383: Sauna Therapy and Heart Health with Dr. Joel Kahn

Dr. Joel Kahn And Ashley James


  • Benefits of sauna therapy
  • Benefits of Magnesium soak
  • Benefits of ENERGYbits and RECOVERYbits
  • Plant-based vegan diet is good for heart health
  • Diet and fitness of mind and body are important
  • The science of light therapy for healing
  • Benefits of Infrared sauna
  • Waon therapy of Japan
  • Importance of light for our health
  • Benefits of near infrared sauna
  • Benefits of red light
  • Photobiomodulation
  • Sunlighten lumiNIR
  • Saunas and weight loss
  • Kahn's three tips: meditation, organic chlorella, HIIT workout
  • Congenital heart conditions in children and adults
  • People should be concerned about their arteries
  • ARVC heart condition
  • Organ meats and processed fat to heal autoimmune diseases
  • Books and doctors that Dr. Kahn follows
  • Kahn's homework for listeners

In this episode Dr. Joel Khan will share with us his three tips to a good cardiovascular health, the importance of light to our health. Ashley and Dr. Khan will also discuss the science of light therapy for healing and how important diet and fitness for our body is.

[0:00] Intro: Hello, true health seeker.

Welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health podcast. You're going to love today's interview with cardiologist, Dr. Joel Khan. He's a very unique cardiologist. He's been a plant-based vegan for over 42 years. And he has this unique perspective on the body. He believes the body has an amazing ability to heal itself. And we just need to support it with the right diet, nutrients, lifestyle. And that we can support the body's ability to heal and prevent disease. And isn't that wonderful? Don't you want a doctor that believes that you can be healthy?

He shares a lot of great information today. We talked a lot about using heat therapy and the different spectrums of light to help the body heal. And he says so much in such a short period of time. There's so many details. He opened up so many rabbit holes that I know listeners are going to think to themselves, “Man, I need to get a pen. I got to write that down.”

And I want to let you know that we actually transcribe our interviews. We've been doing that for the last few months. We hired two wonderful transcriptionists. And we have been transcribing all of the interviews. So a big shout out, thank you to the transcriptionists, who helped us to transcribe. Because our listeners really love going to learntruehealth.com. And then you can click on the episode. And I know that everyone's been loving being able to have access to all the transcripts. So that when a guest shares so much wonderful information, like telling us about what books we should read, and what supplements we should try, or what lifestyle habits, tips and tricks we should try, we want all the details. And instead of having to listen to the episode two or three times, you can go the transcript and find exactly what the doctor said, which is really exciting. So that is my gift to you, the listener, so that you can make sure that you take all this information and help to transform your life and the health of your whole family and everyone you love. So make sure that you take advantage of our transcripts by going to www.learntruehealth. com.

Now, in this episode we mention three things. So I want to make sure that I cover it in the intro. A lot of the discussion is about sauna therapy, specifically using sunlight. And Sunlighten is the only company I have found and I have looked that is ultra low EMF that is non-toxic. And it uses the full spectrum near, mid, and far infrared. So they're absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend calling Sunlighten and in talking to them about their different systems. They have what's called the Solo System, which is portable. So you don't need – if you don't have a lot of space and you can just tuck it away under the bed or tuck it away in the closet when you're not using it. That's a really great solution for those who don't want the bigger sauna. Which I have the big one, the wooden one, and I love it. Basically, two people can fit in it. It's kind of like having a TARDIS, for those who know Doctor Who. It does not look very big but two people can fit in it which is really cool. And it has the full spectrum of near, mid, and far infrared. And we'll get a little bit into that in the show today. The benefits of those different spectrums. 

If you want to learn more specifically about Sunlighten, I did two interviews. One with the cofounder and one with their manager, Alicia. So Connie Zack being the founder. You can go to learntruehealth.com and you can search in the search bar for Sunlighten or for sauna and find those episodes. And enjoy learning more about why I specifically love Sunlighten as a company when it comes to doing sauna therapy versus all the other companies out there. I'm really sold. I've really enjoyed my sauna. And I've gotten a lot of great health benefits. It's helped me with my detox tremendously. It's helped me with my liver. I had liver problems and it really helped me with that, It helped me with my weight loss. So I feel it is high quality and very effective. So that's Sunlighten. Give them a call. They give our listeners a great deal. They give us free shipping. And they also throw in something else that's really cool. And the special kind of keeps changing just depending on what's going on in the office there. But they always give the listeners a really great discount or really great special. So make sure that you mention Learn True Health with Ashley James so that you get our listener special.

Now, we mentioned two other things. One is the magnesium soak. You have heard me rave about it over and over again. And I love soaking in magnesium while in my sauna. You only need a few cups of water in, like, a foot basin. And it is so wonderful. It opens up all the circulation. It really aids in the detoxification and feeding your liver all those wonderful nutrients it needs to help you with detoxification. So it's a great one-two punch.

And then the third thing, are the ENERGYbits. Actually, specifically, the RECOVERYbits, which is chlorella. Chlorella is an algae that chelates heavy metals. And so it's wonderful to eat before you get in the sauna because it aids in binding to the heavy metals and releasing them from our body. It also helps with melatonin production so that it actually aids in deeper sleep. And I've done about five interviews I think on the ENERGYbits. So you can type algae into the search function in learntruehealth.com to be able to listen to those episodes where we talk about spirulina and chlorella and all their health benefits. And it's just wonderful. You can go to energybits.com and use coupon code LTH to get 20% off. And make sure that you grab a bag of the ENERGYbits for your daytime energy. They're wonderful. They're spirulina. They actually taste really good compared to all the other spirulinas out there. They don't have any of the lead or heavy metals that other companies have been known to have. Because ENERGYbits does very rigorous testing. And they have a pure water source when they grow their algae. So lots of great information that you can learn by going to learntruehealth.com and typing in algae and listening to those episodes. But just try it and see how you feel. Buy a bag of Energybits, buy a bag of RECOVERYbits. And RECOVERYbits is for the detoxification. ENERGYbits is for energy. And they don't have any caffeine. It's just all algae. But it delivers to the body all the nutrients that it needs to make energy and support hormone health. And I could go on and on. So you can check out those interviews.

