Functional Medicine With Dr. Eldred Taylor
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In This Episode
Has your body ever seemed to just glitch or not function correctly for a seemingly unknown reason? You’re not exactly debilitated, but sometimes you’re just not reaching your optimum potential either?
Dr. Eldred breaks down how to quantify when certain aspects of modern life are holding you back or even dragging you down. Dive into which numbers to pay attention to in order to reach your optimum potential.
- Neurotransmitters and how to prevent their degradation
- Bio-identical hormones
- Hidden causes of inflammation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Why Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia are misleading
- Bio-Impedance analysis
- Cell aging
- Nitric oxide testing
- and of course Heart Rate Variability
Jason Moore: Hey folks, your host Jason Moore here. We have a great episode in store for you today full of really powerful information, so much so that I use the word powerful way too much throughout the episode, but it is truly packed with great information.
Our guest is Dr. Eldred Taylor. Dr. Eldred is a functional medicine doctor that has been practicing for over twenty years. He authored the books The Stress Connection and Are Your Hormones Making You Sick? And is also the founder of the American Functional Medicine Association. He and his wife, Dr. Ava Bell-Taylor, have been so successful in their joint functional medicine practice that they now also teach other medical professionals how to effectively assess, quantify, and improve patient conditions by enhancing the function of their body rather than just treating disease or symptoms.
As you’ll see throughout the episode, he clearly has a wealth of knowledge and we talk everything from neurotransmitters and how to prevent their degradation, bioidentical hormones, erectile dysfunction, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, bio-impedance analysis, cell aging, nitric oxide testing, and, of course, heart rate variability. We also learn that more than 80% of people who aren’t operating at their peak potential all have something in common and why every single one of his patients gets their HRV measured when they come in. He also shares his four steps for tackling any stress-related condition.
Throughout the episode, Dr. Eldred does get pretty technical with some subjects, but stick with it and either he or I summarize each point as we cover it. Also, part of the way through, his mic starts scratching against his shirt. That didn’t really come through when we were recording, so we didn’t catch it until after the show was recorded. Apologies for that. But if you get tripped up by any specific topic, just visit the podcast page at EliteHRV.com/podcast and we’ll post the show notes, links, any of the mentioned resources, and additional info.
Hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do, and as usual, this episode is brought to you by HRVCourse.com, which is the premiere resource for learning about the science and application of heart rate variability. Listeners of the show get 10% off with coupon code ELITEPODCAST. That’s over at HRVCourse.com. And let’s dive in.
Jason Moore: Welcome to the show, Dr. Eldred. I appreciate you taking the time to join us.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Well, thank you. I appreciate the invitation, Jason.
Jason Moore: To kick start, to get things started, maybe you could tell the audience a little bit about yourself.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Well, my name is Eldred Taylor, Dr. Eldred Taylor. I am from Nashville, Tennessee, I went to Vanderbilt University in Nashville and came to Atlanta, where I now practice, to go to medical school at Emery University. I’m originally trained as an obstetrician gynecologist; I did my medical school and residency at Emery University and practiced OBGYN pretty much continuously for about fifteen or sixteen years. And at that point, really about ten years into practice, I became very interested in bioidentical hormones – I don’t know if your audience understands it, but it’s more of a natural way to help women with menopause and other hormonal problems – and from learning about bioidentical hormones and how much that helped my patients, and it was really not what I had learned in my residency in OBGYN. I began to look at other ways to help my patients that I may not have learned in medical school, because in medical school, you’re primarily focused on trying to diagnose and treat diseases. But most people don’t necessarily have a disease; what they have is they have an inability to function at their highest level, and patients are looking at how can they live their best life for the longest? And after I learned about bioidentical hormones, I began to search for other things and we found something that was very interesting: that 75-90% of visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders. So, my wife and I, my wife who’s actually a psychiatrist who also practices with me, we began to be very interested in stress and how to diagnose and treat stress-related conditions – not necessarily diseases, but stress-related conditions. And from that, we wrote our second book, The Stress Connection. The first book we wrote was Are Your Hormones Making You Sick? And it was trying to teach both doctors and laypeople about hormone replacement. Then we wrote a book, The Stress Connection, and with that, we really started to focus on stress. Initially we were measuring salivary cortisol levels, but then we became interested in heart rate variability. As an OBGYN, we did fetal heart rate tracings every time a mother came in and we were looking for fetal distress, and we could tell by heart rate variability, and I was making life or death decisions looking at fetal heart rate tracings. And what I found out is that you can do that in an adult and you can diagnose stress-related conditions also. So, I don’t want to go too long, but from that we started an Association – the American Functional Medicine Association – and also we started a supplement company, Taylor MD Formulations, specifically designing substances to help treat and improve stress-related conditions, which are fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and I’m sure we’ll talk more about it as we continue the discussion. So, I didn’t want to go too long, but I’ve been practicing this for twenty years, so I’ve had a lot of transitions in my career. So, that’s me in a big nutshell.
