Do you ever feel like the health care system is working against you?
How much do you pay for prescription meds? What about health insurance and doctor’s bills?
Even my health insurance provider is canceling my insurance when they pulled out of Texas next month… so I’d better not get sick.
Health care is a weird scene at best, and a misnomer at worst. Another good excuse to eat your vegetables ladies and gentlemen.
But never fear, today’s guest, mega-bestselling author and cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, is here to help us figure it all out.
If you’ve been listening to Fat-Burning Man since the beginning, Dr. Davis is no stranger to you. You may remember him from the mega-bestseller Wheat Belly, the last time he was on this show a few years ago. Listen up, the doc holds no punches in this one.
You’re about to learn:
- The symptoms of grain and sugar withdrawal
- How Big Pharma gets away with selling fish oil for $60 a pill
- Why Dr. Davis plays Xbox on a stationary bike
- Why you shouldn’t eat anything advertised on TV
- And much more…
Let’s hang out with Dr. Davis.
Dr. William Davis: The Undoctored Cardiologist
Abel: In your new book, Undoctored, you quote Steve Jobs: “I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.”
Can we talk about what we’re up against in the next few years? Because a lot of us, including me, have no idea what’s coming.
I won’t pretend to have all the answers, but my colleagues in the healthcare system would say technology will empower them, and grow their revenues, and give them new techniques to remove a tumor, or irradiate somebody, or other revenue generating activities.
I say, to heck with that. We’re going to use technology to empower us as individuals in health.
Think of all the incredible smartphone apps we now have. There’s a new one everyday that empowers us, in some way to health; or the new devices.
Sitting on my dining room table, I have a wireless blood pressure monitor. I have a scale that measures my pulse wave velocity and index of cardiovascular health, as well as my body fat percentage. I have a Dario blood sugar device, a little tiny device that plugs in my smartphone. I get my blood sugar added and it tracks right on the app directly.We're going to have a ton of tools that empower us, not the healthcare industry. @WilliamDavisMD Click To Tweet
Abel: Now, how much would that equipment cost, say, 10 years ago, 20 years ago?
Tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.
Now, it’s become accessible. Not that you need these tools to be healthy… But it’s causing engagement in health.
People are realizing they can check their own blood pressure. You can get measures that you previously had to go to the hospital for or the doctor. You can even get measures they can’t perform in the hospital.
So we’re getting to this point where people are empowered, to such a degree, and they’re starting to get hungry to see, “How do I put this information to use?” And even more than just measurement, Abel, it’s the capacity to track.
One of my favorite examples, there’s a new device that can diagnose, track, and quantify Parkinson’s disease using your voice patterns. MRI is the gold standard, but it’s better than an MRI. And of course, it’s just as easy as talking into a phone or a device.
And what if now, you put that device, that tool, in the hands of tens of thousands of people with Parkinsonism or at risk for Parkinsonism? Well, they’re not going to be talking about new procedures or new drugs. They’re going to make fortuitous associations, that someone in Wichita, Kansas will say, “Hey, you know something? I did X, and I noticed my tremor, and got a little better. I did the voice measurement and I reversed my Parkinsonism by 20%.”
Someone else in San Francisco hears that, tries it, it works. That’s where the newest, the most exciting discoveries in health are going to come from, not from Big Pharma, not from the medical device industry, but from us, and I love that.
Abel: What an opportunity we have now, when you consider that we can measure so many things about ourselves and get this real time feedback, like you said.
Because it’s much easier to make a decision if you think, “Okay, this decision is going to impact “X health issue” by 20%.” Instead of, “I don’t know. Is this good for me or bad for me? I’m not really sure.”
Let me ask you this. As a physician, how far off do you think we are from continuous monitoring on our iPhones or tablets? Like testing and monitoring blood sugar at a consumer level, without having to prick your finger? How far off are we from things like that?
I don’t think we’re that far off. Right now, you have to have a monitoring planted under the skin, which is a little invasive. But I think we’re not that far away.
