Nutrition for Immunity

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Anshu Bahanda: This is Anshu Bahanda on Wellness Curated thanks for joining me on this podcast. My mission is to empower you with health and wellness so that you can then go and empower others.

Joining me today is Antony Haynes, one of the most senior nutritionists in the country. He’s one of the most experienced registered nutritional therapists in the U. K. He’s one of the first practitioners to implement the principles of functional medicine. He has been practising for 29 years now, 28 of which he’s been teaching. He’s been teaching graduates for over 25 years now. He’s an award-winning nutritionist. He’s written two books. He’s a successful award-winning author. And the two books on nutrition are The Insulin Factor and The Food Intolerance Bible. Welcome to the chat Antony .

Antony Haynes: Pleasure to be here. I’m very happy to answer these questions. It’s never been a more important time, in my humble opinion, to support one’s own immunity naturally.

AB: So, my first question is something that I ask everybody. What is wellness to you?

AH: That’s a good question. It’s fascinating to know if I say the following. So, wellness and health is not just the absence of disease, but an abundance of well-being on a physical, mental, emotional, and societal level. Right? And that’s what I would say wellness is. And what’s fascinating is— that being the description of health by the World Health Organization back in 1948. So it was a long, long time ago. I believe that was the date. But effectively setting up what is healthy. So, it’s not just simply in the absence of …Are you okay? I’m okay, I’m okay. It’s actually an abundance of well-being on all those levels, not just, ‘How are you doing? I feel fine.’ But if you’re in truth: I’m feeling brilliantly well and well on all levels. So, it’s a very holistic appreciation. There’s a lot to it. It’s not just, I don’t have arthritis or I don’t have fatigue, or I don’t have bloating.

AB: That’s interesting because not a lot of people would say, ‘oh, I feel amazing.’ When you ask them, how do you feel? Very few people would say, ‘oh, I feel amazing. I feel really well.’ So it’s very rare that one hears someone say that.

AH: And of course, that’s a perfunctory greeting, which, of course, you don’t necessarily want, really. You say, how are you? I’m fine. It’s a perfunctory greeting. Not many people are actually genuinely asking how someone is. But certainly, with friends, when you actually have that conversation about, oh, how’s it going for you? What’s going on? And it could be in different environments; very few people… It’s almost like how many people would say, they’re brunt, they’re feeling really unwell. I haven’t heard many people express that. But also, if energy were to be a marker of that, most individuals have some degree of fatigue during the day and that again, is not ideal. Having great energy all day and sleeping well and having refreshing sleep is key to well-being and health. And I haven’t met many people in my career, in my life, in and outside of the clinic, who have an absence of symptoms and signs either.

AB: That gets me nicely to what I was going to ask you next, which is, what is it that a nutritionist actually does?

AH: A nutritionist is designed, through their practice and training, to identify what imbalances an individual has to correct in order to achieve the health goals of the client. And I would say certainly that’s what I’ve aimed to do. So, things have evolved over time, as you can imagine, with 18 and a half thousand clients, that’s about 30,000 appointments that I’ve had…my aim is to identify this myself. And it’s really an extension of the overview of what a nutritionist does. Identify the smallest number of changes in your nutritional intake and lifestyle that can help to bring about the things that you desire most. So, your health goals. So that’s what I do and it’s actually more sophisticated, and I’m aiming to be as sophisticated as I can to identify the smallest number of things versus the greatest number of things to do. So, I’ll give you an example of that. When I was younger and less experienced, I would sometimes throw the Encyclopaedia Britannica of nutrition at clients and it would come in the form of handwritten papers, because I began before computers were really here, and then longer reports about lots and lots of things to do. So, first of all, you need to read lots of information, then you need an assistant at home, possibly a chef, possibly to get all the food you need, et cetera. You need an alternative income as well, in order to implement. So, it needs to be practical, durable, but also it needs to be targeted. So, I found that targeted intervention, identifying exactly what people need to do with the smallest number of changes to bring about the biggest outcome, is what I hope all nutritionists would aim for. But of course, you do need clinical experience, you do need technical knowledge to achieve just that.

