443: Treat Osteoporosis and Osteopenia Naturally

Dr. Laura Kelly And Ashley James


  • Benefits of eating mushrooms
  • Isolates versus complex herb cocktail as medicine
  • Importance of self-care
  • What contributes to bone loss and fractures
  • Nutrition is foundational medicine
  • Medicine is part of life

What is self-care? How do you practice self-care? Dr. Laura Kelly shares what self-care is, and it may be different for everybody. She explains that self-care includes everything about us from the food we eat down to our thoughts. We need to listen and know our bodies really well so we can practice self-care daily. She also shares how her patients, including her mom, were able to heal their bone diseases through her protocol.


Hello, true health seeker, and welcome to another exciting episode of the Learn True Health podcast. I’m so excited for you to learn from Dr. Laura Kelly today. She wrote a book using food, nutrition, and herbs to support the body in growing healthy, strong, flexible bones at any age. You can be a grandma. You can be in your 90s. You could be a 100-year-old marathon runner. You could be a 20-year-old. Whatever age you are, now is the time to start growing a healthy skeletal system. And what's so cool is she's even seen some of her patients and some of her readers reverse other diseases as well. Even her mom reversed calcification in the arteries of her heart after following this protocol because by following this protocol, you're supporting the body's ability to lay down healthy mineralization and create flexible bones so that they don't fracture, so that they're stronger, and that also supports the body in balancing minerals even in the soft tissue as well. So it's very exciting.

We also get into talking so much about the contrast between natural medicine and drug-based medicine, and just new ways of looking at it, which I think are really exciting especially because I know, I know you're going to be sharing this episode with someone you care about. For all the new listeners that this is their first episode, welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I am so excited to have you here. Dr. Laura Kelly is going to be giving away a copy of her book to a lucky listener, so please come join the Facebook group, the Learn True Health Facebook group. It's free. It's a wonderful community, very supportive. If you're into holistic health and you want to be part of a community that's all into holistic health, you've come to the right place. Join the Learn True Health Facebook group

Now, as we talk about different minerals, supplements, herbs, and foods, one thing that I have to let you know about is my favorite magnesium soak. Magnesium is the most important mineral for the body. Now there are over 60 minerals. The body needs at least 60 essential minerals to fully function, but there are elements and there are so many nutrients in the soil that the body needs that plants then digest, and that's when we eat the plants, we get them. Sometimes we need to take them as a supplement, but the most important is magnesium, and magnesium is used so quickly and so readily by the body, we're chronically deficient in it. And this is why I love this particular magnesium soak. I’ve had the founder of this company on the show several times. Her name is Kristen Bowen. So you can go to my website learntruehealth.com, and type in Kristen Bowen, and listen to the past episodes.

At her worst, she was I believe 97 pounds, having 30 seizures a day, and in a wheelchair unable to communicate. And that was at her lowest. She was able to, with the help of her family, get her life back, and her health back. She found that the thing that made the biggest difference for her recovery was soaking in magnesium. It's a special concentration from nature. It's from the Zechstein Sea. It also has other co-factors in it. And when we soak in it, we absorb an average of 20 grams of magnesium. You can't get that much if you take oral because oral magnesium reacts very poorly with the digestive system, and it's just not economical for us to get IV magnesium—going to a doctor and getting IV magnesium. So it's very economical to be able to soak in magnesium at home. It's safe for children, it's safe for pregnancy, it's safe for everyone. So please check out the links in today's episode.

Also, for Dr. Kelly’s book, for Dr. Kelly’s website, and for the magnesium soak that I recommend, you can get it from the website livingthegoodlifenaturally.com and use coupon code LTH for the listener discount. That's livingthegoodlifenaturally.com. Grab the big jug. It says undiluted magnesium soak. You buy that big jug, and then use the coupon code at checkout LTH, as in Learn True Health, LTH for the listener discount. And check out those episodes that I did with Kristen Bowen. It's quite fascinating.

I’m so excited for you to learn from Dr. Laura Kelly, and she's promised to come back on the show because she has invented software that helps us to decipher and understand our genetic expressions. How cool is that? So she's going to come back on the show and continue this wonderful discussion about how we can uncover what our body needs, our unique needs to support our optimal health.

Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing this episode with those you care about. All those friends and family that want to have strong healthy bones. I even know some marathon runners that I’ll be sharing this episode with because they suffer from chronic fractures. So this is not just an episode for those who are senior citizens. This is an episode for everyone. Everyone deserves to have strong flexible bones at any age, and if it takes just doing a few tweaks to your lifestyle, to your diet, to your supplement routine to make such a huge health difference, why not. You're worth it. It's such a worthwhile investment.

I highly recommend getting Dr. Kelly’s book after listening to this episode. I already bought a few copies for my friends and family. Have yourself a fantastic rest of your day and enjoy today's interview.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

[00:05:59] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 443. I am so excited for today's guest. We have Dr. Laura Kelly on the show. What a fascinating book. You have published The Healthy Bones, how we can, through food, nourish our skeletal system so we can reverse and prevent osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis. Fantastic. I’m so excited to have you on the show today. Welcome.

[00:06:38] Dr. Laura Kelly: Thank you, Ashley. It's good to be here.

[00:06:40] Ashley James: Absolutely. This is such an important topic, especially when we look at demographics and we see that our wonderful baby boomer parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles—that generation has moved into that era where their MDs are pushing them to be on drugs like Boniva or Fosamax, right? I don't even know if those are still available. Drugs like that have caused so much harm to people in the past. I see it. I see people, especially seniors, being pushed to have drug after drug after drug. The body doesn't have a drug deficiency. The body has a mineral deficiency.

[00:07:25] Dr. Laura Kelly: Right. That's a good way to put it.

[00:07:28] Ashley James: Right, right.

[00:07:29] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah. I mean it's certainly a deficiency issue, for sure.

[00:07:33] Ashley James: Right. It just makes sense, but unfortunately for the MD, the only tool they have is drugs. They were never taught in medical school about nutrition, and of course, you were. Before we dive into how we can use food to heal our body and prevent and reverse disease, I’d love for you to tell us what happened in your life that made you want to become a doctor of oriental medicine, and made you want to practice medicine the way that you do?

[00:08:06] Dr. Laura Kelly: I always wanted to study medicine from when I was a little kid. It runs in my family. My uncle was head of neurosurgery, at George Washington University for 20 years. My other uncle is a physicist, my brother is a surgeon. So there's a lot of medicine and a lot of medical thought in my family. And when it came time to get serious about life and start thinking about what I actually wanted to do as an adult, which happened quite late for me, which was around age 35, I started on the medical path. I started going back to school pre-med at UCLA, that sort of thing and intended on going to medical school. And then, as I approached that, it started to become apparent that path was not satisfying what I was looking for.

[00:09:06] Ashley James: What happened? So were you a teenager? Were you in pre-med?

[00:09:12] Dr. Laura Kelly: No, no, no. This was when I was older. This was when I was 35.

[00:09:15] Ashley James: Really? So what happened though? What happened that made you see that drug-based medicine wasn't fulfilling?

[00:09:24] Dr. Laura Kelly: It wasn't anything external, and it wasn't an issue with me. It wasn't a health issue with me or anything like that. It was really an internal drive. I had always felt close to nature, and that seemed to me to be the source of all things in this regard. That there were patterns here that were easy, natural, and harmonious. And it didn't make sense to me in the larger picture to step very far away from that if I was talking about healing and working with a body, which came out of nature. So there was a very strong internal instinctual drive towards that, which I’d never heard about alternative medicine very much before. It wasn't something that happened in my family, but it just was there, that drive, and I sort of re-examined the medical path. I thought there must be another way into medicine.

So I started looking around and I found that Chinese medicine was very rigorous, and there were thousands, literally thousands of years of documentation, and thousands and thousands of years of case reports. There was enough science available in medicine for me to feel satisfied because I have a strong drive for knowledge. This medicine just appealed to me. It fit with the natural paradigm in an incredibly beautiful way. I mean Chinese medicine, again, the current literature that we still use today started 5000 years ago. There's a book 5000 years ago that we still read.

[00:11:14] Ashley James: Wow.

[00:11:16] Dr. Laura Kelly: That came out of philosophy. It didn't come out of let's make a drug. It came out of natural philosophy. Natural philosophy evolved into medicine, and then it became medicine officially 5000 years ago. That kind of progression made a lot of sense to me intellectually.

[00:11:41] Ashley James: What is the philosophy? How is the philosophy of oriental medicine, as a doctor, differ from seeing an MD and their philosophy that governs how they practice medicine?

[00:11:57] Dr. Laura Kelly: Well the philosophy of the Taoist-based, which is sort of a philosophy of oneness with nature, essentially if you can boil it down to something. And the fact that we are part of nature and we are completely not extricable from that process. The things that make the amino acids and the things that makeup and the structures around us, we are made of the same things. We're all made of the same things. So that harmony is inherent in Chinese medicine, and I think is inherent in all-natural medicines and all traditional natural medicines that are originating out of cultures that are connected to cultural traditions. Which is very different from the current western medical paradigm, which it's an analysis. That's an analysis-based, and that comes around from something like having a microscope and trying to see smaller and smaller pieces, and smaller and smaller parts and isolate understanding. That's very different. It's just a different way of looking at the world, and it's a different way of looking at medicine and the body. They're both, obviously, entirely valid. They're just different.

[00:13:23] Ashley James: What’s been described to me is that we need to know when to which doctor, not witch doctors. We need to know when to go to the MD. When to go to the emergency room, essentially. When to go to your Naturopath. When to go to your doctor of oriental medicine. When you go to your chiropractor, right? There are several different forms of medicine and they’re all valid. And if we look at the history of modern medicine in the last 115 years or so, what then became the AMA, the AMA, for so many years, has done huge slander campaigns against all other forms of medicine. And they actually coined it as alternative medicine. And that is almost like it’s Orwellian in a sense that if they can label everything else, everything that isn’t drug-based medicine alternative medicine, then what they’ve done is they made it sound less than.

A Naturopath that I’ve worked with said that if you said a German shepherd was the only actual dog, and every other dog was an alternative dog—the German shepherd is the one dog everyone should have, but a greyhound is an alternative dog, a little Weiner dog is an alternative dog, and the Australian shepherd is an alternative dog. That is absolutely silly, right? It’s completely silly. There is no such thing as alternative medicine. That term was used to discredit valid forms of medicine.

As a doctor of oriental medicine, you’re saying that it’s quite science-based for the last 5000 years. Now there is an appeal to novelty. I was recently sharing a study with someone. In the ‘70s, they were able to reverse gestational diabetes. It was an amazing study, but it was done in the ‘70s. This woman then said, “That’s not valid, it was done in the ‘70s.” I’m thinking, did our genes all of a sudden change? Are we no longer the same humans as the ‘70s? Why isn’t a study that was done 50 years ago valid? I think that’s really funny.

Perhaps there are some listeners who think that oriental medicine, yes, it may have been practiced for 5000 years, but at some point, we practiced bloodletting. We realized that’s not a valid form of medicine, but at the time it was science. What could you share with us that proves that oriental medicine is quite valid now? What kinds of recent studies are showing how it can very much help us?

[00:16:30] Dr. Laura Kelly: I mean there are two parts to that answer, and the first part is like you said, our bodies are still the same as they were. Until we have different bodies, then the things that worked 5000 years ago will still work, and the things that work in the ‘70s will still work. What's happening now, for example, let's take malaria. So malaria, obviously, one of the problems is that the bugs get used to the drugs. The World Health Organization is in charge of defining what malaria drugs are being used. 