There’s a device that’s supposed to be coming out sometime soon that apparently plugs into your smartphone, and it assesses sweat sodium as an index of hydration, because some people really need to be hydrated properly.
Athletes, people with kidney stones, people who suffer with a lot of constipation. They want to have a better index of hydration. Well, the same kind of thing I hope is going to be available for blood sugar sometime soon, where there’s not even a finger stick.
Though I’ll tell you that the finger sticks aren’t that obnoxious. Some people are scared of them, but if you can tolerate that little low tech prick now and then, people have in their hands an astoundingly powerful tool in the form of that glucose meter and finger stick.
You can reverse Type 2 Diabetes. You can accelerate weight loss or break a weight loss plateau. Those glucose meters are incredibly powerful devices, though a little bit low tech.
Abel: And not terribly expensive. Glucose monitors are also relatively reliable, too, right?
Yes, and your doctor will not tell you any of this. He won’t say, “Abel, I’m going to give you a glucose meter…” or “I’m going to show you how to reverse Type 2 Diabetes.”
I guarantee you, 99.99% of my colleagues will never have those words uttered from their mouths, but they’re willing to show you how to deal with your diabetes and make it worse by putting you on a low fat diet or have you talk to the dietician, who gives you a diabetic diet that makes your blood sugar go berserk, go sky high.
So we have this divide now.
We have those of us interested in health, and we have people in healthcare interested in revenues.
There’s a big divide between those two things.
And now, it’s like arming the public in the Revolutionary War. We’re going to revolt against the people who essentially have oppressed us, because they saw you and I as nothing more than a source for a lot of revenue from your healthcare insurance.
And it’s crippling. It’s crippling the economy.
Isn’t it funny that you and I talk about these things, and most people know about the problems in healthcare, but we don’t hear it reported in Big Media.
Abel: Yeah, what’s that all about?
We don’t hear it being reported on network TV. Why would that be? Could it be because the Big Pharma, the drug industry, now pays $5.4 billion a year for it’s advertising?
I watch morning news, and every other commercial is a drug ad. Some of the drugs, by the way, cost over $100,000 a year. So we’re not talking about cheap things.
Abel: They’re advertising $100,000 drugs on television, really?
Being marketed to mainstream Americans.
And if you watch all those TV news shows, and the in-depth reporting shows, you’re going to notice something really odd.
There’s almost no criticism or in-depth exploration of the problems, the huge problems in healthcare, and there hasn’t been for over a decade.
Why would that be? We have this huge problem, healthcare, it’s self-serving predatory practices, and it’s profiteering ways, yet there’s almost no mention of it on network TV.
I think network TV has been bought by Big Pharma in effect.
So, freedom of speech, uh-huh, not when you have deep pocketed powers like Big Pharma, medical device industry, and the hospital industry.
Abel: And so many of us get our information from those sources, often without even realizing it.
Through necessity of life, you hear it, you see it, it’s on, or you have to interact with a doctor you don’t totally agree with. And you’re funnelled into this profit-based system, aren’t you?
Yes. And it’s the reason why what you’re doing is so important. You’re getting the message out.
I believe you didn’t get a check for $5 million from Merck, or Sanofi, or…
Abel: Nope. Although, I will say, that I have turned down probably 10 times more money than I’ve ever made doing any of this.
As Fat Burning Man, you can only imagine some of the propositions I get for advertising.
But no, the whole reason that I started this is because I was burned by the other system. After less than a year of working with my doctor, when I had a job with great health insurance, I was on a half dozen different prescription medications. I was at least 30 pounds overweight. I looked like I was in my 40s, but I was in my early 20s. I was a mess.
I was willing to give it a shot, but I think it’s so important for people to speak truth, because where are you going to get it from? It’s definitely not the mainstream Big Media.
It should be obvious to everyone, that if you have a system of media that gets it’s money from Big Food, Big Pharma, car companies, mattress companies, etc, then they’re going to have to have friendly messages to those sponsors.
If you’ve ever watched “Wayne’s World,” you know that, right?
It’s something that we should innately understand, but at the same time, our guard is down when the TV is on.