But those are the three things that we had mentioned in the episode. And I want to let you know that all three of those things you can get a listener discount for. So to get the magnesium soak, you go to livingthegoodlifenaturally.com and type in the coupon code LTH at checkout. ENERGYbits is energybits.com and type in the coupon code LTH at checkout. And then for your listener discount for Sunlighten, call them up, talk to one of their wonderful salespeople, and mention Learn True Health with Ashley James for the listener discount. And if you have any questions about any of these because I use them all the time and my whole family actually. We soak in magnesium. We eat the ENERGYbits and the RECOVERYbits. And we sweat in our sauna – in our Sunlighten Sauna. And so if you guys have any questions for me and my experience, please email me, support@learntruehealth.com. I'd love to hear from you.

Excellent. Enjoy today's episode and have yourself a wonderful rest of your day.

[8:04] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn true health podcast. I'm your host, Ashley James. This is Episode 383.

I am so excited for today's interview. We have with us Dr. Joel Kahn. He's an amazing cardiologist. But even more than cardiology. Because I've dived into your interviews and some videos, you're kind of going up against Joe Rogan in a very polite interview. I was waiting for the gloves to come off. It's very interesting to be a plant-based cardiologist and help people to reverse disease naturally with natural medicine, with food because we can heal the body with food. And that you are surprisingly an expert in so many of these fields. Some of my listeners – so I told them I was interviewing you – said, “I love him. I love his podcasts.” And so I started listening to your podcasts. And it's amazing just how much you read and how much you share with the listener. So I definitely recommend listeners check out Dr. Joel Kahn's podcasts. It's such a pleasure to have you here today.

[9:02] Dr. Joel Kahn: Well, thank you. It's really a nice and sincere. A little different than the standard credential introduction. And that's pretty cool. Yeah, I call it a p-cast. A little bit different than yours. I would never have stayed doing podcasts for two-and-a-half years if I was taking long periods to interview people. So I just talk for 20 minutes. I teach on some subject. I call it a p-cast. It's like a P in the pod, as you know from listening. But anyways, enough about that.

But I do. At age 60, I have this insane hunger to learn and learn what isn't whoo as opposed to science. And that can be really tough sometime. If we can acknowledge that there's whoo whoo advice out there all over the place.

[9:45] Ashley James: I like that you brought up your age because if listeners go and check out and saw your videos, they're going to look at a young man who looks about 40, who is incredibly handsome, has tons of energy, and looks like he could win a boxing match against anyone. Like, you just look so good. And then when you said you're 60, I'm like, “I really don't believe it.” So that's the power of the whole food plant-based diet is we actually become more energetic and look younger and have less disease.

[10:16] Dr. Joel Kahn: Number one, you know, you're just smothering me with kindness. I just told you before we went on, I'm going to be out in Seattle for a high level medical conference in a few weeks. Now we're going to have to find a wonderful plant restaurant and go celebrate with your husband and all that. But I actually adopted a plant diet at age 18. It wasn't a master plan. It was in the time that we had Veggie Grill and Beyond Meat and all the movement that's going on now, good and bad. It was a college reaction to horrible food and a good salad bar. But that was the last burger chicken piece of turkey I ate was 1977. So you know, every inch of augury and other crucial parts of my body have been bathe in broccoli and cauliflower and rubella for a very long time. And I'm grateful that that was kind of a cork and kind of a twist of fate that in a cardiology career couldn't have been a better plan if I have had the insight. But it was an insight. It was just a quick little college dorm survival play that I just never went back.

[11:20] Ashley James: And a friend in college who went raw vegan because he didn't have a fridge. So he just bought a bunch of fruit, like apples and basically lived on it. And it turned out he became – it made him incredibly healthy. That was like, “Whoa. That's a really interesting survival mechanism.” At what point in your career as a cardiologist did you realize that how you're eating was the optimal diet for heart health?

[11:44] Dr. Joel Kahn: Yeah, it didn't take long. I actually got into a quick little program at the University of Michigan [inaudible 00:11:49]. I actually was accepted to med school at 17 or 18. And began some medical courses that early. And I was eating plants. I didn't talk much about it because there wasn't really a platform. And I didn't know it was a therapy. If I had dug a little deeper, but I had no Sherpa to guide me, I could have found Nathan Pritikin in the 60s and 70s. I could have found even a couple older pioneers that I now know and study and respect. But really, I started practicing cardiology. I was like this animal in the cath lab. You're having a heart attack, you're having chest pain, I have your balloon, I have your aggressive therapy seven days a week.

And three weeks after that, Dr. Dean Ornish, one of the most eminent and deserving of appreciation lifestyle medicine doctors, published a paper. And I mean, I'm three weeks. And this guy that the answer to heart disease is, you know, procedures and balloons. And he puts out data that says you can actually halt and reverse heart disease with a lifestyle that was centered on whole food plant-based.  And added two things I love, fitness and mind body, and yoga, socialization. And I said, “Wow.”

So I've literally taught thousands of patients every month of my career since I begun. And it's all serendipity. I'm just very fortunate. And I am proud to say I kind of grew up in this movement. But it wasn't exactly proofed inside. I didn't have a psychic tell me to do this things. It just played out well. I could have, you know, read a paper about bacon and I would have been just messed up for the rest of my career. But I invested well in the plant-based movement in terms of energy and personal health.

[13:32] Ashley James: Well, and it shows. You're now – is it 42 or 43 years that you've now been vegan? And I mean, I am blown away. But there's the evidence for you. If we eat a whole food plant-based diet, the way down the road we're going to look younger and feel younger. And there's so much science now showing that it prevents and reverses disease. So you love diving into all these different topics. And we have some questions from the listeners that we'll get to in a little bit.

But I wanted to dive into this topic of saunas and infrared and red light. Because Sunlighten Sauna – actually Alicia at Sunlighten is the one that hooked us up for this interview. And she said that you are an amazing expert at understanding the science. And I've been raving about my experience with my Sunlighten. It has really helped me in my health journey. And also using light therapy like red light therapy. But I don't understand the science. And so I'd love for you to teach us a bit about it. What made you want to dive into learning about sauna therapy and using these kind of light therapies for healing?

