HHS 32 | Diabetes

 

Dr. Jack Wolfson meets with Dr. Brian Mowll who specializes in diabetes. Together, they explain what diabetes really is as they talk about insulin and how it links to cardiovascular risk. Going hand in hand with heart health, they explore how the two relates to one another and discuss the ways you can keep your heart healthy. Dr. Brian outlines some tips on how you can treat diabetes and gives some advice regarding nutrition as well as some hacks to help you keep your blood sugar under control.

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Diabetes, Insulin And Heart Health with Dr. Brian Mowll

We bring on the best of the best guests, people that are making a huge difference in the health and wellness space, people that are getting to the root cause of issues. Who’s better than a Doctor of Chiropractic to find the root cause, DC, Doctor of Chiropractic, DC, Doctor of Causation. I’ve got Dr. Brian Mowll. If you don’t know Dr. Brian, I don’t know where you’ve been in the health space. He’s all over the internet. He’s got great information that he’s bringing and certainly one of his areas of expertise is diabetes. Diabetes and heart health are hand-in-hand sadly. Dr. Brian, welcome to the Healthy Heart Show.

Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here with you and share some great and powerful information. We’ll put some practical tips and strategies out there for people to keep their heart healthy.

Tell me a little bit about you. Your training was in chiropractic. How and why did you decide to go to chiropractic school?

I graduated with an Exercise Science degree and didn’t know what to do with that. I was always interested in fitness and health. I went to work for a physical therapist for a while out in Boulder, Colorado for about three years, which I loved. That’s where I got exposed to more holistic natural health care. It’s a Mecca for that, it’s still now. This was back in the early ‘90s. I got turned on to different methods of healing and finding the root cause of health problems. I had been pretty healthy other than some allergies and a few sports injuries. I wasn’t on a health journey necessarily for myself, but it was more stimulated intellectually and creatively by the natural health movement. It felt like chiropractic, being fully licensed in all 50 states and the pioneer at that point at least of the natural health movement, was a good place to go.

I went to chiropractic school and got some training. I liked the physical and mechanical aspects of it, but what I really liked was the holistic lifestyle and the natural health methods. I focus more on nutrition. I started doing a lot of workshops for my patients, clinics and things and got turned on to diabetes. There was one patient, in particular, a woman named Janet, that at that point what I thought was virtually cured herself of Type 2 diabetes. We would say now maybe put herself in remission or we could say perhaps reversed her diabetes. She lost an extraordinary amount of weight, something like 50 to 60 pounds and completely turned her life around. She got off all of her medications and she inspired me to what was possible for people with diabetes.

I had this idea at that point in my practice, “Let me do a workshop about diabetes. Let’s see if I can bring her in and teach some people how to prevent it and maybe control blood sugar a little bit better if they have it, and I started doing research.” You know what happens when you find something that you love and just clicks for you. It’s like your heart lights on fire. That’s what happened for me. It became a passion and I started digging and the deeper I dug, the more interested and the more passionate I became about it. I went and got some further training. I worked for a clinic and became a certified diabetes educator, a master license, diabetes educator and then devoted my practice to helping people with diabetes.

People talk about diabetes, there’s Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is something the vast majority of people have. It’s insulin resistance. The insulin that’s being secreted is not working as well. I also find it, I’m sure you do as well in your practice and your education that those people are not secreting enough insulin either. It’s a problem where the insulin doesn’t work and they also don’t make it. Type 1 diabetes is something that is deemed to be incurable. It is something that can’t be reversed. Type 1 is autoimmune and the damage is done. Do you agree with that?

Yeah. The only exception is if it’s caught early. There are few case studies that have been published of young children under six who have put themselves into remission from Type 1 diabetes. I don’t know if there have been great follow-ups with them. I haven’t seen any follow-up studies done on those case reports. I’m not sure if they were able to stay that way or not. As you know in autoimmune disease, there can be a genetic component and there’s usually some triggering episode that turns those genes on and the immune system. For people with Type 1 diabetes, there are numbers of things that can do it.

We don’t fully understand it, but a cow’s milk protein is one of them. That’s been shown through research. If you are able to catch it early and reverse that, you can save a lot of the damage to those Beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin and perhaps save some of that residual function. Those are the very rare cases. What you said is right on that Type 1 diabetes, especially once it sets in and the damage is done to the pancreas, at this point there’s no way to cure it other than insulin injections.