When you’re in an airport or at a hotel, and you see that schlop on television, it invades your ears and your space.
How do we counter ourselves or put our shields up against that sort of influence?
And how do we know when we do have an answer that’s actually worth following?Your guard is down when the TV is on. Click To Tweet
Well, as you pointed out, you can’t take advice from an agency that profits from the message.
If the Academy Of Nutrition And Dietetics is cozy with Coca Cola and Pepsi-Co, and those kinds of companies, you probably shouldn’t take their advice that Coca Cola is fine to drink—and that is their advice, by the way.
Or the American Heart Association. Do you know what the first product endorsed by the American Heart Association was? Crisco.
Crisco, which we now know is crap, it’s hydrogenated oil. That was many years ago, but more recently, the American Heart Association endorsed Berry Kix, Coco Puffs, and Count Chocula as heart healthy.
I can’t find any products listed as heart healthy that, in truth, don’t cause heart disease.
Abel: How about that?
Talk about astounding irony.
If it says “heart healthy,” it’s highly likely to be a cause or contributor to heart disease. That’s how bad the commercial message has become.
If someone profits from a message in a large way, just don’t listen to them.
Abel: I saw a bit that might be a few years old, when Zach Galafianakis, who’s a comedian, had been overweight and then lost a bunch of weight, and it was super obvious.
He was on a talk show and they’re like, “How did you do it?”
And he said, “Do you want to know the real answer? I just stopped eating everything that was advertised on television.”
Oh, that’s great! That’s great.
Nasty Side Effects of Gluten and Gliadin
Abel: It’s that pernicious, at this point, and it’s just worth saying that you have to put your shields up.
When you see something from a traditional media mainstream source or from the Big Food industry that says, “This is healthy,” with a stamp on it, it’s probably not.
I’ve never seen that stamp on broccoli, or celery, or carrots, or on anything that we’ve all known for a long time should be the staple of a healthy diet.
But in case people aren’t familiar with that message, let’s just communicate the importance of avoiding modern grains like wheat.
How do you know if something has grains in it? And what is it doing to you?
Grains are really a whole cornucopia of health problems, the gliadin protein of wheat, rye, and barley.
One of the basic concepts that helps everyone understand, is grains are really the seeds of grasses. And you and I can’t consume grasses. If we did, we would cut our lawns in the summer time and save the clippings for a salad.
When you think of it, why not? It’s green like kale or spinach, why can’t you eat it?
Well, you could try, but you would vomit it up. It’d come out as diarrhea.
Abel: Yep, my dog knows that.
It comes with stomach cramps and pain. And it will come out completely undigested, because humans lack the digestive ability to break down the components of grasses.
And that’s true of grass blades, true of grass roots, husks, and the seed. But we try to eat the seeds of grasses or grains, and when we do, there are numerous proteins that are indigestible or only partially digestible.
People say gluten, but more probably gliadin… The gliadin protein is incompletely digested.
And the pieces that result, the peptides have opioid or opiate-like properties, like mind fog, and behavioral outbursts in kids who have ADHD, or autism, or paranoia in people with schizophrenia, or the triggering of the up, the high in bipolar illness, or the triggering of food obsessions in people prone to bulimia and binge eating disorder.
And if we don’t have those problems, we just get appetite stimulation.
It’s my firm belief that’s why Big Food has chosen to put grains in virtually everything from licorice, to canned soups, to instant soup mixes, to salad dressing.
Wheat was not there in 1960. Now, it’s in everything.
I think smart food scientists figured this out and have essentially made us guinea pigs for this appetite stimulating effect of the gliadin derived opiates.
Now, there are numerous other problems. People think it’s just a gluten issue, which is way off.
Abel: The gluten-free craze… this is not what we’re talking about.
Ironically, one thing that is digestible in grains is the amylopectin-A. That’s the complex carbohydrate that dieticians told us was better for us than sucrose. But it’s not true.