Image Source: Heart Foundation | heartfoundation.org.au 

[14:36] Dr. Joel Kahn: I took my nutritional knowledge and had my standard cardiology career and did that for a long time. Always offering these patients more than just prescriptions. But about ten years ago, I found a program at a university that you could call Integrative Cardiology. Like some people go back and get an MBA in the weekends at Harvard or whatever. I found the equivalent but it was in my field. But the integrated science based use of food and supplements and stress. And one of the topics was a presentation – several hours – on the science. And I stress, everything I do as odd as it is sometimes, is stimulated when I find that there's actually science. It's credible in hopefully multiple studies.

So about 30 plus years ago, and I can't tell you who was the first that had the spark, but in Japan they started applying infrared saunas. So you've got your steam sauna at 180 degrees. A lot of health clubs. Some people have that adapter in their shower and they can make it all steamy. You've got kind of the dry Tucson, Arizona sauna with a little box in the corner. Some people have that at home.

And then infrared, it's a little different. It looks like the wood box of an Arizona sauna. But in the walls are very special panels, infrared emitting panels. We have our – it doesn't need to be real science-y. I mean, everybody's sitting in a room right now that probably has a light bulb that's emitting a spectrum of light. Some are purple, some are greens, some are red, some are blue, yellow wavelengths that make it look white in that combination. But it turns out that there is a slice of light energy called infrared. And we can't see it. It's not a visible light.

And these researchers in Japan built infrared saunas. Boxes that have these panels and emit infrared energy. And they would take various – first they did animal studies, which is ultra cool. And the animal study showed a beneficial response to blood vessel function, muscle function, the real basic chemistry. It turns out, we actually have receptors in ourselves. You know, you think we really are more like plants and we think we are like plants. There actually is a very cool science that actually says we're not so different than the birch tree and the oak tree you might be seeing out a window, perhaps. But anyways, we have receptors in these basic models. And then they started studying sick heart patients in Japan. And these were in academic centers and they published data. You have high blood pressure, you use an infrared sauna. There's a Japanese word called waon, W-A-O-N. It means healing warmth. And most of the literature anybody could put in their browser, waon, W-A-O-N, therapy and start reading about it. Fifteen minutes in an infrared sauna, usually about 130 hundred or 140 degrees if you give it time to heat up. Then these people would be wrapped up in towels, drink some water, and rest. Because they were not really healthy athletes. They were people with blood pressure and heart damage and heart attacks.

And over the course of 10 or 15 years, they showed that blood pressure responded; congestive heart failure, a really serious diagnosis, responded; artery measures showed improvement. They actually have done some modest sized randomized studies. Sick people got infrared saunas, sick people just got standard therapy, there was an improvement in survival and hospitalization. And in Japan, infrared sauna is used as a first line therapy right there with medication or surgery or whatever else you need. But God knows, until those few hours of lectures, I had never heard in any university -and I'm a professor at a university in Detroit – about any of this. And it's easy. Now, read the literature, read the literature. It was real. And it's been reproduced.

So most of us, thank goodness don't have bad arteries, don't have congestive heart failure. Most of us aren't mice in laboratories. But you know, for many ways of supporting our health, I tell my patients, there's two therapies you don't know about probably. One a little pricier and one a little less pricey. They both involve using light to accentuate our health and accelerate our energy production and benefit our weight and benefit our skin and benefit our blood pressure. And the higher end one is to research and get a really good infrared sauna like Sunlighten makes. I have one in my bedroom. And their brand called full spectrum. And this is science again. But it's far infrared, near infrared, and mid infrared in each of those wavelengths. When you turn it on, it's hot, you can't see the light waves but they're there. Each of them has a different effect.

But the near infrared, which is abbreviated in the literature NIR, is really cool because that stuff really works on our muscles. And athletes, if any athletes are listening, many, many professional athletic teams will have various kinds of light therapy and infrared sauna. Because before an athletic event like a football game or after, before basketball or after, recovery pain or they call it delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMs can all be treated. And everything I just said has science and publications. It's not again to whoo but just not very well known. And I got excited. So many, many of my patients do enjoy it. There may be some other benefits. So you know, we all know it's the Debbie Downer talk. City water, air, plastics that wrap our burger, whether it's a Beyond Meat burger or a Black Bean Burger, wherever you're buying, all these chemicals, these endocrine disrupting chemicals are affecting our fertility and our thyroid and our weight. And one way to get them out – because it's really hard to keep from having any of them, of course, we want to try and create a lifestyle where we don't have plastics everywhere and exposure. Air fresheners and perfumes that are all affecting our endocrine system. Infrared sauna does cause you to detoxify and eliminate these better than just gym sweating.

You can imagine somebody did a study, “I'm going to run around a gym and collect sweat droplets from people at an elliptical. And I'm going to go to an infrared sauna room and collect sweat droplets from somebody just sitting still.” And there's more toxins concentrated in the sweat from an infrared sauna than there are from exercising. And of course both are good. And there are even some gyms now that have put infrared panels in the walls of the gym so you get double whammy. But yeah, very cool stuff for the science of waon therapy and infrared sauna.

[21:24] Ashley James: You mentioned that we have receptors on our cells, is that to receive light? To receive infrared? Can you tell us a bit more about that.

[21:33] Dr. Joel Kah: Yeah. So just switching gears a little. Infrared is there but you can't see it. Then there's red light. Red lights, easy. I mean, it looks like the matrix. It's bright. I mean, it's the one with the one band of the full spectrum. And a prominent researcher at Harvard by the name of Michael Hamblin, H-A-M-B-L-I-N, PhD or MD – I think a PhD – has spent 30 years and many, many publications and textbooks that costs $700. The official name is Photobiomodulation, photolight bio or biology, and we can change our biology through light. But it's often called the low level laser or red light therapy. But it turns out every one of us have, I think it's fair to say, billions and billions of mitochondria in our muscles, heart muscles and skeletal muscles, particularly. They're making all that energy. If anybody's had the biology background, the ATP energy that keeps our heart strong and our muscles strong, and the rest.