Jason Moore: I appreciate that; that was perfect. I think it gives the listeners a really good understanding of who you are, where you come from, and kind of how you evolved into what it is you do now. So, you have an active practice right now where you currently see clients, as well as you advise and lead the–
Dr. Eldred Taylor: The American Functional Medicine Association. It’s AFMA – American Functional Medicine Association. We started that organization about three years ago. It’s growing at a rapid pace, because this generation, my generation, the baby boomer generation, the milennials, they’re more interested in health and maintaining function. My parents’ generation, they were more associated with, I’ll do whatever and the doctor will give me some medication that is going to hide all of the abuse that I’ve been applying to my body. And, at least my generation saw our parents slowly deteriorate their last five, ten, fifteen years of life. And my generation’s seeing that, and the generations to come, they’re really looking for more out of medicine than just wait until I get sick and then either do an operation or put me on some type of medication that I’m going to have to take for the rest of my life and then just move on. That’s not what patients are looking for, and so we’re trying to educate docs to be able to provide that. I’m not saying that there is not a place for traditional medicine, but there’s a gap between not being sick and being well, and I was taught to diagnose if you were sick or not; we really weren’t taught how to make people more well and more fit. So, that’s what the American Functional Medicine Association is trying to do.
Jason Moore: Okay, great. Yeah, that’s great. And in your practice, so you mentioned that you were an OBGYN originally and it sounds like your practice has evolved into kind of a more holistic health. What does your typical client look like?
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Well, I’ll tell you, my typical client has been a person– and I would tell you it’s 80% women, primarily because women are more concerned about their health than men are, generally. Usually it takes some life-altering event for a man to come into the office – he has a heart attack, chest pains, whatever. Women are more in tune with their bodies and they can pick up minor problems. So, my usual patient is a woman somewhere between forty and sixty-five. But unfortunately, I’m starting to see younger and younger patients who are dealing with stress-related issues. As we go on, I’ll give you some examples, but we have more and more kids. Kids are so stressed out from kindergarten, I mean, really trying to get into the best kindergarten, the best high school, the best college. So, I’m starting to see younger patients, because I may be seeing the mothers and we’re doing heart rate variability, we’re doing something called bioimpedance analysis that indicates what stress is doing to them – why they can’t sleep, why they’re tired, why they can’t focus, because they have a depressed autonomic nervous system, they don’t have enough energy in their sympathetic nervous system to have some get up and go, and also you have to have enough energy in your parasympathetic nervous system in order to sleep well. So, my typical patient is somewhere in that age range, but the primary complaint is usually fatigue, a difficulty sleeping, I also still have the patients who have hormonal issues. But what I’ve learned through fifteen years of practice seeing more functional medicine is that my original thought that we could alleviate a lot of problems just by balancing hormones, stress plays a much bigger role in health than I ever imagined. That 75-90% of patients who come to the office with stress-related complaints and disorders, I can definitely attest to that statistic – it’s probably closer to 90%. And by using heart rate variability, you can see it as being very evident that that is a serious problem.
Jason Moore: Great. And so, do you measure heart rate variability right out of the gate with all of your patients, or is it kind of a case-by-case basis?
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Everybody who walks in the door gets a heart rate variability, because you can’t really say for sure just from an interview or from history taking how much stress is involved. So, we do it on everyone. It’s just like when I was practicing OB – I haven’t done obstetrics in ten years now – but when we did obstetrics, every mother that walked in the door, if they were past twenty weeks or so, we put them on the heart rate monitor to test for heart rate variability, because sometimes you can have stress in a physiologic system that the patient is unaware of and had not recognized that it’s a symptom. I’ll tell you, a lot of my women, they have very infrequent bowel movements, maybe two or three times a week. Well, they don’t see that as a problem. When I tell them it’s a problem, they may see it’s a problem, but then if I do a heart rate variability and they see that their parasympathetic nervous system is not functioning well, and that is the rest and digest system, it gives me and theme some idea of what is not functioning that’s causing that problem. So, yes, we do heart rate variability one everybody who walks in the door.
Jason Moore: Great. And is that something that you typically do, a before and after, and you have a goal of increasing heart rate variability generally over the course of a treatment plan, for example?
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Exactly. We have treatment plans that go with our heart rate variability test. And yes, we do it before and then we provide some type of treatment and then we like to do it afterwards. The reason why we formed Taylor MD Formulations is that we got so involved in heart rate variability and what it can do and conditions that it can re-reel, is that we actually design products especially to change heart rate variability: to increase parasympathetic tone, to try and modulate sympathetic tone, and also treat the conditions, primary the GI system, the ability of the parasympathetic nervous system to allow patients to rest. So, we design specific products to correct problems that can be identified on heart rate variability and also in order to prove the efficacy of our products. We want to use the heart rate variability to show that we had an objective change and a measurement, and not only just a subjective change: not only did the patients say that they are sleeping better, but we have an increase in parasympathetic tone that shows that their parasympathetic nervous system has improved. There’s several studies that show that any improvement in parasympathetic activity will improve patient outcomes. Anything that enhances or increases sympathetic tone is going to cause a decrease in the positive outcome in a patient or in a person. So, whatever you can do to enhance parasympathetic tone has proven in many studies that it’s going to improve health. And that’s what we would do with fetal heart rate tracings: if we saw poor heart rate variability, we would implement the maneuvers in the mother to increase that parasympathetic tone. That’s because if we didn’t get that parasympathetic tone to increase, that baby was going to have a poor outcome and I was going to be dealing with a malpractice suit. That’s how important that heart rate variability is. I mean, we really did make life and death decision on that. And when I first began to try and understand heart rate variability, I was trying to like “Oh, this is such a new concept,” but then I realized that this is what I’ve been doing for the last fifteen years is looking at heart rate variability and trying to prevent poor outcomes in these babies, and I can do the same thing to try and prevent poor outcomes in my adult patients.