The amylopectin, ounce for ounce of grains, raises blood sugar higher than table sugar.Very few foods can raise blood sugar higher than the amylopectins of grains. @WilliamDavisMD Click To Tweet
You know what can raise them higher? Gluten-free foods.
Foods with corn starch, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato flour. It’s almost like a cruel joke, isn’t it?
That one problem is replaced with another problem—one that makes a lot of money.
Abel: Often, Big Food’s solution is even worse.
It can be a lot worse. Yes.
Symptoms of Grain Withdrawal
Abel: They’re like, “Sorry guys, we made a mistake. Oh, what, this is popular now?” And they put a stamp on it and give you something even worse, even more damaging.
Can you help us dovetail into the point that you just made? The thing that happens when people start eating clean after a week or two, that fog, that down feeling, could you talk about how that relates to the opiate effects of modern grains? How does the body recalibrate?
If you and I have been exposed to opioids or opiates from grains for many years, and then you stop it, you go through a withdrawal period. Not everyone gets it, but most do.
It’s about a week of nausea, headache, fatigue, and depression. You’ve got to get through it.
I don’t know of a way to not have it. You just have to grin and bear it.
I tell people, for instance, to hydrate more, because you lose water during that week.
You have to pamper yourself, get a message. Don’t pick a stressful period to do this. Don’t exercise, except for casual activities like walking, biking.
People who like to jog, for instance, should stop, because you’ll feel awful. It’s like trying to jog through the flu. You’re not going to achieve anything. You’re going to be miserable.
It’s just an obligatory process you have to get through, but when you emerge from that week or so, you feel wonderful.
And even that week, if people take a before and after photo of their face, they’ll see a dramatic transformation in the way they look. The eyes are bigger, the cheeks deflate, and that’s from the reduction of facial inflammation.
Sometimes, it’s actually shocking what happens in just a short time, even 5 days or 10 days.
Most people do lose a few pounds, but they’ll look like they lost 40 pounds.
Abel: Right. That happened to me.
Removing the source of inflammation will do that. And grains are a package of inflammation.
Gliadin is very inflammatory. Wheat germ agglutinin is very inflammatory.
If the amylopectins raise blood sugar and insulin, they cause visceral fat deposition, tummy fat, love handles. That becomes very inflammatory.
There’s about a dozen other inflammatory proteins in grains, so grains are a perfect food to make you inflamed, sick and overweight.
And we’re told that it should dominate our diets. That is the status quo in dietary advice.
What they should have said, was, “Given the bulk of data and scientific observations on grains, we’re not sure you should be eating it at all.”
But no, they just say to eat as much as you can in every meal and in every snack.
Abel: This sounds crazy, but I learned so much from watching my dog’s eating patterns.
We try to feed our dog in a clean, ancestrally-informed way, where she’s not eating a bunch of grains. She’s a yellow lab, and when you put her next to another lab, most of them just inhale their food so fast that you have to worry about them choking on kibble. That’s how quickly they’re eating it.
And while she’s very excited about food, it’s not like that. It’s a totally different experience. She’ll just roll up to it, eat it, and sometimes she’ll leave some in the bowl. People always comment about that.
But that’s exactly how I was in the comparison between how I used to feel when I was eating wheat and modern grains. I was hungry all the time, and as soon as I started eating, I needed to eat more, but you have that full feeling in your gut.
It’s similar to the greasy Chinese food, cheap restaurant food feeling that you get in your belly, where it’s full and it’s greasy, but you’re starving at the same time.
You’ll inhale it, but you’re still hungry. And it seems like when you avoid this stuff, you don’t get that anymore.
Right. And of course, the pet obesity and Type 2 Diabetes epidemic coincided perfectly with the big pet food companies putting grains, cornstarch, rice, and soy, as well, and wheat flour into their kibble.
So, yeah, I agree. You take those things out of your dog’s food or your cat’s food, and they slim down.
They become healthy again, and they exhibit normal eating behavior, just like humans do.
Abel: For me, I think the biggest benefit was the reduction in hunger.
It’s so wonderful to not have to eat all day, if you don’t feel like it sometimes.