It was not that long ago, maybe it was 10 years ago, that it was realized that there's a traditional Chinese medical formula for malaria. I think it's probably 8 or 12—I’m sorry, I don't remember exactly. But you learn it, and what you learn is that you can take this prophylactically. You can take this before you are exposed, and you can take it as a treatment, and it works. Malaria is not a big deal if you know how to treat it with this. That's what you learn in school, that's what the books say, and that's what everything says. 

So in 2005, maybe, I’m sorry, I don't remember the date. There was a Chinese medical researcher who brought forward the isolate from one of the main herbs in this formula and said we can cure malaria with this and won the Nobel prize. She won the Nobel prize in medicine for this isolate from a Chinese medical herb that had been used for thousands of years, and the WHO adopted this herb and said, yes, this is absolutely correct. This herb works. So what they did is they created a drug cocktail for malaria with this as the key component because the other drugs that they had been using against malaria were starting to fall off. They weren't working anymore. So they added this constituent, which is an isolate, and it worked for a number of years. It is, as far as, I know starting to fall off now. The bugs are starting to become accustomed to this isolate as well. So they're going to have to keep looking and look for more things.

There are two issues with this. One of them is that this was a malaria formula that we all know that is useful, functional, and does what it says it's going to do, so much so that the WHO said this is a drug. The problem comes when you pull isolates, and this goes back to the concept of different medicines. If you pull an isolate out of a complex formula, if you have 8 herbs or 12 herbs, you're going to have hundreds and hundreds of active ingredients, and they're all going to be working against each other and with each other. And that combination, that's a massive numerical combination of effect, which is not possible to replicate. 

So if you pull out one isolate from the thousands and thousands or millions of reactions that are occurring within your system with all of those herbs, you're exposing the effect to exactly what happened, which is the bugs—because it's an isolate—can now overcome this single substance. Where it was when it was part of a much larger combination, it was harder for the body of the bug to overcome. There's a danger a little bit when you're moving between medicines that way if you don't understand the complexity of the synergy of the effect of the medicinal herbs that you're working with. You use an isolate because that's the medicine you work in, the medical paradigm is isolationist. That is a little bit off the subject.

[00:20:34] Ashley James: No, that's brilliant. That's right on point. Do the Chinese herbs that they've used for thousands of years for malaria still work today? Or has malaria adapted?

[00:20:49] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. It still works in combination, as far as I know. The bug hasn't completely overcome this isolate, but it's starting to. I think it's in Cambodia that it started to become non-effective or less effective.

[00:21:06] Ashley James: The isolate was turned into a drug, but I mean the original cocktail of Chinese herbs? The original, not the isolate, but the original cocktail of herbs, are they still used, and are they still valid?

[00:21:21] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. Until I hear otherwise, they are still valid, and that's because of the complexity that you encounter when you combine 8 or 10 herbs with, let's just say, 40 active constituents that are going to all playoff against each other. You're creating a complex, complex response in the system. So, yeah.

[00:21:45] Ashley James: I interviewed a doctor who's been an MD for 40 years, although he studied in a part of Germany that very interesting—while he was becoming a surgeon, while all these doctors become surgeons, they're also taught acupuncture and homeopathy at the same time at the university level. He came to the United States 40 years ago thinking that all doctors knew homeopathy and acupuncture.

[00:22:09] Dr. Laura Kelly: Oh, that's wonderful.

[00:22:10] Ashley James: And then he was like, what's going on here? Why are we giving drugs to people? His name is Dr. Klinghardt, and he has an amazing, amazing ability to help children who are on the spectrum no longer be on the spectrum, also people who have Lyme disease, and just these very strange and hard to get over illnesses. He says his favorite thing to do is to find—someone that needs a drug, let's say, and then—the herbal alternative that works better than the drug. 

So he doesn't ever use drugs unless he absolutely, absolutely, absolutely needs to. But he says that herbs always work better than the drug that would be prescribed to that symptom because most drugs are an isolate, like you said, of an herb. Like a compound of an herb, but they throw away all the other medicinal benefits from the herb when they just isolate one component. And this is the problem because drugs are for-profit—I know I’m singing to the choir—they end up looking to make a profit and protect patents instead of looking out for the greater good of humanity, in which case we would still be using and promoting the herbal complex that has worked to prevent and cure malaria.

[00:23:45] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. I think that there are quite a lot of people—to defend some of them—who are well-meaning. There was a symposium yesterday, and the discussion was about certain vaccine development. The concept around vaccine development is to find something that can help the world, right? To cure whatever disease is going to be, but the paradigm with which that is in is the paradigm of what's the disease, and what's the treatment. And the human body and the environment in which that disease is occurring is left out of that equation.

There's a whole other side of medicine, which is the side of medicine that I chose to practice, which is primarily concerned with the human body, the environment of that human body, and the environment into which the disease comes. It's like two different approaches to the same median, which is the human body interacting with the world. The human body interacting with the disease. And they have one angle, which is the disease treatment, and we have one angle, which is the environment of the body itself. Bringing them together is what everybody really needs, right?

When the problem that you're speaking about before about the AMA trashing all of us is really unfortunate to me. It's not classy, you know what I mean? It's just not classy. When you start mixing dogma and medicine, I think you have a recipe for a real problem.

[00:25:32] Ashley James: That's why I believe that people should know more about each kind of doctor, each kind of medicine. Instead of having a dogma about it, they can go to the right practitioner. You wouldn't take your car to see a plumber. Don't take your body to always the same kind of doctor because you're just going to get their one philosophy of medicine. So just know which one to go to when, and I’ve had several episodes about this. So let's learn more about you, how you practice medicine, and as a doctor of oriental medicine. Especially because you're so excited about the science behind it, the philosophy that we are part of nature, and let's use nature to bolster the environment of our body so our body can really do the heavy lifting when it comes to fighting off disease, right?

Let's bolster our own amazing God-given ability. If you're a spiritual person, you believe in God, and you start studying how the immune system works, it is amazing. When I started studying and really getting into it, we are so complex. Our immune system is so brilliant. Our body functions are so beautiful, so harmonious. There are thousands of things all going on together in harmony. There's nothing like it. There's absolutely nothing like it. And even if you look some at simpler organisms, they're still incredibly complex and beautiful, and there's this balance. Homeostasis is amazing.

If you're someone that doesn't believe in God, look into the science and just see how complex, beautiful, and intelligent it is. We have to really appreciate that our body has an innate intelligence to come back into balance, and it's our job to help it. You as a doctor look to facilitate bringing the body back into balance so the body's intelligence can do all the work, right?

[00:27:44] Dr. Laura Kelly: That's beautifully said. Absolutely. That's exactly what I do because there isn't any reason to try and throw it off. I mean certainly, there are circumstances, like Dr. Klinghardt, if you've gotten to the end, you've tried everything, and if the problem is just too entrenched or it's a genetic problem, then you may not have success. But even then, you can somewhat. The last resort, of course, is to really hit it hard with the heavy hammer of a western pharmaceutical. Up until that point, there's incredible knowledge within the body that if you give it the right pieces, it knows what to do with them. That's for sure.

[00:28:31] Ashley James: Your book is about supporting the skeletal system. What led you to want to publish this book?

[00:28:40] Dr. Laura Kelly: My mother. She had a progressive bone loss for about 18 years, and she finally hit the point where her doctor said to her, if you don't take this reclass shot, then I can't treat you any further because you will break your hip, and then you might die. My mother called me, and I was in school at that time. She said, “What am I supposed to do?” And I said, “Well, you know what, there are a number of herbs that I know fix fractures. Let me look into this. I'll get back to you in a couple of months.”

So I took a fracture map of the world, I looked at high and low fracture rates in the elderly over time, pulled apart the diets of the people with the high and low fractures, and figured out what was missing and what needed to happen. I called her back in two months and I said, “Here's a list of the reasons why I believe this is happening. So pick three of them and start there.” So she did that, and then we did another DEXA scan early. You're supposed to do them every two years. We did it in 15 months, and for the first time in 18 years, she had no bone loss. So her doctor said, “Well, that's a complete fluke. You still have to take medicine.” And my mother said, “Well, you know what, let's just wait just a minute.”

So in the meantime, she had a scan and her cardiologist called me and she said, “What did you do? Because the plaque is clearing out of her carotid arteries.” So I said, “It's all nutritionally-based. What I’m doing is activating the mechanisms that she already has in her body that weren't activated to guide the calcium where it needs to go. And I guess, as a byproduct of that, it happens to be clearing the calcified plaque out of her arteries.” So she said, “Well, you need to write a book for doctors. You need to write a book for doctors because you're sort of sciencey. You bridge the gap.” So I started that, and then I realized that this wasn't for doctors. That this was medicine that people can do themselves.

Of course, MDs, medically trained doctors, do need to understand these principles and practices because they can help their patients. But it felt more important to me, at the time, and it probably still is more important to me to write it for my mother and for other mothers because there isn't a reason to fear this diagnosis in 99% of cases or 99.9%, and you can actually take care of it yourself. So it made much more sense to write the book, again, for mothers.

So I called my mother and I said, “Hey, listen.” And by this time, she had had a second DEXA scan, again, not in four years, but still within another year maybe, and she still had no bone loss. So we realized that this wasn't a fluke. Her doctor said, “Okay, well maybe it's not a fluke.” So I called my mother and I said, “You know what, let's write this together because this is for you. Let's do it.” So we did that. We called a publisher and said, “Do you want to publish this?” And Chelsea Green, a wonderful publisher, said yes. So we sat down and wrote it.

Photo by Vo Thuy Tien from Pexels


[00:32:14] Ashley James: Oh my gosh. I love it. I’m so excited.

[00:32:20] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah. It was a wonderful process.

[00:32:21] Ashley James: Okay. So what I want to know is why was she reluctant to get the shots? Most people are super wanting to do whatever their doctor says. I know a lot of people who just go in. They go in because they're sick and the doctor says, while you're here, let's give you a flu shot. Well, they're sick. Well, their well their immune system is compromised. Oh, it's time for these other vaccines. Oh, we need to give you the… So anyway, most people go in and get whatever shot, whatever medication, blindly follow without question whatever their doctor says. You said it was a reclass shot? What was it about that had your mother go wait a second, I want to think about this. Why was she not super eager to do exactly what her doctor said without question?

[00:33:20] Dr. Laura Kelly: Because I had started going to alternative medicine school. I think I was in year six at that point out of seven, or maybe I was actually in year seven. I’m sorry, I was in year seven. I had already been speaking to her and taking care of her from this more natural perspective for six years. So over that six-year period, gone from not really knowing or having any interest to buy now at year seven, she was sort of saying okay, well wait a minute, this is actually serious. This is actually real. This is actually right. When that came up, then she could turn to me instead of her doctor.

[00:34:13] Ashley James: You had been in school for oriental medicine for a while, so you had a few years to have her see some results. What kind of results was she getting to open her eyes to natural medicine? Did you help her through any other health problems before this?

[00:34:37] Dr. Laura Kelly: No. She was fairly healthy. She was very healthy really, to begin with. She has a natural instinct as well, which I think had never been allowed to live. Do you know what I mean? I think that was a latent belief or a latent tendency in her to connect with nature and all that sort of thing. But she grew up in the ‘50s, and life was a little different then. She didn't participate in the ‘60s revolution, so she was outside of any of that mind-expanding situation that occurred. That was latent in her, and I think that when I took the step, it allowed her to let that out a little bit, and let her think about exploring other things other than the things that she'd been told. So I think it was a gradual process, but again, it was inherent in her already.

