by DND | May 11, 2023
Transform Your Health by Understanding Micronutrients | Chris Masterjohn PhD
Chris Masterjohn holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut, having completed his degree in 2012. He later worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the Comparative Biosciences department of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for two years until August 2014. Afterward, he served as an Assistant Professor of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College for two years, part of the City University of New York. Chris then made the decision to leave academia in the fall of 2016 and pursue entrepreneurship. Since January 2017, he has been conducting independent research, consulting, working on information products, and producing free content to help people achieve better health. Chris has a deep understanding of the power of food, movement, and mindfulness in promoting health and well-being, and translates complex science into practical principles that people can use to support their health.
In this episode we discuss:
– The optimal human diet.
– Do protein and red meat cause cancer and disease?
– How to meet your long-term health goals with nutrition.
– What do lab tests really tell you about your health?
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Chris MasterJohn, Dr Lyon
Dr. Lyon (01:00:00 -> 01:00:06)
Chris Master John. I’m so excited to have you in studio in person and we got a lot to talk about.
Chris MasterJohn (01:00:07 -> 01:00:08)
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me
Dr. Lyon (01:00:08 -> 01:00:18)
and you’re in your official position, which for the listener, they don’t know that we’ve kind of gone through the sit down, spread out arms back the whole, the whole shebang.
Chris MasterJohn (01:00:20 -> 01:00:20)
This is my official position on the couch.
Dr. Lyon (01:00:21 -> 01:00:34)
the official couch position. You are a phd, a former professor at Brooklyn College, nutritional science researcher. You did your phd at is at the University of Connecticut.
Chris MasterJohn (01:00:34 -> 01:00:41)
Yeah. My phd, I did at, at uconn Stores and then I did a post doc at University of Illinois Irvanna Champagne.
Dr. Lyon (01:00:41 -> 01:00:50)
I did too! No, but that’s where I did my undergrad. I did my post doc at Wash U. I did not realize that. Did you know that
Chris MasterJohn (01:00:50 -> 01:00:51)
I did not.
Dr. Lyon (01:00:52 -> 01:00:54)
Oh my gosh, those cornfields they’re brutal.
Chris MasterJohn (01:00:54 -> 01:00:57)
brutal. Yeah. Especially in the fall.
Dr. Lyon (01:00:58 -> 01:00:58)
Chris MasterJohn (01:00:58 -> 01:01:08)
Especially when you, especially when you land. Like if you’re, if you’re, you went somewhere and you come back on a plane and you look out at the window and all it is is brown flat land.
Dr. Lyon (01:01:09 -> 01:01:13)
Ah, painful. But I mean, it makes it makes for you to be a really good student.
Chris MasterJohn (01:01:13 -> 01:01:50)
Yeah. Someone told me, someone told me that they warned me that the ride from the Urbana Champagne area up to Chicago was monotonous and I was like, I could handle monotony and then I actually took that ride and I had no idea what, what monotony was until I took that ride. And, uh, I was in, when I was doing my post doc, I was on a ballroom dance team and I was with people who were from that area and we would go on road trips to another school and there would be literally like a bump on the side of the road and people would be like, scenery I do call that scenery
Dr. Lyon (01:01:51 -> 01:02:40)
and um uh for those of you who are from Illinois or Southern Illinois will appreciate the cornfield extravaganza that we are talking about. I have a lot of respect for you. And I really, really appreciate the way that you talk about nutrition, the way you talk about how we can think about health from a macro perspective and then bring it down to a more nuanced perspective. And that’s uh on the agenda today. And of course, we’re going to also talk about protein and longevity and we’re gonna see where the winds and the chairs and the positioning takes us. OK. Now, when you think about nutrition and what diet, the optimal or ultimate human diet, what is that. How do we even begin to figure that out?
