377: Healing Degenerative Disease Using Functional Medicine

Dr. Greg Eckel And Ashley James


  • Greg Eckel’s backstory
  • ADHD spectrum
  • How oxidative stress affects our brain health
  • Heavy metal toxicity and how we can detoxify our body
  • Greg Eckel’s FAN-C approach to brain health
  • Healthy habits to promote brain health

In this episode, Dr Greg Eckel will teach us how to maintain our brain health through his FAN-C method. He will also share with us the effects of heavy metal toxicity and its relation to ADHD, Parkinson’s, MS, and other neuro degenerative diseases.

0:00 Intro: Hello, true health seekers and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. You're going to love today's interview with Dr. Greg Eckel. He is a Naturopathic physician that specializes in helping people heal and support neurological conditions. We're going to talk about Parkinson's, ADHD, and how to support the body if someone's experiencing any of these issues, or if you want to prevent, because prevention is the most important thing we can do. He goes through his functional program, and the things that you can start doing today to support your body's ability to be the healthiest it can possibly be. Now, he mentions a few things. And I really want to make sure that you know about the things that I love that he sees great results working with his clients. So there's three quick things I want to mention.

0:58 Ashley James: One, he talks about the impact and importance of using saunas, if you have heavy metal toxicity, because you can sweat in a sauna to help the body remove fat soluble toxins instead of having to tax your liver and that can have a host of problems for people, especially if they already are bombarded with toxins. So, we have an environment that has created heavy metal toxicity in many people, and if you have any neurological conditions such as ADHD, depression, any kind of imbalance, or if you know that genetically in your family, a lot of people are predisposed to developing Parkinson's or MS, you want to support a healthy brain by doing gentle detox through sauna therapy. You can go to my website www.learntruehealth.com, type in sauna. Listen to some of my interviews that we've done specifically around how to use sauna therapy and how to sweat to release these toxins in a gentle way.

I got a Sunlighten Sauna almost two years ago and I have absolutely loved it. It's played a big role in my personal healing journey. I really feel a difference. And using it has made such an impact on my life that I keep telling people about it. Sunlighten has given us a great deal. Give them a call and say that you are a listener of the Learn True Health podcast with Ashley James. And they always have a special for us, they give us free shipping and sometimes the shipping is $500, if you buy one of the wind saunas.

Now, they do have a personal sauna that's portable, that you can tuck away into your closet. We're not using it and it is non toxic and ultra low EMF and you get results with it. So, you don't have to worry about having enough space. I interviewed Dr. Mark Hyman on the show and he said that he lives in a small condo, he doesn't have enough space for a big wooden sauna. And so he has their solo system and it works wonderfully. I do have the wooden one because we did have the space and I love the three in one sauna, which gives you all three frequencies. Many saunas only do far infrared, theirs does near and mid which gives you anti aging benefits as well, and pain and inflammation reducing benefits as well.

So, check out Sunlighten Saunas, give them a call. Tell them you're a listener of the Learn True Health podcast with Ashley James and ask about their specials on top of the free shipping. They usually have some kind of great deal in addition to that that they give us. I like it when they give $100 off their accessories because I love the non toxic bamboo pad for the wooden sauna that's really comfortable. Excellent. So that was the first thing because he talks about the results he's getting in his clinic with his patients using sauna therapy.

The second one is Medterra CBD, I really recommend checking out Medterra CBD, they give the listeners a great discount as well use coupon code LTH. I interviewed the founder of Medterra CBD, there's so many CBD companies out there and there's only a handful that are organic that will publish their tests to prove that there's no heavy metals, that their CBD is clean. And I've personally used many different types of CBDs and theirs I feel in terms of a tincture, in terms of that concentrated extract, I get the best results. So that's Medterra CBD, use the coupon code LTH because they do give us a great discount. And you can go to www.learntruehealth.com, type in CBD to listen to that interview to learn more about their farming practices and how they make it, knowing that it is a very clean form of CBD. And it's also guaranteed that there's no THC. So if you do drug testing, you can know that and he does talk about that in our interview.

And the third thing is the magnesium soak. And he also talks today, Dr. Eckel talks today about how important magnesium is for brain health. And know that you can soak in magnesium and gain the benefits without needing to take a supplement orally. Because many people have adverse reactions to taking an oral magnesium supplement. But when you soak in it, you can absorb grams of magnesium and get all the benefits in a very gentle way. So, listen to my interview with Kristen Bowen. I've done a few interviews with her, she was 78 pounds I believe and having 30 seizures a day. And soaking and magnesium was one of the most important things she did to get her health back. So, it absolutely helps with neurological conditions because the brain needs magnesium. Just like many other nutrients that Dr. Eckel talks about today. You can go to www.livingthegoodlifenaturally.com, that is the magnesium soak website, www.livingthegoodlifenaturally.com, click on the magnesium soak jug picture when it first comes up and then use the coupon code LTH as in Learn True Health. LTH gives you a discount, and then you can get that jug of magnesium.

Come into the Learn True Health Facebook group. We'd love to see you there ,you can ask questions of the other listeners who have Sunlighten saunas, who've tried Medterra CBD or who use the magnesium soak. Many listeners are using all three and getting some great results. And Dr. Eckel shares that and many other suggestions today. So enjoy today's show. Thank you so much for being a listener and have yourself a fantastic rest of your day.

6:46 Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn true health podcast. I'm your host Ashley James. This is Episode 377.

We are back from this summer. Labor Day just happened. I am super stoked to get back into interviewing. Listeners who are in our Facebook group were telling me that they've been jonesing, they missed the show and I took a little vacation for about a week and hung out with my son and my husband and we went swimming and got lots of sun and it was wonderful. But I couldn't wait to come back and interview Dr. Greg Eckel who's a Naturopathic physician in Portland, Oregon, he specializes in neurology. You are going to love today's interview. I'm so excited to have Dr. Eckel here to share with us how we can prevent and reverse and support people who are experiencing Parkinson's, MS and other neurological conditions like migraines, traumatic brain injuries, headaches, and even post stroke recovery. This is going to be exciting. Welcome to the show.

7:56 Dr. Greg Eckel: Thank you.

7:57 Ashley James: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I love dive in to learn a bit more about the doctor before the doctor starts teaching us about how we can better heal our bodies. Because understanding what happened in your life that led you to become the physician and the healer that you are allows us to understand the philosophy and the lens at which you look through life and in order to help us. So what happened in your life that made you want to become a Naturopathic physician?

8:28 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, in the early 90s in Portland, Oregon, I was a preschool teacher. And I was watching at that point, I was in the Montessori education system.

8:39 Ashley James: Nice.

8:40 Dr. Greg Eckel: And it was the beginning of the attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, you know, onslaught and big pharma had discovered, “Hey, there's this untapped market called children, let's drug them.” And it was really disheartening. You know, I was an assistant in a classroom. I had my poster child was this boy, Michael, and he was definitely, he was rambunctious, I like to say, included others in his learning. And, you know, he was definitely wild guy out on the playground, in the classroom, you know, in the Montessori classroom you can choose your own material and bring it back to your desk. So Michael was always kind of in at other people's tables. The head teacher advocated to the parents, “Hey, I think Michael has some attentional issues, I think you should go get them checked out.”

They took them to the pediatrician. Lo and behold, they diagnosed him with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and then they medicated him with Ritalin. And the first day that he got back in the classroom, you know, definitely he's slumped over in his chair. He definitely stayed put, he was in his chair and at his table, but that little light that shines shine in the eye was gone. And I just thought there's got to be a better way to help these kids. And at that time, I also was a junk food vegetarian. And I wasn't feeling very healthy. And a bunch of paths led me to the Naturopathic school where these people, these physicians, they treated my diet. And boy, it was it was like a light bulb went on. Like, “Wow, actually, if I went back to school, I wanted to be in service to people.”

And so many different paths led me into Naturopathic medicine. So, not a day goes by that I'm not grateful for the for the experience. And I just thought I really got into helping kids with attentional issues when I started, but that's really what took me there was that picture of Michael just being really just drugged and slumped over and saw the sparkle gone out of his eye.

