glutathione, probably won’t do any harm. But in the case of methyl B12 you can overstimulate things. Sometimes people have an upset stomach or an intestinal tract that take out glutamine. If they’re turning that into glutamate it’ll actually cause more problems.
Many men read about L-arginine and hear about how it helps with erectile function and muscle mass. But if you have genetic variance in the gene that turns l-arginine and nitrous oxide you’ll actually make more inflammation. And there’s another process of iron oxidation that I’m doing some research on now, huge, where we are carriers for the hemochromatosis gene. And if we actually make too much cysteine we’re making more inflammation.
So people read up on how n-acetylcysteine is so wonderful for creating glutathione, and it’s true. N-acetylcysteine along with glycine and glutamine makes glutathione. But if you’re already making too much cysteine, and you have genetic variants that you don’t turn your cysteine into glutathione, and you’re absorbing too much iron you’re literally throwing fuel on the fire and creating inflammation by taking n-acetylcysteine which they thought would help them make more glutathione.
Although supplements are generally safe, they’re food-based and they don’t do permanent harm, taking the wrong one at the wrong time can actually be detrimental. Another good example is people thing of niacin for their HDL’s. We don’t even know the mechanism. But niacin chews up what called [Unintelligible 00:22:25]. If you’re already low in [Unintelligible 00:22:30] and you start taking niacin, you can be shutting down your methylation process thinking you’re doing good things for your HDL’s but at the same time shutting yourself completely down.
And if you don’t use methyl groups and you start taking methylfolate and methylcobalamine in excess you’ll throw yourself into overmethylation and create massive amounts of inflammation. So I like to say it’s like a 3D chess game and I’m fascinated by it because the more I learn the more I realized how fearfully and wonderfully made we are to begin with, but how incredibly complex.
When we crack the code and really do the right things amazing things can start to happen. But when people do the wrong thing that’s when they’ll say, “That natural stuff doesn’t work. It’s all quackery.” This is biochemistry. This isn’t grandma’s herbal formula. But if you do the wrong biochemistry you’re going to have wrong results.
Dr. Veronica: I couldn’t have said it better myself and that’s why I bring on guests like Dr. Miller to educate you on a new way to do things, a better way to do things, as we get science. It’s not about just say, “What’s the problem with taking glutathione? What’s the problem with just taking activated B12, folate, or whatever.” You can actually do some harm to you because your genetics don’t support that. It doesn’t work the same in everybody.
There are seven billion people on earth and that means there are seven billion different ways that it works. So now we have a way that us practitioners can help you figure out what’s going to work right for you. And so I wanted to bring you on because one of the services that I offer, I do health coaching. And part of my health coaching is I sit down with people and help them figure out these types of things with programs such as MethylGenetic Nutritional Analysis.
You get your 23andMe. You come to Dr. Veronica, or Dr. Miller, or somebody else who has a program like this. We put it in and then out comes the other end that we can say, “You know what, you shouldn’t be eating these foods. Or maybe you need to eat more of these foods. And let’s script a supplement protocol that really is individualized and customized for you so we really get you where you want,” which is for me I want to be 99, seriously.
Once I turn 99 I’ve done it. I’m ready to close my eyes and go out here. But if you want to be 105 or 110 or 120, absolutely go ahead and do it, but you got to get it right with your genetics. Dr. Robert Miller, in Lancaster County out in Dutch Country, Pennsylvania who’s doing this wonderful research, bringing it to market so other practitioners can use it. And it’s making us happy because all of a sudden answers that we wanted to know it just becomes crystal clear all of a sudden.
It’s just when somebody comes in and they have some kind of weird reaction I’m like, “You got to get one of these because I bet you the answer could be this and let’s see really see what the answer is now. No more guessing.”
Dr. Miller, thank you for being on Wellness for the Real World. Keep doing what you’re doing. I want everybody to know that these are the types of teachers… Dr. Miller’s a master teacher so I’m going to courses with Dr. Miller and I can sit and learn all this stuff. One of the master teachers, thank you so much Dr. Miller for being on Wellness for the Real World.
Dr. Miller: It has been a real pleasure and best of luck to you in helping people get well based upon their genetics. You’re doing a great job.
Dr. Veronica: Fabulous. Thank you so much.
Female VO: Thank you for listening to the Wellness Revolution Podcast. If you want to hear more on how to bring wellness into your life visit drveronica.com. See you all next week. Take care.
Dr. Veronica Anderson is an MD, Functional Medicine practitioner, Homeopath. and Medical Intuitive. As a national speaker and designer of the Functional Fix and Rejuvenation Journey programs, she helps people who feel like their doctors have failed them. She advocates science-based natural, holistic, and complementary treatments to address the root cause of disease. Dr. Veronica is a highly-sought guest on national television and syndicated radio and hosts her own radio show, Wellness for the REAL World, on FOX Sports 920 AM “the Jersey” on Mondays at 7:00 pm ET.