Chris MasterJohn (01:02:41 -> 01:06:35)
I kind of roll my eyes when anyone tries to figure out what the optimal diet is. And I, I think that’s because there are some simple rules that you can as a probability game, say most people are going to level up their nutrition if they do these five things. But I think outside those bounds, there’s a lot of individual variation and what the optimal diet is, is not a diet that is optimal for most people. But it’s rather a journey that someone is going to find for the diet that works optimally for them. And so yes, you create these, these rules and they’re not, they’re not complete rules. Like I could take a rule like don’t eat white flour. And this is a very good rule. I would, I would put it at the top of what I think is a generally applicable rule. Nevertheless, there are people who could inadvertently hurt their health by substituting whole grains for white flour or even by substituting vegetables for flour. So take, for example, and you know, folic acid gets a lot of heat because it’s not natural. It’s a synthetic form of folate. It’s far from ideal. But you take someone who eats three sandwiches a day and six pieces of white bread who’s getting massive amounts of folic acid in their white bread. And then they say grains are grains are for, you know, Neolithic morons. I’m gonna eat the way that my ancestors ate and I’m gonna eat vegetables instead. But they’re all, they’re eating mostly frozen vegetables and most of these vegetables, little. Do they know how long it’s been in the freezer before they put it in their freezer? It’s all six months old and there’s no, there’s no natural folate in those frozen vegetables. And this person gets a folate deficiency and becomes anemic. This is an entirely plausible, um, a plausible route where you could demonstrate that this person hurt their health when they took out white flour. And so I, I would definitely, I’m not saying people should eat white flour, but I’m just saying that there are even with, even in the top five or six rules that you could say like cut out junk food, um eat, eat, eat a diverse diet that includes some degree of nose to tail, animal, eat animal foods. That includes a diversity of plant foods that includes, you know, foods that you’re not, that does not include foods that you don’t tolerate, uh or that you’re allergic to. Uh and that includes things that you digest. Well, like you could, you could list those out as like these are great rules. Uh But then you even still with those, you can find the edge cases where there are exceptions to the rule. So I think generally speaking, you want to create these very broad, very sensible rules knowing that there are some edge case exceptions. But then saying, OK, within this, what’s optimal for me. And I think there are a few ways to figure that out. Um And I don’t, I don’t think anyone knows the exact path there. I think we’re in the process of figuring out how we can leverage genetic information to try to individually tailor diets, but probably for most people, for most decisions they’ll make trial and error is still king. Uh And I think that that people need to be always conscious of how is this diet working for me at this time? Given my needs, how might it change as my needs change as I evolve as a human being? And even when something is working, just always be open minded that there might be a time when you need to make some changes and listen to your body and, and uh and try to carve your path forward. Um But I think, you know, if everyone does that, you’re gonna find a lot of different optimal diets,
Dr. Lyon (01:06:35 -> 01:07:37)
right? And that’s crazy that as humans, it it, you know, we’re, we’re not talking about rodent models that live in a pristine uh pathogenic free environment where there’s no dirt where they’re fed the same chow humans can eat whatever you want, right? For the most part, I mean, not whatever you want. Although my kids would beg to differ, you can eat anything. And my diet could have say, for example, way more colene than your diet. And the variation in that is, I mean, it, it’s so complex. My next thought and question is, does it matter where we came from and where we, you know, where our ancestry came from in terms of location, warm weather closer to the equator versus say potentially more Arctic locations where our ancestors maybe didn’t evolve to have a wide variety of foods. How does that play into how we make decisions? You think?
Chris MasterJohn (01:07:38 -> 01:11:06)
I think it’s really complicated. So I, I do think that you can get some information from looking at your specific ancestry. The problem is that even so there’s a, there’s a number of problems. So one is that there’s, you have the solutions, right? Um No, I think, I think that I do have solutions and, but like I said, I don’t think anyone has solutions enough to displace trial and error as at least a part of your strategy. Um I, I think that looking at, I think it’s more informative to look at what’s universal in our deep ancestry than it is to look at where our specific ancestry comes from. But I do think there’s value to looking at your specific ancestry. The problem is that there’s a lot of interbreeding, there’s, you know, especially in the United States. Um You know, so I know a lot about my ancestry that I can trace to the Greek Island of Niceros, but my great grandfather came here and I and I don’t even know anything about my father’s side. But on my mother’s side, my great grandfather came here and married an Irish girl. And then, you know, had, had my grandfather who was half Greek from this is, it turns out the Italians conquered this island twice. And so 23 of me says that my Greek is actually like twice as much as Italian is Greek. Although there’s questions about that as well because how, how much are Italians? Actually Greek going back deeper in history. But anyway, um you know, you, you take in several rounds of Irish and I think we are, we are substantially mixed up and you don’t know which genes, you know, if you’re half German and you’re half uh Swedish, you don’t really know like whether the like which Swedish gene you got and which German gene you got as far as how it dictates something that’s relevant to your diet. So I, I do think that you can, if you do a genetic analysis and you say, well, I come from this, this ancestry that explains why I have these genes that could impact my Colene requirement, something you brought up, then I, I think you can start to draw a coherent picture around it. But I think it’s very difficult to say um to say I, uh you know, I come like I came from here, therefore, I have a high coline requirement. Um I do think that knowledge of how certain peoples are genetically different is valuable. So for example, I do think there are a lot of people on the internet who are using the Inuit diet to generalize to the rest of us who are completely unaware of the fact that there’s a founder effect in the Inuit that makes all of them at least carriers for and 70% of them homozygous for a genetic defect in the ability to burn fat that leads to fasting intolerance and a complete lack of ketones on a ketogenic diet. So, you know, if you know things like that, you can, you can poke holes in, in some reasoning that you might not otherwise be able to poke holes into. But I don’t think, I don’t think we could, can or ever will be able to say I came from Italy, Italians eat a lot of pasta. Uh Therefore, I need to eat a lot of pasta.
Dr. Lyon (01:11:06 -> 01:11:18)
So it is ultimately, despite the concept of where an individual came from, really individual in terms of how do you feel is, do you think that that’s a good barometer?
Chris MasterJohn (01:11:18 -> 01:12:16)
Well, I think, I think you have to, I think you have to pick your key performance indicator. And so for look, some, someone who might be listening to this might have a debilitating health condition. They’ve been to 15 doctors and they’ve gotten nowhere, another person might feel like they’re in the peak shape of their life and they’re trying to figure out how to increase their pr, on some random gym exercise. Right. So, I, I think it, I think it matters a lot where you’re coming from, whether you should be running a lot of obscure lab testing versus, you know, just changing, uh, you know, tweaking part of your diet, like tweak, tweaking your carb gram amount and seeing if that busts you through a plateau. You know what I mean? Like, you really have to look at what, where are you right now? And what’s your, what’s your goal? And you, if you don’t have a goal, I don’t see the point in trying to think about what you should be eating. You should be thinking about what your goal is. You know what I mean?