10:57 Ashley James: So what happened to Michael, do they just keep dragging him? Or did they try…

11:02 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah. They just basically, you know, it would be great to follow up. I got into medical school, he was my poster child and motivation for going through, in addition to family members and other people with health issues. But what I discovered, I got into neurofeedback, and that's kind of what led me into neurology and studying the brain at that point. So that was 1996. I got my license in 2001. But we really, you look at the stats on these medications now, you know, I talked to counselors too, in the high schools, and over half the kids are on some type of attentional medication, and it's almost like the kids have to be on them to keep up with the workload and demands. You know, these are drugs that get traded at parties to keep people awake. And I mean, it's interesting how ubiquitous nowadays in the culture, for just having those attentional issues.

12:06 Ashley James: That's really sad. I've done a few interviews with people who shared about their childhood experiences. I remember off the top of my head, with guests who shared their experiences with being put on these drugs when they were kids, and that's what led them to want to become Holistic Health practitioners, because of the adverse side effects, and the horrible nightmares and suicidal thoughts. I mean, don't, if a drug is going to make your teenager want to kill themselves, you know, because that's the side effect.

I mean, there's something serously wrong here. And then we'll continue to let them eat Cheetos, and  whatever junk food, we'll keep them on the standard American American diet ,or standard Canadian diet, standard Australian diet, wherever we are, it's pretty much the standardized flour, sugar oil, hyper palatable foods that are horrible for the nervous system and just jack up the brain. And then we drug them down. It's kind of like taking uppers and downers, the uppers are the food, the downers are the drugs. And it's a perfect system that the big pharma gets to profit from.

But when a child like Michael, and we put them on a whole foods plant based diet and remove the flour, remove the sugar, remove the hyper palatable foods, the spark is back in their eyes, and they feel so much more grounded in their own body. I recently interviewed an expert on nootropics, and he had adult ADHD. And getting on Ritalin was life changing for him. He loved it, he was so happy to be on it. But then his body became resistant to it. And then all of a sudden his thyroid just went completely through the floor and he got dementia, because he had such low thyroid. And it turns out it was a side effect of being on Ritalin for so many years. Have you ever heard that, about that Ritalin, being on these drugs can really drastically affect our hormone system?

14:15 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, sure, yah. You know, the medications are always counter intuitive. Like we're giving legalize speed to kids that have hyperactivity issues. And really, when it works, it works for 5% of the population. And you know, so that gentleman that you interviewed is probably one in the 5%. I mean, the medications really do help you hyper focus, but what it's doing is it's waking up your prefrontal cortex. And that's what the hyperactivity is a symptom of is, the child or the person is trying to wake themselves up because they have a low functioning cortical brainwaves. And so the medication wakes that up and is turning it back on. That's why it helps with your focus. So you're just taking legalized speed. So that's speeding up of your metabolism.

So then your hypothalamus has to balance that out, kind of the switchboard operator there in the middle, which is maintaining homeostasis, kind of coordinating your nervous system and your hormones. And so that's kind of the link of where that would come together for the individual that then kind of have thyroid issues was out of the hypothalamus level of trying to balance out because they're getting this speed, which is ramping up the nervous system. And so the counterbalance is in the hormone realm.

15:39 Ashley James: Right, because the hypothalamus to stimulate the pituitary to create the thyroid…

15:49 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

15:50 Ashley James: Basically, the hypothalamus is all the way at the top going, “Okay, thyroid, make your stuff. Okay, adrenal is make your stuff. Okay. You know, gonads make your stuff.” And so if you're taking the ADD medication, it's affecting the part of your brain that controls all your hormones.

16:09 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

16:11 Ashley James: That can be very dangerous down the road. But if you go to an MD, and this is me on my soapbox, if you go to an MD, they're treating symptoms. So we're going to treat five different symptoms of five drugs then you've got lots of side effects from those when it actually is a hypothalamus issue. Because of that, it was a side effect originally of the ADD medication. And so you might end up with problems with the ability to produce your hormones, sex hormones later in life, your steroidal hormones later in life, your thyroid hormone. You might end up with all these different conditions all resulting from the ADD medication of long term use, which we don't want. And then everyone that's listening wants to do things naturally and support the body coming back into balance. So when someone feels like they have ADD, what they need to do is wake up the frontal cortex. What can we do to stimulate healthfully naturally the frontal cortex?

17:11 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, that's one piece of it, right? So attentional issues, there's about nine different facets to attention and so when you look at it, the medication is only working for a small subset. And when you look at what the outcomes research shows is, it doesn't change IQ, it doesn't actually change outcomes in schooling. You know, so it is totally placating symptoms, people feel more in tune or maybe more flow and those are the folks that have that hypo functioning prefrontal cortex. So that's a small subset of folks, but you look at what can you do naturally? Of course, eating a whole foods diet, getting the processed foods out, decreasing your sugar content, you know, the the non sexy, but vital components, which is, food is your best medicine. So looking at that, exercise, right? You get the blood flow. Well, what travels in the blood is the healing properties of the body. So you inform what's in the blood, but then you get the circulation going as well.

One of the things that I got in on one a little bit bigger with, you know, if your child is having significant issues in the classroom, you can get into neurofeedback, so I did that in the clinic here at Nature Cures for six years, which is hooking electrodes up, you get feedback visually from a computer screen, and you are basically training certain wave frequencies, so it's waking your brain up, and naturally you're just doing it via a biofeedback or neurofeedback loop.

18:55 Ashley James: I love that. I did an interview, I feel like about two years ago with a man that created a biofeedback company. And he said it was like the kids are playing video games with their brain. They hook it up to their brain, and they stare at a monitor. And they're watching, like what they do with their brain moves the things on the screen, so it feels like a video game. And then they get amazing results. And he had actually, he started it because he's working with nonverbal children on the spectrum of autism, and doing the biofeedback, they were able to help them improve to the point of like, being able to feed themselves, clothe themselves, talk, I mean, it was amazing. The kind of results. Yeah, he was working with, I think something like big university study, and then that motivated him to go out and start his own company. And now anyone can go and do it. But it's really fun, what we're seeing with the brain, and with neurofeedback. And so you started doing that, it also reminds me of a Pediatric Occupational therapist I'm friends with who told me that on the playgrounds, you know, when we were kids, there are swings, and then there's the tire swing that goes around, right?

Now, she says it's a crime that a lot of schools are taking swings away, because she said that the children will self regulate. And you've probably seen children do this, where they'll spin around in a circle, they just no to spin around till they get dizzy. Or they'll ask you to spin them around, or they'll get on that tire swing, or they'll get on the you know, that merry go round that some places still have, some park still have. And they'll just spin and spin and spin. And she says, neurologically, when they need their brain to kind of be ramped up, they know to spin themselves, and children who like to get on the swing, and just gently go back and forth. They need to calm down their nervous system. It's funny because that's totally me, I always went on the swing, I just needed to be calmed and brought down. And she said that children would go in recess and they would sort of self regulate their nervous system, whether they need to be ramped up or ramped down. And now they're cutting recess times, they're taking these things out of the playgrounds, and so children are unable to self regulate as well.

21:24 Dr. Greg Eckel: Oh, yeah, totally. That makes total sense. Or even them cutting PE class, physical education so that's not occurring anymore, right? And then the kids get more ramped up, they're not able to self correct. And then there's more medication prescribed, right? Like, oh, what a catch 22 here.

21:44 Ashley James: Right. Right. So, you were mentioning the non sexy ways that children can better help themselves by eating a good diet. And you know, getting enough sleep, not allowing your children to drink caffeine, caffeinated, beverages or sugar, making sure they go to bed on time, I would say also, decreasing screen time as well is a big one, because that does really ramp up their nervous system. And then the biofeedback, can you give us a few more things that you have seen work really well for children with ADHD before we move on to talk about Parkinson's?

22:23 Dr. Greg Eckel: Sure. Well, I want to really reiterate on the screen time as well. I mean, there was a big summit that I participated in called the Digital Dementia Summit, there's research coming out of France showing kids gray matter of their brain is shrinking similar to dementia, with screen time greater than seven hours a day, and some kids are on screens greater than seven hours a day. And we're seeing on imaging, on brain imaging that their brains are looking as if they have dementia of a 65 year old. So this is a significant component, of course, coming from the Naturopathic physician is getting out in nature, let them get their hands and feet dirty, have them run around without shoes, as long as that's a safe thing to do.