Usually, on recording days, I don’t feel like eating much anyway, it’s like race day, if you’re an athlete.
You know you have to perform and you don’t want a full stomach. I would have never been able to do that, if I were eating the other way.
And I think you’ve helped so many people around the world get that message.
How to Lose 100 Pounds Without Exercise
Abel: I’ve had a few people on the show recently, who have lost over 100 pounds without exercise. Most people hear that, and they’re like, “What? That’s crazy. How is that possible?”
But you just said, “It’s important not to exercise at the beginning, when you’re first getting the dietary thing under control, because it takes some getting used to.”
Can you talk a little bit about the complicated issue of exercise and how it relates to making changes to your nutrition?
When people drop grains, I recommend no exercise that first week. And people who are very serious exercise people, Tri-athletes, marathon runners, long distance swimmers, etc., have to accept that there’s a six-week obligatory drop in performance.
But at the end of that six weeks, your performance, typically, surpasses what you were capable of before.
As you know, that’s just the shift from being dependent on liver glycogen as a fuel source for sugar and switching over to a fatty acid beta oxidation, the ability to mobilize and burn fat for energy.
But you’ll be rewarded with superior performance and that’s why more and more serious athletes are going this route.
They might call it low carb, they might call it Paleo, they might call it a number of things, but it means no grains, no sugars, and certainly, none of those energy drinks, energy bars, or pasta night, and all that business. That all has to go, because they’re very destructive.
And it’s not like you’re impervious… You can get cataracts and arthritis from eating that way quite easily.
Abel: Are you talking about cheat days, when you just go overboard?
I’m talking about the foods that athletes will eat in preparation for an event.
Abel: Right, okay. Like Dwight Howard eating 20 Hershey bars or something like that.
Right. I even see moms in their yoga pants, thinking they have to load up on carbs before doing a 30-minute workout. No, nobody needs to load up on carbs and sugars. It’s a very destructive process.
Just accept there’s a six-week obligatory process to go through, before you feel better from an exercise standpoint.
Abel: And after that, what I normally see in people is that they start getting more energy, because their diet is cleaner. They don’t have to eat as often. Their fueling more efficiently.
And then a lot of people, like Kurt after we filmed the ABC TV show, he was 352 pounds when I first started working with him. He lost 87 pounds, and then went rock climbing.
And that’s the type of thing that I see all the time. People are doing things that they never thought they would. They experience more energy and then want to do more recreational activities. It doesn’t have to be hitting the gym or biking 100 miles.
A fact I tell people: Exercise is good for you, but don’t see it as a weight loss tool.
As you know, people will lose weight with exercise, only if they are completely out of shape and don’t exercise.
Then there’s a honeymoon process… you lose weight in the beginning, but the body adapts quickly. The guy who walks on the treadmill five days a week will not lose weight by doing that, or even running long distance. It won’t work.
Exercise is good though. It helps restore insulin sensitivity, reduces blood sugar, blood insulin, reduces triglycerides, reduces blood pressure. It increases brain volume, hippocampal volume that prevents dementia.There are wonderful benefits to exercise. Just don't use it as a weight loss tool. @WilliamDavisMD Click To Tweet
And you make a crucial point, I think, exercise should be fun. You should be mountain climbing. You should be ballroom dancing.
Abel: Yes, what do you do?
Oh, I play Xbox on a stationary bike. I walk, weight train. I’m sure you’re the same. I get bored really quickly, so I have to change it up all the time.
Abel: You play Xbox on a stationary bike?
Yes. The time passes and you have to actually pull me off of there.
Abel: That makes me so happy to hear that. My wife used to be a professional video game player. She was on a TV show playing video games, so she can’t wait to hear that, I’m sure.
But I think that’s a perfect example of, maybe the next thing we should talk about, which is the blending of biology and technology.
That surprised the heck out of me to hear that. It’s a creative way to make exercising fun. And normally, I would just go and bike outside, but for a lot people, that’s not realistic.
What are some other fun ways that you’ve found people around you get some movement in there?