Dr. Lyon (01:12:16 -> 01:12:25)
Yeah, I think that that’s actually a great point really determining what is that key performance indicator that you’re talking about that? That’s, that’s actually very smart.
Chris MasterJohn (01:12:25 -> 01:12:37)
What do I, what do I care about right now in my health? Do I? Am I in peak shape? And I just want to make sure that I live 10 years extra, you know, or do I? Is there something else that I care about?
Dr. Lyon (01:12:38 -> 01:12:41)
Yeah, well, just because you brought up living longer.
Chris MasterJohn (01:12:41 -> 01:12:41)
Dr. Lyon (01:12:43 -> 01:13:13)
Yeah. Thank you. Thank you. Living longer. I want to talk about protein, longevity. That has been a hot topic for a very long time, which is surprising to someone like me. I am curious as to how you think about protein and longevity. You think about um kind of big picture the way in which our narrative has been shaped around protein and longevity. And perhaps if you are feeling froggy, throwing some mechanisms of where that’s coming from, uh Just,
Chris MasterJohn (01:13:13 -> 01:20:32)
well, I I think that the most underappreciated concept in the longevity space is that the central way to attain longevity is to not die. And I this seems it seems obvious. But so much talk in the longevity space is about finding the, the the generic uh locus of longevity. So what you know, what are the longevity genes? And people are looking at telomeres and Sirtuins and, and all this stuff trying to find the the biochemical fountain of youth and they’re overlooking the fact that most people are not dying because some generic longevity factor ran out, you know, people are dying inside in a sequence where uh thankfully infectious diseases is not really on this, on this list. Uh Although there in the top 10, you will find respiratory diseases and depending on, you know, before the COVID era and in the COVID era, it’ll find a different position there, you know, but the law, the the major infectious disease killers of the 17 hundreds and 18 hundreds are behind us. Uh So people are generally in order uh as you go through your life, your, your first risk of injuries is uh excuse me, your first risk of, of death is going to be post injury. Um, and so obviously you can get run over by a car or something like that and you, you can’t do a whole lot about that except to be reasonably careful. Uh, but when you start getting into osteopenia and osteoporosis and hip fracture risk, there’s a very high risk of, of dying in the year after fracture, especially if it’s not operated on. Um, and then you’re, and you’re getting into diabetes as a, as a young killer as well and only, only when you get past those, do you have to worry about heart disease? And only when you get past that, do you have to worry about cancer? And I understand there are childhood cancers, of course. But if you just look at the average age of death of someone who dies of cancer, it is older than, than heart disease. And if you go back through history, the, the rate of heart disease increased when people stopped dying of infectious disease, you know, w when tuberculosis was no longer the major killer, heart disease became the major killer because people I’m not saying only because, but partly because people started living long enough to get heart disease when they were no longer living when they were no longer dying of tuberculosis. And just to be clear, it’s, this was not the natural state of humanity prior to the industrial revolution. But the, but it, you know, it was in the 17 hundreds and 18 hundreds. Um And now cancer is on the rise, in part, you know, I’m not saying it has nothing to do with toxic chemicals in the environment. But in part because heart, you know, people you are, if you get a heart attack, medical treatment is generally better that you risk of dying of, it is a lot lower than it used to be. And that alone, regardless of the rate of heart disease is going to increase the rate of cancer because now people are living long enough to get cancer, whose statistical distribution of average age is higher than heart disease, right? And so it doesn’t make any sense to even think about the speculations about what might be the biochemical fountain of youth in the person who doesn’t die of a cause until you have done what you need to do to protect yourself against all of these major killers. And I don’t think that people uh in the longevity space are usually thinking about it in that way. And if you take something like protein, um I, I think there’s a lot of general misunderstand misunderstandings of protein and like the, you know, take something like Mtor or insulin or whatever people wanna bring up as a mechanism. I think people are very confused about how the uh fed state fasting state cycle works. So there are multiple mechanistic nodes of information about whether you have eaten uh or whether you have not and your body cycles through what you could broadly call clean up processes in the fasting state and repair and healing processes in the fed state. And you want to cycle in and out of those. And you can’t just, if you just try to pharmacologically modulate to or, or something like that, you know, let, let’s say that you eat a hyper caloric diet and you take buburin or Metformin or wrap ayin or something like that. All your, all you’re doing really is confusing your body because you are taking a uh a pharmacological fasting state mimetic while you’re pumping in calories and uh and protein and carbs and you’re pounding the pedals on all these fed state uh things. So my uh my opinion on, on the mechanistic stuff is there is probably very much something to getting a robust cycling in and out of the fed state towards longevity and towards a general support of health. But, and in that context, you want protein to be high in the fed state and you want it to be low in the fasting state. Um You know, but if you just look at the, at the diseases, um like, let’s say, let’s say you make the case. I think you could make the case that if you had an established cancer and this is completely different situation from trying to prevent cancer. Um So there are many things that help you detox carcinogens and that help you properly, you know, regulate, uh, cell growth and things like that, that you want, when you eat from a cancer preventing standpoint that if you had cancer, you, you might want to cut that out. Right. So, I, I think we need a lot of research in this area but, you know, probably some combination of fasting and looking at what type of cancer is this, what does it feed off of? Maybe there’s some way in the future that we can design diets around not feeding the cancer but intermittently feeding the host. Um But let’s just, let’s just suppose for the sake of argument that you say, well, if you have cancer, protein is probably gonna fuel its growth. And I think there is some merit to that. Let’s say you go on a low protein diet from your thirties because you never want to get cancer. Well, what’s that gonna do to your risk of osteopenia, osteoporosis to diabetes? You know, this is going to decrease your muscle mass, which is terrible for insulin sensitivity, which is terrible for your diabetes risk, which is terrible for your bone mass. You are basically just predisposing yourself to all of the earlier diseases because you were trying to optimize the last 10 years of your risk and not thinking about the 1st 40. Um that’s how I think about it
Dr. Lyon (01:20:33 -> 01:21:17)
and I totally agree with you. It’s, it’s very a unit dimensional by thinking about what you’re doing in your thirties at this end result of if you’re going to get cancer or something, way down the line and you’re missing exactly what you said. All the steps in between. For example, if you are eating a low protein diet, number one, wait before we even get there. You talked about carcinogens, you talked about the things that the body is up against daily. If you were to guess or hypothesize the most important macronutrient to help detoxify or provide the building blocks for detoxification of these low levels of insults. What would, what do you feel that it would be?