You know, and really get out and actually, for the adults to go out and play with them. I think just fostering more play, more imaginative, more imagination as well, just outside in the natural world. These are big things. And we live in the northwest of the United States where it rains for a good portion of the year. But as my kids say, there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. And so you should be able to get out in any climate and get out into nature. You know, it's really important.

23:53 Ashley James: I interviewed a man who's lost, I believe 200 pounds now, it's more than 200 pounds. I just interviewed him a few months ago. And I think he was like close to 500 pounds three years ago. And he lives in Canada, in Alberta, where they get crazy weather. And he started walking every day no matter what, no matter the weather. And at first I mean, he was so uncomfortable being you know, 500 pounds, right? And he just did it, he's got out and walked in negative 30 degrees, in blizzard or raining or super hot hundred degree weather. He just did it every day as much as he could. And then that end, stopping eating sugar and flour for lots of vegetables. And yeah, he just he's so healthy now. He says he'll never ever miss a day of walking again.

And that really inspired me, that I realized how many excuses I bring up whenever I want to go outside. I see one cloud, “Oh no, it's too cloudy. I'm not going to go outside.” So I need to like you know, suck it up and get out there. Just this morning right before the interview I took my son to a You Pick Farm and we met some friends and we picked zucchini, and kale and corn and potatoes and all kinds of great stuff that we basically bought a week's worth of vegetables for $30, all organic and it's fresh out of the ground. And my son picked bugs and ate kale right off the plant. And yeah, that is unbelievable. So great. I definitely recommend people check out farmers markets and You Pick Farms and take your kids with you because it is it's fun, and they can run around. And it's so much better than TV. And we brought kids that never eat vegetables and they were eating vegetables. When kids can actually touch them growing out of the ground, they'll eat them. So we had a lot of fun doing that. And it's really allowed me to have a great appreciate for the farmers that grow our food, because it takes a lot of work to pull it out of the ground. Any other advice around ADHD for children before we move on?

26:11 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah, sure. A big one on brain nutrient, this will touch base with the neurologic discussion later, is our omega three fatty acids and in particular DHA. They're lacking in all of our diets and DHA is that active constituent of those omega threes that feed the brain and children respond beautifully to those. They're anti inflammatory, they soothe the brain, they hit the satiety center, they help with energy and focus. And they're just major brain food, so that that would be a biggie to look at, investigate your diet.

26:50 Ashley James: Yeah, what's the best way to get it in our diet? Because you know, everyone says fish oil, I'm not opposed to fish oil, it's just, you know, there's so many low quality fish oils out there. And since the fish get their EFAs from algae, we could just skip the murdering fish and go straight to the algae. So, I don't know what is the best way to get DHA?

27:13 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, the algae oil is a great way to do it. But the DHA these, the DHA and EPA are the active constituents. And so you know, as a past vegetarian for over half my life as well. You know, flax oil, etc. These are hard, they're higher omega threes, but we're only converting a certain percentage of those into DHA and EPA. So it's about a 1% to 5% of total omega threes from plant based sources, 1% to 5% go into DHA, and about 5% to 15% go into EPA. And those are the ones that we have the most research on. Now I'm a whole plant practitioner, I love the whole plant. So definitely getting it that way, flax seeds, chia seeds, these have omega three fatty acids in them, it just you know, you would have to be consuming so much of those plants to get an adequate dose of EPA and DHA in particular for the brain. So I definitely, I do recommend supplementing those.

You want to know your source, a lot of companies do a really good job of screening for heavy metal toxicity, pesticides, etc. Because these fish do bio accumulate toxins and fat. So you definitely want to know your source. You know, one of the better ones out on the market, at least in the states is Nordic Naturals, I have no affiliation with the company. I just like their product. But you want to know your source for sure. So, it's not like go to the bulk discount supplement store and and get those because, you know, you really don't know what you're getting. And you could do more harm than good with that.

29:06 Ashley James: There's only a handful of companies that will make their fish oil supplements in a nitrogen chamber, which prevents the oil from oxidizing and that's one of the companies that I get my EFAs from, does that and so that's my big recommendation for quality is to find out if your company does it, produces the EFA in a nitrogen chamber to prevent the oxygen from oxidizing the oil. So you're saying if children have ADHD, the best way to get DHA into them for their brain health is through fish oil, because they would have to consume so much flax and chia?

29:45 Dr. Greg Eckel: Correct. Yeah, it would be really hard for them to get adequate levels to actually make a difference there. Yeah.

29:52 Ashley James: I eat plant based and my husband's vegan, but we're not dogmatic. You know what I mean?

30:00 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah. Sometimes it's a medicinal quality and that's kind of the distinction we made in my household as well. If it's a medicinal quality item, it might be something that you want to look at, because that's a big, that's a showstopper, you know, they're called essential as essentially, we can't make them in our bodies, we can only get them from our food. And so that's one aspect that you want to look at.

30:29 Ashley James: And why is DHA and EPA so important? Is it because 70% of the brain is made from these healthy fats? I've heard that like, I think 70% of the white matter of the brain is made from cholesterol. So it's like a major part of the brain is made from these fats. Is it because the brain is made from it, so we're just building healthy brain? Or does it play a different role in protecting it?

30:51 Dr. Greg Eckel: We really could call each other fat heads, and it is a fat storage, and we need these really beneficial fats to help with as building blocks for more fat. So these are essential in a lot of different processes. It's not that DHA is the substance that the brain is made of, but it is definitely the brain food of choice. Yeah.

31:15 Ashley James: Awesome. So, you must have some really great experiences helping children recover from this, like, YouTube dementia and ADHD.

31:30 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

31:32 Ashley James: But you've also have great, great experience helping adults recover from Parkinson's and MS, and other neurological conditions. Let's talk about that.

31:45 Dr. Greg Eckel: Sure. Well, this is more recent, so I've been in practice since 2001. So, I still have a very eclectic practice here at Nature Cures Clinic in Portland. And you kind of fast forward through about 15, 16 years of clinical practice. And lo and behold, my wife gets a very rare neurological condition called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease which is a preonic activity of the brain, very rare one in a million people about 300 cases a year in North America. And you know, as loving husband and physician, trying to swing for the fence of like, well, there's no known cure for this. The diagnosis is basically wait until she dies and then we'll do a brain autopsy and will confirm the diagnosis. It was just crazy and you know, she did pass last year.

32:54 Ashley James: I'm so sorry to hear that.

32:56  Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah, thank you. You know, it's been, you know, life is full contact. And I think things happen for reasons and I just definitely lifted the veil for me on the illusion of our world and kind of reinstated my faith, you know, big things, like it was a big process that I've gone through, and what I've got, as a result, definitely a lot of heartfelt gratitude for this world, and our plane of existence and the physicality of our bodies and the planet and our universe. And I'd like to say as I lecture and speak, we have this illusion of separateness, and we really are all one, just pretending to be separate in this current time. And this process, this process that I went through really solidified that for me, and I've wound up with a bunch of gifts, what I'm calling Soraya's gifts, that's her name. It was her name, Soraya, and, you know, what do you say, I mean, life happens, I'm not the first person to lose the love of their life, but it definitely is humbling when it happens to you. And I've got just newfound energy, purpose, passion, focused to help more people, it really solidified my purpose and service to others and share what I've learned along the way, and so on as a practitioner, and as a being on the planet, definitely.

Sometimes I feel like I'm an ambassador for grief. You know, we don't do grief very well as a culture and I guess I'm more comfortable with it. So as it arises, I'm fine sharing and showing and just being with it. And so I think definitely has informed me as a practitioner with more empathy for others and what they are going through. And just as a being on the planet, having a loss, and, you know, grief touches on grief for a lot of people. So it's interesting to see what surfaces for others when you bring up a loss like this. And I went looking for solutions and remedies and it really didn't have, there's no known cure, and you look at chronic neurodegeneration, and there's no known cure across the board.

We're talking Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease  which is mad cow syndrome, and people, it's scrappy, and goats. It's Chronic Wasting Disease and dear. So these preonic activities, which are misfolded proteins in central nervous system and brain matter. Well, you get in on the preonic diseases textbook, which I have the second edition of that. And you realize, oh, all of these neurodegenerative states; dementia, Alzheimer's anxiety can be categorized in here as well, can be related to preonic activity, which are misfolded proteins. And we don't have great solutions for that, which you know, is evidence for Parkinson's.