AB: Right, thank you for that. Antony, there’s a term which has become really fashionable and you were one of the first in the UK to do that, which is: functional medicine.

AH: Yes.

AB: Can you explain to us exactly what that is?

AH: I know pathology medicine is what modern medicine is. Modern medicine looks at doing tests and rushing as quickly as possible to a diagnosis of a pathology, which is a construct about having a cholesterol level above a certain level, or having a certain analyte, et cetera. Nothing to do with signs or symptoms particularly, but signs or symptoms, then lead the doctor to say, we’ll do this test. Yes, we’ve got RA factor, Rheumatoid Arthritis factor. You’ve got rheumatoid arthritis. So, rush the diagnosis in order to implement the protocol of medical intervention to palliate the pathology. Functional medicine actually very much works with the client— as a partnership, with the client in the centre, rather than being a recipient of information with no actual interaction. So, the practitioner-patient is a partnership where we look to identify long case history, underlying causes and correct the underlying causes that are leading to the signs and symptoms manifesting. And so, it’s really addressing the underlying causes. So, in this way, it’s actually identical to what naturopaths and indeed holistic nutritionists have been taught ultimately. But they, the Institute of Functional Medicine in particular, have coined the term ‘functional medicine,’ and they’ve given this description of it. So, really, you’re looking at the antecedents, the triggers and the mediators, the things that cause it, the things that trigger it, the things that may contribute to it: antecedents, mediators, and triggers; looking at the underlying causes and correcting them, empowering the individual to make changes themselves because they intellectually understand that if I do this, this is going to happen and I’m going to improve my health as opposed to take the pill, have that operation, and then do this.

AB: Which is also what systems like homoeopathy or ayurveda do.

AH: Yes, exactly. It’s really a modern-day term for an ancient process of appreciation of where someone’s health was at. I understand, from the Chinese perspective whether this is true or not, I don’t know. But you understand you paid your doctor when you were well, and you didn’t when you were unwell, in the notion of supporting health rather than just seeing them when you’re ill. So, it’s really addressing underlying causes. We get taught as a nutritional therapist, and I’m studying this still, and I teach it, sort of the underlying biochemical mechanisms that underpin imbalances so we can identify and correct that. And many individuals engage in relatively expensive testing, but the more experience you have, the fewer tests typically are needed because signs and symptoms tell us what’s going on inside the body. 

AB: Fantastic. Now tell me, why is it that nutrition is so important?

AH: Yeah, it’s important for everything. What’s fascinating is that nutrition is estimated by the food that we eat… I’m not sure if it’s the general medical practice, but it’s certainly the United Nations World Health Organization [practice]. So in terms of global health, it’s estimated that the food we eat in our lifetime is the single biggest factor that contributes to our well-being or not. So that’s number one. It’s up there and out there. What’s interesting is that in mainstream medicine, of course, you may well understand this, that the number of hours of training is extremely limited. And certainly, most doctors I’ve been involved with in teaching, lovely GPs that I’ve met, have forgotten or didn’t really understand what that was about. And they have no relevance, and they have no fluency in the understanding of nutritional biochemistry at all. They have no teaching in it. So, why would they know? They’re there as gatekeepers for pathology, diagnosis, and then protocol treatment. That’s what they’re there for. Every single cell in your body is made from a nutrient. So that’s just to state the obvious. But if you didn’t know that every single cell and the food that we eat basically has an effect on our gene expression to one degree or another. So, genes are affected by the epigenetics, the exposure of our thoughts, of our lifestyle, of exercise, of sleep, toxins and so on, but also nutrition. Nutrition has a prime role to play on the genetic expression, so as an epigenetic effect. And we require nutrients for multiple different purposes. So, nutrients are what’s actually complicated, pleiotropic. One nutrient can have 350 effects in the body. 

AB: Wow!