And there is a receptor in the system that makes energy. It's an enzyme called cytochrome c oxidase. And that receptor will respond to red light. And when it is exposed to red light, it will accelerate this process of making energy. It also creates more nitric oxide. If you ask an athlete who knew biology or a trainer, if you created more nitric oxide that was free to circulate and help an athlete's blood vessels and you created more efficiency in making ATP in their muscles, do you think it would benefit an athlete either performance or recovery? And they think, “I got it. I'd pay a fortune for such.” It turns out red light does that. Proven. The science is known. And it's a little different. When you get an infrared sauna, you're getting near infrared energy. And it's a wonderful thing and it will activate this receptor. But you also might want to explore the field of Photobiomodulation using red light.

So Sunlighten has this wonderful little handheld device called lumiNIR. There's some things that red light does that go beyond near infrared and the combination is the powerhouse. I literally use a red light panel in my near infrared sauna and I get both. Because I wouldn't be getting red light in my sauna alone.

But for all the listeners who want to keep their skin youthful, there's an FDA approved. This is science backed by years of analysis. That it may promote collagen production, relieve aging spots, wrinkles in the skin. It's the vanity part. But who doesn't. You know, eating healthy is clearly beauty inside out is clearly real and the key. But I'm not against using safe therapies that keep us looking a little more youthful. So in the past 12 months, I've added red light therapy for 12 or 15 minutes a day. And it's not tanning and you're not going to burn yourself. And just another add on to health. It's fascinating, you know, fascinating.

[24:38] Ashley James: Yeah. I have one of Sunlighten's lumiNIRs. It's a handheld device and they have those different attachments. You can do the blue light or the red light and depending on whether you want to support like a joint pain or you want collagen production. It's very interesting. And I know Sunlighten and gives our listeners a discount. I'm not sure what it is but I'll find out for the listeners. So bios photo modulation, you mentioned that it helps the body – helps the mitochondria to produce more ATP and they've been able to prove this. Or is it that it helps the production of nitric oxide.

[25:12] Dr. Joel Kahn: It actually does both. So if you really want to go deep – here we go. It's called uncaging nitric oxide on this enzyme. Here, you got a muscle cell in your pectoral muscles because you like to do bench presses. In that muscle, there are thousands of mitochondria. And in those mitochondria, there's a pathway to make ATP energy so you can lift those weights. The cytochrome c oxidase, for reasons I don't understand, it actually takes and traps nitric oxide. And the nitric oxide doesn't do what it's supposed to do, which is keep your arteries youthful and prevent plaque. And it kind of clogs up the electron transport chain. So when you're exposed to red light and infrared light, the nitric oxide gets bumped off and it goes and circulates and it does what it's supposed to do. Suddenly this little fly in the ointment of making ATP is removed. So you actually get both benefits, which is crazy. I mean, it's so crazy to think that red light and infrared light can do something that is – you know, I'm still blown away how advanced the science is. We're talking thousands of research articles and basic science and human science. So there's even reports – and this is science where I wouldn't say it.

You know, how many people deal with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease of the thyroid. There are small series that exposing your neck using a red light device like the lumiNIR converts your immune system. It's called macrophage 1 or macrophage 2. But they stop attacking your own thyroid. And there are reports up substantial 30 or 40% of people no longer needing thyroid replacement after a while. Everybody needs to work with their healthcare team. Of course, their healthcare team won't have ever heard of this. But if you do look online, Photobiomodulation Hashimoto's, you can read about it. It's real science.

[27:07] Ashley James: Oh, that is fascinating. Do you think it has something to do with the fact that it decreases inflammation?

[27:12] Dr. Joel Kah: It decreases inflammation by changing the activity of kind of white blood cell or kind of inflammatory. So I'll call them back macrophage. Exactly.

[27:22] Ashley James: Because I know that in the 3-in-1 Sunlighten – not the handheld but the big Sunlighten Sauna that has the near, mid, and far infrared – that is incredibly anti-inflammatory to be in. That people notice decreases in pain and inflammation and joint pain. And then I've been told the lumiNIR – because I don't have joint pain – but I've been told the lumiNIR has been really helpful for people with joint pain even when it's like rheumatoid arthritis where there's an autoimmune component. And you've seen the science to back this up.

[27:51] Dr. Joel Kahn: It probably is multiple pathways that lead people with fibromyalgia and more defined autoimmune conditions, like you mentioned, to respond to full spectrum infrared sauna. Because it probably is detoxification. Some will lose weight, which may help. And then finally, this nitric oxide, ATP energy, something like fibromyalgia, some people believe strongly is a mitochondrial energy deficit problem. So if you can safely non-invasively and frankly rather cost effectively deal with it, then you might as well just power up and get rid of the pain.

[28:34] Ashley James: Right. I love it. And you mentioned that saunas help with weight loss. I've used the sauna to help with detoxification because I was having problems with weight loss when it came to detoxification. My liver would get all really pissed off. I switched to a plant-based diet and everything's working a lot better now that I'm doing that and doing the sauna. What can you share with us about, from the standpoint of heart health, cardiovascular health, and how saunas help with that, how does the sauna therapy, this heat therapy, help us with detoxification and weight loss?

[29:10] Dr. Joel Kahn: Yes. Well, it's actually a very efficient way. It's interesting. There's some data that cold therapy is a very efficient way to accelerate your weight loss. So I have adopted this crazy habit I hate that after workout, I jump in the shower. And at least part of it, I douse myself and cold water. It does wake you up like no other. I hate everything about it. Because there's nothing more comforting than a hot shower but a cold shower.

And on the flip side, the efficiency of burning calories in an infrared sauna is as high as many ellipticals and treadmills. And it might be roughly 500, 600, 700 calories an hour. So you know, it doesn't replace – number one, if you're a good athlete and you can really get good workouts, please do it. There's all kinds of cardiovascular benefits. Some people have reasons that they can't really get that high level workout. And many people do both. They'll get the – you know, they CrossFit or the HIIT or yoga or whatever it is and then they'll add in some saunas on top of it. So it can be very helpful with the calories in, calories out.