[00:35:41] Ashley James: I love it. We have to foster that quiet voice inside of us that is the first voice, that little voice that comes in first, and then we usually override it. It's like the voice that says bring an umbrella when it's sunny outside. That's the voice, right? Or bring a sweater when it's hot outside. That little voice, that first voice. So when a doctor says, You have to take this medicine, and that little voice says, no, I don't think so. Something feels wrong here. We just need to listen. Just take a step back.

[00:36:18] Dr. Laura Kelly: That's really wonderful. That's a wonderful thing to say. But that's not taught, Ashley. We don't learn to do that in our culture. We don't learn to sit with ourselves quietly and listen. It's something that definitely happens. I mean meditation, these moving meditations, tai chi, and things like this. For example, part of the tradition of medicine that I learned, all of this is part of medicine. All of this is part of caring for the body. You don't come with an instruction manual. You don't come with all of the things that you need in order to take care of yourself, but you come with, in that tradition, medical practices. Medical practices that you carry with you throughout your life in order to keep yourself healthy, in order to treat yourself, in order to listen to your body. And you learn how to do that within that culture.

We don't learn that here. It's not part of our cultural upbringing. It's not part of our cultural heritage. Everything should function great, and then when it stops functioning great we go, oh, what am I supposed to do now? Okay, here's somebody that knows what I’m supposed to do. I’m going to listen to them. Part of the holistic medical road is you learn to care for yourself from the beginning, and you learn to help the people that you live with. You learn to care for the people who are around you, and this is part of the medical structure.

So this is an inherently different way of approaching life. It's saying part of my life is self-care. That's a very powerful thing to learn when you're young, right? I didn't learn that until I was well into my 30s. But I can imagine what it would have felt like to learn that from when I was very young.

[00:38:24] Ashley James: Yes. Can you imagine if we raised an entire generation to practice self-care?

[00:38:30] Dr. Laura Kelly: I can't, I cannot, but it would be wonderful.

[00:38:34] Ashley James: Okay, one thing I’m deeply saddened by but I want to shed light on is that the rate of suicide for ages 10 to 26 has gone up so much. I believe it's the second cause of death in that generation right now. That it is so high. There's a huge disconnect, and with holistic medicine, we know that emotional, mental, and physical health because MDs mostly focus on the physical. They see a symptom they attack it with a drug, or they manage, they suppress symptoms. They manage things with drugs. There are enlightened MDs out there. I know sometimes I sound like I’m bashing them. I want us to just broaden our perspective and really see the whole forest. Just get a 30,000-foot view.

We have been taught that there's a physical body and it's separate. It's separate from mental, emotional health, and that in our culture, when you have the mental and emotional issues, there's something wrong with you. We're either normal or abnormal. That's a philosophy that says we're broken. And that is just such an incomplete version of what it is. The experience of what it is to be human.

[00:40:02] Dr. Laura Kelly: It's inhuman.

[00:40:04] Ashley James: Right. It's inhuman to think that when someone has mental and emotional unhealth, that we're broken. When in fact, it is part of being human. That we have an emotional body. We have mental health things to work out, and it's not you’re normal or abnormal, you're human, right? 

What we're seeing is suicide rates going up is a symptom of a problem that our medical system is broken, which we already knew that. But also, our philosophy—as parents, as aunts and uncles, and as cousins—of how we're raising this generation is incomplete. And what we need to do is come back to what you're saying. Maybe this is your next book. Just like you looked at cultures that have the lowest rate of osteoporosis and the lowest rate of fractures, and then you looked at what was different in their diet versus the ones with the highest. What about cultures that have the lowest rate of suicide and what they're doing differently? What philosophy are they doing differently? 

I really feel that self-care taught at an early age also increases self-worth, and if we can practice things like becoming quiet, doing breathing—I mean meditation kind of is a trigger word for some people because it seems too daunting. But simply going into oneself and just turn off the cell phone. Turn off the outside stimulus, and go into oneself—journal, breathe, get out in nature, do some self-reflection, share your thoughts and feelings with someone who's supportive, and disconnect from negative energy, negative social media, that kind of thing, and practice self-care. There would also be a component of self-love and self-respect. 

We really need to look at what's going on because if we have a generation that has huge mental and emotional health issues, they're not practicing self-care, self-love. And these are the things that also, as you say, are done in cultures that have less disease.

[00:42:35] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. I mean it is a philosophical issue back to that. There isn't a cultural philosophy that I can pinpoint in America that's effective in that sort of way. I didn't grow up with one. So it's hard, at any point, to say okay, now we have to find a philosophy because that's not how it works. And that's why everybody gets sort of tripped up with this concept. Can I meditate? Like you said, it's really daunting because there is no philosophical base for the concept. 

It doesn't matter if you're meditating. It doesn't matter if you call it that. It doesn't matter if you do it right. None of that matters. What matters is that you are listening to yourself, and you're saying I am making space for you. I am making time for you. That's it. That's all that actually matters about it. Because when you start to recognize that you just want to make space for yourself, whatever that means for you, then you are respecting yourself. Then you're respecting your body, and you're respecting your mind. The response that you get from that will be enormous.

To me, it's about separating it from the concepts because we don't have a philosophy in which to place the concepts. So let's just get rid of them and say well, what am I actually doing? What I’m actually doing is respecting and loving myself, and that's all I have to do. And if you start there, then you will grow your own philosophy out of that seed. That's how I help people in a mental and philosophical way. It's really just about do I love myself enough to sit and say, I’m going to give myself some space and time. If you find that you don't, then you have to do some examination. Find ways into being good with sitting with yourself and giving yourself respect. But this takes us back to the mental-physical conjunction. The lack of separation of these things.

We'll pull it back down to reality. When you start to examine things like nutrition and brain function, the mechanisms in the brain, every single neurotransmitter turning into another neurotransmitter, every single function of the neurotransmitters, and the neurotransmitters themselves, all require different nutrients. The neurotransmitters need amino acids to be built. The translation of GABA to glutamate needs vitamin B6 and magnesium. If you don't have these things, your brain isn't going to work very well, and of course, you're going to not feel good in a mental space. These are fundamental pieces. These are key important pieces.

And then the other part of that is, for example, with B6, if you're looking, if you're speaking with autistic kids or people with ADHD and focus problems, again, vitamin B6 is one of the key factors for transforming glutamate into GABA. And that's the inhibition of the stimulation. So if you don't have enough magnesium, which a majority of Americans apparently don't according to all sources including the US government, but also a lot of issues can come around the B vitamins in terms of the transformation of the B vitamins within your body. Because the form that you eat a vitamin in is not the form your body uses it in. It has to go through transformational steps, and every single one of those transformational steps is regulated by a gene. All genes have the ability to be mutated or have polymorphisms.

So quite a lot of times, what you find is that even though this child is eating B vitamins, the pathway of transformation for some of the B vitamins isn't working. So the form that he needs the B6 in order to transform the excitatory neurotransmitter into the inhibitory neurotransmitter his body doesn't make. So he could eat B6 forever, and he still would not be able to efficiently make that transformation. So the glutamate will stay high, the inhibition of the GABA won't happen, and he's excited. 

But when you understand this process that the body has to go through these genetic transformations to make these things actually available, and that every single step is an opportunity for it to go wrong. When you start to understand those pathways you can say okay, now I need to give him the pre-transformed version of B6 because his body's not doing it. And then the neurotransmitters start to function properly in that mechanism.

[00:48:20] Ashley James: Can that be derived from food? Or would that need to be a methylated B vitamin supplement?

[00:48:25] Dr. Laura Kelly: It would need to be a methylated supplement. So these are the pieces that are really key to understanding anything that you want. The entire system is built from nutrients, right? There's no way around that. All nutrients and everything that comes into your body is information, essentially. How is that body set up to receive that information, and can it use the information? Does it understand the language? Or does it need help understanding that language information? That's the base in my having looked at this and worked with lots and lots of patients, and thought about all different types of disease and all different types of mental states and things like this.

The bottom of the foundation of all this just simply is understanding. All of the nutrients are necessary—minerals, vitamins, everything is necessary. There's nothing that's not supposed to be there. It all has to be there. How does this particular person's body respond and use that information—those nutrients? Let's optimize that function as much as possible so that they can get the most out of everything that they're taking because everybody's taking supplements, and everybody's trying to figure out what the right diet is. But without knowing this information, there is no optimization possible. Sometimes, it's not possible to get happier, better brain function if you're not transforming your B vitamins.

So these are things that just have to be known, and to me, this is fundamental medicine. From my perspective, the real foundational medicine of this body is nutrition because it's the only way that it functions. As scientists, as doctors, we have to say, okay, this is the fundamental medicine. Let's dig into it. Let's pull it apart and figure out everything we need to understand how to make this work for us. And that wasn't done by western medicine. Luckily now, it's being done by a lot of people. And there's a lot of nutritional medicine and research going on, are really coming to understand how these things function and why they're so important.

Let me step back all the way to the very bottom of our bodies, which is our DNA. Not even speaking about it from the place of what it does, but speaking about the fact that what it is. DNA is made of something, and it's made of nucleic acids. Nucleic acids, guess where we get them? We eat them, right? We have a pathway within us which is called a de novo synthesis pathway which can recycle what we have, but human breast milk is full of nucleic acid because that baby needs a huge supply of nucleic acids to build DNA because that baby is just pumping out cells rapidly.

Coming back again, the nucleic acids, we get them from what we eat, but we also need to structure them into DNA. Our body does that in the liver, but it does not do that without folate, without the vitamins, and without the nutrients. These are co-factors that our body uses to build our DNA. To take those nucleic acids, put them together, and make the strands. Without the co-factors of B vitamins, for example, it won't happen. We won't build DNA.

So when you're looking at a system, for example, the immune system which is a rapid turnover—you're going to get a turnover of cells every day, three to six days you're going to get a full turnover of cells. The digestive tract, six days turnover of cells. These are rapidly turning over systems. Your body is constantly having to replenish cells, building cells all the time in these two systems. So these two systems need a lot of nucleic acids because you're building a lot of DNA because there's DNA in every cell.

You can pull nutrition back to this extremely base level and really see that this is really important because your immune system will not function if you don't have enough nutritional co-factors, If you don't have enough nucleic acids, which you get from mushrooms, for example.

[00:53:21] Ashley James: Ohh.

[00:53:22] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes, nice link, right?

[00:53:26] Ashley James: I love mushrooms so much.

[00:53:28] Dr. Laura Kelly: Mushrooms are amazing, and they're the only real substantial source of nucleic acids in the plant kingdom.

[00:53:35] Ashley James: Wow, really?

[00:53:37] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah. This is why they have been used traditionally for thousands and thousands of years as a longevity food.

[00:53:42] Ashley James: Any mushroom? Or are there certain kinds of mushrooms that have more co-factors than others?

[00:53:48] Dr. Laura Kelly: They have different factors meaning there are multiple levels of function with mushrooms. So you have the source of nucleic acids within the mushrooms, which are the building blocks for the DNA, but then you also have specific factors within each of the different types of mushrooms that trigger different immune system cell type growth. So some of the immune some of the mushrooms will trigger early phase immune response like natural killer cells and macrophages, and some of the mushrooms will trigger later stage cells—T cells, B cells, and things like this. There are multiple layers to the mushrooms in terms of the immune system and longevity.

[00:54:31] Ashley James: What kind of mushrooms do you eat on a regular basis?