AH: Then they work in synergy. They work in synergy. So, one plus one could equal ten in terms of the effect. And so, we got 50 essential nutrients. And I would put this to anyone, and I do to my students and the graduates of nutritionists saying, well, do you know what the 50 essential nutrients are? Do you know where they are in food? Do you know how much you need? And can you tell if someone’s lacking them from a case history, assessment and or testing of some kind? Because optimising nutritional studies can have a tremendous impact on every aspect of health, and it’s actually often an imbalance in those things. You can have an excess of some, but generally it’s a lack of nourishment. And we know from all the studies conducted in the Western world and in England that it’s extremely rare…extremely rare, in fact, almost impossible for any individual eating any organic diet to consume a level of nutrients that is going to support an individual’s health in a powerful way. Preventative. Yes. So, I will actually come to this. So, the RDA is the recommended debt allowance of nutrients. And that is linked to the current account, [like] if I link it to a banking system. So, we’ve got a current account, so the RDA keeps us in spending today. What happens if you have an extracurricular expense? Well, that means you need to dig into your savings account, so that’s a higher level of nourishment. So, we’ve got the RDA, which is basically to keep a very well person well for that one day and very few people have that state of being. And then you need a higher level of nourishment for many, many nutrients. And that’s a savings account. If you want to protect yourself from DNA damage and then do the expression of a chronic degenerative disease, that’s called NCD, Non-Communicable Diseases, which are actually about 70% to 80% of the cost of the NHS. 

Then you actually have a pension account, an even higher level. So current account, that’s not going to serve you very well. Any extra expense you’re going to overdraft and you’re going to suffer. So, you need a savings account that’s going to protect your organ reserve, and to protect DNA from the ageing process. You need a pension account so the levels of nutrients ascend accordingly. Now, I think that’s a pretty easy grip. So, if you have vitamin C, for example, if you just have 100 milligrams a day, that might just be the current account. But really you need more like 1000 milligrams a day for a savings account. And if you want to have further protection, maybe take 1000 or 1500 milligrams in divided doses over the day. And the same applies to all nutrients. And the level actually of each nutrient varies. So, nutrition is vital for every single cell. All cells are impacted by nutritional status. So, in that sense I’ve had the blessing of seeing remarkable changes in a remarkably wide array of different conditions.

AB: Okay, so I mean, you started the conversation by saying that nutrition is something everybody should be able to do at home for relatively less. So, tell me, what tests do you recommend people go and do every year? So, say people who can’t afford to see a nutritionist.

AH: There is a definite cost. I understand that. It’s a very good question. I think vitamin D testing is available on the NHS and so therefore I would say vitamin D. But of course, it’s one of 50 nutrients, but it is a very important one and it may be a reflection of overall nutritional status too. So, I think vitamin D, which you can get technically for free, at the point of service anyway, by the doctor, but there are also tests you can pay for which are relatively expensive, I think a mineral screen for those involved in nutrition. And I’ve had so many clients who have an imbalance of minerals, even if they’re eating a very good diet on paper, as they may have various imbalances. So, a mineral test which is typically organised privately. Otherwise, we’ve got the standard what’s called haematology and biochemistry or complete blood count, and those are again conducted by doctors and there’s lots of markers within that, that can give an indication of nutritional status. 

However, the doctor is unlikely to be able to highlight those for you because they don’t have the training in understanding why biochemistry is linked to nutrition. So, it is true to say that I think the fingerprint test on vitamin D is probably a really great one, particularly after winter, because our vitamin D levels go down every month from now, because the UVB light is not present. So, probably vitamin D is a great one. Mineral testing, I think that there are literally 50,000 tests you could do. I mean, literally 50,000 tests, and each individual person has a different priority need. So certainly, I did a review of what tests I’d use myself with my clients, and I don’t recommend many tests. I recommend less tests now than I ever had done before, from stool tests to organic acid testing and hair tests even. But I don’t recommend those, really. And I discovered that there were 24 different lab tests I used in one year with my clients. So, it’s a very good question, but difficult one to actually nail down. But I would say, if we have the opportunity, I would check your vitamin D. But of course, we can’t check vitamin A in the same way. Vitamin A is a very, very important nutrient for our immune system and our skin as well, for example. So, ask me a question of how long is that piece of string? I said, well, it does depend on the individual as to what they need most.