I started with Parkinson's, I have a book coming out called Shake It Off: An Integrative Approach To Parkinson's Syndrome, or Parkinson's Solutions. And with that, we look at what can we do for these folks, and I put it in on my clinic, the different things that I was learning for Soraya. And lo and behold, we're getting results for folks. I'm not saying I'm curing Parkinson's, but we are showing improvement of quality of life, we're showing reversal, stability, halting symptom development, reversal of symptom development, and improvement of functioning. And so these are very encouraging things.

We've got some time to put in on really perfecting the protocol, but I did develop, it's called a FAN-C approach to Parkinson's, capital FAN-C so FAN-C, we can talk about that in a moment. But it all comes out of my personal trials and tribulations of helping, looking for solutions and a chronic disease that doesn't have any answers. So, I was talking to the world's experts on preonic activities, got in touch with Case Western here in the United States, where they have the Preonic Surveillance Center of North America, didn't even know one existed in their study, it's an observational study. They have had 22 people enrolled in their study.

So, you know, we don't really have a lot of great information or data and I got to live with that condition for two years. You know, it's a rapidly progressing dementia, in two months time, Soraya, she was a certified nurse, midwife, nurse practitioner here in the clinic, and, you know, radical women's health care provider, you know, just had such joy and love for people. And never had in a million years would you think a woman would come out of her annual exam kind of dancing and singing and laughing. And it's like, wow, like, what a gift Soraya had for people. So, she was this sharp, sharp practitioner, and all of a sudden started having memory issues, and we wound up in the clinic staying later and she had been in practice for five years at that point. Like, “Hey, honey, what what is up?” Like, never have we stayed, you know, like, I get it, you're being meticulous with your notes, but what is going on?

So, we started looking at maybe some perimenopause hormone changes, or maybe mold issues. You look at things that could be creating memory issues for folks, and you kind of go down these rabbit holes of most prominent issues. And after about a month of that I started taking her, it's like, “Gosh, this is beyond what I can do here.” It's not these things, it's not hormone imbalance, it's not mold toxicity. You know, it's not a level of toxicity. So, you know, go out into Western approach just to get some ideas, and they're all saying it's a psychotic break, and it's like, this is not a psychotic break. This woman was top of her game just a month ago. And so, it kind of went through that process and then the differential starts getting more ominous and ominous of like, oh, it could be autoimmune encephalitis or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

So during this time, Soraya's in rapid decline, and then basically in two months time, she's not able to talk like she's gone into total dementia. And, you know, it's like, wow, we're nonverbal. We can't communicate now. It's like, what in the world is going on? So, it was really a tough, tough go and we surrounded her with lots of love and I did a little swing for the fences, a baseball analogy of, you know, let me dig deep here and see what I can come up with and the trail I've got this component of Soraya's gifts of I think we can help a lot of people with chronic neurodegeneration as a result of this. Unfortunately, it didn't help her out. But, we've got, you know, maybe trying to turn my personal tragedy into this gift for the world. And so that's what we're putting forth.

41:26 Ashley James: Now, I always thought mad cow disease or mad cow syndrome was transmissible, meaning it could be passed on from one person to another, from one animal to another. Is this something she caught?

41:41 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, so that's the million dollar question. And when you read about preons, they always put this infectious prion before this adjective. And I think it's incorrect to think of it as an infectious agent. Now, I say that it's total theory on my part, but it's a theory on their part as well. So Stanley Prusiner out of a lab in California, he got the Nobel Prize in 1987 in medicine for the discovery of these prion. And he was really uniquely positioned to be one of the only people on the planet to be able to figure this out. He was a bench biochemist. And at the time, they thought prions were a virus like a retrovirus. And he had spent 20, 30 years in the lab studying viruses and bacteria. And he said, “You know, these are not behaving like that.” And so he stuck to his guns, but two decades of ridicule and the scientific community for him, thankfully he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for that. But, you know, he put this infectious adjective there.

So when you read any literature on it, you know, it was it's also called “Kuru” in Papua New Guinea, there was a tradition where the grandmothers, mothers and girls would eat the brains of the ancestors that passed in honoring and in commemoration and honoring of those that passed. And I think they've stopped that tradition, because in the brains were these prions. And so it was a very rapid transmission of prionic activity by ingesting those brains. If it was transmissible from cow to human, in the 80s there were about 3 million pounds of tainted beef that were released in Europe. And there was a slight uptick of Creutzfeldt-Jakob but not to the level that you would expect if these were infectious agents as in something to catch.

Now, there are those scientists that still think that they are infectious, like a virus that they can spread like that. But I think it's a little bit more complex. And these are not new proteins, I think these are archaic protein structures that have been on the planet since we began. And the reason why I say that is they are so uniquely, what they do is they misfold, these proteins misfold. And when you look at tau proteins and amyloid plaques, and [Inaudible 44:33] nucleon, these are other proteins that are misfolded disorders that are also in dementia and Alzheimer's and ALS, Parkinson's. So they're found in these other conditions of misfolding. Well, what happens is, they get misconfigured and then they start signaling other proteins to start to do that. And that's I think why they call them “infectious.” And that there's a signaling unit that happens once they get misfolded. Now, we don't know. And that's the issue with these disorders and diagnosis is, is that we don't know what the causative agent of misfolding is.

45:17 Ashley James: It's like a domino effect.

45:19  Dr. Greg Eckel: Exactly.

45:20  Ashley James: It's kind of like cancer. If the body can't clear it out, well one cancer cell normally… I mean, every day our body clears cancer out. But if we don't, that one little harmless cancer cell can become a whole tumor very quickly. So the domino effect is that one misfolded protein could trigger others to start misfolding. But why, why isn't the body clearing them out?

45:45 Dr. Greg Eckel: Right. And they're not unable to kill, you know, you can't kill them really, either. So that's the unique property of these prions is, you know, heat, autoclaving. You know, the traditional ways of denaturing proteins don't work for these.

46:08 Ashley James: So it sounds like we're just sort of at the beginning, the Pioneer days of understanding this. Now, you found out… I mean, your wife had a rapid decline, and you found out very deep into her diagnosis what it was. Did you any therapies to prolong her life or ease her symptoms? Did you find anything in time that helped her that you noticed that helped?

46:42 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, not. No, no. So not in her condition. So, what I put together is a process called the FAN-C approach. So this is for all neurologic conditions, but F stands for functional, so treating whole people, not disease processes. And this is also a very profound difference between Naturopathic medicine and maybe Functional or Integrative practitioners that come from a Western training. In the Naturopathic principles is the body can heal itself, given the right information. And at the point that we've got this discovered with Soraya, I just feel like the process, it was so rapid and moving so quickly, that there wasn't a way to pull it back. You know, really, I went super esoteric to very biochemical.

So, every level of treatment that you could think of, we've really put in just two decades in the field, definitely very eclectic practitioner. So, on that functional approach, it's really kind of a mindset change of, I think one of the issue is, is that everybody's focused at end stage product or disease. And if you're only focusing at that, like for Parkinson's, just focusing on dopamine receptors and the dopamine molecule, it's far too late. Like we've really have to go upstream. And one way of doing that is looking at the assessment. So the A in FAN-C stands for assessment. And this is looking at molecular mimicry, like what else could be causing the symptoms in the body? So I look at viruses; cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, epstein barr virus, these things can mimic these protein misfolding disorders.

We look at hormone balance, because the hormones as we were talking about with attention deficit disorder and stimulating the prefrontal cortex, you know, that comes with into the hypothalamus. Well, that balances the hormones and nervous system there. So hormones, you definitely want to have optimally balanced out for people. Heavy metal toxicity is another one, right? We store toxins in our fat. So we want to look at what gets stored in the fat. So you have to look at, I find cadmium, mercury, arsenic and lead are the top four that I find in my patients, especially with neuro degenerative states. So you gotta get out the proverbial lead, so to speak.

49:32 Ashley James: I have a quick question, if sure cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury are stored in the fat tissue of the body, how do you do accurate heavy metal testing? Because I know you can do hair analysis, which really only reflects the last three months. And blood and urine wouldn't really do it, if it's stored in the fat. Do you have to do a biopsy of fat?