[00:54:34] Dr. Laura Kelly: I eat chaga. I fluctuate depending on whatever is around. But reishi daily staple, chaga tea once a month, lion's mane sometimes, and sort of geared towards brain health neuroplasticity, things like that.

[00:55:00] Ashley James: So those are supplements you can drink as teas or take as extracts. What about eating? Are there certain types of mushrooms that are better than others?

[00:55:13] Dr. Laura Kelly: I’m not a massive expert on mushrooms, even though I'd like to be. I think that shiitakes are particularly good. They seem to be very complex. That’s what I would suggest.

[00:55:29] Ashley James: I’ve had Dr. Joel Fuhrman on the show, and he says that everyone should eat a half a cup of mushrooms a day for some of the same reasons you're expressing. In addition, at least a half a cup of onion, and you can mix them together. You can eat it raw or cooked. For this one particular nutrient he was talking about, and there are so many nutrients in the mushrooms. I always thought they were just water. I didn't think that there was anything nutritionally beneficial in them, but they're actually completely superfoods. 

Obviously buy all mushrooms should be organic because you don't want to buy pesticide-filled mushrooms. But he said the white button cap ones, the ones that are usually void of flavor, shiitake is so flavorful. So these are very mild in flavor, and they're the least expensive ones. He said that it actually has this one nutrient. I forget what nutrient it was, but one nutrient he was talking about that helps the immune system that they were quite high in it. You could save money and buy—it's usually $4 a pound organic—and get these little white button cap ones.

I love cooking with mushrooms. Aren't the building blocks as well for vitamin D? It's like D1 or something is in mushrooms.

[00:57:00] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes, that's right. Maitake mushrooms are the only ones that actually have inherently vitamin D in them. Well, they have a significant amount of vitamin D compared to the rest of the mushrooms, but if you flip them up and put them in the sun gills up until they're a little bit dry, they absorb vitamin D just like your skin does from the sun and they’ll store that.

[00:57:31] Ashley James: Yes. Then you eat it and then it's like a vitamin D supplement.

[00:57:35] Dr. Laura Kelly: Exactly. It's just way cheaper and more delicious.

[00:57:38] Ashley James: Oh, it's so cool. That's so neat. So besides mushrooms though, you're saying that's really the best source for the raw building blocks for nucleic acid. Would we have to then eat animals at that point if someone, for whatever reason, had adversity to mushrooms? Or is there anything else in the plant kingdom that we could eat?

[00:57:57] Dr. Laura Kelly: As far as I know, that's the richest source is mushrooms. Other than that, you're looking at organ meats, basically.

[00:58:08] Ashley James: Got it. Wow. I mean, that's amazing. Let's say someone eats the standard American diet but doesn't eat mushrooms, doesn't eat organ meats, they might be really low in nucleic acid.

[00:58:25] Dr. Laura Kelly: Well, this is a question. I mean, we do have a de novo synthesis pathway, which is we can recycle these pieces and make what we need to make, but again, when you're dealing with a system with a high turnover like the immune system, the reproductive system, or the gastrointestinal system, you may not actually. This hasn't really been researched, actually, which I find pretty interesting. It's been researched more in Japan than it has here, by far. But there was one study that looked at if you're an elite athlete and you're pushing your body quite hard, one of the things that suffer post-exercise is immunity. So your immune system, the regulation goes down.

So there was research where they decided that they would supplement these elite athletes with nucleic acids post-exercise and see, and it stopped the immune fall-off.

[00:59:27] Ashley James: How did they supplement? With the actual supplement, or they ate mushrooms?

[00:59:31] Dr. Laura Kelly: No, nucleic acids. I don't know if it was a synthesized nucleic acid. I’m not sure where they got them, but there was a nucleic acid supplement. It provokes an interesting idea, which is if you're immune-compromised, you can generally say that if you're suffering from a chronic condition, you can guess that you're having low natural killer cell function, which is the first phase of the immune response. So it begs the question, what happens with people who are having faltering immune responses if we supplement them with nucleic acids? So they're actually able to produce more DNA and more cells. I don't know the answer to that, but I think it's an interesting question from a supplementation standpoint, for sure.

[01:00:22] Ashley James: Oh my gosh, absolutely. So we're looking at the body with a different philosophy. You mentioned that the body can recycle. So let's say someone's not eating foods that are rich in nucleic acid. The body's recycling old cells as they die and reusing the nucleic acid. What co-factors are needed in order to do this recycling?

[01:00:55] Dr. Laura Kelly: You know what, Ashley, I don't know because I have really just started digging into this in the past week because I’m writing a book on the immune system and longevity.

[01:01:05] Ashley James: Fantastic. Well, there's my question for you. When you have completed that book, come back to the show and I want to know the answer.

[01:01:12] Dr. Laura Kelly: Definitely.

[01:01:14] Ashley James: Looking at each function of the body, for example, in recycling the body’s own glutathione, so glutathione is very expensive for the body to make. I believe the liver produces it. It's our master antioxidant, so it's obviously incredibly important, but it's very expensive for the body to make. However, when selenium is present, which is a micronutrient—it's like a mineral—then the body can recycle it. So that's one of the co-factors the body needs to recycle glutathione.

If we make sure we supplement with selenium, you don't need to overdo it. 200 micrograms a day or between 200 and 600, depending on your weight, is great. But that's supporting the liver in recycling glutathione, which helps us to fight off cancer and other diseases. If we knew the factors needed in recycling other things in the body like nucleic acid, then we can make sure that we have them.

[01:02:21] Dr. Laura Kelly: Exactly. That's my goal is to put together the list. Maybe someone has done this already. If anybody knows, definitely let us know, but I haven't found any sort of supplementation in terms of exactly what you're speaking of—providing nucleic acid bases, but also providing some co-factors along with that to really help the body produce the cells that it needs to produce. I think it's a really interesting project.

[01:02:48] Ashley James: As you research, had you come across the effects of fasting, especially after 30 hours of fasting when the body's ability to break down pathological tissue skyrockets?

[01:03:02] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

[01:03:06] Ashley James: Is that part of your system, or do you recommend that for people looking to speed up their healing?

[01:03:12] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. Well, it depends. It depends on how weak you are. It depends on if you're diabetic. If you're diabetic, it's not a good idea. That's going to be a mess. You need to do that with serious supervision. But in general, yeah. The upregulation of all sorts of longevity factors on top of all of that, there isn't really another way to kick the body into that sort of behavior, except by fasting. And again, looking back at—I’m sure many of your other guests have taken this road and spoke about this—how we evolved, it's again like looking back to nature.

You look back to how we evolved and you say, how did this organism function? What does that mean for us in the environment we're in, where food is completely plentiful? We can get whatever we want even if it doesn't grow around here. All of these things are all questions to ask because there is a perfect harmony that comes out of evolution. The farther we get from those and the small choices that we make that distance us from that perfect harmony eventually are going to have an effect.

Coming back to look at how we evolved, which is if we went out and we killed this animal or whatever we ate for a while, and then we didn't eat meat for three months or whatever. Giving the body the natural patterns, looking at those natural patterns, and saying how we evolved is with those patterns. So that's probably going to be what our body is going to respond to.

[01:04:51] Ashley James: Right, right. In the west, we're so afraid of even missing a meal let alone fasting, but there's so much evidence to show that it's incredibly healthy. And yes, I have done interviews about it, and there's lots of science now proving that you can do fasting in a very healthy and restorative way.

I want to talk more about your book. Before I do, I want to bring up one more thing. I have a friend. It's a friend's mother, and she has had her gallbladder removed. She has basically had every part of your body you can have removed and still survive. This is exactly what she said to me, “I’ve had everything removed that you can without dying.” Gallbladder, she's had her parathyroid removed, she's had her appendix removed, so you go down the list.

She's 60 years old, relatively healthy, and all of a sudden, a few weeks ago, began having huge dizziness, can't walk, her legs won't work, and people have to just support her weight. She was so dizzy she was vomiting. It took several hospitals to finally diagnose her with—first they said it was peripheral vertigo, which is not accurate. Then they said, okay, it's central vertigo. And then a neurologist, after doing a lot of blood work said, she has virtually no copper in her system. So she's being supplemented with 2mg of copper a day for a year, which I think is incredible.

[01:06:27] Dr. Laura Kelly: It’s high.

[01:06:29] Ashley James: Yeah, very high. But given that, the neurologist is not recommending any co-factors—not calcium, not magnesium, nothing. No co-factors at all. This woman has not had parathyroid for years, so her body has not regulated any of the minerals correctly. I’m kind of just taken aback. And she's never done a bone density scan. I’m thinking, what's going on…? Because you mentioned about the brain and how there are certain nutrients like if B6 is missing, you can actually—and I’ve heard of people having dementia, being put in nursing homes, and then a Naturopath is called by a family member. They get them on a B supplement and all of a sudden the lights come back on. They didn't have dementia. They had a B-vitamin deficiency.

If you have a B6 deficiency, the brain is not going to function. But if you're incredibly deficient in trace elements and minerals like copper, for example, or major ones like magnesium or calcium, the nervous system doesn't function correctly. I'd love for you to share. For some people who let's say they don't have a thyroid or parathyroid. Their body really cannot regulate healthfully on its own, what steps do you recommend? Do you recommend that they definitely read your book and do this diet? What steps do you recommend, especially for this woman, my friend's mother?

[01:07:56] Dr. Laura Kelly: Again, my book isn't a diet. I’m not really a proponent of that because everybody has different needs, everybody has different things that they want to do, and the ways that they want to eat. So I’m not prescribing a diet, just to clarify.

[01:08:13] Ashley James: Love it.

[01:08:15] Dr. Laura Kelly: I’m saying here are the mechanisms in terms of how your bones work and your body works around those bones, and here are the things you need in order to activate those mechanisms. I’m not dictating how you need to get them. So if you want to get your calcium from dairy, you can. If you want to get your calcium from leafy greens, you can. It doesn't matter to me. Within that context, she's not going to be regulating calcium. She's not going to be regulating the bone density aspect. Then there's a mechanism called osteocalcin. This mechanism is really key to regulating all of that and making sure that the calcium is going the right place.

So understanding how to activate those mechanisms nutritionally sound really important to me for this person, and making sure that all of the factors are in place to make sure that those mechanisms are functioning without the oversight is really the situation that she wants to be in. If I were her doctor, I would run for her a nutrition evaluation first, and that's going to look at basically all nutrients and say where are we with all of those things.

I may also run genetics for those nutritional pathways because it's really important for her, especially this person with lack of regulation over this issue, to understand where we may be running into trouble. For example, this all started with me because my vitamin D levels were chronically low. I didn't understand why for so long, and I took the standard dose of vitamin D, and I never erased them. I finally said this is ridiculous. So I ran my genetics, and I have terrible vitamin G receptor genetics. There are four different transformations that are going to make, three of mine are in the toilet.

So I tripled my dose of vitamin D, and I finally got where I needed to be. I would never have done that, and I spent years vitamin D deficient taking vitamin D. Especially for somebody who doesn't have a lot of leeway, coming to understand if there are any things in the way from her body and saying, okay, let's understand all of that, and then just make sure she has the proper doses of all of those nutrients, then you don't need to overdose on any of the other ones. You don't need to overdose on things because the body itself, like you were saying before, is so efficient that if you give it the right amounts of things, you're not going to need to over supplement on anything and throw off because you're going to throw something else off if you over supplement with copper.

[01:11:07] Ashley James: Absolutely.