AB: But Antony, you did say, like, you’d recommend vitamin D. If you can afford it, do a mineral test. Do standard haematology, like full blood count, and within those, if there is an aberration, if something alerts you, then, you know you need to look into it.
AH: Yes. Given the access to all those things, the mineral test is quite specific. There is a lab. I again have no affiliation or financial connection with these things. I’m talking about BioLab, which is a fantastic lab. You need a practitioner to go through that, maybe other labs that can access them. So, that’s a mineral test. Well, there was vitamin D by the doctor, a haematology test, and biochemistry. But I will also say this, yes, a useful test, but to sort of couch it; and it is a very complex thing you’ve asked. Ultimately I have met so many clients who have completely normal haematology and biochemistry but have quite distinct imbalances in their health.

AB: Oh, interesting. Okay. The tests don’t always help you is what you’re saying.

AH: No, because there are so many, and they’re so general. They’re not specifically targeting your own individual needs. None of those tests necessarily… you could have a good level of vitamin D now, but it doesn’t indicate you had a low vitamin D, let’s say when you were pregnant and when you’re a mother, when you’re breastfeeding. So, your bone density actually diminished at that time. You never reach peak bone density as a result. And you could have a degree of osteopenia or osteoporosis, but your vitamin D status could now be very good. So, that needs a DEXA scan or bone mineral density test to check your bones. And so, it depends on what age you’re at, what’s relevant for each individual.

AB: Okay, fantastic. I know that you’ve been practising for a long time now. I know you’ve helped people with different conditions, different ailments. What are some of the conditions that you’ve actually helped people with?

AH: Yes, it’s good for this. It’s quite long and I feel blessed for that, too. And I still have the same sense of gratitude and appreciation. And I’m not sure the word thrill is there, but genuine inner pleasure at an individual improving their health. I was presenting yesterday on the subject of Hashimoto’s [disease], which is the most common autoimmune thorough condition. I referred to two clients where they completely reversed their Hashimoto’s, and I’ve had many reverse autoimmune conditions. 

AB: Oh, fantastic!

AH: So, the following conditions have been reversed in my client base. So, my clients have followed the recommendations and they have done this for themselves. I’ve been the director of the program, so I don’t cure anyone. Never use the word cure. I’m looking to support the individual and allow the body to do what it will to heal itself. I’ve had individuals resolve rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis completely. And with the brain scan showing, the brain lesions are gone. So, RA, MS, sarcoidosis, Hashimoto’s greatly improved. Lupus, which is a really challenging multi-autoimmune condition. Psoriasis, completely resolved. Migraines, headaches, IBS, IBD, inflammatory colitis, infertility have been resolved by them. Ladies and gents being fertile again. So, there’s skin conditions, gut conditions, autoimmune conditions. Again, never make any claims. I’m not looking to have any guarantee, but I’ve had clients completely resolve or greatly diminish imbalances. I saw one child, just as a slight tangent, who had a genetically very odd situation that they estimated was only affecting one in 30 million people. So, it’s extraordinary. The father was fortunate to be blessed with being very well off. And he took his son to see various geneticists around the world, in Boston, Paris, and London, and spent a fortune on flights, let alone consultancy fees, and had basically a description of his son’s state at a genetic level, but nothing changed his health. So, we did amino acid testing with the urine of this two-year-old kid and we did, again, a mineral test— we just collected it through the urine. We didn’t want more blood tests and we had basically simply looked to change his nutritional status and had the best improvement in the health ever witnessed, not achieved by the brilliant professors of genetics, but they weren’t there to help correct it. They said, this is the way it’s going to be, this is the trajectory, this is what’s going to happen to your son. But we changed the nutrition and things changed immediately. He was hospitalised two weeks a month; hospitalised every month, two weeks in. And the father actually contributed to the hospital and actually, basically bought a bedroom for himself, he was very generous, but they didn’t meet us. But after nutrition, he was there two days a month. So even with the most extreme rare conditions, there’s still things you could do about optimising and nourishment, allowing the body to do what it can do. But I mean, some of the most satisfying ones have been the MS [multiple sclerosis] and the crushing migraines for one girl.

AB: I haven’t known of MS ever being cured. So, that’s amazing.