49:57 Dr. Greg Eckel: You do a chelating agent. Yeah, so one of the things with hair analysis, also, there's a lot of folks that have issues with metal toxicity, aren't able to secrete them in the hair follicle, so they're not able to get them out. And I see that a lot with kids on the autistic spectrum disorder. You know, a lot of practitioners are only doing hair analysis. Well, it doesn't correlate well. And like you're saying it's only three months. And also there's a genetic component where you're not able to actually excrete those through the hair follicle or eliminate them yourself. And so they get trapped in the body. And that adds to the issue of the condition.

So what we do, we do a pre and post test, there are different oral chelating agents like DMSA or IV therapy with EDTA, which is the kind of a toxicology route of the agreed upon test to do, which is like a big magnet that goes into the blood that pulls metals, but it also pulls essential minerals as well. So, you know, you have to be very cautious and do that correctly. It has been around, chelation has been around for 50 years, plus done with a trained practitioner is very safe and it is super effective as well.

51:22 Ashley James: I would agree with you, we should absolutely go to a Naturopathic physician if we want to do chelation because it's kind of like using a nuclear bomb on the body to release the heavy metal. And then you're going to have to get a nice mineral and trace mineral supplement to help put back in what we took out. So I really agree with you there. I interviewed Dr. Klinghardt who's local to me, and he works with a lot of children on spectrum come from all over the world to see him. And he gets children that are having very poor health problems to be able to within a year go to school, like just a huge transformation. And he says it's almost always heavy metals, like it's just unbelievable. Their body cannot detox the heavy metals. You know, they were probably given vaccines and you know, it's controversial whether vaccines cause autism or not, depending on who you talk to. There's lots of information depending on who you talk to.

But what we do know for a fact is that there's heavy metals in vaccines, and that autistic children have a problem with detoxing. And so they have an accumulation of heavy metals in their neurology, and what Dr. Klinghardt brings up is, what we're seeing now, one in 40 children are on the spectrum, whereas when you and I were kids, it was one in 10,000. And we're wondering, is it actually autism? Or are we miss diagnosing a large percentage of the population? Because what they actually have is all the same symptoms of autism, but it's their brain is full of heavy metals. And if we remove the heavy metals, they no longer are on the spectrum.

53:11 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah, and it's not, I wouldn't put it as a blanket statement for all children, or people on the spectrum have heavy metal toxicity. But there is a good portion of folks that that is the case. So I have seen folks on the spectrum that they don't have metals in their system, because we're tracking for that. But I have seen, you know, I've had moms calling me from the grocery store saying, you know, “Johnny just sang and looked in his sister's eyes, first time ever in his life that he's ever had any interaction, and he was vocal and verbal.” It was like, you know, true miracles like that. And for him, we were chelating him with a an oral DMPS or sorry, a topical cream that we were doing some chelation therapy with. So you know, it is definitely, you got to rule it in or rule it out.

Really the take home message is anytime you're dealing with neurological issues, we store toxins in our fat, we can call each other fat heads because there's so much fat in our head, you know, our brain is fat, and we store toxins there. So we definitely have to look at that. So that's on the assessment front. There's more on the assessment front as well and each of these are such, we can unpack each one as well. But I run an Alcat testing looking at food sensitivities, so not allergens, but sensitivity. So that's white blood cells that get exposed to different foods, food additives, molds, etc. And we see how the body is responding to these items. And then we also run a gut microbiome test, GI maps to look at the health of the gut. Because the gut is the second brain, we manufacture all of our neurotransmitters for brain health in the gut, our digestion is so important to that.

And we're looking at the whole microbiome and even there's some theories around glyphosate from roundup and pesticide use, you know, killing certain gut bugs that were responsible for creating dopamine and other nutrients for our brain – neurotransmitters. So, you know, there's more and more information coming out that way. So we got to look at the gut too. So those are the four main areas that I look at for brain health, for really all of my patients coming in with these diagnoses. And so that assessment, I just feel like people are not getting a proper assessment, because it leaves a lot of options out there rather than treating symptoms, like you were saying, you know, going Western approach and you're gonna get put on a bunch of different medications to treat a symptom. This is one way that I found, it really trace it down to the root imbalances and address at a very deep, profound level.

56:12 Ashley James: Absolutely. I want to know why. I mean, obviously, it's very important to check the gut flora. We wanted a healthy microbiome. When someone has a microbiome that's out of balance, maybe they had an antibiotic in the last year and they know they've got really out of balanced gut flora, or maybe they have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or candida, why does that affect brain health?

56:41 Dr. Greg Eckel: So on that level, so we have the vagus nerve that comes down, it's a cranial nerve, cranial nerve 10 that comes down innervates the gut. And there's a lot of different theories on this, Ployvagal theory, Stephen Porges has a component around the vagus nerve, and it's important to our health and around PTSD and anxiety and depression states. So that's one aspect, but the vagus nerve, cranial nerve 10 comes down innervates the gut. And so there are certain things that get transmitted up and down that nerve, in addition to just the nervous system, you know, different nutrients; manganese, iron, these things get deposited in the brain, and so there's a connection there. And then also you look at, well, there are certain probiotics, so gut bugs, that their secretion is the end product that our brains need for proper functioning. So it's so fascinating. The research on probiotics is getting so sophisticated to look at this. And you know, I actually did a lecture to providers, I'm part of this go wellness affiliated network of about 40 clinics right now, its regenerative medicine clinics. And I gave these docs and providers the notes on, there's research on specific neurotransmitters being produced by the gut bugs.

58:19 Ashley James: I love it.

58:20 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

58:21 Ashley James: So cool. I love that we need these other living beings, this amazing symbiotic relationship. And just thinking of mitochondria, the mitochondria are not us, like we had a guest talk about that they have different DNA, but they're part of us. But it's like, you have to think of mitochondria, it's like a different being joined us and all the gut flora, and then all the healthy bacteria on our skin, and we just keep finding as science marches on that there's even more importance, the rule that these healthy bacteria plays. So it's kinda like a garden. You know, it's amazing garden where all the healthy bugs are keeping everything in balance, but it's in our body and on our body. And so we've got to think that we need to foster this healthy garden that comes back to how Naturopaths consider the whole body and the terrain of the body. We want to fertilize and balance the whole body. It's so cool that our neurotransmitters that so many of them are made in the gut by the healthy gut bugs.

59:33 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

59:33 Ashley James: I love it.

59:34 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah. Yeah, it's a little bit gross, too, right? If you took all the aerobic and anaerobic gut bugs out depending on the individual, about four to seven pounds of material. And, you know, it's just like, wow, that's a whole ecosystem unto itself. Yeah.

59:55 Ashley James: I love it. I love my gut bugs. We get along.

59:56 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah. I do too.

1:00:00 Ashley James: I have a friend, Dr. Megan Saunders and she's been on the show many times. She used to be addicted to kombucha back when she was in the Naturopathic school. She was known as the kombucha lady and she says that it takes over your brain. She really believes that, that when you start drinking things or eating fermented foods that the gut bugs start making you crave that food more because they want more of that environment in itself.

1:00:26 Dr. Greg Eckel: Oh yeah. They secrete right into the bloodstream that goes up to your brain saying, “Feed us.”

1:00:31 Ashley James: Yeah. And so you start craving the kombucha. For me it's the, I love the sauerkraut at Costco. They've got great organic sauerkraut and my Costco and my gut just craves it.

1:00:43 Dr. Greg Eckel: That's awesome. That's a good craving.

1:00:45 Ashley James: Yeah. Awesome. So we've got functional which is looking at the whole person, meaning looking at their emotional state, their sleep, their lifestyle, then looking at the assessment of all the things inside the person that could be off; heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, mold, all the stuff inside their body, their gut flora being off, what's the N stand for?

1:01:11 Dr. Greg Eckel: N is for nerve health. So you're looking at specific nutrients for nerve health. And you know, the most famous is B12. But you've got glutathione there. The DHA that we talked about EPA, there are certain nutrients that are renowned for brain health. So, we put that in making sure that you have that in your diet. Glutathione is one of those things for your mitochondria. There's NAD as well, treatments for mitochondrial health and energy, but also nutrients for nerves. So we look at that aspect to make sure you've got your bases covered there.

1:01:57 Ashley James: What's NAD?

1:01:57 Dr. Greg Eckel: NAD is derivative of vitamin B3, niacin. Yeah, and NAD is big in the longevity movement right now for energy production. It's a specific food into the mitochondria.