Chris MasterJohn (01:21:18 -> 01:22:50)
it would definitely be protein. If you look at, if you look at detoxification very generally, first, you need to make enzymes. And so if you look at low protein diets, you have a decrease in protein synthesis that broadly impacts enzymes. And so you have a decrease in antioxidant enzymes. You have a decrease in cytochrome P450s which are involved in detoxification. And then if you look at the… generally, liver detoxification goes in three stages. One is to oxidize the, the carcinogen or or whatever other toxin it might be and prepare it to be conjugated to something that will make it more water soluble. And then the third stage is to export it from the liver. And that second stage is what allows it to be excreted in the urine or into the bile. So it can, so it can leave the body. Um and uh not or the bile generally it goes out into the bile, then it gets reabsorbed, then it goes into the urine. Uh But that, that phase two liver metabolism is what is probably the biggest impact of um you know, who, who gets, who gets hurt by environmental toxins and who doesn’t, is to a large degree determined by that second phase. And if you look at the things that uh are used to get rid of something you have Glutaphion, what’s that made from protein? You have glycine, what’s that made from protein? You have methylation, what’s that made from protein? You just go on, go on down the list. Most of what you’re detoxing with is made out of protein.
Dr. Lyon (01:22:50 -> 01:24:07)
Yeah. So, um it stands to reason that let’s say you don’t have cancer and you are looking to do things to prevent or, you know, it’s difficult to say uh cancer prevention. But one of the a big driver for cancer is obesity. We know that that’s a risk factor. And dietary protein obviously can help with maintaining body composition, uh and muscle mass. So, if an individual were to get cancer, the survivability typically is um a large, a large portion of survivability to protect against caia cancer. Caia is muscle. Um So this is just one of the ways that, you know, I think about it and I have heard you talk and I would love for you to talk and share with the listener or the viewer. Hey guys, um The, where the history of the conversation came from with this protein and longevity. I think that there was one guy, I cannot remember his name, but he did a, a large body of evidence that was mostly rodent models. And he talked about how this high protein diet would feed cancer. And then these, the low protein diet, which he actually didn’t put in the literature would be the diet that he used to help induce aflatoxin in cancers.
Chris MasterJohn (01:24:07 -> 01:28:30)
I believe you’re talking about T Colon Campbell’s work and he was the author of the China study, which is a, which was a um vegan oriented book. He’s um I believe he’s up at Cornell. Um Yeah, he, uh what he did was I actually think that his rodent research was very valuable and it does, it does influence my view on this. So what he showed was that if you had an acute dosing of a carcinogen, which was in his experiments was usually aflatoxin, uh although not always. But if you had an acute dosing of a carcinogen, if you feed high protein going into it, it protects against cancer. And if you feed low protein going into it, it makes it worse. But on the other end of it, if, after the, after the dosing, um that’s before and during the dosing is what I just said after the dosing, it flips around. So once you’ve done the dosing high protein ex uh aggravates the growth of the cancer and low protein restricts the growth of the cancer. And this comes straight, you know, that latter part comes straight forward from the, the fact that cancer needs to multiply. And so you need the, the building blocks that would allow you to mop, that would allow you to multiply your cells. Um Whereas you’re hurting the detoxification of the carcinogens going into it. So the question arises, uh what happens in the real world where outside of industrial accidents, we are exposed to low level combinations of many carcinogens all at once through all of our life. And the only experiments that were ever done on that particular question showed that high protein diets were protective against cancer. Now, Campbell used what he did was at once. He discovered that there was a switch before and after the dosing, he universally used in the rest of his experiments, a low protein diet going into the dosing so that he can maximize the success of his model. And this is what you know, researchers do this all the time. They say what’s a good model of X and partly a good model of X is that you get X, right? So like if you’re trying to study cancer, a good model of cancer, um at, at a minimum has cancer in it Right. So, yeah, I mean, you also want you, there are other things you think of like how well does this correspond to the human disease so that we can get insights from it. But, but one of the basic things is you have to produce your disease. And so the best way for him to produce his disease was to feed a lot protein diet going into the carcinogen dosing to make them vulnerable to the, to the growth of cancerous legions. And then when he talked about it in his book, he would ignore this and he would just tell you that the high protein diet accelerated the cancer growth and the low protein diet restricted it. He would never tell you about by the way to get the cancer in the first place, I gave them all low protein in order in order to make them all get cancer. Um And so I, I think the lesson for us is, you know, if, if we’re to just take that body of literature and, and try to bring it home to some practical insights for humans, I think the first, first one is that you absolutely need adequate protein and you can debate what that means, but you absolutely need adequate protein to promote detoxification. And it is getting enough protein to prevent cancer. That that is what you would be thinking about for that. But I, I think that you could also think about if someone gets cancer. What do you do? And I, I don’t think it’s as obvious because you have to balance, like you were saying that, you know, the, the rate of wasting away on the medications with the rate of trying to restrict the growth of the, of the cancer. And I, but I think there is something there to get creative about in the field of cancer research. And I think it’s, you know, it’s a disservice that we’ve been very slow about this over, over decades, focusing so much on the drugs and not so much on, on the power of, of the nutritional part of it. But I think there’s, there’s gotta be a gold mine there of things that we can figure out what to do. It’s probably not just, ok, go, go low protein vegan, it’s probably more complicated than that, but there’s something there, I think.