AH: All I’m saying is they don’t have any signs of it and they have no blood tests. Or again, when the brain scan showed eight lesions and then the lesions were gone. Now, again, that individual followed the program and we’re still in contact with that person. She’s a practitioner now, so it’s been good. And other clients improve, but don’t get all that way. Some clients, depending on when I see them, don’t make much improvement at all, depending on where they’re at, but the possibility for change, because what we did was, we looked at the underlying causes Anshu, and we corrected them. So, we identified the underlying causes within that individual with MS and we looked to correct them. 

So, it’s completely complementary. It’s not contravening or contradicting any medical treatment they’re receiving when they’re told you can’t do anything. This is the trajectory of your condition with almost all auto-immune conditions. So, I’ve had other clients with MS who have not done so well at all. So, it’s been emotionally quite tough and it is tough when individuals don’t improve so much. So, there’s something else to look for. We’ve got to turn over every stone and have a look underneath and see what’s what. And I would recommend testing for those people. So that individual, they had a bacterial infection that was inside their cells and we identified it with a German test because the test didn’t exist in London, in England, so they had a positive test for this bacteria, which has been long associated with MS in [scientific] literature. And we basically killed it with natural remedies, so natural antibacterial, and we reduced inflammation and we supported the growth of the myelin sheath and we had to improve the gut microbiome and we took away gluten and dairy because they were aggravating things. So just to give you a quick synopsis, there’s a lot going on, but we got rid of the bug and it took nine months to get rid of the bug.

AB: And I think you’ve helped with diabetes as well.

AH: Yeah, and the first book that I wrote in 2004 was ‘The Insulin Factor.’ So obviously insulin diabetes, but you can have pre-diabetes and diabetes. And I would say I used to think it was simpler than it probably is, but I haven’t met a case of someone with a diabetic state where we have not improved their blood glucose levels. And that’s easily measurable because you can do fingerprint testing where you’ve got a monitoring process where you can actually see the feedback of what you’re doing. So, in that sense, it’s a very lovely condition to actually monitor, because it’s so easy to monitor, and you get the feedback of what you’re implementing. Is it helping me? And then that gives more confidence to the person to continue to engage in something, or they can say, Antony, this isn’t working. My blood sugar has gone up. And then we can change the program accordingly. The underlying causes of diabetes may not always be straightforward, and I will take the liberty, if I may, just to bend your ear on one thing with diabetes. What’s fascinating is to see the influence of certain toxins in the environment promoting diabetes. I know, it’s very interesting. So, toxicity of a certain kind, particularly arsenic. Just to share that with you. So, it’s in the literature. Any one of you can then do a PubMed search or go onto the search engine, look at arsenic and diabetes, and the studies will come up. And arsenic is basically in the air from some factory or others, that then comes down as rainfall, and it gets absorbed by rice in particular, especially when the country doesn’t have the Environmental Protection Agency, as it were, to actually do the good job. And so, you eat rice on a regular basis and you increase your ingestion. Of course, rice is a carbohydrate, but you’re ingesting arsenic, and in one period of time, all the rice products were assessed for arsenic and there wasn’t one that didn’t have it. So, it’s a question. And actually, white basmati rice may actually be more useful and have less arsenic than the brown rice, which you’re taught to which…

AB: We’re taught to eat.

AH: …Because it’s in the husk. The arsenic is more in the alcohol. So, it’s just a story about toxicity. And rice, of course, is not particularly nutritious, as in no grain is nutritious, particularly. But a lot of people eat rice, especially, obviously the Chinese and the Asian. And if you avoid gluten, you’d be having rice instead. So, just to share with you on that subject, there are hidden things in the environment that can play a significant role in health. And then you might need more. As I was saying, you got the current account, the savings account, and the pension. You might actually need this level just to attain better health, to help the detoxification processes, let alone focusing on just blood sugar management with a glycemic index-controlled diet.

AB: Oh, fantastic. And tell me, Antony , how do you know what factors are affecting a particular person? So, say when you take the diabetes and how did you work it out that it’s actually the arsenic in rice, was it using kinesiology with the individual?