1:02:20 Ashley James: Oh, got it. Because I know what NAC is. So I was like, oh what's NAD? So that's different. So it's a derivative of the B vitamin that supports the mitochondria?

1:02:30 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

1:02:30 Ashley James: Hmm, awesome. Can we get it from whole foods or do we need to buy it as a supplement?

1:02:35 Dr. Greg Eckel: That one is tough. You know, there are some supplements with dubious claims. And you know that one, I do it via IV is the way that I get that one into the body.

1:02:57 Ashley James: When someone starts taking the NAD IV, what kind of effects do they notice?

1:03:03 Dr. Greg Eckel: They'll notice decreased brain fog, more energy, clear thinking. Along those lines.

1:03:10 Ashley James: Whoo, sign me up. That sounds great. When you do an IV, do you normally do like a cocktail? Like a Myers push where it's a bunch of vitamins?

1:03:21 Dr. Greg Eckel: With the NAD, it's pretty much straight up NAD. You can include those other items in there. Before or after but the NAD goes by itself.

1:03:32 Ashley James: Got it. Very cool. Now, we'll definitely make sure the links to everything you do is in the show notes of today's podcast, www.naturecuresclinic.com.

1:03:42 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yes.

1:03:42 Ashley James: The listeners can go. Now, you do take clients all around the world through phone or Skype. But for them to be able to do the IV they'd have to come to the beautiful city of Portland Oregon.

1:03:54 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yes. Yeah, and Ido have people traveling from around the globe. They come to Camp Nature Cures, but there is a lot of stuff that we can do remotely. I do via Zoom, some of those telemedicine things, but you know, to get some of these therapies, I haven't figured out how to deliver it over the internet yet.

1:04:16 Ashley James: I'm still waiting for like, smell-o-vision. Watch the TV and be able to smell it. Yeah. Very cool. Okay, so those nootropics are the N.

1:04:28 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah, exactly.

1:04:30  Ashley James: And then what's the C?

1:04:32 Dr. Greg Eckel: C is for cellular regeneration. And so we're living at a really interesting time, where we can do regenerative medicine with stem cells and exosomes, and these therapies to help the body create new brain tissue.

1:04:51 Ashley James: I love it. I love it. So you're using stem cell therapy for the brain?

1:04:57 Dr. Greg Eckel: Correct.

1:04:58 Ashley James: And what kind of results are you seeing?

1:05:01 Dr. Greg Eckel: You know, we are getting folks with Parkinson's, we're having folks' tremors halt and reverse. We're having their gait, they're walking become more stable, more fluid, we're having their speech improve as well. So there are some big, some reversal of symptoms. Again, I'm not claiming that for everybody. But we have seen it, we've got clinical evidence of it, and we're looking to improve those results for a lot of people. But, you know, my patients got sick of just being serially monitored, they'd go in to the specialist, the Neurologist and be run through a battery of tests. And then basically not even told what was going on, just see you next year. And when they would ask the doc would say, well, you're getting worse. And they're thinking, well, I could have told you that before I came in here. And, you know, we're just looking to provide some options, alternatives, some hope that there are people working on it. Like, for instance, on the NAD. There's a researcher down at Scripps University at University of Florida. And she's doing research on NAD IVs and prionic disorders. And so, it's too early for primetime use but I'm saying, you know, look, if we've got this research, we know this is a safe therapy in humans, my folks that have these diagnosis is they don't have 30 to 40 years to wait for the definitive research to come out. It's like you know, let's use it now and see what we can do.

1:06:49 Ashley James: I love it. Absolutely. I have seen and heard of actually because I've interviewed some people about this. People with Parkinson's getting great results using medical marijuana or CBD and hemp that when they use the CBD drops that then their shaking goes away.

1:07:10 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

1:07:11 Ashley James: Have you also seen that some people with Parkinson's have great improvement?

1:07:15 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yes. So on that nerve health, CBD, cannabidiol is definitely one of those nerve health supplements. And, you know, when I went to medical school, we did not know about the endocannabinoid system. I did a lecture three years ago at American Academy of Environmental Medicine for cannabidiol for the treatment of anxiety.

And you look at Professor Mechoulam out of Israel. He's the scientist that discovered the endocannabinoid system. And there are more receptors in the central nervous system, they're called CB1, cannabidiol one. There are more receptors for that molecule, than all of the other neurotransmitters put together, which is just, I mean, it's almost overwhelming to think about, like we didn't even know about that system when I went to medical school. And now there's discovered more receptors for that molecule than all of the other neurotransmitters put together.

So that is definitely, that endocannabinoid system, it needs toned. You know, eating endocannabinoid rich foods that feed that system. And then you know, taking CBD is definitely one of those things, again, source matters there, you want to make sure you've got its medical grade, it's tested. One of the things that the hemp plant does, it will rehab toxic land, so it will pull up toxins out of the soil. So you want to just make sure you've got a really good source, if you are using that. Again, source matters. So for all of these items, yeah.

1:08:58 Ashley James: Yeah, same with chlorella and spirulina, they'll just suck up. I mean, it's great to use chlorella, spirulina to clean up waterways. And to use the hemp plant to clean soil, right? That's good to clean up areas, but not to consume. So we have to make sure that the soil is clean and the water is clean. If we're going to consume these crops. I thought it was really interesting that if we're deficient in our essential fatty acids, we can't produce enough of the… basically our body's own CBD. And so then we're CBD deficient, so that if someone takes CBD and gets a really great result, it's because they were deficient in it. And if someone takes CBD, and it's really good quality, it's tested, we know that there's actually CBD in it. And they don't feel any difference, then maybe they weren't as deficient. But the people who are really deficient, who obviously have neurological symptoms, they'll see the biggest shift because their body was deficient. And that also then points to the fact that they are deficient in their essential fatty acids because their body can't produce enough of their own cannabinoids.

1:10:16  Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah, yeah, that's it. And you know, and that makes a great point in that. I haven't found one thing to be the be all end all in any really condition. And so, you know, I think our want is like, just give me the one thing, doc. And if there's this when you're talking about neuro degeneration, it's so multifactorial. You know, when we talk about possible causative agents, definitely levels of toxicity, play a role in Parkinson's, that's clearly defined in the literature from pesticides, metals, sometimes infections also can be triggering events for folks. And so, you got to do the multi pronged approach. But more is not better. More is more.

So oftentimes, I'll see people come in with the laundry list of supplements or research and saying, I'm taking all of these things, there is this concept that I want to make sure I share with your listeners is that it's called Zhang of the formula or direction. And in Chinese medicine, herbs, there's an emperor or empress, then there's generals, and then assistants, and everybody lines up. So imagine, the emperor or empress is at the very tip, if it was like an Arrowhead and it's cutting through and moving in a direction. And so whatever plan or program that you get on, you want to make sure you have a direction, and that there's a leading herb or a leading therapy, and everything else lines up behind and helps with that motion in a direction. Because otherwise, we kind of get into the shotgun approach a more is better. And I'll see people with like, grocery bags full of supplements, like, “Ugh. You have to one, digest all of that. Two, process at all, absorb it all.” And then it's pulling your vital force, your vitality in all of these different directions.

So the body and its inherent wisdom doesn't really know which way to go with all of that information coming in. So, you know, sometimes we'll break those up for folks and have them like cycle through by month or it really is on, are we getting a result or not. And then the other thing that comes off of that, when talking about the Zhang of the formula or direction, or assembling a program or protocol for an individual, you know, we all have our unique genetic platforms. And that's when you asked about,  how does the prions get transmitted? Are they contagious? Can you “catch” them? You know, why I think we didn't see this huge outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in Europe in the 80s was, well, maybe the genetic platform wasn't susceptible to that. People ate tainted beef, there were 3 million pounds of beef that got released.

Now, a lot of that got recalled, but a lot of that got consumed. And we would have expected to see a bigger outbreak. Now some say, “Well, okay, it's like a smoking gun, maybe then you've got these prions in there, they haven't been totally activated, maybe traumas, maybe level of toxicity.” And then I would say those definitely influenced expression, but also then on top of a more susceptible genetic platform, which then even goes one step further is looking at, okay, well, I got even into looking at ancestral traumas turning on genes that then express today. So some of the conditions that we see in modern era aren't even the individual's issue, right? It was their great grandmother's trauma that set them up for that. And it has definitely made my job as a physician so much harder, to be able to have the time to spend with somebody talking about all of these levels of care, and possible root imbalances.