I think lots of people do better with purpose driven activity like cutting the grass, which can be hard work. Gardening, dancing, some people like other people’s company, so do something that’s social. Tennis, tennis is a great one.
We fell into this dark hole, where it must be on a treadmill or elliptical device, and those are fine.
It doesn’t even have to involve the gym, but I do think it is important to get strength training squeezed in there somewhere. Because it’s such a powerful tool for bone health, controlling metabolic parameters like insulin, blood sugar. And you’ll age more slowly, because it boosts growth hormone. Strength training is very, very helpful.
Abel: I hear that and it is such important advice, that so few people follow.
What is a way that they can actually do that? Because I think people hear “strength training” and they imagine Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Pumping Iron.”
What is a simple way you could do that at home, if say, you’re out of shape and in your 50’s, 60’s, or whatever?
There are lots of good guide books and websites that show you how to use things around the house, jugs of water, etc.
And as you know, we’re not talking about hours. We’re talking fifteen minutes, twice a week, maybe.
I go to the gym for that. I like those machines. They really abbreviate your effort. You don’t have to stack plates onto a barbell. Just go to a machine. Some people don’t like that, but I think it’s a nice way to squeeze in a lot of exercise into a short period of time and get a lot of benefit out of it.
But truly, just 15 minutes, twice a week.
Abel: This is a bigger question, but it relates to the biology/technology thing. In the next few years, we’re going to see a lot of jobs in the medical industry go away. We’re going to see a huge shake up there and you mentioned that in your new book, as well.
What are some of the things that we should be thinking about from that perspective?
If we can’t, as humans, beat the robots at something, then we’re going to have a hard time in the future.
I think you’re right.I think we're on the cusp of a tidal wave of change. @WilliamDavisMD Click To Tweet
The healthcare industry wants to grow bigger. That’s why they add new wings on the hospital. That’s why healthcare insurance goes higher. That’s why doctors seek to work for more money.
They consume now, 17.5% of GDP, which is absolutely unprecedented and crippling the economy, by the way. They want it to be 19% or 21%.
I think you’re right. They’re in for a big surprise.
As people start to realize, “You know what? Healthcare has nothing to do with health.”
In fact, I say: The enemy of the healthcare industry is not sickness. The enemy of the healthcare industry is healthy people.
If we become healthier, because we’re sharing, we’re collaborating, whether it’s online, podcasts, video broadcasts, all the things that we’re all doing, and we start to get healthy, the healthcare industry, over time, is going to start saying, “Hey… You need injectable drugs to reduce your cholesterol, you know.”
They try to monetize health and it’s my firm belief, Abel, that health should be free.
It should be like freedom of speech. If I said, “Abel James, if you want to maintain freedom of speech for you and your family, you need to pay the US government $10,000 a year,” you would be outraged.
Abel: You know what? I’ve gotten that contract a few times, man.
It’s supposed to be free. It’s a basic right.
Well, I think health is the same way. It should be a basic right and it should be without cost.
But the healthcare industry has managed to monetize health and tell you such things as, “A colonoscopy is necessary, Lipitor is necessary, blood pressure medicines are necessary,” etcetera.
And none of that stuff is necessary, if you’re given the right advice all along.
Abel: Right. And you remind people in the book, as well, and I’m just pulling this up here, “Vioxx and Celebrex caused heart attack and cardiovascular death in over a 100,000 people.”
Yes, the healthcare industry likes to paint itself as this gleaming, shiny, wonderful, law-abiding, beneficent system. No, it’s not.
I was an insider for 25 years. It’s a self-serving, predatory, profit-seeking system. Not to say everybody in it is bad. There are good people in there, too. There are some good doctors. There are many good nurses…
Abel: Yep, and you get that on both sides, for sure.
But I think you and I are picking on the people who are in decision-making positions, executives in Big Pharma, executives in the medical device industry, hospital executives, doctors…
The gastroenterologist who refuses to talk to patients about their bowel health, because he’s too busy doing endoscopies and colonoscopies, 14, 15, 18 a day, because he’s getting $1,000 a pop. It’s their cocaine, by the way. And I’ve actually had this conversation with a gastroenterologist, and they’ve admitted to me that it’s their crack.