AH: Yes, I do practise muscle testing. I’m not a fully qualified kinesiologist, to make that clear, but I’m a big fan of it, and I learned it specifically from one-to-one teaching in order. I can ascertain whether that was good or bad for somebody like a supplement or a food, for example. So intellectually, I study and I teach, and without the teaching, I wouldn’t learn so much. So, I was aware that I need to improve my technical knowledge. And of course, if I see a client, I’ve got 500 pieces of information about their health. I read all the questionnaires in advance. So, it’s clinical case history with my experience of some of those clients of 18,500 having diabetics. In fact, quite a number. I’ve got technical knowledge and then I would certainly use some sort of intuitive kinesiology to help to pinpoint more specifically what might be a priority for that person, as opposed to just a glycemic load. And in this instance, toxicity came up. So, then we did a urine challenge test and arsenic was off the end of the scale in that individual. So, in fact, I use testing to confirm a theory and, if you get like, a strong hunch… I think most practitioners use an intuitive sense, whether they know it or not, but I’m using mine deliberately as a tool to help me find things out. And I’ve been training that particular muscle for 21 years.

AB: Right. And tell me, what are some of the tips that you can give people in the current climate to help them with immunity?

AH: Yeah, very good question. Of course, vitamin D, we come to that. So, vitamin D, like I said, it’s very, very important and it’s remarkable how many people have a low level. Some people might take quite a high level of vitamin D just to get a normal range in their blood test, and then people need different amounts. And so dark-skinned folks won’t convert the sunlight to vitamin D so much as pale skin, like myself. And so those with, whether Indian or African, of course, the darker the skin you’ve got, the more vitamin D you’ll need. Some individuals don’t have a gallbladder, it’s the 50,000 cholecystectomy operations a year, so having difficulty with digesting fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. So, it’s vitamins A, D, E and K that might pose an issue as well. So, it’s really a digestion and absorption type issue with fat-soluble nutrients that could be a factor. 

So, vitamin D is hugely important. I would say vitamin C for COVID is something I recommend. If you are interested, go and have a look at these basically prospective studies and reviews of vitamin C, particularly with regard to the COVID-19, which is very interesting indeed. So, vitamin C is hugely important to support the immune system against all bugs, viruses and bacteria. And then the zinc. So, zinc plays a very important role for immunity. In fact, those three nutrients are probably the most important. And whilst every nutrient works in synergy, and whilst it’s very important as a tenet of modern nutrition to appreciate the 50 essential nutrients, those three nutrients alone have taken away messages for our audience today. It’s certainly going to support your immune system. And just to give you one stat. And I appreciate we’re not talking specifically about COVID-19, it’s been documented in the studies, and you may have read this too, that if you have an optimal level of vitamin D, you minimise the chance of hospitalisation by 80%. 

AB: Oh, wow! Okay. Eighty percent! Wow.

AH: Quite profound. And this is from peer-reviewed Ph.D. scientists…

AB: 80 percent? 8, 0? Wow!

AH: So, if you can buy vitamin C and vitamin D and zinc, the synergy between them, and the power of prevention for any condition, for any cold, flu, et cetera, et cetera, hugely relevant. So, apart from COVID-19, SARS, and CoV2, those three nutrients have a very, very profound benefit on immunity.

AB: Fantastic. And tell me there is another concept which everyone is going crazy about, which I’m sure you’ve heard about a lot: intermittent fasting.

AH: Yes.

AB: What is your view on that?

AH: Yeah, intermittent fasting basically reflects that you’re leaving a chunk of time in the day, a number of hours where you’re not eating, and you’ve got a time restricted window, so you’re eating in a certain number of hours. And so, I would say that most people have done intermittent fasting overnight and they might have a twelve-hour gap anyway between dinner and breakfast. But typically, intermittent fasting starts with about a 16 hour gap. So, it’s 16:8— where it’s 8 hours in which you eat and 16 hours in which you don’t. And it’s sort of like it’s, oh, it’s good for everyone, especially if you’re overweight and it’ll help you lose weight and so on. 