[01:11:10] Dr. Laura Kelly: So you want to avoid doing that, of course, because you shouldn't. You don't need to, but what you do need to do is exactly like you said. You have to provide all of the co-factors that the copper needs to function, which is exactly the same situation that I encountered with my mother when her doctor had initially said, here take these calcium pills—1200 milligrams of calcium a day. Well, if you look at the research, 1200 milligrams of calcium a day doesn't fix osteoporosis, and it also ups your chances of cardiovascular problems quite significantly.

[01:11:47] Ashley James: Especially because there are no other co-factors. Magnesium is needed to help place calcium correctly, and there are other nutrients as well, right? So if you're only taking one, and they have to be in a great ratio, then you're right. It's not going to be placed correctly in the body. But just overdoing copper—and you're much more of an expert than I am, but I know for example—throws vitamin C off, and it throws selenium off. Those three things have to be in the right ratios together. Because some people will overdose vitamin C, and that's good in certain circumstances. But if you overdose vitamin C, it leeches copper from the body.

Copper deficiency leads to aneurysms because it's needed in the production. It's a co-factor in elastin, and it's also needed for making pigment. So people who lose the ability to make pigment or have gray hair have a copper deficiency. Everything has to be done together in balance, but I love that you talk about this genetic component of epigenetics—looking at how the genes are expressing. I have the MTHFR SNP mutation—however, it's said—and so I have to take a methylated B-vitamins in order to support my liver to do both phases of detox.

I haven't even gone deeper into the genetics like looking at how my body—the four different genes that help the body make the D-vitamin, that's incredibly interesting. So you do telemedicine. You see patients locally in LA, but you also work with people around the world. Can you order these tests and can you decipher them, these gene tests?

[01:13:43] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. I have actually. I’m in the process, and I’m almost finished building a piece of software that does this because it's so important. If you want to stay healthy for as long as possible, you have to understand this. If you want to fix your type 2 diabetes, you have to do this. If you want to fix your heart disease, 90% of people who have these problems can reverse them. I don't want to be too bold about it, but it can prevent, reverse, or mitigate the problems here.

[01:14:20] Ashley James: Absolutely. Even type 1 diabetics, they can increase their health so much that they require less insulin. I’ve known several type 1 diabetics who after focusing on health. They were able to cut down their insulin by over 70% because they increased insulin sensitivity, their body became more efficient. So even people who have issues where we're not saying you're curing it, but you can make it more efficient.

[01:14:52] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes, definitely. All of these things. Again, we know that we need to eat a good diet. We have good instincts, usually, about our own bodies and what we should and should not be eating. Over time we come to know that, but let's get to it for real. Let's just look at it and say, okay, your vitamin D function is terrible. You need to triple a dose. Okay, your B-vitamin functions are fantastic. Just sit in the sun for 10 minutes. We can do that. We can do that now.

What I’m building here is a piece of software that's going to allow me or you, I’m building it for you, I’m building it for everyone. Again, it's like the book for mothers. I’m building this piece of software for you, for people to be able to say okay, I have these tests, or if I don't have them, I can order them here. They're going to go through this engine, and I’m going to actually know exactly what I need to be taking, or exactly what I need to be eating because here's a shopping list. I can walk into my grocery store and I can say oh, this is actually the food I need.

[01:15:59] Ashley James: And the herbs.

[01:16:01] Dr. Laura Kelly: The herbs, all of it. Because herbs are concentrated nutrients. That's what herbs are and that's why they work.

[01:16:09] Ashley James: I love it. Let's dive into your research in your book. You studied the cultures, the countries that have the highest rates of osteoporosis, osteopenia, and fractures, and you also study the lowest. Let's talk about the bad first. What are the commonalities that the cultures that have the worst bone density? What are some commonalities that you feel contribute to bone loss and fractures?

[01:16:43] Dr. Laura Kelly: The two areas of the world are the US and Scandinavia. It's pretty clear, and they're significantly higher than they should be than everywhere else. It's pretty clear in Scandinavia that it's the vitamin D winter. I think that there's really not much else to say there. It's just simply the lack of vitamin D. There was a lot of research done around vitamin A, the balance of vitamin A and vitamin D, and how really important that is for bone health. Just not having enough sunlight is a deficiency.

[01:17:24] Ashley James: Right. I’ve heard some plant-based doctors have come on the show and have shared. I haven't seen the studies so it would be interesting, but they've cited that countries—so certain cultures like Africa and Asia—that consume no cow dairy or very limited consumption have the highest bone density. And cultures that consume the most cow dairy have the worst bone density.

[01:17:56] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah, that may be true, but I think there's a difference that needs to be made also between pasteurized and unpasteurized. I mean they're basically different foods. I think most of us grew up eating pasteurized dairy, and that's not going to do much for you. Genetics plays a part in this, of course. You have some African tribes. All they eat is meat and blood and their cholesterol is 120. Do you know what I mean? There are genetic components to this environment. They grew up doing this. This is how their body evolved. This was their evolution, and so it works.

[01:18:40] Ashley James: They have great vitamin D levels.

[01:18:43] Dr. Laura Kelly: And they have great vitamin D levels.

[01:18:46] Ashley James: Okay. So vitamin D, you're saying, is the biggest thing.

[01:18:51] Dr. Laura Kelly: Well it was. It is in Scandinavia. The point actually that I really should make is it's just deficiency. It's really a deficiency issue. That's clear in the US. I remember, when I first started thinking and studying medicine, I was like it's not possible. How is it possible that we're deficient in the US? We're the land of opulence. We can't be deficient, but it's very clear that the majority of us are nutritionally deficient, which is bizarre but true.

[01:19:23] Ashley James: Well the food is void of nutrients.

[01:19:27] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. There is that, and the dietary practices aren't ideal in terms of keeping the system regulated and healthy. But that isn't something that you know. It's not something that you learn from your doctor, and your doctor never tells you that that's something that's important. It wasn't something that was thought about for a long time.

[01:19:52] Ashley James: One of my mentors is Dr. Joel Wallach. I’ve had him on the show. He, interesting background, became a Naturopathic physician, but first, he did pathology, was a research scientist, was a veterinarian, and also had a degree in soil agriculture. He studied soil. He actually discovered what was the cause of Keshawn disease in China, and also certain groups of—what are they called in the United States in Pennsylvania?

[01:20:31] Dr. Laura Kelly: Amish.

[01:20:32] Ashley James: Amish, that's right. The Amish were having high rates of the same sort of disease-like state, and he came in. Because they only eat what they grow, he studied their soil and determined the soil was completely void of certain nutrients like selenium. It was causing miscarriages and causing an alarmingly high rate of muscular dystrophy in this particular area of Pennsylvania because they're eating the food they grow, and their soil is devoid of selenium. And selenium is needed in utero to prevent certain birth defects like muscular dystrophy, which he discovered.

We usually don't eat all of our food from the same soil. You look at your grapes, they're from Chile. You look at your pears and they're from Thailand. We're eating food from around the world, especially if we're not conscious of eating more locally for fresher foods. But just because Brazil nuts, are grown in any soil, that doesn't mean they're chock full of selenium because I’ve often brought this up, like oh, we need selenium. And then someone says, oh, I eat six brazil nuts a day. Brazil nuts can grow hydroponically.

Anything can grow in almost minerally void water basically as long as it has NPK and some form of even artificial sunlight. So the fact that you're eating broccoli, we should absolutely eat plants. But it doesn't mean there's enough calcium in that food or enough iron in that spinach. How do you go about combating this? Let's say someone actually does eat healthily. They're eating half their plate is full of vegetables, a variety of colors, and they're all they're always eating organic. How do you ensure that they're getting all of their co-factors? Do you do blood testing? Do you look at their symptoms? Do you do the genetics? How do you go about it?

[01:22:31] Dr. Laura Kelly: All of it. This is a long-term prospect because you're not coming to see me because I will fix your toe if it hurts. I mean, don't get me wrong—or your knee or whatever. I can do that. But generally speaking, when people are coming to me, they're coming to me because they're saying, okay, maybe I have a bone density issue. Or maybe I have another chronic condition, but I’m interested in—I’m getting older maybe and I want to now be healthy for the rest of my life.

What I do is I look at all of that stuff, and I say let's build the foundation up. So let's get the information and then we have it. But let's also say that we know that we're not running every trace mineral that your body needs for all that cell communication. We're not running all of that. We know that we need all of it. We know that it's devoid in the diet, so let's choose some really base supplements that we're going to take regularly. And then on top of that, we'll figure out what your deficiencies are. If you're missing vitamin C, we'll supplement with that.

But there is some really base supplementation that we need, just because of where we live, or just because of the world is the way it is. And that is amino acids and trace minerals. We need these things so much. If we eat only muscle meat, which we eat in the west and we don't eat the connective tissue, we're missing part of the amino acid profile completely. These are things that I find let's just do it. Let's just get these supplements going, and then you have the basis of everything you need. The nucleic acids, you need these things in order to do anything. Let's blanket supplement these base things—at least for a while—and then figure out what your additional deficiencies are on top of it. That's how I work. But the trace mineral supplementation, I don't know if there's anything more important than that.

[01:24:41] Ashley James: Absolutely.

[01:24:43] Dr. Laura Kelly: Like you're saying, they’re the co-factors required for all cell communication, the things that are happening inside of the cell, the communication of the DNA, the RNA, and the building of the proteins themselves. All of these things require all of these co-factors. So let's just put them all in there and say let's give it all it needs and then work on the problems once it's got all the fuel.

[01:25:07] Ashley James: Absolutely. Nine years ago—it's actually coming up on 10 years, I can't believe that. Next month it'll be 10 years. I was incredibly sick. I had a lot of health issues and chronic adrenal fatigue was one of them. I got on Dr. Wallach’s protocol. The first thing I did was get on his liquid trace minerals. Within the same day that I took them, my constant gnawing hunger went away. I had out of control blood sugar, and I was type 2 diabetic as well, but the constant gnawing hunger that I was constantly yo-yoing. Every 45 minutes I was hungry. Nothing could satiate it. Within my first shot, I took an ounce of it, within minutes the hunger went away. It was really interesting. Within five days of being on it, I woke up early in the morning full of energy, and it was like a light bulb went on in my body.

That was really what had me go, oh my gosh, I have to tell my friends about this. And then I did, and I have a friend who reversed her lifelong skin problem. I have another friend that immediately stopped five months of kidney stones—stopped them—and he hasn't had them since. My friend hasn't had her skin problem since. That's what led me down this path of wanting to study with Naturopaths, become a health coach, and start the podcast.

So trace minerals are what started it for me. Now, not all trace minerals are created equal. There’s buyer beware out there. I can say that takeyoursupplements.com is where I recommend getting them from. I’m sure you have your own line that you recommend when people work with you as well. I just want to put out there, I don't recommend going to Amazon, just typing in trace minerals, and getting whatever. There's so much buyer beware out there, but get it from a reputable source. Either get it from Dr. Kelly or get it from takeyoursupplements.com, I would say. But I think everyone should be on a trace mineral supplement. It makes such a huge difference. I totally agree with you.

[01:27:17] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah, definitely. This is another coming back to the theme, which we've been in a while is the natural patterns that are there. We have ratios and balances of trace minerals. We don't have an equal amount of all of them, right? We have different ratios, and it's the same ratio that's in the ocean. And it's the same ratio that's in shilajit or Himalayan salt. The patterns of mineral balance are replicated throughout the natural world. So finding sources that replicate that natural balance is what you want to find because then you'll be taking things in the right balance for your natural body.