The calorie out part of weight loss, I had, unfortunately, in a medical conference, the misfortune of breaking a foot on an escalator two months ago. So I've had to give up – it's recovering very well. But I've had to give up the treadmill, elliptical, Concept 2 rower, and all the things I like to do yoga. So I'm spending more time in an infrared sauna and been able to maintain my weight. I mean, a lot of upper body work and such. I shifted. But just a personal example, you know, add that in. And it may be too.

There's this theory – this gets a little whoo – we really are exposed to a lot of garbage, pesticides, herbicides, these endocrine disrupting chemicals. And a lot of them do get – they're fat soluble chemicals, particularly PCBs and DDT. And these things are unfortunately highly concentrated in fish. So fish eaters are much more exposed to these things. But you may need to get rid and reduce your burden on some of these chemicals to really lose weight. Because there's like this battle, if I keep my fat, I dilute these chemicals and they're less toxic to my physiology. And if I lose weight, and they're all released in the bloodstream, I may feel bad. Kind of like the Keto flu or the kind of ill feeling that people get the first couple days of some kind of detox. So sweating them out as a real efficient way in a sauna to reduce your burden and accelerate weight loss. Now, everything I just said is a little blurry in terms of, “Do we absolutely know?” But that is a strong theory that people feel reflects life in 2019 and 2020.

Photo by Jeremy Stewart on Unsplash

[31:57] Ashley James: And it's been my experience too. I kept hitting a wall. Every time I lose a few pounds, I get really over toxic and my liver would inflame. I went for ultrasounds and blood work and it was sure enough, my liver was really pissed. And my Naturopath didn't know what was going on. He was trying to throw some supplements at me to support the liver. But I had to basically stop weight loss and then wait for it to calm down then start again. I was just sick of it. And so finally my niche process was like, “You really should get a sauna.” And that's why I dived into studying all the different types of saunas. And I came across Sunlighten Sauna and discovered that that was my favorite out of all the other companies. Really low EMF, nontoxic. And then when I started using it, it was like a light bulb went off inside me. It was the total difference. I feel happier when I use it. I get better sleep. I don't have my inflamed liver anymore. The weight loss has been consistent. So I've become this raving fan about Sunlighten. But again, I didn't understand the deep science behind it. And so I love that you're saying that the receptors in our body, the cells have receptors for light. And I've heard from other people that light is like a nutrient. And we are starving our body because of modern day society. We're actually starving from the full spectrum that we need. So it's like we're nutrient deficient and the nutrient is light.

[33:23] Dr. Joel Kahn: So that that circles back to something I said a while about how similar we are to plants, which is a novel idea. But of course plants can take light and use them to stimulate the production of energy. It powers them. They have chlorophyll. There is a report in 2014 and I wrote a little blog about it back then. It was so interesting, it made some headlines. It wasn't a human study but it was a mammal study. And we do not think that we can be out in the sun and create energy out of that process. We're not plants. But that did occur in mammalian cells. And there may be a whole spectrum of we know light helps you make vitamin D, which is an important health supporting. Some people say hormone and vitamin. There is some data you can make more nitric oxide by being in the sun. And people that live in lower portions in the United States have lower blood pressure than people who live in northern portions. And it all correlates how many hours a day there's sunshine. But whether we actually can energize and feel better, of course, intuition says, take a vacation in the sun. And it feels great. And it may be partly that we have still pathways that aren't completely understood in these cytochrome C oxidase pathways may indeed be part of it. So it's very cool.

And you know, as I say one of the easiest health blaze is to get more light or get more red light with dedicated products. These used to be extremely expensive. You'd have to spend $10,000 to 30,000 to go to a health spa or a dermatology office. But it's much different now for way, way under $1,000. You got a great system.

[35:05] Ashley James: Yeah. I really like the lumiNIR and all that you can do with it with all the different attachments. Like you said, you can do the anti-aging. There's an attachment specifically for helping skin with acne and healing the skin. And I really geek out on helping people with pain and decreasing pain and supporting healthy tissue. So there's so many different benefits to making sure we're exposed to light either getting out in the sun or getting in a Sunlighten Sauna. But being able to expose yourself to the different and full – as much as you can full spectrum of light. Now, I know we're under a time constraint and I definitely want to make sure I get to the listeners questions because I posted on the Learn True Health Facebook Group some questions.

[35:50] Dr. Joel Kahn: Let me just – before we leave the sauna, let me just shout out three – again, I told everybody I already like science. So I'm going to give three very nonscientific tips here.

[36:01] Ashley James: Okay. Great.

[36:01] Dr. Joel Kahn: Well, the first one is okay. I do my meditation. Which isn't absolutely regular but I do it in the infrared sauna. I call it saunatation. I'm already isolated. I'm already cleansing physiologically my body, why not cleanse some of the stress. So I encourage people that's just a perfect place to do that. That's number one. Number two, I actually do take a big handful of organic chlorella about half-an-hour before getting in the sauna. Because I want to be a plant. And I don't know for sure if that works. But my blood level of chlorophyll is extremely high from taking 25 or 30 little tablets. Like anybody can buy of high quality chlorella. And it just feels good. And the third one, and please don't do this if you're not really healthy and know your status. There's sort of this strategy, go do a HIIT workout for 10 or 15 minutes after you've taken a little handful of niacin, a B vitamin that makes you sweat and turn red. And you might feel very poorly on it so be careful. But it's over the counter. You know, so take your knives and do your workout and pop in a sauna. You want to have a detoxifying sweat, you will have a detoxifying sweat.

[37:17] Ashley James: Very interesting. So you're inducing the niacin flush. Is that like opening up capillaries around the surface of the skin?

[37:27] Dr. Joel Kahn: That's exactly what you're feeling on the surface of the skin. Clearly, if you're not healthy, if you've had a bad reaction to niacin – I mean, it's not a medical therapy and niacin is an over the counter vitamin. So I don't think I've completely violated my Hippocratic oath. And I've done it a thousand times and so far still alive and kicking. But it's an interesting little play.

[37:51] Ashley James: Now, I'm going to have to try that. I've definitely have some niacin here on the shelf. I'm going to have to try that for sure. I usually get the no-flush niacin. But to want to do it on purpose to open up all the blood flow to the surface to increase the sweating and detoxification, that sounds like a really fun experiment.