So, I definitely wind up talking to my patients about their family lineage, family trees, but not just in a purely genetic sense, but in an energetic sense of getting back into communication with your lineage and your ancestors. Like, that's why you're here today, they were here, right? That DNA, that information got passed down through time, through your great grandparents and grandparents and parents, and now to you, and then maybe to your offspring. And so, one aspect is really giving thanks, or gratitude, being grateful for it, but then, you know, also acknowledging and letting your ancestors know, like, Hey, we're going to stop, I'm not taking the family burden further. Like, I'm letting that down, and you know, consciously saying it, because it makes an imprint in your limbic system and amygdala and your cells, and your body is so responsive, and to be able to acknowledge and give thanks.

And then also, say, I'm not taking this burden any further. I welcome the energy and intuition, and inspiration. Like, you know, bring all of that to me ancestors, but we're going to leave the family traumas, the burdens, you know, whatever got set up in the past, we're going to leave that now. Like, we don't need to carry that forward anymore. Because it does get past, it just dawned on me, like, wow, that's where that curse of seven generations, where that comes from, it's like, we can actually trace out 13 generations now from a trauma that occurred 13 generations ago, expressing through a family's lineage. So, it's doing techniques of grounding yourself and deep breathing, and I love playing with the voice and kind of frequencies and singing, all of these accessing all of the different healing modalities, and really putting those in, depending on what your specific issue is. But, you know, you can really find folks that are tying these things together, and designing a program specific to you as an individual.


1:16:49 Ashley James: You would love timeline therapy, it's one of the techniques I've been using since 2005. And that's actually the technique that I'm going to teach on your show. Dr. Eckel has a great podcast called What The Health, What The Health! So listeners are going to check out your your podcast, because they'll love it.

And I have a technique to reverse, to eliminate, to end anxiety, to completely cut it off at the root. And it's a timeline therapy technique. But in timeline therapy, we go back to the root cause, the beginning of the Gestalt, the chain of stored emotions in the body that are unresolved. And so the root cause of anger, sadness, fear, hurt and guilt. And we go back to generations and we've had so many accounts where people will go back, and it's light state of trance. So you're conscious of your unconscious mind, that's the coolest part because people are a little afraid of going under hypnosis.

It's not hypnosis, but you become aware of your unconscious. And anyone who wants to learn more about how neurology stores memories, there's two books I love, The Heart's Code by Paul Piersol and The Holographic Universe, I forget the author's name. The Holographic Universe, and The Hearts Code are amazing. And they both prove that we store memories basically in our cells, holographically through the whole body. It's not just in our brain. And we can absolutely pass down memories, that there have been numerous accounts where people have had heart transplants, and they are able to have memories of the person's murder to the point where they were able to tell the police what the murderer looked like. And they were able to find them and put them in prison. And so when we have memories from organ transplants, I mean, it's just amazing that the body, there's definitely the esoteric, you know, we have to just like expand our minds, right?

1:18:59 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah.

1:19:00 Ashley James: You know, because we're all sort of like thinking that leeches, like, you know, a hundred years ago, or 500 years ago, like, oh, everyone just needs to do bloodletting, right? I mean, just imagine, that's kind of where we are. We're all thinking like, memories are just stored in the brain. Right? But that's common knowledge. But it's not true, memories are stored holographically throughout the whole body. And in timeline therapy, when we go to release and learn from and heal the negative emotions in the body, people will have memories from their grandmother. And if the grandmother is still alive, they'll be able to go and confirm them, or memories from their mother, and their healing stuff.  Before they were even born that they've never been told about that they never knew. And they're able to go and confirm with their family members, after we do the timeline therapy that those events actually happened. So they're stored, we store memories from our ancestors in our body. And of course, we're storing that trauma.

So that's like that emotional, mental, a little bit esoteric, part of healing. And then on the totally like lab science part of healing. I was fascinated to hear about this study with mice where they took these beautiful white fuzzy mice, you've probably heard this study, and they expose them to the levels of BPA, Bisphenol A, that we are normally exposed to on a daily basis every time we touch receipts and drink from plastic bottles with BPA. And what happened is their genes transformed, they be genetically shifted, they no longer grew beautiful soft white fur, they grew gnarly yellow fur, they became obese. And then they stopped giving them the BPA, I think it was just water, the BPA was put in their water, they stopped giving it to them. But that this genetic expression lasted I believe, three generations. So they had basically gnarly yellow mice that were obese for three generations.

So just think about the chemicals that your grandparents were exposed to, and that change their neurology, or sorry, changed their biochemistry, because it turned on these different expressions epigenetically, and you're experiencing the result. And now we're seeing that all the toxins that we've been exposed to, and our children be exposed to, like, look at now that over 70% of the population is overweight, because of all these obesogens. And all the exposure to Bisphenol A, just one of the many toxins, but that it changes our genes. So even if we completely cleaned up our environment, our genes for the next few generations might pass on, these characteristics. And that's why we have to be extra careful and extra diligent to be clean, and also advocate for a cleaner environment. But then, like you said, do the emotional mental work as well, because we are seeing a link between decreasing stress, healing emotions, working on releasing ancestral trauma, and how our genes actually express in the now. So, it's so cool that our body will respond to emotional healing on a physical level.

1:22:22 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah, so profound. And oftentimes, like you're saying, does not get addressed at all.

1:22:30 Ashley James: Because there's no profit, they can't make a drug, right? The pharmaceutical company can't pay someone to do research to make a drug to heal your trauma from the past, otherwise, they would have made it. So we have to go out and advocate and listen to you and your podcast and listen to the experts who are willing to teach us about how we can heal our body on a whole level; emotional, mental, spiritual and energetic and physical. Because we're not going to get it from the mainstream media.

1:23:01 Dr. Greg Eckel: Right.

1:23:03 Ashley James: Yeah. So I love your FAN-C. I think that's a great system.

1:23:08 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yes.

1:23:09 Ashley James: I studied with a Naturopathic physician who's like, he's in his 80s now and he was a Veterinarian, physician and Pathologist, and he was a Research Scientist before he became a Naturopath. And he says that most Parkinson's and MS and ALS are a combination of too much oxidative damage to the brain. So eating fried food, standard American diet, and too much oxidative damage and oxidative stress to the brain, and not enough of the essential nutrients the body needs to heal the brain. So it's sort of like too much fire in the body and not enough nutrients to put out the fire. And that he's seen great results and met a woman who went on his sort of basically… his program is stop eating stuff that causes the damage and start eating the stuff that helps the body heal and take the supplements that you mentioned. And I met a woman who was in a wheelchair one month and the next month was walking, and she couldn't believe it. So people are getting great results from avoiding the oxidative stress. How much has that played a role when you look into this research when you work with your clients? Are you seeing getting people off of fried food getting people off of, even consuming oil in a bottle? Because that is consuming oxidative stress, right? So, what can we do to prevent oxidative stress in the body so we can help heal the brain?

1:24:43 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah. Well, one component, when the symptoms have progressed to the point of tremor, I love hyperbaric oxygen, so I've to hyperbaric oxygen chambers here. So when it has progressed, so as a preventative component, which we all should be working towards preventative, is detoxing the body reducing oxidative stress, getting the antioxidants in there to repair from oxidative stress.

You know, we're exposed to 80,000 chemicals a week in the United States. And so there are levels of toxicity out there. So that we've got to just go on the offensive of just assume this is occurring. So what do I need to do to address it, and then reverse it? And so definitely not cooking with high heat, if you ever see the oil smoking in the pan, that means you've oxidized it. So, you know, kind of toss that out, start over, cook a little bit lower heat, quality of your oils that you're using, what you're cooking in. These things really do matter.

Of course, the biggest lever is if you're a smoker, stop smoking. If you grew up with smokers, you know if your parents smoked, like mine in the 70s. And you know, riding in the car with the windows up with mom smoking in the car, it's like, “Oh, geez, what are we doing here?” That's where the cadmium comes from, right? That's where a lot of metal toxicity comes from, is that inhaled smoke. So you know, it's really knowing where you grew up what you got exposed to, and then how to detox that? Infrared saunas, salt baths, grounding activity, deep breathing, mindfulness, meditation, all of these things do play a role there when you're talking about oxidative stress.