[01:28:10] Ashley James: So you had mentioned that you came up with a list of all the things that the cultures around the world with the lowest rate of osteoporosis, the highest bone density, and the lowest rate of fracture. That they have in common that helps the body to properly lay down calcium in the right places, not in the wrong places, and you told your mom to pick three. What were the three things that she picked?

[01:28:37] Dr. Laura Kelly: Let me just differentiate for a minute between bone density and fracture because they actually aren't the same metric. This is relevant because of what I found. The Japanese, on the traditional diet, had very low rates of fracture compared to everybody else. But, if you scan their bones, they're necessarily not dense, but they're quite small, can be thin, and could even fall into osteopenia or osteoporosis, but they don't fracture.

This was a moment of saying, well wait a minute. So there are two separate metrics here and one of them is the density, which is what we read. But the other metric is actually flexibility because if you look at the way the bone is structured, you have the collagen that gets laid down. It doesn't get laid down in a regular regulated fashion. It's not regimented like a line a line a line a line a line of collagen. It's laid down in a completely random fashion, and it creates a matrix, but a really random matrix. And the reason it does this is because you can imagine that if the collagen were laid down in straight lines, the bone would be very strong from one direction and completely not strong from another direction.

So the randomness of the laying down of the collagen strands is completely random so that it can absorb a hit from any angle. This concept of flexibility is something that we don't look at in the west in terms of diagnosis or understanding bone health. We look at density, and as you know from the drugs, you can densify your bones. But then, you can also suffer what's called a bisphosphonate fracture, which is the result of taking the bone densifying drugs, and then the bones just randomly fracture standing on the subway, for example. That was the first one that went to the CDC.

I think some woman was standing on the subway, and her femur just shattered. It was because the bone density drugs will support your system in laying down bone, but if it's already been laying down subpar bone or bad quality bone, all it's going to do is assist your body in laying down low-quality bone. You may get a denser reading, but the quality of the bone isn't good, and so you end up with a fracture.

So just looking at bone density is a mistake, and trying to figure out a way to read something like flexibility would be a better approach, in my opinion. Because if I had to choose between a dense bone and a flexible bone, I would take a small flexible bone any day because it's going to withstand a lot.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

[01:31:34] Ashley James: And not fracture

[01:31:35] Dr. Laura Kelly: And not fracture because it'll be able to take a hit. Considering that concept, I was looking at the Japanese diet and looking at what in their diet is allowing them to not have particularly dense bones but to have flexible bones because that's why they're not fracturing. And that turns out to be K2. That's in the traditional diet and has always been in the traditional diet. Of course, the presence of magnesium is required for activation as well. So it's the nutrient co-factors. It's always coming down to those. It's always going to come down to those.

So it's making sure that all those nutrient co-factors are there in the right place, at the right time to make sure that the system and the mechanisms work. That was the top choice of my mother. She's like okay, well this makes a lot of sense to me. So she started supplementing with K2. We looked at the research out of Japan. They're researching it at very high doses, multiple, multiple, multiple thousands of times what our body would normally use. And there didn't seem to be any downside.

So we just took a hard-hitting approach for about three months, and I just said, “Okay, mom we're going to hit your body so that your body knows what we're doing.” I don't have any scientific basis for this but I feel like the body wants, like we were talking about before, to be well. It wants its mechanisms to work. It wants to be in homeostasis. I also think that it listens to us, right? Again, it's the information we're putting in. What information are we putting in with our minds? What information are we putting in with what we eat?

So I said, “Mom, we're going to hit it hard so your body knows what we're doing, and it has no uncertain terms that we are building your bone and we are making sure that the calcium is going in the right place.” So we spent three months of what I would call therapeutic doses of exactly what we talked about—K2, trace minerals, amino acids. These are her choices, and I agree with them completely. We said let's start there, we started there, then ran her tests, figured out what else she was missing, and filled it in. She's changed her diet completely. It took about two years for her to really shift her diet into what she actually needed to be eating.

[01:34:02] Ashley James: Which is?

[01:34:04] Dr. Laura Kelly: For her, again, it's personal. For her, she ended up needing a lot of calcium from plants because she needed a lot of calcium. She wasn't actually eating the calcium in her regular diet.

[01:34:20] Ashley James: Isn't there also vitamin K in leafy greens?

[01:34:23] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yup, there is. And that can turn into K2 sometimes, it depends. K2 is one of the things I absolutely recommend supplementing with if you have bone density issues.

[01:34:35] Ashley James: What form of K2?

[01:34:38] Dr. Laura Kelly: Ideally, of course, from natto, but it's a pretty hard thing to put into your diet because it's pretty stinky and tastes pretty bad.

[01:34:48] Ashley James: Explain what that is for those who don't know.

[01:34:50] Dr. Laura Kelly: It's a fermented soybean in a particular fashion.

[01:34:53] Ashley James: Yum. Sounds delicious.

[01:34:57] Dr. Laura Kelly: It's sort of like when you—I don't know if you've ever been to Asia but if you bury shrimp in the ground for six months and then you pull it up and make a paste out of it, it's got a similar kind of flavor to that kind of shrimp paste. It's very rich, let’s say.

[01:35:12] Ashley James: So fermented natto?

[01:35:17] Dr. Laura Kelly: Natto.

[01:35:18] Ashley James: Natto, thank you. Where would one source that, or can you make it yourself?

[01:35:25] Dr. Laura Kelly: You can make it. It's a process of fermenting beans, and it's stinky. It's a hard thing to do. You can do it. You can find it occasionally in some co-ops. I’ve seen it. And you can also buy powder. That's another way to go is just to buy the powder. It's not as stinky, and it actually tastes sort of caramel. So it's kind of good.

[01:35:50] Ashley James: How did your mom source it? How did she eat it?

[01:35:55] Dr. Laura Kelly: She actually started with natto and then was like, “I don't know if I can do this for too long.” So we went to supplements. We went to the bacterial fermented supplements. They worked. Everything worked well for her.

[01:36:12] Ashley James: I’ve heard natto's kind of a miracle food. If someone wanted to eat natto, so it's a paste, how much would they want to take? How would they cook with it? Do they turn it into tea or soup?

[01:36:26] Dr. Laura Kelly: No, maybe it comes in a paste, but the traditional format is like a fermented bean porridge kind of breakfast thing.

[01:36:36] Ashley James: Oh, okay.

[01:36:37] Dr. Laura Kelly: So you just ferment the beans. It creates this really mucousy, mucilaginous-like gel around it.

[01:36:45] Ashley James: That's what I want for breakfast.

[01:36:47] Dr. Laura Kelly: Very appetizing. But some people get used to it, and then they love it. It's one of those things where when you break through the barrier you're like how could I live without it?

[01:36:56] Ashley James: Can you cook it, or does heating it deteriorate the vitamin K?

[01:37:02] Dr. Laura Kelly: I think heating it too high will kill the bacteria.

[01:37:06] Ashley James: Okay. So I could probably look up recipes. I’m thinking make congee with it, but just add it at the end so it's not too hot.

[01:37:16] Dr. Laura Kelly: Maybe. The Japanese tend to eat it, I believe, in just a very traditional way, this is how we eat it.

[01:37:24] Ashley James: Just like a cold soup?

[01:37:26] Dr. Laura Kelly: Like a breakfast-ish.

[01:37:27] Ashley James: Like a porridge?

[01:37:28] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah, that kind of thing.

[01:37:29] Ashley James: Okay.

[01:37:32] Dr. Laura Kelly: I’m sorry. I don't know about any other recipes. I think it's so specific a flavor that it's hard to—

[01:37:38] Ashley James: It's kind of like just get it down.

[01:37:40] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah.

[01:37:40] Ashley James: It's so funny. My mom worked with these people from Asia who owned this company for many years. Worked with them, and had a great relationship. We had a cottage. I’m from Canada, and in Canada, especially Ontario, many people have a cottage. It's like a second home but like out in nature. We kept inviting them to come stay with us for the weekend and they wouldn't, and my mom said it was because they were afraid of eating the food we ate. The idea of, first of all, not eating rice at every meal was weird. But we were going to serve them eggs and toast and they're like, no, thanks. We'd rather stay home. At an early age, that opened me up to this idea that there are certain people in the world that find our food repulsive.

[01:38:34] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah, absolutely.

[01:38:35] Ashley James: Especially if our body needs nutrition, let's look for those cultures that eat food to prevent disease, and let's try to open up our repertoire, our palette to include what they do medicinally, and just see what happens. I think especially, if we could get our kids to eat it, they might be able to grow up eating it. I’m going to see if I can find it at our co-op or have our co-op order it, and I’m going to try it for myself. I have never had it.

[01:39:12] Dr. Laura Kelly: Can you shoot yourself on video doing that so we can all watch?

[01:39:15] Ashley James: I will absolutely do that in the Facebook group, the Learn True Health Facebook group. I will go live, and I will eat natto for the first time. When I was a kid I'd eat anything, like anything. There was nothing I wouldn't eat and my dad loved that. So he'd take me out to really weird Asian restaurants and feed me the really weird stuff. I’m just never a picky eater. That wasn't my problem. Anyway, this will be fun. I will love eating natto.

Okay. So vitamin K2 is incredibly important. Getting it from leafy greens, especially since you're also going to get some co-factors like calcium is very important. What other things are just generally great ideas to incorporate into our diet?

[01:40:08] Dr. Laura Kelly: Generally great ideas, again, it just depends. This is the process of looking at what you have in your body, what you don't have, and looking at your genetics and saying what's actually functioning here? It really is the case that in terms of nutrition, everybody's different. What do you process? I don't know. What do you not process? I don't know. Again, the standard dose of a nutrient is not correct either because I need 10,000 units a day of vitamin D, and you may need none because you're in the sun for 10 minutes.

There are general recommendations, which are all good, like eat most plants. Everybody needs to eat a lot of plants. Keeping things as whole source as possible. The basic things that we all know for the reasons of the complexity that I was speaking about earlier and the dynamics of the formula—the herbal formula for malaria. That same concept applies to food, and the complexity of the natural sources means that we're going to get the enzymes that we need in order to digest the things that are there. So staying close to whole sources is always a good idea. But, again, finding out what you need is actually not a bad idea.

[01:41:43] Ashley James: Yes, absolutely. What about water? Obviously, dehydration affects everything in a negative way, but what about the quality of water like avoiding sodium fluoride, which I’ve heard the body gets confused with this kind of fluoride in the water and it ends up harming the bone system but also the skull system. Also, it does things to the pituitary gland and to the thyroid. So what about chemicals in tap water?

[01:42:21] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yes. This is the problem with the world that we have created. It's dangerous. We've created a dangerous world. It's a problem. Filtering the water is probably not good enough. These are the difficulties of it. I think that there are some small water filter producers who make filters that actually do a good enough job for you to filter the tap water. So investigating those and figuring out what's actually going to work if you're going to drink tap water. Finding clean sources, testing your water is something I tell people to do just so you know what you're dealing with. All of this is so important, and this is coming back to the information that we're giving the system and saying what's the information I’m putting in?

With the food production, who knows what information we're putting in when we're eating processed food. I don't know what that information is. The body doesn't even know what that information is, and what's in the water? Every single substance that's in that water is going to say something to your body. What's it saying? So these things, even though they seem inconsequential, it’s really important to understand and to know what are you putting in.