I'm kind of like — you know, you hear about this term biohacker. I love experimenting on myself in a safe way. You know, try it out. And I feel like my listeners do the same. They love trying different things, especially when they learn from great guests like you and seeing how it works for them. I have two more things to add to your routine – or one more thing for you to add to the routine is trying a magnesium soak while you're in the sauna. And I'll make sure I send you some information on it. But it's transdermal. It's a liquid. And you just put a few cups of water with a foot basin while you're in the sauna, and you absorb a ton of magnesium. And so a lot of my listeners, including myself, love doing that in the sauna as well. And that also opens up the blood flow. And then my favorite – and I definitely encourage you to try it out – my favorite chlorella brand – I've tried a bunch of them – and I found that ENERGYbits, they make one called –

[39:06] Dr. Joel Kahn: That's what I just swallowed.

[39:07] Ashley James: Yes. RECOVERYbits are my favorite because it tastes amazing. All the other ones kind of tastes fishy to me or stale. And ENERGYbits has been consistent with their quality and their testing. I've had Catharine Arnston, the creator of ENERGYbits on the show many times. And so yeah, we're on the same page. I'm so excited to introduce you the magnesium soak. I'll make sure I send you some information because I know that you'll really enjoy adding that to your sauna routine and seeing how you how you feel about it.

So let me get to the listener questions because I know that we're under time constraint and I want to respect your time. Daniela, first of all, says that your – she's the one that said your podcast is absolutely amazing. So I want to shout out to Daniela. She was really looking forward to hearing our interview.

Naomi has a really interesting one. Her dad had a valve replacement surgery recently because of a narrow valve. And the doctor said it was congenital. But none of his symptoms started until he was 70. And they're like, “Well, you know you were born with it.” But none of his symptoms started until his 70 and now they're seeing narrowing of the arteries. Of course, that can be – as you and I know – corrected with wonderful whole food plant-based diet with no oil. What do you say to that when people say – when doctor said, “Well, that's just congenital. You were born with it.” But the disease never occurred until they were much later in life.

[40:28] Dr. Joel Kahn: Go back to Daniela. Thank you, Daniela, for listening to Heart Doc VIP. Okay. I just wanted to say thank you to her because that was kind of you.

But to go to this question. There is a – the number one most common birth condition, congenital heart condition, is actually what her father had. The last valve of the heart when the heart pumps hard to get all the blood out to the body, it goes through a valve called the aortic valve. That looks like a Mercedes Benz or a peace sign, three little parts. They open, they shot. One person people are born where there's two pieces, not three. It's called a bicuspid aortic valve. It looks like your rear end. It has two pieces, not three. But we don't call it a tush valve. It's a bicuspid valve. Now, you can now call it a tush valve. And because it's abnormal, 100,000 heartbeats a day. By the time you're 40 or 45 or 50 or 55, there's some scarring, some calcification. And the valve may no longer open enough so you start to get shorter breath, tighten the chest, dizzy. And at that point, you may need something done about it.

There's nothing you can do about being born with it. It's common. You might ask a doctor. There is some family history. So your listener might ask her doctor, “Are you sure there's no murmur there when you listen to my heart with the stethoscope?” But there's really no absolute necessity to make the diagnosis early, early. But they're just finish it up. Occasionally with that valve – right above the heart is called your aorta. The aorta may be a little enlarged. That's a little more important of a finding earlier in life. You shouldn't probably be snapping or catching 300 pound lifts in CrossFit if you knew your aorta was enlarged. So it might be worth pursuing it with what we call an ultrasound of the heart or echocardiogram, if there really was any question your doctor thought they heard something or there really is a strong family history.

I'll give you one last little tip because your listeners deserve the best of the best. There is a class of antibiotics – I'm totally shifting gears but I'm coming back to your listeners question. They are called fluoroquinolones. But you might know him by Cipro, ciprofloxacin, Levaquin, levofloxacin. These are actually the most commonly prescribed oral and IV antibiotics in the United States. It is now apparent after 30 years of using them, that they weaken our collagen. They cause rupture [inaudible 00:42:57]. Your Achilles can get inflamed or rupture after a seven to ten day course. But now in the last three or four years, your aorta, the most important blood vessel in the body, can get weakened and damaged after just a week or ten days on these antibiotics. And very recently, even heart valves, all of these structures are made of collagen. These antibiotics have – it took years to identify. It's not common. But when you talk about tens of millions of prescriptions, if it's only 1% or 1.5% of people, it's still a lot of people. Which is why somebody like this father – I mean, anybody within a large aorta should now know that there's FDA warnings about maybe not using this class of antibiotics that are used for prostate and urinary and bronchitis in the hospital and in the office.

I'll say as I was just on the doctor show being interviewed on this topic, because it is really important and hot. And Drew Ordon, the plastic surgeon with the white hair and wonderful guy said, “I'm Levaquin right now for my prostate and this is scaring me.” And it is being recommended that you ask your doctor maybe shift antibiotics to another one.

So circling back to your question, it's 1% of people born with an abnormal valve. It might also cause their aorta to be enlarged. If you knew your aorta was enlarged, you do not want to take these classes of antibiotics. And even if your aorta isn't enlarged, for the sake of your Achilles tendon and other structures, you still might want to ask, ” Can I have a penicillin or sulfa?” Older antibiotic like Macrobid. These drugs have been out for decades. It's interesting. It's not the only drug. We've learned new things about old drugs that are frankly changing practice and fairly scary. Next question. Next question.

[44:50] Ashley James: Thank you so much for warning us. Kelly asks, “Are there any recommendations he has for children who are born with heart conditions such as ASD, PFO, etc.?

[44:59] Dr. Joel Kahn: These are interesting questions because, again, birth defects are rarely the common questions that are asked. I'm certainly welcome to have them. I mean, so you can -the second most common birth defect after the valve is a little hole in the heart called a PFO, Patent Foramen Ovale. Usually very innocent. And then there's a larger hole called ASD, Atrial Septal Defect. And then there are more complex where it might be apparent before birth or at birth that this is a child that has serious problems, blue babies and developmental problems.