When you say, “At this point, there’s no way to cure it,” what about stem cells? Have you heard any research on stem cells?

These are things that are being tried and refined. I think there’s a possibility that we’ll see a cure for Type 1 diabetes in the future. It probably will come from something like stem cell transplantation where we can get the cells producing insulin again, which hopefully will work and the body can start regulating its own blood sugar again. Pancreatic transplantation is probably a little less likely to have widespread use, but it’s a possibility as well. I don’t think we’re going to find it from some pharmaceutical intervention. It’s probably going to be some surgical or stem cell research. There’s a lot being done right now. There’s quite a bit of research and they’re trying. Hopefully, fingers crossed, maybe in the next decade or two, we’re going to see some cure for Type 1.

When you look at diabetes and prediabetes in our country and around the world, while it’s very important, Type 1 is just a small fraction of the number of people with diabetes. It’s somewhere around 4% of people with diabetes have Type 1. The large majority of cases are people with metabolic imbalances that lead to diabetes and that’s Type 2 and prediabetes. Some studies report that that covers almost half the US population. While Type 1 can be a devastating condition and something that can be challenging to live with, people with Type 1 diabetes have to live with it right now for the rest of their lives. It can be managed pretty well with diet and insulin. Type 2 diabetes in many cases can be much more difficult.

When there is a behavior, there is an outcome. When there is input, there is output. Click To Tweet

You have a very well-known podcast. You’ve had two summits.

Actually, five. I’ve been doing it for the last five years. It was a pleasure to have your years ago and I’d love to have you back sometime. Diabetes, there’s always so much to cover. It’s such a huge topic; metabolic health, diabetes, prediabetes, PCOS, everything related to this topic. It’s almost an endless topic. We keep doing it every year.

Everybody knows elevated blood sugar is linked to cardiovascular risk, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, it’s all linked with elevated blood sugar. You’ve interviewed some amazing people, the best and the brightest minds in the industry. You’ve synthesized all the data. Where are you at right now with nutrition? I understand that a nutrition plan may not be one size fit all. Where do you think your best advice right now regarding nutrition is?

I want to circle back and address something you mentioned earlier, which was in Type 2 diabetes that it’s insulin resistance, but also maybe the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin. I just want to clarify that because I agree with the statement, but it doesn’t make enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. Oftentimes we’ll test insulin levels on all of our patients with Type 2 diabetes and the large majority of them make plenty of insulin. Their pancreas might have lost some overall function. The Beta cell mass, for example, it’s been shown through research that it’s decreased in people with Type 2 diabetes. The Beta cells that they have, let’s say it’s 50% to 80% of them are still functional, are producing plenty of insulin for someone with normal blood sugar metabolism.

When you become insulin resistant and people with Type 2 diabetes can be very insulin resistant, then you have to overproduce insulin. Oftentimes, the pancreas cannot make enough to overcome that resistance. I think that’s the key. When we get into diet and nutrition, one of the main things we want to focus on is, is this diet going to help us to lower our insulin requirements, lower the amount of insulin the body needs to make to overcome that resistance? Is it going to help us to become more sensitive to insulin and less resistant to it? Is it going to help us burn fat as opposed to depending on glucose for energy and storing fat, which oftentimes a lot of diets do? The bottom line is I found that reducing carbohydrates, especially refined process carbohydrates is just a must.

That’s the first key. It sounds so simple, but that’s still not being done by most people. One thing that I find with people who come to me for help, most of the people who reach out to me are already fairly well educated about this topic. They’ve been listening to podcasts, reading blogs, reading books. They’ve been following people like you and I. They already know that they shouldn’t be drinking sodas, shouldn’t be smoking cigarettes, shouldn’t be doing a lot of the things that get people into trouble with diabetes and heart problems and so forth. They still let a lot of foods sneak into their diet that will spike insulin and cause problems. They might be eating more fruits and vegetables and taking pretty good care of themselves, but they’re still eating a fair amount of refined and processed carbohydrates.

HHS 32 | Diabetes

Diabetes: Elevated blood sugars link to cardiovascular risk.