You know, in Environmental Medicine, the first thing you learn, the first six items are, the first three are remove, remove, remove, and then it says magnesium, magnesium, magnesium. So when you're talking about environmental causative agents, you first have to stop the damage. So if there's anything that you're consuming, or around that's creating oxidative stress or damage, which we know just in general life living, we're getting exposed to stuff. So we've got to address that. And then we've got to make sure we've got all of the nutrients for our body to detox and magnesium is a big cofactor. There are a lot of other nutrients in there. But you know, you look at the cytochrome P450 cycle, and that's in liver detoxification, major filter for the body.

So getting the nutrients to keep those doors open is the way that I like to talk about that. B vitamins, magnesium are the big players there to keep the phase one and phase two route of elimination, open in the liver, sweating, motion activity, getting your circulation going, those things count, and then really your proper nutrition. That's the setup for healthy living and longevity or the health span that I see working for a lot of people. Yeah.

1:28:05 Ashley James: I love it. I had a problem for many years. So I don't know if you know my story. But in my 20s was very, very sick. I had uncontrolled type two diabetes, chronic adrenal fatigue, chronic monthly infections, which I was on almost constant antibiotics for, and I was a mess. I had infertility, and I had polycystic ovarian syndrome, I was told I'd never have kids by an Endocrinologist. So I was just a mess. And the MDs want to put me on lots of drugs. And my 30s I spent building my body backup, I'm almost 40. Now at 39 and a half, I'm sort of like accepting my fate. I'm going to be 40 soon I know, I've psychologically had to like start preparing myself for the transition into my awesome 40s.

And so I was able to with Natural Medicine, had a Naturopath mentor me. And so the last seven years of actually work with clients, you know, working with these Naturopaths and doing this health coaching. But it all started about 10 years ago, shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, only buying organic, you know, cutting out sugar and flour, going gluten free, dairy free, going on a whole food plant based diet. So you know, stopping eating at McDonald's basically. I think I haven't eaten McDonalds in eight or 10 years. But I basically went from the standard American diet to a really good diet and taking these supplements, you know, changing, doing emotional healing and mindset, everything, everything. And I was able to reverse all these problems. But every time I went to lose weight, I'd wake up in the morning, I taste metal and I would smell putrid. And it was like burning rubber. I would smell burning rubber and I would taste heavy metal, I would taste like metal in my mouth. And my liver would get super inflamed. Like all my liver enzymes were like super elevated, my liver was just pissed off. And I went for ultrasounds and they're like, yep, that's a really big liver, it was very inflamed. And so I'd stop weight loss. And then everything would go back to normal. That was really frustrating. And I would do it again and again, I went to lose a bit more weight. After about 20 pounds it all come up, come back and I'd have to stop weight loss.

And it finally clicked, it finally dawned on me that it was the whatever junk like heavy metals was in my adipose tissue, my fat cells that when my body started releasing the fat, my liver just couldn't handle it. And whether I mean, I have MTHFR like 25% on each end. So you know, there's a little bit of gunk there, where my body needs a bit of help with methylation. But there was something definitely going on. And so I looked into how do I detox these heavy metals? How do I support my liver? I got a Sunlighten Sauna. It's been just over a year. And I started sweating almost every day. Then I found a magnesium soak where your body actually absorbs grams of magnesium. And you can watch, like if you do the magnesium RBC blood test, you can watch it go up through soaking. And those two things shifted my whole world. It was amazing.

So definitely, I attest to the fact that magnesium and sweating and an infrared sauna play a huge role in detoxification. I've done a bunch of other stuff as well that I've noticed changes, but those are probably the two biggest ones for me that I saw huge, huge changes. And now when I lose weight, I don't have that liver problem, which is really exciting. It took me a whole year of getting in the sauna and soaking in magnesium and doing all all like I said, all the other kinds of stuff. But now I don't have that problem. So you know, we have to advocate for ourselves. We have to educate ourselves, we have to listen to our body and get really curious like what's going on? Why is my body doing this? And then go to a wonderful doctor like you that'll help us decipher the language our bodies trying to speak.

1:32:18 Dr. Greg Eckel: Perfect.

1:32:19 Ashley James: Yeah, awesome. So on your website, you have a summit that people can access if they have Parkinson's or if they have neurological issues that they really want to learn more about how they can support themselves and they can go to www.naturecuresclinic.com. Tell us a bit about your website, and what kind of resources are available on it?

1:32:44 Dr. Greg Eckel: Well, I have two handouts on there. One is four signs of cognitive decline, and that's the one that you can access through, you'll get some more information around the Parkinson's summit that I'm holding, interviewed seven experts in different facets of care for neurodegeneration and have had some really great feedback from folks and appreciation and just assembling this information for them. And then the other guide that I have is on pain and pain management. So the part of the Regenerative Medicine and regenerative stem cell therapies is it's really renowned for regrowing joints; knees and hips and backs and brains and so I've got a guide on there as well, if you've got anybody that's listening with pain or pain patterns, that is up on the site as well.

1:33:38 Ashley James: Very cool. Awesome and then people can work with you as well, www.naturecuresclinic.com. But if they want to come to you in Portland, tell us a bit about, what was this camp you have?

1:33:49 Dr. Greg Eckel: Oh, yeah. So I call it Camp Nature Cures. And so, I do have people fly in from around the globe. You know Portland is a destination city now for food and culture, it's a really fun place to be. So, it's kind of on the radar, but then we also have our Nature Cares Clinic. We're right downtown at 10th and Taylor right next to the library and centrally located and we plug people into great restaurants and the arts etc. But you know, you come out for intensive, so I've had folks fly in from as far away as New Zealand at this point. And we'll set people up with brain regenerative program. It's a 10 day program, people come in for a battery of tests and treatments we're doing stem cell regenerative therapies, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, we get them in the hyperbaric chamber twice a day.

So three hours a day of hyperbarics, we're doing the IVs that help heal the body, they deal with that oxidative stress that you were talking about with the brain and you know really help the body. We give the body all of the information it needs to heal itself. So folks come in and coming into Camp Nature Cures because these therapies we can't deliver them online energetically, yet. We're looking for that thought, quantum physics and that increased curve that's happening. But for now, we deliver them in person here at the clinic. Yeah.

1:35:32  Ashley James: I love Portland for the food scene as well. But I'm looking for the vegan and raw vegan. I get so excited. Like, yeah, let's go to a raw vegan restaurant. And I have a raw vegan friend that used to live in Portland and he'd brag about the raw vegan scene and I'm pretty jazzed about all the healthy food that's available  at Portland, but they do have bacon doughnuts that aren't vegan.

1:36:00 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yes.

1:36:00 Ashley James: Yeah, they do have a lot of other kinds of foods in Portland. Well, very cool. I'm super excited that we were able to bring this information today and you're welcome back on the show anytime because you can teach about allergies and asthma and orthopedics. I'd love to have you back on the show to dive into those topics as well.

1:36:23 Dr. Greg Eckel: Oh, that would be awesome. Thank you so much.

1:36:25 Ashley James: Yeah, absolutely. Very cool. Is there anything left unsaid that you want to make sure that you convey before wrapping up today's interview?

1:36:34 Dr. Greg Eckel: Yeah. You know, one of the big things that is a message of mine and just what I've been through is, it's about love and you know, just if you haven't, we want to spread more love and tell those around that you love them and give them big hugs and you know really look in their eyes, because we don't know how long we're on the planet together and it's such a special time to have and kind of a sacred time. So, just the message of I would love to see more love out there, and so it starts with us and just go hug some people, your loved ones and make sure they know that you love them.

1:37:16 Ashley James: That's beautiful. Thank you so much Dr. Greg Eckel. It has been such a pleasure having you here today. listeners can go to your website www.naturecuresclinic.com. Of course that link will be in the show notes for today's podcast at www.learntruehealth.com and they can check out all those freebie, wonderful information that you're giving away. Absolutely. They should sign up on your website to get more information from you. They should come visit Camp Nature Cures and some awesome fun treatments. And of course they can call you up and have a Zoom call with you over the internet. It's been great having you here. Can't wait to have you back on the show.

1:37:56 Dr. Greg Eckel: Thank you so much, Ashley.


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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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