Jason Moore: That’s powerful. As you discuss this, I just wanted to address that you’re not saying that the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system doesn’t play a role and isn’t important, but you’re just talking about in specific situations, especially in situations where you’re trying to optimize or recover your health, then that parasympathetic branch is really the branch to focus on strengthening.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Yes, right, because most people don’t have any problem with stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. We are such an on-the-go society, we are push, push, push all the time that the sympathetic nervous system is always being demanded upon. Now, here’s the problem is that when the body identifies a stress, anything that the body sees as being out of balance is considered to be a stress, and the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated. Now, that can be as simple as imbalance in blood glucose, not enough blood to a certain area, so not only is the stress that we perceive as being a stress, as an emotional stress, but it’s also any internal imbalance the body also sees as a stress. Now, that is great, you want the body to recognize small imbalances and make a change so that the body can be at a homeostatic– in balance, so you want the sympathetic nervous system to be able to do that. But then after that has been done, you want the parasympathetic nervous system to allow the body to rest and digest and bring in more nutrients so that it is ready for the next stressor. Now, the problem is that when the body is running low on supplies – and the body needs amino acids to make neurotransmitters to make adrenaline and to make serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, these neurotransmitters that transmit messages in the nervous system – is that when the body is running low on supplies, which are primarily amino acids, the body’s number one goal is to protect you from danger. So, if it’s trying to ration supplies, it’s going to say, hey, we’re going to sacrifice the parasympathetic nervous system because we need to make sure that you are safe and that you can protect yourself from danger. So, a lot of times what will happen is that the sympathetic nervous system will remain either normal or elevated, and the parasympathetic nervous system is depleted of its resources. So, that’s why a lot of people have anxiety, they can’t sleep, they have difficulty with their GI system. So, the sympathetic nervous system is very, very important, but if we demand too much from it, we are going to sacrifice our parasympathetic nervous system. So, yes, you want your body to look for those small, little imbalances and to correct them, but what happens also is that the more you deplete the entire system, the body is unable to detect the small changes. And when you don’t detect and correct the small changes, then what will happen is they will lead into a big problem, and that’s when you start to have significant symptoms and you start to have organ systems break down. So, yeah, the sympathetic nervous system is important, but most of the time what happens is that the parasympathetic nervous system is suffering, and that’s why you don’t get the variability. It’s sympathetic all the time, so you get a straight line in the heart rate variability; you don’t get those quick and rapid changes.
Jason Moore: Nice. So, the sympathetic should be more of an acute response and over time you should have predominantly more parasympathetic activity.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Right. Yeah, it should be an acute response. The stress response is supposed to be “I see danger – I decide if I’m going to fight the danger off or am I going to flee from the danger?” So, either way, it should be a quick decision and the body really should increase the sympathetic for about fifteen, twenty minutes. In the animal kingdom, what happens is either you’re going to fight off the predator or you’re going to run from the predator. In the example I give when I’m talking to doctors or I’m talking to patients is that either it’s going to be a ten or fifteen-minute fight, or it’s going to be a ten or fifteen-minute race. If you win the fight or if you win the race, then in the animal kingdom – because this is a very instinctive-type reaction – in the animal kingdom, if you win the fight or you win the race, you say, “I won the fight, I won the race. That predator I don’t have to worry about for a while; I’ll just rest and relax until the next predator comes along.” Well, if you lose the fight or if you lose the race if you’re an animal, you’re a dead animal and so you don’t have the stress response when you’re dead. So, either way, if you win or lose in that fight or flight, it’s a short-term reaction. Well, we don’t have predators coming after us, but we have financial problems, we have sick children, we have job stressors, and what people don’t understand is that I live in Atlanta – the environment in Atlanta with all the toxins and pollution, that’s putting a stress on my body to have to detoxify that. That activates the sympathetic nervous system. So, we have family issues, we have financial issues, we have job stress issues, so all of those are constantly stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, so our society and our way of life is not conducive to this quick on and quick off. And again, that’s why it’s 75-90% of conditions are stress-related, because our way of life almost is a prerequisite for that.
Jason Moore: And that is, I think you mentioned earlier as well, that’s kind of what led you to end up writing your second book, The Stress Connection, is that right?
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Exactly. You know, the way I practice is that I see patients for at least an hour – at least the first visit is an hour – and what I have found is that if you talk to a patient long enough and you ask them when did all these issues start? When did you start not to sleep? When did you start to have this brain fog? When did you start to gain this weight? They usually can pinpoint a certain time: “It was eight years ago, it was nine years ago.” So then I ask them what was happening the couple of years before that time, and I will tell you 90% of the time in the couple years preceding their health failing, they had either one extremely stressful situation happen, or several moderate stressful situations happen. Again, my patients are older than you are; you’ll see that life just brings you stressors. So, usually around age forty or fifty, these women are dealing with the stressor that primarily brings them in, which is menopause, this change in life, which is a physiologic stress. But also during that time, they have raised kids. Some of the kids have done well, maybe some of the kids haven’t done well. Also during that time, their parents have aged, so they’ve had to deal with those issues – where do they stay, they have Alzheimer’s. A lot of these patients have dealt with divorces, maybe one divorce, maybe two divorces. A lot of these are getting older in their career; maybe their career is not satisfying or they’re getting pressure at their job. So, usually they will tell you that all of these things happened. Now, why does it happen a year or two before? Because what can happen is that they were able to get through the stressful situation, but they may have depleted all of their resources. They may have depleted all of their vitamins and minerals, their amino acids to allow them to make neurotransmitters, and also their other body systems have been depleted of nutrients that they need. So, they begin to see that their health declines one or two years after they’ve had stressful situations. And because stress suppresses their immune system, there are several studies that show that in women – and I’m primarily focused on women because I’m an OBGYN – but women with breast cancer usually have had stressors two years prior to their diagnosis of breast cancer. So, all of this constant never-ending stress is definitely detrimental to your health if you don’t do something to try and balance the scale again.