 

One of the first things I do with them is to get serious about it. If they already have diabetes, especially that stuff has to go completely. Anytime you eat that, it’s going to cause a surge or a spike in insulin and it’s going to make you more insulin resistant and it’s going to shift us into fat storage instead of fat burning. It’s going to short circuit the way our metabolism functions. It’s going to reinforce diabetes and it’s going to prevent us from healing. That’s one of the big things and it sounds very simple on the surface and a lot of people say, “I don’t eat a lot of that stuff,” but they do. If you have them do some food journaling and look at it, it’s still in there.

What are your thoughts on alcohol consumption?

Alcohol has calories. While there are low carb alcohols like dry red or white wine and spirits which are virtually carb free, the alcohol itself if overdone especially can still be a problem. If you want to do the best thing in your body, it’s probably best not to drink. There are lots of cultures and you can probably speak to the research on this better than I do, that have consumed dry red wine and other forms of alcohol and been able to still have lower rates of heart disease and lower rates of diabetes and so forth. The reasons why that happens, that’s probably up for debate. I don’t know if the causal relationships have been clearly defined there.

Does alcohol spike insulin?

I don’t think so. In fact, alcohol can lower blood sugar, but how it lowers blood sugar might be a little problematic. It has an effect on the liver clearly and it can slow down the process of gluconeogenesis. It can paralyze the liver in a way that it doesn’t dump sugar into the bloodstream as much. There were dietary recommendations back in the early part of the 1900s where they recommended things like whiskey and so forth for people with diabetes because it lowered blood sugar.

I’m not sure that it lowers blood sugar in a healthy way. I haven’t found that it increases insulin resistance, but that’s in very mild amounts. Alcohol gets metabolized in the liver much like the sugar fructose does. One of the challenges is that if you’re not metabolically healthy, the calories from alcohol just like the sugar fructose can get converted to liver fat. That liver fat can then make us become more insulin resistant. In fact, that’s one of the main causes of insulin resistance, which eventually leads to high blood sugar. Especially if we’re metabolically unhealthy and we’re overdoing it, alcohol can certainly contribute to insulin resistance. Somebody who’s more metabolically healthy can process it in a healthy way and is probably fine with mild to moderate amounts of alcohol. That’s my opinion on it.

People's bodies react to different foods in different ways. Click To Tweet

What about coffee, caffeine, tea, maybe more particularly caffeine in general? What does that do to blood sugar?

This is something that I talked to my clients about a lot. We have to test individually because there are several studies that show that avid coffee drinkers, people who have four or five cups of coffee a day, have lower rates of diabetes. On the other hand, anecdotally, I have clients who will look at their blood sugar logs and when they drink coffee, their blood sugar goes up. It’s something that I don’t think we’ve completely worked out yet. Some people seem to be fine. Certainly, we have to be careful with what we put in the coffee.

If we’re just talking about caffeine or if we want to just talk about black coffee, just to make things more simple. I think that most people seem to do fine with coffee if they can handle it and metabolize it well. There are people who will drink even a little bit of coffee and it will make their blood sugar go up. It’s something that’s worth testing and this is a good time to mention it, but I recommend people get a glucometer. Even if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes, get a glucometer. You can buy one at the pharmacy for $20. You can get the test strips now for less than $0.50 a piece on your own. You don’t have to worry about insurance and just test your blood sugar and test different food combinations and exercise combinations because sometimes certain types of exercise can drive people’s blood sugar up.

It’s usually short-term effect and the benefit long-term usually outweighs that. For the people that we’re dealing with acute blood sugar issues, that’s something we have to be careful with. Coffee is no exception. We’ll see people who will drink coffee in their blood sugar spikes. In those cases, we have to be a bit more careful with it. Most people are fine with a good quality organic coffee and in some moderation. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be drinking five, six, eight cups of coffee a day but I think some coffee if you enjoy it in moderation, is fine for most of my clients.

How much coffee do you drink on a daily basis?