But you know, just like that listener's Father, it took decades. There are people that have had this hole in their heart for it 20, 30, 40 years. And then they begin to get shorter breath or then they begin to get fatigue. So there isn't a diet, there isn't a lifestyle, there isn't a sauna treatment for everything in life. You just need, at that point, good medical care. And sometimes ultimately, a procedure that more and more is not surgery. More and more, it's some kind of procedure where they don't have to crack your chest open.

But people should be much more concerned about their arteries getting clogged and the risk of heart attack and stroke. Because the frequency of that from age 35, 40, 45, and up is a thousand times more of a concern than finding out unexpectedly at age 70. You've got a valve or a hole in your heart issue. They're all important.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

[46:31] Ashley James: Right. That we can prevent heart disease with whole food plant-based diet with no processed foods would be much better for most of the population. And then there's a small percentage that has a birth defect but could still – even with a birth defect, couldn't we still optimize our heart health with a really good heart health diet?

[46:50] Dr. Joel Kahn: Yeah. Always. And there's an insane number of reasons to as early as you can in life learn the clues. Don't smoke, stay thin, get fitness, get sleep, manage stress, eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. And anybody around you does. Be the champion of whole real foods from plant sources. Don't smoke. If I said it twice, it deserves to be said twice.

[47:17] Ashley James: Don't vape. 

[47:17] Dr. Joel Kahn: If nothing happens during your life, you've just probably added a dozen plus years of good health and reduce risk of diabetes, cancer, brain disease and heart disease. If something comes up in your life, you're showing up in the best shape possible. So yes, we buy life insurance, we wear seatbelts, we wear bicycle helmets, we're into the mode of taking certain precautions even though they're relatively unlikely. Whereas, heart disease is incredibly likely and we neither look for it nor do we really work very hard to prevent it.

[47:50] Ashley James: My dad died of heart disease. My mom died of cancer. And that's one of the biggest reasons why I do this show. I can't save my parents. I don't have a time machine. But I can help my listeners save theirs and save themselves. And we can. We can prevent and reverse disease and add years to your life with all the things you've talked about.

You know, we're on a roll. Heidi says, “I have a question as well. My husband has a rare genetic heart condition called ARVC. His arteries are perfectly healthy but it's electrical part of the heart that's not. Do you have any advice for anyone with this condition?”

[48:26] Dr. Joel Kahn: Yeah. Again, an important but very unusual birth abnormality, the right side of your heart, it just doesn't form normally. And it makes people prone to serious fast heartbeats that could cause you to blackout or worse. And you work with certain cardiologists called electrical cardiologists and sometimes you need that fancy pacemaker called a defibrillator. And they can be life saving for certain people.

And the same comment, show up to that challenge in life. You know, why is that gentleman's arteries clean? And that's a very complex question of genetics and lifestyle and fitness and all. But if you start eating plant-based at age 18, as I had the good fortune by luck, you probably are going to show up for that procedure with your arteries clean. And I know at age 60 mine are squeaky clean. There's ways to get a quick CAT scan and confirm that and there.

So it's always best. The best protection is to stay out of the hospital on as few medicines as you can with as few doctor procedures as you can. The number three cause of death in the United States is medical procedures and medications that go wrong. Number three causes of death are heart disease and cancer. So the best plan is not need to be there. And I run from hospitals even though I am part of them and I will say I'm on staff with them. But in terms of my own health, I do not trust what goes on in hospitals.

[49:56] Ashley James: Thank you. I love this. We have to walk that fine line of understanding when we want to go to allopathic medicine and when we don't. This show obviously celebrates all the times we don't want to go to allopathic medicine but allopathic medicine has its place. And if my heart was beating to the point where it's blocking out, I'd really want to see a good electrical cardiologist. Is that what it's called? I definitely want to go see a really good one.

But for prevention and for optimizing our health, then we can do it through diet. I interviewed Dr. Esselstyn and he has seen people with even four blockages in the heart, reverse it within months of going on a whole food plant-based diet, as you I'm sure have seen and know. So it's just amazing what the body can do when we give it the nutrition it needs.

Teresa asks – she says, “Many of the autoimmune neuro disease experts insist on good fats in the diet. Added fats like ghee, tallow, lard and coconut oils, mostly for cooking and to drizzle over vegetables for absorption. I personally have trouble breaking down fats and proteins and I've had to take digestive enzymes with every meal. Is it really necessary to add all that extra fat for MS, ALS, and even Hashimoto's? I followed Dr. John McDougall for years and felt great. But that was before autoimmunity. So she then developed an autoimmune condition.” And she says, “Also, the experts talk about organ meats for autoimmunity. What could replace a nutrient density in a plant-based diet?” So she doesn't want to have to eat organ meats and all this processed fat but she wants to heal her body. Do you have any advice for her?

[51:37] Dr. Joel Kahn: Yeah. And I think it gets to just a fundamental question. Where do you get your advice? Do they have any conflicts in the advice they're giving? And are they really trained to give advice? Because every trainer or every dietitian – at least a dietitian has some formal training if they're an RD, every health coach can get a blog and YouTube and give advice. Go find me data that you need to eat organ meats to heal neurologic or autoimmune disease. And let's talk about randomized studies that are out there.

And you know, not everything in the world that's great has to be plant-based. So there's so many reasons to talk about a whole food plant-base for the environment, for animal rights, and animal cruelty and suffering. And for the gigantic database that it is the best plan to preserve and protect your health in general and for both brain and autoimmune diseases.

I spent the weekend with Dr. Terry Wahls of HLS. And many people will know she's a medical doctor with a breakout book called The Wahls Protocol a couple years ago. She's redoing it right now. And she had disabling multiple sclerosis. She was an internist in the University of Iowa at the VA. And kind of created her own plan of hyper nourishment with ten servings a day of organic leafy greens and smoothies and salads and mushrooms and onions and garlic. And a few servings of animal foods during the week. Far less than the typical Paleo diet. Lots of omega-3 rich foods. And I was asking her by and she recovered her own health. She's helped so many people recover. I mean, I'm not going to argue with her. She's walking and riding her bike and she was in a wheelchair. I'm going to tell her diet is other than optimal. It worked out optimally for her and a lot of other people.