They can’t stop it, because $1,000 or so a pop, they’re going to do it over, and over, and over, and over, and they can’t stop.
I’ve had very good friends who went to gastroenterology, and had endoscopy, colonoscopy four times, and no diagnosis made, until he or she did some of the things you and I talk about: Grain elimination, restoration of healthy bowel flora, reversing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Not that tough to do and you have magnificent health.
Why didn’t the doctor tell these people about that, instead of doing endoscopy and colonoscopy?
If you have an ophthalmologist, who’s making $2 million a year by making those injections so many times a day to people, he’s not going to stop and start spending a half an hour with his patients, showing them how to maintain eye health, so they won’t need those procedures. He’s not going to do it.
I think healthcare has marginalized itself into acute, catastrophic, profit-seeking activities, and we step in with the aid of wonderful technology now, and collaborative ability…
That’s what we’re doing right now—collaboration. And we start to realize, “You know what? We don’t even need the healthcare system… ”
Well, if you tumble down the stairs or get Dengue from Costa Rica, you might need them.
But aside from that, you don’t need the doctor, you don’t need the hospital, and you certainly do not need the healthcare industry, for the vast majority of health questions.
Abel: Let’s tell the story of Lovaza. What happens to fish oil once it goes through the industry?
How much does Lovaza prescription fish oil cost?
$60 per capsule, per day.
Abel: $60 a day for fish oil?
Per capsule, per day. Yeah, and it’s virtually the same stuff you buy at Sam’s Club, but they got through an FDA trial.
It’s not like they did something special to it. There’s been no head-to-head comparison of Lovaza versus over-the-counter fish oil.
Now, fish oil’s been around for decades and doctors did not ask patients to take it. It became a prescription drug, at the cost of about $300 to $600 a month, and now, my colleagues prescribe it to the tune of $1 billion a year. And there are ads in medical magazines for what is essentially, an over-the-counter nutritional supplement.
They’ve managed to medicalize or monetize it. Now, that billion dollars goes to the pockets of Big Pharma, but it comes out of our pockets, even if you and I are not stupid enough to take Lovaza.
There are people who have been prescribed Lovaza and we bear that shared expense now, so it’s lifting costs for all of us. It’s not free and you can buy fish oil that’s superior to prescription fish oil, less contamination risk, more potent, more pure, and it’s still a fraction of the price of prescription fish oil.
But it’s an example of how the drug industry and healthcare almost collude to get money out of our pockets.
Abel: It’s astonishing, that amount of money, because there’s so much price resistance that I get from people. To build strength, I’m like, “Just grab a kettlebell.” When I hear $60 a pill, that’s the price of a kettlebell!
You could buy a kettlebell every single day of the year, from the price of that stupid fish pill.
But you could also just buy the same thing for less than $30 per bottle. It boggles the mind.
As a physician, does it blow your mind how people have a hard time seeing how much they spend in the healthcare arena, but then they won’t spend $10 in the health prevention arena? Does that just drive you nuts?
Yes, it does.
Abel: What do you do?
I think we’re doing it right now.
We’re trying to persuade people that health is really inexpensive. You may have to spend a little bit of money. You might have to spend $8 for a bottle of Vitamin D.
You might have to look for some green, unripe bananas to cultivate bowel flora.
You might have to buy a probiotic for a couple months, just to plant the seeds of healthier species in your bowels. So there’s a little bit of expense.
But as you pointed out, compared to the outrageous expense of the medical system, what we’re talking about is nothing.
If you fill that prescription to treat Hepatitis C at the pharmacy and you get a vial of 120 capsules, the pharmacist charges you $84,000 to $94,000. The money we’re talking about is pennies compared with the healthcare system.
In 2012, the FDA approved 30 new drug entities. Twelve of them cost over $100,000 a year.
When you and I talk about fish oil for 20 bucks or something, we’re talking about nothing compared to those types of kinds of coin.