I usually do espresso in the morning. That’s usually it for the day. Every once in a while I’ll do maybe another shot in the afternoon. If I feel like I want to have one, it’s usually more for pleasure. One thing that I always I live by is anything that I feel I’m addicted to has to go. If at any point I feel like I can’t survive without that, I’m just not the same without my morning coffee or what have you, then I’ll usually take a break from it. I drink it for pleasure. I like the taste of it. I liked the experience. I enjoy sitting in the coffee shop, reading a book or working on my computer and having a cup of espresso. That’s one of the things that I do for myself and I’ve checked my own blood sugar and I don’t have any negative effects from it, at least on a pre and post-test. That’s the rule of thumb I use.

HHS 32 | Diabetes

Diabetes: If we’re metabolically unhealthy and are overdoing it, alcohol can certainly contribute to insulin resistance.

 

Part of the main issue with these people with blood sugar spikes is probably not the coffee. It was that invention called coffee cake. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, she lived until she was 86. She did nothing but drink coffee, eat coffee cake and smoke cigarettes. Not that any of us are recommending it and me personally, if you’re going to drink coffee, it always has to be organic. My favorite brand right now when I interviewed the CEO of Purity Coffee and it’s organic. It has zero mold and it is the single highest antioxidant coffee that they have measured. All those antioxidants maybe counterbalance if there are some negative effects of caffeine. Get a glucometer and test it out. The glucometer is also a great way to give yourself a kick in the ass like, “I just did some behavior and my blood sugar spiked. I better not do that.” It’s nice to get that objective evidence.

I would love if everybody could walk around with a CGM, a continuous glucose monitor for a couple of weeks and just track their behaviors and see what happens. It would be a great way to prevent diabetes in a lot of people. The patients we’ve had do that, it’s amazing what you learn. You’re getting a blood sugar reading every five minutes and you can see the foods you eat, the activities, the stress levels. You have an argument with your spouse and you’ll see your blood sugar shoot up. It’s pretty amazing the data we can get from that. I’m hoping one day soon we’ll be able to make those available to the general masses rather than just people with the diabetes diagnosis.

We talked about food, we talked about caffeine and we talked about alcohol. Once again, out of your knowledge base, your experience and all the guests that you’ve interviewed, what are some other hacks to get that blood sugar under control? We’ve all seen these people that come in and they swear, “I have no refined carbs. I’m not even eating fruits. I’ve got no sugar in my diet, very low carb, yet my blood sugar’s still high.” Honestly, to be a little cynical, most of those people are lying. If they’re telling the truth, what is the problem here? Not only what is the problem, what are some other strategies people can use to get that blood sugar under control?

First, you have to realize that there’s always a problem. When your blood sugar is not in control, something’s going on. It’s not that you just got bad luck. Something’s happening in your body. The body, while it’s more than a machine. It still in many ways acts like a machine. There are behaviors that then have outcomes. There’s input and there’s output. If your blood sugar is not in a healthy range, sometimes there are factors like your pancreas is damaged and not working and not producing the right hormones to control it. In most cases, there are behaviors that we can change, modifiable lifestyle factors that will produce a better outcome for our health.

We start with that in mind and say, “There’s something going on.” We just need to find out what it is. I always start with diet because that’s the biggest one. That’s where you have the most room for improvement for most people. In diet, there are so many different ways to eat and people’s bodies react to different foods in different ways. The first thing that we look at is carbs, process, and refined carbs. You talked about fruits. I would love if everybody could eat lots of fruit. Unfortunately, fruit now is so sweet and it’s become bread for high sugar content and size and color. Fruit now is huge, filled with sugar and unfortunately has very little fiber.

You’re still getting some good things from fruit like antioxidants and fighter nutrients and vitamins. Unfortunately, fruit juice has too much sugar for some people especially with diabetes and metabolic problems. We’ve got to be careful with that. We’ve got to be careful with certainly refined vegetable oils. These oils like corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, these are in pretty much every packaged food and they’re highly toxic. They cause inflammation and they’re one of the things that lead to fat storage instead of fat burning and those need to go. Some olive oil is fine, coconut oil, minimally refined natural oils are fine to use in moderation. Healthy fats are important like olives and avocados and so forth.

Don't go out of your way to just add a bunch of fat for no reason. Click To Tweet

Sometimes we find that people are overeating fat. This is a key factor. I’m certainly not anti-fat. I think fats are important to have in our diet for sure but you can’t overdo it. Especially now, the pendulum’s been swinging away from the anti-fat, low-fat craze. People were getting into the low carb, high-fat diets, which can work well for many people, but sometimes they push the high fats too much and then they’re just overeating. That’s a problem as well. We have to be careful about that. I always tell people don’t go out of your way to just add a bunch of fat for no reason.