Dr. Lyon (01:28:30 -> 01:28:34)
Yeah. Do you think that the, the source of the protein matters?
Chris MasterJohn (01:28:36 -> 01:30:38)
You mean like plant versus animal? I mean, oh, for sure. I mean, the, the amino acid composition is, is, is different between different foods. Uh I, I’m a fan of nose to tail animal feeding. So I, I think that uh in the muscle meats, you get a different mix of amino acids and you get in the, in the bones and the coag tissues, cartilage and so on. And I think, you know, going back to our deep ancestry as a model. One thing before the era of boneless skinless chicken breasts was, people never threw away parts of the animal. They used it all. And if you’re eating nose to tail, you’re getting a, you know, you’re probably getting some 20 to 50% of your protein intake as collagen. And I think there’s a lot of value to that. You have to be aware that um you, you know, collagen is missing a lot of essential amino acids. But I do think there are certain things that are important for the balance. So for example, the balance between methionine from muscle meats and glycine in, in collagen, I think is, is important. Um And I mean, generally speaking, I think that someone should try to meet their protein requirement from a diversity of eggs, milk and nose to tail animal products of land animals and sea animals. And I, you know, I think that diversity gives you a lot of micronutrient diversity and cuts back the risk of accumulating on any, too much of one thing that might be bad for you. Um I don’t really think of plant foods as protein foods. You know, I, I think you can, you know, nuts are mainly a source of fat and lentils are mainly a source of carbohydrate. But they do, I mean, they, they do become very important if you’re vegan. I mean, I think if you’re vegan and you wanna try to get anywhere near your protein requirement, you’re gonna have to mostly eat, um, you know, legumes for most of your food.
Dr. Lyon (01:30:38 -> 01:30:51)
But, yeah, um, kind of gross. That seems like a lot of, uh, legumes, at least from my opinion. Where do you think this, um, division has? How long have you been in the nutrition space?
Chris MasterJohn (01:30:52 -> 01:30:55)
I wrote my first nutrition article in 2004.
Dr. Lyon (01:30:55 -> 01:31:09)
Ok. Um, haven’t you seen a increasingly robust division, uh, of, uh, animals, plants? Just these dietary camps? Because it wasn’t like, I don’t think it was like that in 2004. Was it?
Chris MasterJohn (01:31:10 -> 01:32:15)
Uh I, I wouldn’t say that because I, I actually came from veganism. And so I, you know, my first article was written for the West A Price Foundation which historically has had a, quite an anti vegans slant. Um Not, they saw veganism as their, as their primary uh enemy, but I think they, they were looking at the mainstream as kind of attacking fat and cholesterol. I think that was, that was their big thing. But I came as a former vegan and as I’m writing for the West and a Price Foundation in 2004. You know, I’m, I’m writing about like all the things, all the things that could go, you know, one of my articles from uh that era was called, uh it was called vegetarianism and nutrient deficiencies, I think. And it was here are all the things that can go wrong on a vegetarian diet. Um So I think that I was, you may be right about the general state of nutrition. But I think I was actually located at the corner of, of veganism. And,
Dr. Lyon (01:32:16 -> 01:32:19)
So you were in the eye of the storm,
Chris MasterJohn (01:32:19 -> 01:33:40)
I suppose. Yeah. But I mean, what I’ve seen now is, is that there have been waves of, of veganism and, you know, there was, there was the, there was the sort of Forks over Knives Wave and the in the, in the eighties, there was the diet for a New America Wave. Uh And then, and then there was the wave of the vegan doctors. So there was, we were just talking about T Colin Campbell. He’s a phd, but uh he was also in the era of Joel Furman and Neil Barnard and, and, and uh Caldwell Elton and these, this group of vegan vegan phd and doctors. Um And then there was the documentary era. So there was the Forks Over Knives and then the game Changers coming, coming at the end of that. And now we’re heading into the E S G era where there is, you know, a cabal of, of people who are going to impose a neo in environmental, social governance. It’s uh this is in the finance world and the um and the corporate world E E S G is the um you, you could think of it as the um sort of like the financial of climate change, authoritarianism, which will be the next stage of trying to establish a, a, um, sort of neo feudal state where a handful of people ride in private jets and eat meat and then the, and then the peasants uh rent electric cars or ride on electric trains and eat lentils and crickets.