Jason Moore: That’s a really powerful message for people, I think. A lot of times when you’re in the moment of– like during that two-year period when you’re going through an extended period of either cumulative or acutely impactful stress, you feel like you’re getting through it. And sometimes people say, “Oh, well I’m fine with five hours of sleep,” or maybe they’re trying to train for marathons at the same time that they’re working sixty hours a week at their job and also have children and bills to pay and all of these things, but when you’re in the moment, you may not realize that you’re causing some cumulative damage that will not manifest until a couple years down the road.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Right. And you talk about marathon runners, and I know primarily you use HRV to try and help people assess their health level and their fitness level and should they exercise that day, but yet, if you don’t do that, over-exercise is a huge stressor. And a lot of times, patients, they have gone through a stressor, they’ve gained the weight, they don’t feel good, so then they go out and they over exercise trying to feel better, and actually they’re doing more harm to themselves. So, it’s really important to gauge how much exercise, because that can also be a stressor. And when you’re talking about at that present moment, they don’t realize that they’re doing long-term damage, you’re exactly right, because a lot of times they have enough adrenaline, they can push themselves through that situation, but then when they don’t have that same stimulus, the body almost over-compensates; instead of it going back to normal, it will usually decompensate and go to a level of functioning that’s less than normal. Now, also what will happen is they will go to a regular doc and they will complain of all this fatigue and can’t sleep, and so then the doc will ask, “Well, what’s going on in your life? It sounds like stress.” Well, this may be six years down the road and now their parents died two or three years ago, they’re over the grief of that, maybe they got remarried and they’re happily married, maybe their kids turned around, and you don’t understand why you’re having all these problems when right now you have no stress. That’s why you have to talk to the patient long enough, because sometimes they don’t associate. They don’t recognize that, oh yeah, it did start six years ago and that was two years after my divorce and two years after my parents got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. So, that’s what’s sometimes confusing. And the person comes into the doctor and they’re like, “Wow, it sounds like stress, but you’re doing fine so it must not be that, so let me look for this,” and then they don’t find anything, and then they’d say, “Oh, well, you’re not sick. You’re fine.” Well, they may not be disease sick, but the patient will definitely tell you that they’re not fine. The statement I use is that there’s a lot of frustration between physicians and patients, because the doctor will continue to tell the patient, “You’re not sick,” and the patient will tell the doctor, “But I know I’m not well,” and they will argue about that, but really they’re both correct. The doctor is saying you don’t have a diagnosable disease and the patient says, “I know I don’t have a diagnosable disease, that’s fine, but I’m not well like I was ten years ago,” and a lot of people chalk it up as, oh, I’m just getting old, but really, it’s just the autonomic nervous system is depleted.
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And that kind of is what makes measuring things like heart rate variability so powerful and also doing other tests. Are there other tests that you run aside from heart rate variability?
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Some other tests that we do on everybody who walks in the door, it’s a bioimpedance analysis, Have you ever heard of bioimpedance analysis?
Jason Moore: I’ve heard of bioimpedance, but I’m not sure if it’s the same.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: It probably is. Well, bioimpedance analysis has been around for probably forty or fifty years. It was reviewed by the National Institutes of Health, and it gained popularity when HIV and Aids became almost an epidemic back in the ’70s and ’80s, because it can measure body composition – that’s one thing it can measure. How it works is you place two electrodes on the patient’s foot – it’s almost like an EKG – two electrodes on the patient’s foot, two electrodes on the patient’s hand. A current of electricity is sent through the body, it’s undetectable by the patient just like an EKG is not detectable. But bioimpedance looks at how does a person’s biology impede the flow of electricity through the body? So, based on what the body is made out of, how much fat, how much muscle, how much fluid, how much bone, then it will either slow down or speed up that currant and you can analyze that; that’s why it’s called a bioimpedance analysis. You can analyze that and you can get body composition. Now, you may say, well, there’s a lot of machines that do body composition, and that’s just one part of it, but the other part of it is that you can determine how many new, vibrant, healthy cells a person has as compared to how many old or dying cells that they have. The body is always trying to regenerate and renew itself. So, there’s a measurement that it gives us called the phase angle, because new cells conduct electricity better than old, dying cells. So, you can take this number, the phase angle that should be about seven and if it’s below seven, you know that the person is catabolic; they’re breaking themselves down faster than they’re building themselves up. So, we do this test to see, and usually what is the most catabolic hormone is cortisol, the stress hormone. So, this is another way we can look at what has stress or what are you doing to your body? Are you building it up as fast as you’re breaking it down? So, if you have a low phase angle, one, we want to try and eliminate the stressors or whatever, but the other thing that you want to do is that if the body is not able to renew itself, then either you’re not putting the right foods in your mouth or your gut is not able to break down the food into its basic component so that it can use those nutrients to make new cells. Or, the third thing that sometimes we don’t think about, you have to give your body time to renew itself, and it does that when you’re asleep. And if you’re having poor quality sleep or if you’re not having enough sleep, your phase angle is going to go down, because your body is not given time to rebuild itself from all of the exertion that you may have put it through during the day with going to work and exercising, taking care of your kids, working up until eleven o’clock a night – that’s what a lot of women do and then they get four or five hours of sleep. So, those types of measurements, it helps a person to see, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know that that’s what this was doing to me.” So, those two tests we do on everybody who walks in . We also use that, again, to determine, is what I’m doing actually helping this person? Is it helping to build themselves back up? Is it helping them to replenish those supplies of amino acids? One other test that we do – and these are the big ones – we do a digital pulse analysis that looks at the flexibility of the blood vessels. It’s really looking at do they have enough nitric oxide to allow their blood vessels to be flexible? Nitric oxide, you’ve probably heard about that, because a lot of people in fitness know about nitric oxide, because it increases oxygenation of all systems – the brain, the muscles. So, all of these things we can do in the office, they’re in-office tests. Also, we do other blood tests, we look for vitamin D, we look for mineral deficiencies, we do a test called a zinc tally test where if you take this zinc and if you’re low in zinc you won’t taste the metallic taste of it, but if you’re sufficient, have a sufficient supply of zinc, then you will. So, these are all in-office tests. We try to get as much information as we can so we can help the patient before they ever get sick.