We know that animal studies do show that, certainly in rat studies, we found intermittent fasting was shown to be a significant factor because all the rats ate the same food. They even eat the same amount of food, and they were still better off because of when they ate it, rather than what they ate. So, very interesting. It’s not for everyone. Imagine if you could find something that’s good for every human being. Well, water, oxygen with you, adequate protein. These are essential nutrients, no doubt about it. But intermittent fasting is not appropriate for a number of people. If you have subclinical or primary hypothyroidism, you don’t make enough energy in your body and effectively you’d end up being a cruel torture because you’d be so tired you wouldn’t be able to nourish your system. And if you eat less calories and your metabolism is slow then you have a set of uncertainty about what’s going on. I’ll tell you what, I’m going to slow my metabolism down because I have an uncertain future. I’m not sure what next, but I’m going to slow down my metabolism because I haven’t got enough energy. So actually, it’s an adaptive response. That’s hypothyroidism.

Hypoadrenalism— We have insufficiency in producing cortisol, so long-term stress on the adrenals and thyroid, and then there are other instances for blood sugar fragility. That would mean that it’s not appropriate for everyone. So, I would say whatever you do, I would start gently. So, if it’s 12 hours currently, well, go to 13 hours, go to 14 hours. So do experiments. Sure. Then go, maybe go and just see how you feel. But if the headaches don’t resolve, if your fatigue doesn’t resolve and your productivity and mental performance goes down, then I have to question whether it would be a very good thing, I think, seeking the help of somebody. But I would say in my humble opinion, because it is just my opinion, based on my experience, I would say that intermittent fasting across the board is probably very appropriate for about 35% of the population. It’s probably okay for 30% and probably not okay at all for the rest.

AB: Okay, so you’re saying almost 35% of the world’s population should not be doing intermittent fasting.

AH: Yes. And there’ll be reasons for that. And so that’s when people say, I tried that and I felt awful, I tried that, I lost weight, but I felt awful. So, you might be able to lose weight, but actually there’s something not working right, so it can actually exacerbate some problems too. So, I would say common sense definitely needs to be applied.

AB: Do you have any advice for our followers?

AH: Yeah, I think just overall… We got nutrition and we have got lifestyle. I say probably just one lifestyle thing is to go to bed on time and make sure you have adequate sleep. I mean, sleep is such an important factor. And we look at the statistics, they say 20% of people have got chronic insomnia issues, but a further 50% may have some sleep disruption at any given time. So, it’s such an important thing. In terms of nourishment, I would certainly say the following. I would say: eat two or three meals a day. Three meals a day and no snacks. The reason is whenever you eat you stimulate insulin. And the idea is to have balanced blood sugar, and balanced energy. And I would say you compartmentalise your food intake to three occasions and ideally leave 5 hours in between each meal. That way you improve your body’s metabolism of burning fat, which might be attractive for some, but it’s very important for energy balance. So, three meals a day, five-hour gap. And I would say for the first meal, don’t have any carbohydrate, have protein and fat. So that, I guess, means eggs, avocado possibly means fish or chicken or something if you’re omnivore, more difficult if you’re a vegetarian. If you’re vegetarian, I certainly would recommend consideration of a protein powder, for example, to achieve the protein. Protein acts like coal in the fireplace. Coal in the fire keeps the fire burning at a steady pace. Whereas if you put carbohydrates in it’s a bit like putting in some cardboard or something as kindling, it burns up and then it goes. So, the fireplace analogy is a very good one to compare things with food. So, protein is a coal, sort of keeps the fire burning steadily and the heat logs will become complex carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates, such as breakfast cereals, which I wouldn’t consider fit for human consumption as the balsa wood or the kindling, which means you’re going to be hungry later. So, I think of the protein as breakfast, three meals a day, five-hour gap in between, and then eat whole fresh food and avoid refined food. So, I’ve given four nutritional recommendations there.

AB: Okay, so, Antony , I’m going to ask you two very quick questions. One of them is, can thyroid be treated without medication?