Looking at your water, looking at your food sources, testing yourself, giving yourself that strong solid foundation because even if you are putting in questionable information, if you've got all those trace minerals present, your immune system is going to work well and you're going to be able to defend yourself against the dangerous water that you've just drank. This is the complex web of self-care that we all find ourselves in, given the fact that the system itself doesn't take care of this stuff for us. That's why we're here speaking about it, and that's why it's so wonderful that you're bringing all of this to the forefront.

[01:44:31] Ashley James: Love it. Thank you so much for coming and sharing this information. I totally agree with you. We need to look at the world we've created and looked at the chemicals. For example, the pesticides and the chemicals that we're spraying on our “conventionally grown food.” I think that's hilarious because to our grandparents, to our great-grandparents, or to our great-great-grandparents, conventionally grown food was organic. We now consider organic. Although there are over 2000 chemicals that have been approved under the certification of organic. So even then it's questionable. But get organic, get local as much as possible. Work with biodynamic farms as close to farms as you can. Luckily, I live in a state where I can actually go to a farm and actually get my food from the farm.

So if you can do that, if you can figure out how to do that, do it. If you can source some food boxes that are coming directly from farms, that's great. Organic as much as possible. These chemicals, a lot of them are chelators. So they bind to heavy metals, they bind to even minerals and wash them away from the soil. If we consume them like glyphosate, they will release heavy metals into our kidneys and brain. What we think is safe when we go to eat an apple or go to eat some corn. What we think is safe or even healthy food.

A conventionally grown apple, they've had it tested as up to 50 different chemicals. These are man-made chemicals the body doesn't know what to do with. The liver gets clogged up. These chemicals are endocrine disruptors. They harm the harmony in the body. You're teaching us how to bring the body back into harmony, back into balance, and support the body's ability to be strong and heal itself. One of those things is removing what is in our way as much as possible.

[01:46:42] Dr. Laura Kelly: The insults. This is coming back to—you just mentioned the liver. This is just to be clear, your liver gets clogged up because it's trying to detoxify all of these things. That's implying that everybody's liver naturally functions perfectly anyway, which just simply isn't even the case. I’ve never seen a genetic run where every CYP enzyme, every CYP genetic is perfect. There are polymorphisms all over the place in liver function. So you have CYP pathways in the liver that detoxify all different sorts of substances. There isn't one pathway for all substances. There are different pathways for different substances, and each of those pathways has different genetics.

Every time you're dealing with genetics, which is everywhere, you have the opportunity for things to be not perfect, right? You have a polymorphism, which is sort of a mutation but not quite a mutation. In genetics, you call it a polymorphism in the smaller subset like this. So you have the opportunity for polymorphisms, which interfere with liver detoxification pathways, and everybody has those. I’ve never seen one without.

Not only are you taking in the 50 chemicals that are in the water that went in to grow the organic apple. Because even if it's organic, if they water it with water that's filled with garbage, how much of the apple is water? Most of it. You're going to eat that apple and you already have impaired liver detoxification because most of us do anyway. Each liver detoxification pathway itself has separate combinations of nutrient co-factors that are required including amino acids for phase detoxification.

If you're missing any of those, so you have an insult that you've taken into your body, you're missing some nutrients either because you don't need it or because of your genetic component, then your liver detoxification is impaired with polymorphisms in your genes for detoxification so it's impaired. So you've got three places already. You've just eaten an organic apple, but you have three places where you could potentially run into huge amounts of trouble. It's crazy. That's crazy.

That's the truth of this pattern and this system is that it's that complicated. And that's in a healthy person. That's somebody who's me or you who's walking around feeling good, feeling great, and having a wonderful life. That's me. I don't have great liver detoxification. I can eat that apple with those 50 insults and be causing myself a problem down the line.

Not to fear monger, certainly not, but just to say that all of this is important. And when you're thinking about medicine on a fundamental level, medicine for the human body, these are things that are really important to think about, and all of them are important. It's not like just a little bit of it's important. All of it is important.

[01:49:50] Ashley James: And if it's too overwhelming to think about, find a practitioner like Dr. Kelly who does telemedicine. Or find a health coach like myself. Find someone to work with because sometimes we just get to a point where we just need to hand our bodies over to someone. And that's often where we go to an MD, then we're given drugs. Drugs are great for certain things, not great for others. It shouldn't be a tool we use 100% of the time. We've already discussed that, right?

One of the Naturopaths that I mentored with who is the dean of Bastyr Naturopathic College, and she's practiced for over 30 years. She's delivered over 1000 babies. She's has a wonderful, wonderful practice working with women. She says sometimes she has a doctor-patient relationship where the patient is handing themselves over to her, and they're saying, just take my blood, do labs on me, and just tell me what to do. They don't want to think. It's too overwhelming. They just want to be told what to do, and they'll go home and do it.

And then there are other times where she doesn't have a doctor-patient relationship. She has a teacher-mentor kind of relationship with a client, and she'll call them her client. They're someone who wants to come in, and often, like our listeners, they want to be educated. They want to think for themselves. They want to be given options. They want to have a teacher teach them. A doctor can be a teacher because the root word is doceri, which means teacher. So they want a teacher relationship, a mentor, and a coach, not someone just taking their blood and telling them what to do. They want to actually think for themselves.

So some people are just at the point where they're so overwhelmed and they're so sick, just please, do my labs and tell me what to do. You can provide that. And then for those who want to learn more, get the book and you can also have that relationship with them. It's really important that we understand that distinction. That we could ask our doctor—be it Naturopath, osteopath, chiropractor, or a doctor of oriental medicine—to be our teachers, give us options, show us studies, and let us think for ourselves.

If we are at the point in our life where we want to be educated, we want to navigate this world, think deeper, and spend time on this, but if we don't have the energy to, we can hand our body over. We just have to make sure we hand our body over to the person who's going to guide us to the outcome of optimal health.

[01:52:38] Dr. Laura Kelly: Right, absolutely. I think that's the reason why me and all of your other guests write books. It's like we want people to embrace, and it's going back to what I was saying in the beginning. There's a concept of okay, medicine is for when I’m sick. Or there's a concept that I learned, which is medicine is part of life. Taking care of yourself, self-care is part of life. When you look at it that way and when it becomes part of your life that way, it gets very rich, of course, and you explore a lot of things conceptually. You also really learn to care for yourself this way.

Writing books for people and sharing this information is really just saying, here, step into this beautifully rich world of self-care. Here, let us help you. Let us guide you with this. That's why I write books because I want people to be able to, even if you are in a crisis point, you're going to come out of that crisis point. When you come out of that crisis point, you can't go back to the way you were that got you to the crisis point. So you have to then step into this world of where self-care becomes fun, ritual, or whatever it is that works for you.

So providing information for people in this way. Again, to make medicine is a hard word to use to make medicine part of your life. It sounds a little cold, but I think you understand what I mean. It's like taking care of yourself on a daily basis with the food, with the air, with the water, with the thoughts, and with the process of thinking. All of these things, on a daily basis, thinking about them as self-care, from a perspective of self-care, enables you to live a healthy and holistic life because your body isn't under the stresses of the disintegration of the different parts and the different pieces. Okay, wait a minute, I have to do this, here, this, and this, and this. The mechanization that comes in the thinking.

Again, providing this sort of breadth of movement of medicine self-care to the world is something that I really want to do and would like to keep doing. This is a driver for me. I think, again, for many of your guests and many of the doctors working in this space.

[01:55:19] Ashley James: What if we put a new filter on, and every choice became is this medicine for me? Hugging this person—I’m hugging my friend. I’m seeing my friend. I’m going to give him a hug. Is that medicine for me? Or staying up really late watching Netflix, is that really medicine for me? Is that medicinal?

[01:55:38] Dr. Laura Kelly: It can be. It can be.

[01:55:39] Ashley James: There are times when it can be, but I like to use that as an example because I stay up till 2:00 AM in the morning watching Netflix and then having to get up early the next day. You're starving yourself of time. But having an evening where you're watching something that makes you laugh is medicine, versus excessively watching television and staying sedentary is not medicine.

[01:56:02] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah.

[01:56:03] Ashley James: Looking at all the activities in your life, is this medicine? Is it spiritual medicine? Is it energetic medicine? Is it emotional-mental medicine? Is it physical medicine? And is there a better choice? Okay, watching TV for 10 hours. Okay, this isn't medicinal for me, but what would be? Going for a walk in nature.

[01:56:28] Dr. Laura Kelly: Well wait, wait. I will differ with you a little bit about that. I would say that it's really, again, about asking yourself and looking inward for the answer to that question. Because it may be that you just graduated from college, you just wrote a book, and whatever the situation is—that was mine. Watching TV for 10 hours straight is exactly what you need. You're the only one that knows that. You're the one that knows inside if this is right or if this is wrong. I don't think that you can say one thing or another is right or wrong. It all has to do with context, but the most important thing is it has to do with how you feel about it? If you feel like you're watching tv or 10 hours and it's not right, then it's not right.

[01:57:18] Ashley James: Well, if you feel like stiff, achy, upset, and irritable, and the media you were watching was something that ends up making you physically angry or tense, it wasn't medicinal. But if you're watching something that makes you happy, you're laughing, and you're resting, or maybe you take a break and read a book, but you want to just chill on the couch for the day and that's what you need, and you feel good. I think we have to check-in. Like you said, check in with that voice inside you, and check-in with your body. Every behavior, every choice could be medicinal.

[01:57:56] Dr. Laura Kelly: Exactly.

[01:57:58] Ashley James: And that's a wonderful thing to focus on. In your book, do you also talk about exercise? There's a lot of confusion around exercise and healthy bones. Should it be weight-bearing? Should it be cardio? Should it be stretching? Do you talk about what kind of what are the best exercises for healthy flexible bones?

[01:58:21] Dr. Laura Kelly: Yeah. I don't go deeply into exercise, but there are a couple of things I can mention. One of them is in the presence of an estrogenic compound—either a phytoestrogen or an endogenous estrogen—the bone has more of a response to exercise. So this would be a situation where if you do supplement with hormones, you're going to be well placed to exercise. And if you don't, you may want to consider phytoestrogen as well. If you don't eat a lot of plants, then that's going to increase the efficiency or the efficacy of the exercise that you do.

But there is a certain amount of piezoelectric force that has to happen on the bone for it to trigger the brain to build bone. The osteogenic force is a particular force. Weight-bearing exercise, yes. Anything that's going to put that type of pressure on the bone because what happens in the system is that the bone tells the brain, hey, we have pressure on us. We need to be strong. That's what happens. When you're putting pressure on the bone, if you're jumping, if you're dancing, running, or anything that's putting pressure tells the brain we need to be strong. And if you just sit around, it tells the brain we don't need to be strong.

So it's really that communication happens, and it's really that simple. So putting that pressure on is something that you have to do for your whole life, for everybody, regardless of what issues you have. We all need to keep our system moving, and we all need our brains to think that we want to use our bodies because if the brain thinks we're not using our bodies, it's going to stop building them. So we all need to move and take care of ourselves in that regard. But specifically for bone, you want a force that's going to put pressure on the bone.

If you've crossed the point into more severe osteoporosis, then you may run into trouble because that kind of pressure and force you actually can't do because you may fracture. That point you have to pull back, do the supplementation, and do the nutrition base in order to build up some bone strength before you start that kind of forceful exercise.

And then there's also a company called OsteoStrong, which produces machines that create the amount of force needed to put pressure on the bones without you having to actually create the force yourself. And theoretically, this seems to work. I haven't seen enough of their science to fully say this is amazing, but theoretically, it's correct. There is a certain amount of pressure that needs to happen on the bone to trigger osteogenesis, and these machines appear to do that.