So, the difference is what I learned in medical school, we learned how to do disease testing, so if you have a disease, I knew the tests to do. But if you didn’t have a disease, it was very hard for me to quantify it. Functional medicine is about doing tests – doing functional tests: how well is a system functioning? How well is the cardiovascular system functioning? How well is your body able to renew new cells? So, we do a lot of functional tests and I try and do tests that their normal doctor is not going to do. A lot of times you go from physician to physician, they do the same test over and over again, and insanity is doing the same thing over and over again thinking that you’re going to get a different result. So, we like to do a test that you’re not going to usually get, and I usually see patients after they’ve already been to the doctor and been told that they’re not sick, and I try to understand that and I’d say, “Well, I understand that you’re not well and so let’s try to work in that.” So, those are some of the things that we do in the office, and it not only gives me information, but patients are very happy that finally they see some objective evidence to show them why they are feeling like they feel, because sometimes patients think that it’s all in there head and that, “Maybe I am crazy – everybody keeps telling me I’m okay, and what’s happening to me?” And then also – and I don’t mean– this is a subject I’m passionate about so I keep talking – but also patients get labeled with certain things like chronic fatigue, and chronic fatigue is not really a diagnosis, it’s really just an interpretation of what the patient told the doctor. The patient comes in and says, “Hey doc, I’m tired all the time.” Well, if I tell you you have chronic fatigue, I just told you what you told me, because chronic means ‘all the time’ and fatigue means ‘I’m tired,’ so, I didn’t give you any extra information. But because the doctor can’t quantify it into a disease, he just names it something and he’s really just naming it and not really giving you a clear idea of what it is and what can you do about it. And so patients walk around and live the rest of their lives and they have the excuse of, “Oh, you know, I have chronic fatigue, that’s why I can’t work, that’s why I can’t fully enjoy my family, that’s why I can’t fully fulfill the destiny of my life, because I have chronic fatigue,” and so they stop looking for solutions. And so that is the message that I’m trying to get across to physicians that these patients that frustrate you, that you can’t really understand, let’s try and use some different types of tests to see if that will reveal some issues that we may not have previously been taught or understood. But if we will open our minds and try and understand these things, there’s a huge number of patients out there that can be helped. And I’m so happy that people like you– I think I asked you when I first met you, how did you get involved in this, because heart rate variability, the fact that you’re trying to bring the public where they can do it even outside the doc– sometimes when a patient walks in and says, “This is what I’m doing and this is what it shows,” sometimes doctors will listen to that, and that’s why the pharmaceutical companies have commercials on TV, is because they want the patient to come in and demand a certain drug from the doc. So, hopefully with you spreading out HRV that they’ll come in and demand that the doctor understands what this information is telling them.
Jason Moore: So, you start off with some broad tests that show the state of health and give you kind of a baseline of where the patient is at and then you use more specific tests to figure out ways in which you can improve that level of health, and it’s that combination that’s really kind of powerful. Whereas going to, in some cases, going to a traditional doctor, you’re just diving right into specific tests without having any kind of idea of what the holistic picture is, and then just keep on testing to those tests over and over again and not necessarily having a bigger picture look at the overall state of health. That’s powerful, and I’ve also never heard as good of a description of chronic fatigue ever, and that’s something that being in the heart rate variability business and dealing with people who talk about stress in various ways, chronic fatigue comes up a lot. And actually, we have a lot of users on our platform that say, “I have chronic fatigue and I’m using HRV or your app to help me track that,” and it’s a great step for them. But I really think – I hope they’re listening to this particular episode, because what you’re saying is that you don’t have to live your whole life with the label of chronic fatigue.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Exactly right. In my lectures I have this list of non-diagnosis diagnoses. Chronic fatigue is one – “Hey doc, I’m tired all the time” chronic fatigue. Fibromyalgia’s another one I’m sure that you probably hear all the time. Well, fibromyalgia – fibro means joints, it means fibrous tissue, which the joints are made out of, the my is myo for muscle, and algia is pain. So, usually the patient comes in and says, “I have pain in all of my muscles and my joints, so all of my joints and muscles hurt.” Well, fibromyalgia is ‘I have pain in all of my joints and muscles,’ but it doesn’t tell you why. Now, I’m not saying this is all fibromyalgia, but when a person is under stress, the body uses energy by going to the glycolic pathway – glycolic acid pathway, glycolysis. The end result of that is lactic acid. So, you can be under stress, just like the lactic acid you get from exercise. So, you can be under stress and the body is thinking that you’re going to run or is going to fight, so it goes down this glycolic acid pathway and it makes lactic acid. That lactic acid builds up in the muscles and it causes pain. If you talk to the fibromyalgia patients, usually the fibromyalgia starts after a prolonged period.