You don’t need to be scared of eating an avocado. You don’t need to be scared of eating an olive or a piece of grass-fed beef that has some fat on it, that’s fine. Certainly, you don’t need to add half a stick of butter just to add fat to it. Especially if you have diabetes and you’re 60 pounds overweight. We need to be smart about it also. There are certain foods that make us fat purposely. While they can be healthy for some people, we can easily overdo them. Dairy products are one example. Dairy products, I shouldn’t say make us fat, but they make us grow. These are growth foods.

Dairy products can be healthy for the right people. For some people, they might not be the best choice to go out and eat a lot of dairies because it is designed to make us grow. If you don’t need to grow, then maybe that’s a food that you should limit or avoid. Nuts and seeds are much the same way. Nuts and seeds are used to pack on fat and calories really. I love nuts and seeds. There’s nothing wrong with eating them, but it’s very easy to overeat them. We can easily eat 2,000 calories of almonds or walnuts or peanuts or other nuts and all of a sudden be overeating. I would say the same thing is true for added fats and oils.

We’ve got to be a bit careful. I don’t want to come off as being a calorie counter because I’m not. I’m not saying we should be scared of fat. I think that’s a mistake, but at the same time, we need to be smart about it. Cut the carbs and make sure you’re getting your protein. A lot of people are under eating protein and that’s a mistake. We need protein, especially as we age to maintain or lean body mass. It drives our metabolism in some ways. It has a very minimal effect, if any, in our blood sugar. Protein is important and some people under do protein and replace not only carbs, but a lot of the protein in their diet with fat. That can be a problem as well.

You mentioned dairy and I’m known as the Paleo Cardiologist, my book is The Paleo Cardiologist. Our Paleo ancestors didn’t go chase down another animal and milk it and make cheese, yogurt and ice cream out of it. It is a hormone-laden product designed to make another animal grow. That could certainly be a problem in humans. If we do dairy as an occasional raw dairy treat, it’s raw milk, raw butter, raw kefir, raw yogurt, raw cream, I think that has some value to it. I want people to understand it. We can do studies on caffeine and coffee. We can do studies on dairy and some are positive and some are negative. It’s just a matter of what are our ancestral foods? You also mentioned nuts and seeds and I love nuts and seeds as well. If you came across a walnut tree, you’d probably need a couple of walnuts and you’d be like, “I want to go kill a deer,” or just go foraging around for mushrooms and vegetables. Getting through those nuts is not easy for a caveman.

I often tell people to eat nuts as if you were shelling them yourselves with a rock because that’s how we ate nuts. Now we can just buy a bag and scoop handfuls in our mouth. We’re just overloading our systems there.

HHS 32 | Diabetes

Diabetes: Some products can be healthy for the right people. For some people, they might not be the best choice.

 

We went to a local farm and we were milking a cow. Milking the cow was a lot easier than a lot of people would think it is. This happened to be a nice cow that’s friendly and used to humans milking it. Our boys were there and were pulling on the teats and the milk’s coming out. It still comes out in a fairly slow pace as opposed to when the average child, unfortunately, sits down with a glass of cow’s milk and they just chug the thing. You don’t think about it. When you have to sit there and crack the walnut, it takes time. If you visualize that or if you realize, “I just spent a lot of time milking this cow, I’m going to savor this and maybe I’ll save some for later or the next day,” as opposed to chugging in massive quantities. That’s probably true of all of our food. If we’re being mindful of that, we’re not going to overeat.

The other interesting thing is food combinations. I’m not talking about the idea of don’t put certain foods together because of digestion. It’s more about how food exists in nature. I forget who talked about this. I’ve seen some posts about this on Instagram or Facebook or something, but you don’t find foods in nature that are high fat and high carb. They’re typically one or the other. You’ve got fruits and vegetables which are higher carb and virtually no fat. Then you’ve got foods like avocados and olives that are virtually all fat and in very low carb. We need to be careful not to combine those two because when you put the high carb and the high fat together, now you’re in trouble.

That is what’s known as a French fry.

Fries and donuts.