[02:01:29] Ashley James: Very cool. That's exciting. Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show today. All the links that Dr. Kelly does are going to be in the show notes of today's podcast at learntruehealth.com. Medicinethroughfood.com is your website. We're going to also have the link to your book, which is The Healthy Bones. I have already bought your book for myself and also for my mother-in-law. I’m sure I'll think of a few other people I need to buy your book for.

You're giving away your book to a lucky listener. Listeners can go to the Learn True Health Facebook group, and this discussion will continue there. We'll create a post, and then we'll pick a lucky listener that will win a copy of your book, which is exciting. I’ve invited Dr. Kelly to come to join the Facebook group so we can continue the discussion there, which is great. We have over 4000 listeners in the group. We have a ton of listeners, so I’m always surprised.

It's funny because I'll get emails or Facebook messages from listeners saying, “I’ve been a listener for over a year and I just joined the Facebook group.” I’m like, “What are you waiting for guys? Come on. Join the Facebook group. It's a great community. It's free. Come join us. We're all here to support each other. So come join the Learn True Health Facebook group. And then also, Dr. Kelly, you have a Facebook group for readers of your book as well. Tell us about it.

[02:02:55] Dr. Laura Kelly: That's right. My mother is the moderator, and she's very, very good at keeping the group really dynamic and really motivated. It's an amazing group of people. Everybody is probably like yours. Everybody just supports each other. They share their successes. They share recipes. They share trials, the difficulties that they're having in there. It's a really beautiful group of people, and they're really there to help each other densify their bones and not be sick.

[02:03:25] Ashley James: And have flexible bones.

[02:03:27] Dr. Laura Kelly: And have flexible, exactly.

[02:03:28] Ashley James: Stronger bones. I love it. And then as a side effect, the body just gets healthier. The cardiologist who had such amazing insight to tell you to write a book. The cardiologist noticed that the calcification was leaving your mom. How is your mom's heart health now having focused on bone health?

[02:03:49] Dr. Laura Kelly: It continues to be fantastic in terms of that sort of thing. There are no problems.

[02:03:58] Ashley James: I love it. I love it. That's so great.

[02:04:01] Dr. Laura Kelly: I think unchecked, there may have been.

[02:04:05] Ashley James: Yes, we have to make sure that we take the blinders off and really not leave these very important things unchecked in our life. Do you have any stories of success you'd like to share?

[02:04:18] Dr. Laura Kelly: In terms of bones?

[02:04:21] Ashley James: Yeah, and well in terms of your book. In terms of patients or clients, you've worked with. In terms of the Facebook group. Just off the top of your head, do you have any stories of success that people have had because of the work you do?

[02:04:33] Dr. Laura Kelly: Sure, sure. You can go on that Facebook page and see people reporting, oh my God. I got my DEXA scan. I can't believe it. I’ve gone from osteoporosis to osteopenia. It happens quite regularly, actually, which is amazing and wonderful. I’m crying every time it happens. But in terms of my own patient population, I had someone come to me who was 59 and her doctor had said, “Look, you can't exercise anymore. I know you love tennis. You can't play it anymore because you're going to break your bones.” She said, “I’m terrible. This is killing me. I’m so unhappy about this.” And I said, “Okay, well let's see what we can do.”

She's very small. She's very thin boned and so there wasn't a lot of room. We started working together, and I said, “This is going to be a long process. Don't expect instant results. Maybe in a year and a half, maybe in two years. Maybe faster, but it's going to be a while.” And she was very active in her own care. She was a mix between, what you said, a client, and a patient. She wanted to know what to do absolutely right away, but then she also wanted to understand.

So we worked together for almost two years, and we completely reversed her osteoporosis. She went from 3.6 to 2.4. I think it took about a year and eight months, something like that, and then she's just been improving from there. Her doctor was like, oh, okay. Because this was in a situation where at first, she went to her internist and she said, “Well, I’m working with this person.” He was like, “Yeah, whatever. That's not going to work.” It was the same thing as always. But the book was out, and she took him the book, and then she got her scores finally. He was like, hmm. That was the answer, hmm. It wasn't, no. It was, hmm, okay. He now has the book, and he's actually shared the book with other people.

It's an educational process. In that regards an educational process. That's the standard success that I’ve had. I’ve had a lot of patients now who've reversed bone density issues. She actually had a really bad accident on a Segway where she smashed her leg into one of these metal posts going at 50 miles an hour. She didn't break anything. She said there is no way that this would have been like this without the work that we had done. That's what her doctor said. Her doctor said, “Well the fact that you didn't break your anything in that accident is a miracle of the work that you put in.”

[02:07:31] Ashley James: I love it. Beautiful. I love it. That's so great. Now, what about osteoarthritis or bone spurs? Have you had success reversing or improving upon either of those?

[02:07:53] Dr. Laura Kelly: I’ve had success improving upon osteoarthritis. I haven't actually worked with bone spurs, so I don't know.

[02:08:01] Ashley James: This will be interesting though. I hope some people with bone spurs come out of the woodwork to do your program. I’ve had great success using Dr. Wallach's protocol with bone spurs because if you can increase the nutrients you're talking about, especially magnesium, the body dissolves bone spurs and puts them in the right place. That's something really interesting. Hopefully, some people will come forward and share their experiences working with your protocol in laying down bone healthfully. Can you share any results you remember in terms of reversing osteoarthritis?

[02:08:42] Dr. Laura Kelly: I wouldn't say reversing osteoarthritis. I would say improving function and improving the sensation of difficulty or pain. This actually has more to do with using herbs. There's the foundation of bone health, but when you're talking about osteoarthritis, you're talking about wear and tear. You're talking about joints. You're talking about joint fluid. You're talking about cartilage, connective tissue, and all these sorts of things. Other than bone, you have all of these other pieces that you also have to work with. You want to lay the foundation, of course, the nutrient foundation for bone health and for connective tissue health. What I do with that is I also use herbs at this point—external herb poultices.

At about 1200, there were Shaolin monks. The Shaolin monks were famous monks in China. They were martial arts. They developed martial arts, basically. They took it to a new level. So the Shaolin monks were martial artists of the highest caliber, and because they did this martial arts work all of the time, they injured themselves all the time. What they developed was trauma medicine for martial arts injury, which is the same as any sort of trauma medicine. You break your leg, you have bruises.

The formulas that were written at the time were written with titles such as the formula for hitting the back of the neck with a metal shovel. This kind of thing. It's pretty hilarious. You have these very interesting names on these formulas, but they were very specific to different types of traumatic injuries. What I do is I take that trauma medicine and apply it to things like osteoarthritis. You have the basic bone foundation like the protocols in my book, but you also have to work with the trauma of the system and the body at that point.

One thing that's amazing about herbs, which is not available in western medicine and I’ve done this with many people, is that when they have surgery, what you're doing is you've damaged your tissue when you have surgery. There has to be a repair process. And western medicine really has nothing to offer that process. They tell you to sit still on the couch and take pain medication, right? But what we can do with herbs—because herbs have such wonderful complex properties—is we can actually start the tissue regeneration process.

What we're talking about at that point is actually stem cell regeneration. We're talking about providing the right information triggers to the system to actually start turning on and having a stem cell response. That's one thing that's possible through nutrients and herbs in a very targeted fashion. So you can do that externally, and this is where the trauma medicine is, which is you use the herbs and a combination externally on the site of osteoarthritis. What happens is the immune system factors come, whatever non-functioning cells, tissue, or damaged tissue is there gets cleared out. And then some low-level tissue regeneration starts to happen in that area.

What happens from that is sometimes, if you're really lucky, you'll have actually enough tissue regeneration to actually eliminate any trace of the problem. There still is osteoarthritis, technically, but you don't have the same experience any more of it. That's a really beautiful use of herbs and where they can fill in where western medicine can't.

[02:12:46] Ashley James: So cool. I love it. Again, go to the right doctor. You would never get this kind of medicine from seeing a chiropractor or an MD. You got to go to the right doctor for the right problem. Have an arsenal. Have a team.

[02:13:08] Dr. Laura Kelly: Absolutely have a team of doctors.

[02:13:10] Ashley James: Okay, great. You have an OB. I'd rather go to an OB than just a regular MD for gynecological exams. We're used to that as women. If you have a skin problem, you go to a skin doctor. Or you have a foot thing, you go to a foot doctor. Why not also have Dr. Kelly in your corner? Why not have a doctor of oriental medicine, but on top of that, have a health coach, have a naturopath, have a chiropractor, and the list goes on and on. Then you can bring your body to them and they can offer different pieces of the puzzle to bring you back in balance.

What if what you needed was that 5000-year-old herbal formula, right? That was your thing. You're not going to get that from the other doctors. What if that was your thing, and your body does the best with that versus the other form? Never shall we use the word alternative again. There is an alternative to none. These are all valid forms of medicine. Why not have all of these in our team of doctors.

Thank you Dr. Laura Kelly for coming on the show and sharing your wisdom. I would love to have you back on the show. Please come join our Facebook group. Let's also join Dr. Kelly’s Facebook group as well, and let's all get her book. And of course, one of you lucky listeners is going to be gifted her book. Come join the Learn True Health Facebook group. The Healthy Bones. I know it's on Amazon, and we could also go to your website medicinethroughfood.com. Dr. Kelly, is there anything you'd like to say to wrap up today's interview?

[02:14:59] Dr. Laura Kelly: Oh, gosh. It's probably lots of things.

[02:15:03] Ashley James: Do tell.

[02:15:05] Dr. Laura Kelly: You've had amazing people on your program. As you say, have a team. It's like we're all doing little pieces of this, and we're all pulling apart different pieces of this. Everybody has gone into different corners and pulled apart different things. I just want to say to people who would read the book, the book itself is about meeting people where they are. It's not about going into the biggest detail about every single piece of how to perfect the food, right?

We need to sprout the beans or high pressure cook the beans. These things are there in the book, but there isn't a huge amount of explanation in detail in all of that that has been done by others because what I have tried to do with this book is to take people, who like my mother, who doesn't really have that much knowledge about how to take care of yourself and are coming out of the western medical paradigm. In fact, are still in the western medical paradigm where maybe nutrition may be important but I don't really know.

You can't step from western medicine all the way into a natural medicine with a snap of the fingers. We're not built that way as humans. We need information. We need to process it. We need to investigate it. We need to make a decision about it. Most people don't do it like that.

When I wrote the book, I was writing it to meet people where they are and say here's a really broad spectrum of information on taking care of yourself. Here's a way for you to start to understand that you can take care of yourself, and that you don't have to be afraid of your diagnosis whatever it is. That you can take care of yourself and improve yourself with or without assistance from a practitioner. Hopefully, with a team, but even if it's just you alone, you have enough ability, and your body has enough innate wisdom so that you can actually care for yourself.

That was the point of the book, and I wanted to make that clear because again, there's such a wealth of information from all of the people who you've spoken with. Again, this is another piece of that puzzle of creating this sort of genre of self-care. I just wanted to contextualize the book for you a little bit like that.

[02:17:47] Ashley James: Beautiful. Thank you. Excellent. Please come back to the show.

[02:17:51] Dr. Laura Kelly: I'd love to. I’d love to. It’s wonderful to talk to you.

[02:17:54] Ashley James: Yes, absolutely. We'll see each other in each other's Facebook groups along with all the listeners.

[02:17:59] Dr. Laura Kelly: Okay, great.

[02:18:01] Ashley James: Thank you so much.

[02:18:03] Dr. Laura Kelly: Thank you. Have a great day.

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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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