Dr. Lyon (01:33:41 -> 01:33:47)
A hard pass on the ladder. Uh Yes. Why do you think that that’s happening
Chris MasterJohn (01:33:47 -> 01:33:48)
Dr. Lyon (01:33:49 -> 01:33:49)
Chris MasterJohn (01:33:49 -> 01:33:51)
Uh That the last, the point?
Dr. Lyon (01:33:51 -> 01:34:23)
I’m just curious is to why there’s this? Ok. Well, I, I guess to, to take a step back, is there something potentially that we can learn from this push of veganism? Which I believe there is in the methioline restriction camp. Perhaps there’s this way in which cyclical nutrient imposed deficiencies could be possibly beneficial for up regulating particular metabolic processes. Um Right. Potentially, I don’t know if you agree. You looking very stoic.
Chris MasterJohn (01:34:23 -> 01:36:19)
Well, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say nutrient deficiencies. I, I, I think that if you, you know, if you, let’s say you were to cycle between a, um, let you know, take, um, I guess, take, take the, uh the sort of Christian fasting practice where in, in the, in the west, um, you had fasting for most animal products except fish and in the east, you had fasting for most animal products except shellfish for two months. You know, you, you will, if you’re trying to average your micronutrient intake across the year, you’re gonna fall below your requirement during those two months for certain nutrients that are much easier to get from animal products. Uh, but, but some of those don’t really matter, you know, I, I, I do think that there are some nutrients where, uh, you, you do want a smooth out intake, but a lot of nutrients aren’t that important. So, if you’re hitting, if you’re really hitting, um, up, pumping up your reserves and then you cyclically go into what’s deficient on paper, you’re not actually developing a nutrient deficiency. Um So I, I, I, I think what you’re getting at is, you know, are there, is there some kind of wisdom we can take out of the vegan science to work into a cycle? Um And I, I think, yes, I, I just don’t think the science is there to say what it is. Uh You know, so I’m, I’m a, I’m a big believer that everyone should have some fasting program, but it is not obvious to me that my grandmother’s three square meals a day, no snacks are inferior to one meal a day. Um And I suspect that that’s one of those things that falls into what we opened with, which is, you know, in this, in this uh box of loose rules you made for everyone
Dr. Lyon (01:36:20 -> 01:36:20)
that you made.
Chris MasterJohn (01:36:20 -> 01:36:22)
I made that I made for everyone.
Dr. Lyon (01:36:22 -> 01:36:24)
Um We’re holding you to it.
Chris MasterJohn (01:36:24 -> 01:36:44)
Well, which, which I started out saying there are exceptions to each one. Um You know, but, but in this, in this sort of like, loosely defined, uh, rules that you’ve made that I have made for everyone. Um, you know, one thing that might be highly individualized is how much should people fast. I do think that snacking all day is probably the worst.
Dr. Lyon (01:36:46 -> 01:36:55)
I agree with you. The worst case scenario, especially if you talk about, uh, stimulating MTOR over all day, every day. I think it’s a bad idea.
Chris MasterJohn (01:36:57 -> 01:37:28)
Yeah. Um, well, be, and you’re never, you’re never, not only are you, are you never giving yourself a, a chance to clean up but you’re not, you’re not really stepping on the pedal of the rebuild and heal part either. You know, it’s, it’s sort of like, um it, it’s, it’s sort of like driving uh you know, a bum ass car that 40 everywhere. You know what I mean? Like you didn’t really go for a ride, you know,
Dr. Lyon (01:37:30 -> 01:37:31)
that is hilarious.
Chris MasterJohn (01:37:31 -> 01:37:40)
Not only do you never give your, your right hip a break from being extended? Um But you didn’t really go for a ride either.
Dr. Lyon (01:37:40 -> 01:38:44)
I got it. I got it. Um So you’re basically saying that is there something potential that we can learn? Maybe, maybe not, we don’t really know from this, this explosion of or this wave of veganism that comes and goes. I, I will say I find many of those in that group to be very angry a lot of the time when you disagree or if uh again, if I post something on social uh about an animal based product versus a plant based product. Simply I, I only do that to help raise awareness of the extremes that we’ve now generated because potentially when you are in your thirties, forties and if you don’t have cancer and you are now under this impression that you should further restrict animal based proteins which are high quality by definition. I think we’re setting ourselves up to fail. I think we are setting ourselves up for an epidemic of osteoporosis like we’ve never seen. And that scares me and I feel that we have an obligation to try to protect people from what potentially they don’t know.