Which is probably the greatest foods on Earth and how they make us feel the endorphin rush and stuff like that. Give me a couple of superfoods that every person with elevated blood sugar should be consuming often.

A couple of good ones, a couple of fun ones, I love berries. If you’re going to eat fruit, berries are a good choice. There have been studies that have shown that even though berries have sugar, the antioxidants in berries change the physiology of the body. The sugar is absorbed much more slowly and it doesn’t spike our blood sugar and require a big insulin surge. Berries, if you’re going to eat fruit, are the best choice and loaded with great bioflavonoids and antioxidants and vitamins and so forth. I love those.

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What’s your favorite vegetable?

Any dark leafy green is a great idea and you’ve got to find the one you like. I personally love broccoli and I like mixed greens. I love arugula and I like mustard greens and chard. I’ll throw a whole bunch of those in a pan with a little bit of either coconut oil or olive oil and a little garlic and just lightly sauté them. I could eat those all day every day. I love those types of greens, cooked the right way. You could do the same thing with brussel sprouts or cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, but those dark leafy greens are just power packed with nutrition. You can put tons of greens into a pan like that and never get full from them. Add a little bit of olive oil and some garlic and it tastes good and you get lots of fiber and power from those green foods with all the vitamins and nutrients.

I’m sure you missed it not on purpose. I bet you love it as well, but for the audience to hear it, my personal favorite is dandelion greens.

I’ll do those in a salad. I love dandelion greens and I mentioned arugula with light olive oil and lemon. I’ll just sprinkle some olive oil, squeeze a lemon, little salt and pepper. That’s a perfect salad for me with some other chopped veggies. I love dandelion greens.

We’re living right now in Colorado. The town we’re in, you are not allowed to use pesticides on public property. Every spring they have the Dandelion Festival where dandelions are plentiful all over the place. Then everybody picks the dandelion greens. I look back to my childhood in the north suburbs of Chicago and there were dandelions all over the place and never once in a million years would have ever occurred to me to eat a dandelion green at that time. The only vegetables I knew back then were corn and potatoes. That was the vegetable category on how I grew up. Then at some point, I got into frozen microwavable broccoli and that was my extent.

I’ve been there. You named the top two vegetables consumed by Americans. It’s potatoes and maybe ketchup tomatoes.

HHS 32 | Diabetes

Diabetes: Supplements can be helpful and healthy, but always try to go with food first.

 

What about supplements? Where do you stand on supplements and maybe what are your couple of favorites if you’re talking about supplements for people?

Supplements can be great. I look at two different categories of supplementation. One is the nutrient supplementation. Things like vitamin D, which can be important, especially in the winter months as our sun exposure goes down. We live in fairly north of the equator. We’re not getting those UV rays to make vitamin D ourselves. Supplementation can be important. Things like chromium and magnesium, even zinc for people with blood sugar problems and diabetes can be very important because of their actions in insulin sensitivity and insulin production. Then the other category of supplements would be botanical treatments if you will. Things that can be used to exert some a desired outcome or action. Those are things like you might do cinnamon therapeutically or something like berberine, which is an alkaloid compound found in goldenseal.

Berberine is used not only to treat gut pathogens, but it has been shown to have a pretty powerful impact on blood sugar levels. It’s been studied next to the drug metformin, which is the first line therapy drug for people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It’s shown to have similar effects. It acts in similar ways on the body. It is a plant-based compound. Some people were more comfortable with that. Certainly, if you’re having some blood sugar challenges and you want to support your body with some herbs or botanicals, those would be good ones to consider. Cinnamon has a long track record and a long history of helping people with blood sugar problems. The challenge with supplements is you have to use a lot of it, like a couple of teaspoons a day to have a real profound impact. It slows down glucose absorption in the gut.

If you take cinnamon with food, especially if you’re eating any type of starch, it’s going to slow down the rate that glucose gets absorbed into the gut. Therefore, you’ll have a lower blood sugar hit to lower glycemic curve. It’s also been shown to help with insulin signaling and insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon can be good. The trick is using enough of it. It’s best to use it in foods. I always like to go back to food as medicine. I think the more we can use even spices like cinnamon or something like turmeric, which is high in curcumin, an anti-inflammatory bio-compound. If we can find ways to use those in our foods, that’s going to be way better. I’m not opposed to taking supplements. Supplements can be helpful and healthy too but always try to always try to go with food first. That is my philosophy there.