AH: Yes, you can. And in fact, during the first lockdown, I dedicated myself to creating some videos on and they’re there for free, so it’s Hayneshealthmanuals.com. You can access the free videos presented on thyroid. In fact, I’ve had many clients take it on as an absolute challenge, except if someone has got a gross primary hypothyroid set. Of course, you need to see your doctor, of course, you need to have those tests, but there’s a lot going on, subclinically, which is in the realm of functional medicine where you can improve your thyroid hormone function. And I have to say that I literally cannot remember a single case where that hasn’t improved to some degree. And mostly it puts the person back in charge of their health. And yes, levothyroxine can be very good as a drug. It’s a hormone replacement, it can be very, very good, but it so often doesn’t work because the T 4, which is levothyroxine, is the inactive thyroid hormone and you need it to be converted to the T 3, which is the active thyroid hormone. And that can be achieved with nutritional means, reduce inflammation, balance blood sugar, and provide the thyroid hormone and the enzymes to convert the T 4 to 3 appropriately. So, an awful lot can be done with nutrition. 

AB: Absolutely. Fantastic. Someone’s asking about arsenic in homoeopathy.

AH: So, yes, that could be a remedy. Certainly homoeopathic. Listen, I’m not a homoeopath, but I’m a fan of acupuncture, of all types of streams of complementary medicine. It’s just a question of what’s appropriate for what person. But certainly, if that were the case, then the arsenicum or arsenicum album, the homoeopathic remedy, could certainly be absolutely part of the process.

AB: And then the last question I’m going to ask you, how much protein [do you recommend] for people with cholesterol?

AH: Yeah, it’s a good question. It’s one of my favourite subjects. Protein and cholesterol, of course, is overblown as a risk issue because total cholesterol doesn’t really mean much. And the reason why cholesterol is actually a bad thing for us to have too high a level of is because it’s the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which is often a derived, calculated figure rather than actually assessed in a fat test. They say, well, we’ve got that much and that much, therefore you must have this much LDL. The low-density lipoproteins are the “bad cholesterol,” but it’s only really bad if it’s been oxidised. So, it’s like you have free radicals and it’s oxidised LDL that is pro atherogenic. And so, inflammation is the bane of all things. And if you’ve got too much inflammation, too much stress, you can have raised cholesterol. If you have low thyroid, you can have raised cholesterol. In fact, the first thing I think about with someone with high cholesterol is do you have a subclinically lower, more profoundly low level of thyroid hormones. So, protein and cholesterol, there’s not a huge connection. But if you have protein and you balance your blood sugar, it can often stabilise your blood sugar, and stabilise insulin, the most profoundly inflammatory hormone in the body, in excess. But it’s essential. Without it, we die. And so, diabetics type one, they need insulin. So, protein stabilises blood sugar and can help to lower cholesterol. 

And how much protein? Well, to be honest, most people who are not eating enough protein might need 20 to 25 grams of high biological value protein, which is equivalent to basically two scoops of protein powder. Three eggs at one time. Well, one egg contains about six or seven grams of protein. It also contains fat. So, I’m not saying everyone should eat eggs all the time. I’m giving examples. So, it’d be a fillet of salmon, it’d be a chicken breast to get to 20 grams of protein. Most people don’t eat enough protein unless it’s rather obvious that they [need to]… I mean, what I’m saying is we need protein. It comes from the Greek word protos, meaning first. It’s the first most important nutrient. And I meet a lot of clients who aren’t eating enough protein, particularly if they’re not having protein for breakfast. It is quite difficult to get too much protein. By definition. It’s very difficult to get too much protein. And most people who have too little protein are really impotent. It tends to be the most expensive of the macronutrients compared to carbohydrates, fat and protein. Protein is the most expensive. Yes. So, you buy fish, chicken, especially if you’re buying organic, it’s going to cost more than it would be if you bought beans and vegetables, et cetera, wouldn’t be quite so costly. But we need adequate protein. And the more stress and duress your life is under, then the more protein you’ll need, typically. And an excess protein has not been shown to hurt the kidneys, even though there are some rumours that it did. But there are some studies that have been carried out with very high protein intake for a year. And they did blood tests and urine tests on a relatively young cohort of individuals and there were no imbalances whatsoever after one year of what we might consider very high protein intake.

AB: Thank you, Antony. Thank you. That was such an enlightening talk.

Thanks for joining us. Hope you enjoyed the Wellness Curated podcast. Please subscribe and tell your friends and family about it. And here’s to you leading your best life.