Chris MasterJohn (01:38:46 -> 01:38:57)
Yeah, I, I agree with that. I, I think there’s, uh, there’s a, there’s a loud plant based camp and I, I think that we need the other side to be, to be pretty loud
Dr. Lyon (01:38:58 -> 01:39:20)
annoyingly. So, um, sorry guys, again, there, there’s probably a blend of both. We shouldn’t omit. And this is one, again, one of the things I really like about your perspective is it’s not extreme in nature in these ways, even though we’re discussing about how, what our dosing of protein would be. It’s not particularly extreme. Right? I mean,
Chris MasterJohn (01:39:21 -> 01:40:35)
um, yeah, I mean, uh we, we haven’t really put any numbers on it. So it’s hard, it’s hard to say whether it’d be extreme. I, I’m not very extreme on protein. I, I have, um, there was a time where I was preparing to do some, some fitness photos and I had a friend advise me to double the protein numbers on Lyle mcdonald’s ultimate diet to point out. And, uh, so I was eating like 300 g of protein. Um, at, for a couple of months. That’s, that’s, I consider that a little extreme. Um, I think you really have to try to get that much protein, although it depends on your calorie intake, of course, but on a, on a, on, on my calorie intake, I, I think that’s, you got, you really got to go out of your way to, to try to eat that, in my opinion. Um I think most people do well on, um, you know, a half a gram to a gram of protein per pound of body weight. And if they, if they have a body composition oriented goal, they probably wanna hit that top number rather than the bottom number. Um And I, most people probably have enough room to go up or down around the bottom number. I’m gonna guess that, that you like numbers that are higher than that.
Dr. Lyon (01:40:35 -> 01:41:13)
No I don’t. Frankly, the, well, we know that the bare minimum to prevent efficiencies is 0.8 g per kilogram. There’s good evidence to support closer to double that would be more optimal. Uh whether that’s 1.21 point six even higher to 1.8. I feel good about recommending on average one g per pound, ideal body weight, you can go up or down based on what your preferences are. And, and also the other thing is, is we don’t know any danger. There’s no quote, upper limit that we’ve been able to establish of potential downfalls of protein. But then coming into your,
Chris MasterJohn (01:41:13 -> 01:41:14)
someone has a cycle
Dr. Lyon (01:41:17 -> 01:41:19)
which most people don’t. Uh, no,
Chris MasterJohn (01:41:19 -> 01:41:53)
but, but about some, somewhere around eight or 9% of people have a, a polymorphism in the O T C gene, which is um sort of a urea cycle disorder light. And it’s, it’s possible that those people either need to limit their, limit their protein for optimal health or that or that maybe they need some extra um you know, citrilene or arginine or something to, to pu which turns on the area cycle in order to counterbalance the other amino acids or something like that.
Dr. Lyon (01:41:53 -> 01:41:55)
Do you think they have any physical symptoms?
Chris MasterJohn (01:41:56 -> 01:42:13)
Um I think they, I think they, there is some evidence that uh they have a higher risk of high blood pressure and that’s um that’s, that’s from limited um arginine production which limits arginine is the donor for nitric oxide synthesis.
Dr. Lyon (01:42:15 -> 01:42:42)
Uh You know, you’re speaking my love, my love language, which is amino acid. So thank you so much for that in terms of um heart disease. Where do you feel that protein fits in? And when I say protein, I guess we should clarify that. We’re talking about high quality animal based proteins because when I think about protein, I’m not particularly thinking about plants unless you are, then maybe. But,
Chris MasterJohn (01:42:43 -> 01:44:04)
well, some, some people get enough protein on P P protein powder. I’ve seen that. I’ve seen that on Instagram. So, um, yeah, I mean, I don’t, I don’t think that much about protein when it comes to heart disease. I, I feel like it’s a little bit of a red herring. Although there is, you know, you, you could make an argument that um there, there’s some evidence that sulfate is, is protective against uh against heart disease. Way back in the day, Lester Morrison had done some experiments with different, different types of sulfate precursors that would include the sulfur amino acids showing some protection against uh heart disease incidents, uh hyper cholesterol Leia and heart disease incidents. And um there might be something there but I don’t, I don’t see it as the central thing. Uh you know, but protein and I, I do think that antioxidant status is very relevant to heart disease and protein is sort of the um the forgotten antioxidant because glute is the central uh antioxidant of the cell and it’s made from protein. Uh So I think it fits in there. I just don’t, I just don’t see it as, as central as I do to, you know, sarcopenia and the related things.
Dr. Lyon (01:44:04 -> 01:44:25)
But you’re saying essentially though it, it’s somewhat more neutral because I hear and I get a lot of questions about how does protein cause heart disease? Does red meat cause heart disease? We’ve kind of singled out these whole food sources to, I don’t know, pin it on, uh, an animal product.
Chris MasterJohn (01:44:26 -> 01:45:25)
Yeah, that stuff’s coming out of the Cleveland Clinic and look the, so the T MA O story tri methylamine oxide, we could go into the weeds about it, but at a high level it’s, it’s this, you know, on a scale of 1 to 10, I would put myself as like a three that maybe T MA O contributes to heart disease and there, but there are about and I’m making, I’m pulling this number out of my butt. But, but I think it’s approximate, there are about 30,000 things that have as compelling a case as a possible contributor to heart disease as T MA O does with a similar quality of, of evidence. But the Cleveland Clinic has a very good marketing machine and they have a financial interest in making the T MA O test and getting people to, to get it. Uh And so I, I, I think it’s just so massively overblown and there is, there’s having grown up in the,
Dr. Lyon (01:45:25 -> 01:45:29)
by the way, he did do air quotes in that for those of you who are not watching but listening.