Supplements are there to supplement a healthy lifestyle. If you eat McDonald’s, cookies and cupcakes and you think cinnamon’s going to save you, you’re wrong. When I’ve been on your podcast and your summits and stuff and I certainly wax-poetic about berberine. Go on to PubMed.gov, which is the government website that houses all the medical literature and you go into the search bar. Whatever the problem is, if you add berberine to it, you’re going to find a whole litany of articles about it. Whether it’s cancer or dementia, PCOS, diabetes, lipids, antibacterial properties, anti-aging. It’s amazing stuff.

From a botanical perspective, my big favorite three are berberine, curcumin and you could probably say the same thing about that. You put curcumin in there and it’s the same thing. It’s been shown to help a hundred different things. Also, black cumin seed extract is another one that’s shown to have a pretty profound impact on a number of different conditions. It reduces chronic systemic inflammation and helps blood sugar as well.

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Black cumin seed has worked for the Egyptians obviously for 10,000 years. When you punch up black cumin seed, black cumin seed oil, nigella sativa is so medicinal to what that does. I even found a report actually about berberine use topically for skin cancer. We’re not recommending anybody do anything without talking to your doctor first, all legal BS. What about the idea of putting berberine in the vehicle of the black cumin seed and just painting it on areas? I’ve no doubt that that will be beneficial. Tell me what are the five summits, five years of summits? You’re a hardcore summit guy. What are the trends you’ve seen, not like summit technology, but just as far as the information you’re getting, the information that’s being put out there between summit one and summit five?

We’re just drilling down a lot deeper. Consumers are getting a lot smarter, which is great. I love that. I think a lot of doctors get frustrated by that, but we live in the information age and people can arm themselves. Sometimes that’s dangerous, but in most cases it’s positive. People come to these summits now, they’ve already heard the basics and they want more. We drilled down deeper. I’ve been trying to go down into very specific topics. To help people with various complications of diabetes like how can we help somebody with peripheral neuropathy or how can we help people heal faster from wounds? Things like sexual dysfunction, particularly in men, Alzheimer’s disease and different forms of dementia. There are all sorts of comorbidities with diabetes, including heart disease and stroke, vascular issues, peripheral vascular disease. All these things are potential topics and things that we like to focus on because people have these specific issues and they want some help with them. Our first year was general, a lot about diabetes, a lot about nutrition and lately, we’ve been drilling down deeper and getting real specific help for people.

I guess initially it’s like, “This is a global problem. This is what’s going on. We’ve got to do something about it.” Now you’re fine tuning it, which is great. Where do people find you? How do they get more information from your wealth of knowledge?

The best place to go is my website, DrMowll.com. I have a freebie on there that’s good. It’s something that I put a lot of time and effort into. It’s called the Blood Sugar Manifesto. I took everything that I wanted to teach my clients when they came in on day one. I put that into an eBook and manual. I used to give it to them and then I decided to give it to everybody so they can grab that on my website. That will sign you up for my newsletter. I send recipes out every week and we always have different programs and things that we’re doing to help people take all this information and make it practical so we can lead people step-by-step through a journey to get control of their blood sugar. Many people are able to put their diabetes into remission or reverse it to a certain degree. We say a reverse course on diabetes. You want to change direction instead of moving towards sickness and disease, start to move towards health and wellness. The programs are all designed to help people do that and to meet people where they are. Just go to DrMowll.com, grab the Blood Sugar Manifesto and we’ll stay in touch with you that way.

Thank you so much, Dr. Brian. We’ll see you next time.

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About Dr. Brian Mowll

HHS 32 | DiabetesDr. Brian Mowll is the founder and medical director of SweetLife® Diabetes Health Centers and serves clients worldwide as The Diabetes Coach™. He is a master licensed diabetes educator (MLDE), CDE, and was one of the first doctors to be certified to practice functional medicine by the prestigious Institute for Functional Medicine.

Since 1998, Dr. Mowll has been helping people across North America to optimize their health and metabolism, control blood sugar, and reverse type 2 diabetes using a natural, personalized lifestyle approach.