The other one is attention deficit disorder. Attention deficit disorder means that I have trouble paying attention. Well, when you have an excess– and I’m not saying this is all, but this can be some of it, is that the sympathetic nervous system makes you think of a thousand things at one time. It’s trying to evaluate where’s the danger coming from. If you don’t have enough parasympathetic activity to calm that down, you’re going to have trouble focusing. So, again, I’m not saying that all of these conditions are related to stress or can be solved simply, but I think a lot of people– there’s so many people with labels. I mean, they almost wear it proudly: “Oh, you know, I have ADD,” “Oh, you know, I have fibromyalgia.” It’s almost like a badge of courage or a badge of honor, and really if they could understand it and take measures to at least time to improve it, maybe not eliminate it, but in some cases it can be eliminated – I see it in my office all the time – is that if you could understand it, the patient can be involved, and you’re giving them some idea of how to understand it. Hey, this is what’s going on in your autonomic nervous system, then what we need to do is say, “This is how you can improve that.” We can look to see if enhancing your ability to make neurotransmitters would help you. Can we eliminate some of these physiologic stressors, because what you were saying is that yes, I try to get an overall picture of their health. If the patients come in and their phase angle is four where it should be seven and their parasympathetic nervous system is just about wiped out, I have to do a lot of testing to say, okay, where is that coming from? What system is not working? What do we need to work on? Is it your gut, is it your adrenal gland, is it that you don’t have enough nitric oxide, what is it? If they walk in and they have a phase angle of eight and their heart rate variability is perfect, then I wouldn’t need to do as much investigation. So, you’re right, it tells me how much investigation do I have to do, And I don’t just try to label people, I try to see what is their state of health, what can do to try and improve it, what is going on, or what stressors can I eliminate? And when I talk about stressors that the patient may not be aware of, something like a food intolerance, and what most people know is gluten intolerance. And people who are severely gluten intolerant, they can become very, very sick. Well, there are mild cases of gluten intolerance. You can be intolerant of all types of food – gluten, dairy, nuts are probably the big ones, but you can be sensitive to something as healthy as broccoli. And we do food insensitivity testing a lot and if you are constantly eating foods that you’re sensitive to, you are setting up an inflammatory response every time you eat those foods, and that inflammatory response stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. So, sometimes just simply by taking away a food, totally corrects a heart rate variability. Or that person who’s complaining of chronic fatigue, that’s really where their chronic fatigue is coming from, because they have depleted their sympathetic nervous system by constantly eating gluten. So, those are the things you have to look for those hidden stressors that you can take away, and then after you take away that stressor, now you have to repair the damage that has been done by that stressor: replete the amino acids, try and help the gut heal with probiotics, with glutamine, with greens, with aloe vera. So, I always say that here are the four steps of stress: first you try and identify and eliminate the stress if at all possible, but sometimes if you have a sick child, an autistic child, we can’t eliminate that stress. And sometimes if it’s your spouse and you don’t believe in divorce, you can’t eliminate that stress, so you have to change how you respond to the stress. You change how you respond to the stress and sometimes the heart rate variability can see how a different response has changed how your autonomic nervous system responds to the stress. So, if you can’t change your response to the stress, you then have to try and repair your body from the past stress and prepare your body to be able to better handle the future stress. So, those are kind of my four steps: eliminate, change your response, if those two don’t work or can’t be done, then what you would try to do is repair the damage that has been done, and the prepare your body for this ongoing stressor. And you can do that and even live with a stress. You can see people live with all kinds of horrible conditions, but either they’ve changed how they respond to the stress and they repaired themself from that stress, and they prepared their body to be able to handle the stress in the future. So, that’s kind of that four-point game plan that we try to do. I mostly try to help them to identify the stress and to eliminate the stress if it’s something that can be eliminated. They have to be a part in changing how they respond to the stress, and biofeedback can help them with that. But then I also try and give them treatment plans to help them repair their body and also to help them prepare for future stress to come.
Jason Moore: I really am going to highlight that four-steps, because I think that’s really powerful, and actually those similar steps can be applied to so many systems. And there’s an author who I’ve read, Nassim Taleb, who writes about economics a lot and things like that, and he just talks about kind of similar– the first step to improving a system is to mitigate those fragile points, and then after that is to robustify the system, kind of strengthen the system and repair it, and then also prepare for future stressors, he talks about anti-fragility. But basically preparing for future stressors, that can only come after you’ve already mitigated the existing ones and kind of healed and repaired from those.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Well, I haven’t read that book, so I don’t– you know, with this Obama/Trump plagiarism of the speeches, I didn’t plagiarize that, I came up with that myself, my four points. I didn’t know you could apply it to a financial system, so that’s very interesting. So, I guess that is just a part of repairing almost anything. So, I didn’t plagiarize that, I just wanted to make– [laughs]
Jason Moore: Oh no, no, that’s great. No, I just like that you came from a totally different background and a totally different experience and came to a similar conclusion, because biological systems are complex systems. Economic systems behave very similarly to biological systems. One thing I wanted to bring back around is you mentioned that sometimes people will go to the doctor and the doctor will say I’m not sick, but the patient will say I’m not well. And that’s one hand that you may see in that, and just being a young male person is I have another perspective as well that I think that you’ll probably identify with with some of your patients, especially now that you’re seeing a lot more young patients as well, is that I was kind of– I wasn’t sick, but I wasn’t well from such a young age that I didn’t know that I wasn’t well. Fitness actually, by luck almost, led me to make some changes to my diet and my lifestyle and I eliminated a lot of foods that turned out to be really inflammatory to me, and I experienced for the first time a lifting of brain fog and constant energy levels that I didn’t even know I could achieve, because I thought that falling asleep in school was kind of a normal thing. I didn’t want to sleep in school, but sometimes just staying up late playing computer games or eating Pizza Rolls too often and things like that were really causing this fog and this inconsistent energy levels. And then on the same side, similarly, you mentioned that the gut may not be able to absorb nutrients, even if you’re eating a good amount of nutrients. And during that time, I started working out and I was trying to eat tons and tons of calories but I was never gaining any weight, which some people don’t want to hear that, because–
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Right. [laughs] They hate you.