There is a similar plan that is all plant-based that's taught by a physician in Houston, Brooke Goldner, G-O-L-D-N-E-R and her book called Goodbye Lupus or Goodbye Autoimmune Disease, her new book. So you can do it super clean whole food plant-based, super clean almost plant-based as Dr. Wahls teaches. But it's not all that gook you talked about. And what I love about, particularly Dr. Wahls right now, she took her own personal health crisis and recovery. Her broad experience teaching other people within the VA and other medical systems in the University of Iowa. And now she's actually doing prospective randomized published studies. You can't jack with somebody who's done that kind of science.

And I'll say no disrespect, but it kind of is disrespect. Show me Dr. David Perlmutter's prospective peer reviewed studies or Dr. Mark Hyman or Dr. Bill Davis. I mean, these are the giants of some of this weird stuff. I mean, bone marrow and bone broth. I know it's trendy. But let's talk about where we follow the typical scientific path of you got a hypothesis, you arrange a study, you do it, you publish it. Dr. Wahls sure [inaudible 00:54:32] has.

So my brain favorites are two neurologists by the name of Sherzai, S-H-E-R-Z-A-I. Which is Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, academic neurologists in Long Beach and Loma Linda with a book called The Alzheimer's Solution. And I would follow their program for brain and neurological health in that book.

[54:56] Ashley James: Thank you so much. That was great. I love the books that you let us know about because those are going to be great guests for the show. I'm definitely going to ask them all to be on the show. And those will be great resources for the listeners as well. It has been such a pleasure having you on the show. I know time just flies. And I know you've got to go. Before you do, is there any advice that you'd like to leave listeners with or homework that you'd like to leave the listeners with?

[55:25] Dr. Joel Kahn: That's an interesting question, homework, because that's exactly the expression I use with my patients. So, “Here's your homework. And I can't do this all for you. And I can guide you to people.” I believe my opinion are credible and we should spend time. I mean, everybody should watch Forks Over Knives on Netflix. Or if there's anybody left that has a DVD player. It's still available. I give my patients the option of taking a DVD home or watch it on Netflix.

If you want to upgrade that, you might watch What The Health from 2017. And very soon you'll be able to watch Game Changers. A new movie that was in the theaters that will be released on iTunes very soon. I mean, I've seen all those movies. You know, there are a lot of health movies that I don't think represent fairly. But surely Forks Over Knives, which is Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. Caldwell, I would certainly say, are fair.

Other homework, let's see. You know, get familiar with pubmed.gov. It can be a slippery slope. But that's the national library of medicine and 30 million scientific articles. You can't get the full article on everyone but you can and a lot. And like, if you don't believe me on red light therapy or photobiomodulation and Hashimoto's, that's where you go. You go there. And you know, it's a little tough sometimes to read the scientific articles but that's a good habit. I mean, you could, I will say, also, put it bone broth and health. That's where you want to look. You'll find nothing. Actually, you'll find one article that says it's dangerous and toxic in terms of lead levels in bone broth causing bones that your cooking to release some of the stored lead that is in them. But you know, these kind of habits is something if you really want to get as credible as you can. You might know learn simple skills to do.

[57:24] Ashley James: Oh, I love it. Yes, PubMed. Let's advocate for ourselves by looking into the science. Absolutely. I went to the movie theaters and saw the Game Changers in the movies. And I went with actually one of our listeners who's a friend of mine, Naomi. A big shout out to her. And the whole time we kept looking at each other going, “We have to get this person to watch this. Oh my gosh. We got to get our parents to watch this.” We can't believe it. Like, I am so excited that October 1st when it comes out on iTunes, I'm going to buy the digital copy and get as many of my friends and family to watch it. And I really love that it just shows – it blows this idea that that [inaudible 00:58:01] totally out of the ballpark. And it shows that if you want to have really great sexual health and great muscle and great strength and endurance and all that, men and women get it from a whole food plant-based diet. That's such a cool – and it is really a game changer. Dr. Joel Kahn, it has been such a pleasure having you on the show today. You are welcome back anytime you want to come share with our listeners. It was a true pleasure to have you today.

[58:30] Dr. Joel Kahn: Well, it is mutual fan club, mutual Seattle fan club. And yeah, I look forward doing that. I'd be happy to help you contact any of those other people if you want to get them on because I think your listenership would love them.

[58:43] Ashley James: Awesome. That sounds great. Thank you.


Hello true health seeker.

Have you ever thought about becoming a health coach? Do you love learning about nutrition? And how we can shift our lifestyle and our diet so that we can gain optimal health and happiness and longevity? Do you love helping your friends and family to solve their health problems and to figure out what they can do to eat healthier? Are you interested in becoming someone who can grow their own business? Support people in their success? Do you love helping people?

You might be the perfect candidate to become a health coach. I highly recommend checking out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I just spent the last year in their health coaching certification program. And it really blew me away. It was so amazing. I learned over 100 dietary theories. I learned all about nutrition. But from a standpoint of how we can help people to shift their life and shift their lifestyle to gain true holistic health. I definitely recommend you check them out. You can Google Institute for Integrative Nutrition or IIN and give them a call. Or you can go to learntruehealth.com/coach and you can receive a free module of their training to check it out and see if it's something that you'd be interested in. Be sure to mention my name, Ashley James and the Learn True Health podcast. Because I made a deal with them that they will give you the best price possible. I highly recommend checking it out. It really changed my life to be in their program. And I'm such a big advocate that I wanted to spread this information.

We need more health coaches. In fact, health coaching is the largest growing career right now in the health field. So many health coaches are getting in and helping people because you can work in chiropractic offices, doctors offices, you can work in hospitals. ,You can work online through Skype and help people around the world. You can become an author. You can go into the school system and help your local schools shift their programs to help children be healthier. You can go into senior centers and help them to shift their diet and lifestyle to best support them in their success and their health goals.

There's so many different available options for you when you become a certified health coach. So check out IIN. Check out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Mention my name. Get the best deal. Give them a call and they'll give you lots of free information and help you to see if this is the right move for you. Classes are starting soon. The next round of classes are starting at the end of the month. So you're going to want to call them now and check it out. And if you know anyone in your life who would be an amazing coach, please tell them about it. Being a health coach is so rewarding and you get to help so many people.

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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