And I would argue, Abel, I think you know this, that the health you and I can achieve on our own, is not only as good as what you get from the doctor, it’s superior. It is vastly superior. Look at what you’ve done. The results you got on your own are superior to what John Q Primary Care would have gotten for you.
Abel: Yeah, that’s my before picture, was when I was getting the most care.
Yes! You’re a perfect example of what can be achieved by people on their own when collaborating with each other.
We’re collaborating now, online tools to collaborate, social media, some of the websites like patientslikeme.com, and curetogether. I hope theundocter.com website proves to be something like your show.
We’re collaborating, and we’re starting to look at each other, and say, “You know what? Look how healthy we’ve become and the doctor didn’t help us do this.”
I’ve lost track of how many former Type 2 Diabetics I’ve witnessed over the years. How many people formerly had rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, and were on nasty drugs, including injectable drugs at thousands of dollars a month, who are now off of them.
But that’s the strength and weakness of what we’re doing. The strength is it works. It works gang-busters and you can be free of literally hundreds of health conditions.
The downside, from an economic standpoint, is it’s almost free. If I said, “Abel James, to help you be slender and healthy, I’m going to charge you $10,000” My colleagues would line up to participate in that, but it’s essentially free, and so that’s why this is not gaining any ground in the conventional medical community.
Abel: Or media, either.
Or media. Yes, who is now largely propped up by direct-to-consumer drug ads. Yes.
Abel: There’s a ton of money there, obviously.
Ton of money. That’s why… I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… What you and I are doing, what you are doing with your show, is so critical, because you’re not getting money from AstraZeneca, and Merck, and Sanofi Aventis.
Abel: No. Although, my mom worked as a nurse practitioner… And still does.
When I was growing up, she would bring home prime rib some nights from those drug reps. She would bring home the best food that we had ever tasted from drug reps, who were trying to woo her over, so we’ve had a taste of the industry for a while and it is pernicious, it really is.
Oh, yeah. You know where it’s worse, actually? It’s worse in the medical device industry.
I was a cardiologist, and I was using a lot of equipment in the cath labs, and those are many multi-million dollar budgets every year for all the equipment that’s used in those procedures. And I can tell you, they are even more persuasive and powerful than even Big Pharma.
I grew up a dirt poor kid in New Jersey and I had a lot of bills to pay, because I had to finance my education. So when I was in my 30s and I just started practicing, my mid-30s or so, to have a young, sexy sales rep giving me eyes, and promising all these things… It works.
Abel: Right. That’s why they hire cheerleaders.
That’s right. You see through it though. It is sheer, bold manipulation, but it works.
And it’s among the reasons why doctors are such avid enthusiasts for procedures, plus doing the procedures pays very well.
Talking to nice people to help them be healthy doesn’t pay hardly at all… But giving them an implantable defibrillator pays quite nicely.
Abel: Wow. Well, as someone who could make ungodly amounts of money doing the wrong thing, but choosing to do the right thing, I really appreciate your work, Dr. Davis, and everyone who listens, I’m sure does as well.
To the people listening right now, if you haven’t heard the last time Dr. Davis was on the show, be sure to check that out, especially if you need to learn a little bit more about the whole grains thing, because it does get tricky.
Dr. Davis, you’re willing to say so many things that I wish more people would say.
We could talk all day, but we are coming up on time. So could you please tell folks a little bit more about your new book and where they can find you?
Where to Find Dr. William Davis
Sure, so Undoctored takes all the new lessons we’ve learned over the six-year “Wheat Belly” experience, and the six books of the “Wheat Belly” series, but it puts it all together and expands it.
It incorporates things we’ve talked about today, how to use collaborative tools and how to decipher good information from bad—most information that comes from the healthcare industry is bad. How to use all these new, wonderful health tools and apply them to affirmative health, and all in an inexpensive, easy and accessible way.
We all can do it and it does not involve the doctor, the hospital, any devices, or operations. It just involves our own collaborative efforts and you can enjoy astounding health by doing this.
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