Jason Moore: — they can gain weight too easily, but it’s a different problem and it’s still indicative of issues on the inside. Finally, after eliminating a lot of foods, my brain fog lifted, my energy levels are constant and powerful throughout the day, I’m able to put on muscle when I actually exercise, and all these things, but I didn’t know that I had those issues, because I just had had them forever. So, I just wanted to kind of add my experience with– and now that I am able to analyze some objective data and keep a tap on that, I can kind of tell when different decisions are affecting me, and I also pay a lot closer attention to those things now.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: So, you’re the perfect example of this younger and younger patient that I see. I’ll give you an example: I had a young guy, I’d taken care of his mother, and she brought her son in. He was twenty-one years old – he actually went to Vanderbilt; he was actually here to visit. And he’s twenty-one with erectile dysfunction and he’s been on antidepressants since he was fourteen. So, I did the heart rate variability and saw that his parasympathetic nervous system was really pretty much shot. He said he had trouble sleeping, also his mother said he had just gotten a job with a big company, but she noticed that he’s not as excited, so he had kind of this flat affect. Anyway, to make a long story short, his parasympathetic nervous system was shot. In order to have an erection, you have to have parasympathetic activity in order for the blood vessels to relax to have an erection, and that’s in a lot of studies. So anyway, we gave him amino acids and we gave him a supplement called Easy Calm that has taurine, [picomelia? 0:51:06.6], and glycine. It’s actually to help the parasympathetic nervous system, so we put him on that. In two months he called me and told me everything was fine, he had gotten off his antidepressants, everything works like it’s supposed to work, and we redid the heart rate variability, and his parasympathetic activity had almost tripled. Then I decided, I said, let me go and see if there’s any information about this, because this was just a fluke, but if you read some information that comes from urology journals, they recommend using HRV in erectile dysfunction. They said that it works as well as a pudendal nerve test, and if they did HRV and not a pudendal nerve test on their patients who had erectile dysfunction, that they would not have missed any autonomic nervous system problems. So, there was about four or five articles that recommended HRV as being a workup for erectile dysfunction. And again, anything you can do to enhance the parasympathetic nervous system is going to improve outcome. And this is why – and I guess I’ll speak as simply as I can – but a lot of men will have performance anxiety and premature ejaculation because ejaculation is governed by the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system controls erections. So, that’s why we see such a problem with erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation, because we have over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and under-stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Now, here’s the problem: one of my best friends is a urologist and I showed him this information and he was like, “Oh, this is great,” and that was the end of it. And I’ve learned that I try and educate people who want to be educated, and people who don’t want to be educated I just move on. But that’s very interesting. I’ve had that situation several times, and again, I don’t care what you say, it’s not normal for a twenty-one-year old college student to have erectile dysfunction. I mean, that just should not happen, and this basis can be just correcting the autonomic nervous system. And he was on antidepressants and he was telling me he had gotten off the antidepressants, he was like, “Wow.” He said, “It is commonplace for these kids to be on antidepressants,” and I think that’s just pitiful, because once you get on antidepressants, it’s very hard to get people off of it if you don’t provide the body with the precursors for them to make serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, and that’s usually the issue; they’ve depleted their ability to make neurotransmitters. So, the serotonin reuptake inhibitors, all they do is allow the low level of serotonin to last longer; it stays in the synapse longer, but that really causes a problem, because it desensitizes the receptors and it leaves serotonin open for degradation. So, usually what happens is the longer you’re on the antidepressant, the lower your serotonin becomes. So now, five years later when you try to get off of it, your serotonin level is much lower than what it was before, and the only way you can really correct that is to give amino acids. And use the heart rate variability a lot to show that hey, this is a real problem. It’s not because you don’t have enough Zoloft in your system, it’s really because you don’t have enough precursors to allow your autonomic nervous system to work correctly.
Jason Moore: And just to kind of bring up again what you said earlier is that there’s so many diagnoses that are non-diagnosis diagnoses like ADD, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and then there’s a lot of other diseases that are just skyrocketing in popularity – diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, definitely obesity and things like that. And so to me, when we’re talking about big picture versus specific is that if you see that in a culture or in a community that there’s a rapid rise in either these diseases or these non-diagnoses, what are all these people doing similarly, because there might actually be similar roots, but it’s just manifesting in different ways from different people?
Dr. Eldred Taylor: Yeah, you’re exactly right. You’re saying this rise, that means that all these people are being exposed to some stimulus to cause all of these problems. And again, I think it’s stress. And we talk about obesity, stress cortisol is implemented in insulin resistance, and I have a whole chart about that. So, if you’re under chronic stress and you’re putting out a lot of cortisol, it’s going to lead you into insulin resistance. Also, inflammation causes you to be lepton insensitive, so your body stores more fat than it should, so that can be a problem. Toxicity can cause you to put on weight. So, yeah, we’re exposed to so many things that are causing these issues, and you can tell this in population studies. The more Westernized underdeveloped countries become, the more they begin to have the diseases that we see in developed countries. And if they move from a country– I’ll give you an example: in India, the rate of colon cancer is almost zero, because in traditional Indian cultures, from birth, the mother makes fresh yogurt with live bacteria every day. So, in that culture, they’re constantly being given probiotics from birth. Now, they move to this country and their rate of colon cancer is going to be equal– the longer they stay here, the more it’s going to be equal to ours. I talked to some physicians who had come from India who were trained in India who had never seen colon cancer and then they come here and they see it. So yes, changes in a person’s traditional diet and their traditional environment will cause these conditions to be seen in a person where normally it would not be seen. So, it has to be something that the person is exposed to or it’s something in their environment or the lifestyle, or the change in culture or tradition.
Jason Moore: So, when we say that stress could be related to so many of these factors, we’re just going to reiterate that that doesn’t necessarily mean that just having a stressful job is going to cause all these things or something like that; it’s an accumulation of stress from many different avenues. And/or some people respond more heavily to, like say nutritional stressors, for example. And there’s also generational stressors where if your parents went through a phase of malnutrition or something like that and then that was preceding the years that you were born, then that may be adding additional genetic stressors to you. So, that’s something for young people to consider, especially right now. So anyways, I just wanted to kind of encapsulate that for people listening at home that we’re talking about many different ways. And having a big picture view is a great place to start, and then from there you can narrow down to determine what it is that is affecting you the most.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: And heart rate variability is great for that, because– let’s go back to fetal heart rate traces. We’d see in poor fetal heart rate tracing, we would have to go through multiple maneuvers to see if we could get the heart rate variability back. If the woman was in labor, we would try and slow down the contractions; maybe the stress of the contractions were a problem, so we would do that and see if the heart rate variability would improve. Well, if that didn’t do it, we would increase the fluids to see maybe they’re not getting enough fluid to the baby. We would put oxygen on the mother, maybe it’s not enough oxygen. So, we would go through all these maneuvers and if we hit the right one, the heart rate variability would return. If we didn’t, if it was something we couldn’t correct, then we had to remove the baby from the stress. So, like you’re talking about it has multiple stresses, not just your husband got on your nerves or your wife got on your nerves or whatever, it’s all these hidden stressors. So, what you can do is you can remove a food. Oh, did that improve my heart rate variability? Oh, wow, it did – then it may be a food or a gut issue. Or maybe I’m going to do some type of other intervention, either more exercise or less exercise – did it improve my heart rate variability? That’s really kind of what we were doing with fetal heart rate tracings. So, if you can’t go in and get a specific test, you can kind of test it using that biofeedback of heart rate variability.
Jason Moore: So, I think that’s a good place to wrap up for today. Dr. Taylor, this has been an excellent episode. I think people are really going to enjoy all the information that you’ve shared with us, so I appreciate you taking the time to come on the show today. Go ahead and feel free to share what’s the website of where people can find you and where people can find more information about your supplements as well.
Dr. Eldred Taylor: It’s TaylorMDFormulations.com – TaylorMDFormulations.com. We do have products that are specifically designed to repair and prepare the body from what damage could be caused by stress and stress-related conditions. Probably our number one product is Amino Restore, because what you’ll find is that most patients are low in amino acids. And I’ll just give you one more snippet of information: there’s recent information out about proton pump inhibitors being related to dementia – I don’t know if you’ve seen that or not. But the reason why is that proton pump inhibitors, these are drugs that decrease stomach acid; it’s for patients who have GERD – gastroesophageal reflux – who have heartburn. So, these proton pump inhibitors decrease the acid in the stomach. Acid is necessary for the body to break down proteins into amino acids. So, all these patients who are on Zantec and Nexium, they are going to have trouble breaking down protein, because they don’t have enough acid in their stomach. If you don’t break down protein into amino acids, you don’t have the precursors for neurotransmitters, and neurotransmitters are what are needed for the autonomic nervous system to work correctly. So, two things that you need are amino acids and you also need minerals, because minerals are electrolytes, so they have positive and negative charges. The nervous system works through neurotransmitters and through electrical charges. So, Amino Restore has both of those in there; it’s definitely our bestselling product. That’s how we got the guy with the erectile dysfunction with energy, it’s a great, great product to start with. And also if you’re in fitness, it’s a great recovery product. We have several gyms who are using this. So, Amino Restore is one, also, Phosphatidylserine and Serene Calm helps to lower cortisols. So, I don’t want to get in too much, but go to Taylor MD Formulations, I’ll give Jason information on how to contact us, and we would love to hear from you and try and help you to get rid of some of those labels that may have been placed on you. I thank you so much for this opportunity, Jason. I relish any opportunity to try and get my message out to laypeople and to any physicians who may be listening, trying to understand heart rate variability also.
Jason Moore: Dr. Taylor obviously has a wealth of knowledge on this subject, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet him in person in Atlanta and also hear some amazing stories from some of the patients that he and his wife have worked with. Dr. Taylor’s supplement line can be found at TaylorMDFormulations.com. All of the notes and links for this show are easily found at www.EliteHRV.com/podcast and you can message us there as well if you have any questions for myself or Dr. Taylor. Lastly, it would help me and my team out tremendously if you left a short review over on iTunes, even if you listen on another app. Just search for Elite HRV on the podcast section of iTunes or go to EliteHRV.com/iTunes to drop us a short review. Thanks.
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