Chris MasterJohn (01:45:29 -> 01:46:53)
having grown up in the nutrition, academic space. I have um I’ve seen one of the, one of the things that people try to do is. Um so like public health is not… really very scientific. It’s more of a, more of a like …we all gotta agree to say this thing, right? And then science is sort of like the way that you carve yourself out in the scientific space is that you have a unique hypothesis and you change the way you see things. So it’s how do you reconcile these things when the public health people are in control of the funding? Well, you try to do both at the same time by coming up with a new novel way to support the existing recommendations. And so when I saw the TMAO stuff come out, I’m like, I used to see seminars where people would be like we showed this thing about blueberries and this is a unique novel mechanism that supports the existing USDA recommendations to eat 5 to 9 servings of vegetables, fruits, and vegetables a day. And I’m like, I see what you did there. Uh So, so the, I mean, the T MA O thing very much is reminiscent of this. Like, here’s a new totally novel mechanism to blame red meat for the cause of all ills. And here is a test that you can buy from us to see if this is the mechanism by which red meat is, is gonna make you die.
Dr. Lyon (01:46:53 -> 01:46:59)
You know, isn’t it amazing? And also T MA O is higher in fish and higher, I believe in vegetables. Right?
Chris MasterJohn (01:46:59 -> 01:48:08)
Yeah. So, T ma gives the fishy smell to fish. And T MA O is, um, is metabolized from that and there is T MA O in fish. It, it, uh, if you eat fish, you, you get exposed to way more T MA O as a result of what’s naturally in the fish. Whereas if you eat red meat or eggs, you’re going to get some T MA O produced by your gut. But they have these sneaky little ways of, of um increasing the amount of T MA O they get by. For example, they, whenever they do cole studies, they use Colene by tartrate, which is, um which is way more likely to generate way more T MA O than phosphotitle Colene. Well, and eggs mostly have Phosphototal Colene. And so if you look at, at um people who eat eggs, they get some T MA O response, but it’s extremely variable. And even in the people who are high T MA O producers from eggs, it’s nowhere near what you would get from Colene bitartrate. So they kind of design their experiments to really, it’s like we were saying before, you, you want a model of, right?
Dr. Lyon (01:48:17 -> 01:48:17)
You gotta get it right.
Chris MasterJohn (01:48:18 -> 01:49:20)
I, I remember back in, back in grad school I was having lunch with my lab at the cornfields. No, no, no. In, at Uconn. Uh, yeah. Uh, Yukon was, uh, was woodsy and there were bears in people’s backyards. So we were, um, my, my, my advisor was, my doctoral advisor was talking about how in the, in the lab, in the animal, uh, labs. All the, these, these animals get like very high level treatment that people never get. They have like a 24 7 on call team of veterinarians and stuff. So the veterinarians are very pro toy and, and my advisor was very anti toy and we were talking about it and he’s like, well, all these obesogenic diets, like if you just put in a hamster wheel, it doesn’t cause obesity. And I’m like, wouldn’t that be more realistic if they had free movement? And he said we’re not about realism. We’re about control. Uh, in other words, if your experiment is well designed, no matter how irrelevant it is that, that fulfills the criteria of science.
Dr. Lyon (01:49:21 -> 01:50:11)
Right. Right. Um, I don’t even know you, you had me at the hamster wheel and, and the rat. I don’t even know we’re going, but it’s very interesting when we see these tests come out. Um Yeah, we’re all, we’re all moving around because we’re getting our exercise in sitting on, on these chairs. Thank you, Stefan. We’re all, uh, trying to make sense. Of this nutrition space, which is, it’s hyper complex what to eat. The biochemistry. Really? What you do is you’re combining physiology and a fed fat sea. You have all these variables and now we have these one singular um lab points or something that we’re measuring like T MA O and trying to make sense of it. And there’s some sensational story about, you know, you just pick it. We should, we should do a poll and we should actually place a bet of what it’s going to be next, which I am not sure. But if you have any suggestion on the
Chris MasterJohn (01:50:11 -> 01:50:13)
next, the next thing, the next,
Dr. Lyon (01:50:14 -> 01:50:29)
the next the next big thing to further divide us to further push us into extremes and to push a narrative that um allows for someone to have financial control, which is ultimately what’s happening.
Chris MasterJohn (01:50:29 -> 01:50:33)
Oh yeah, that’s um that’s gonna be on meat.
Dr. Lyon (01:50:33 -> 01:50:40)
It is and this is, this is what I I, you know, without being too crazy, this is kind of the direction that
Chris MasterJohn (01:50:40 -> 01:51:01)
I know what it’ll be. It’ll be your carbon score where, where your credit cards track all your spending and they assign you, they assigned you a carbon value. So when you buy meat, the methane impact is all calculated into the points you get and it’ll be, it’ll be modeled after the, the social credit score in China. Um That’s, that’s definitely on the way here.
Dr. Lyon (01:51:01 -> 01:51:20)
We we’re in for trouble. Um and I, I really think that the only way against it is to just continue to have these transparent conversations of trying to be able to make sense of it all if you were now shifting the conversation from uh So number one to get your final take, does red meat cause heart disease? Yes or no.
Chris MasterJohn (01:51:21 -> 01:51:36)
Um I mean, if I have to give a yes or a no to it, I would say a no. Um you know, but there, there’s, there’s always gonna be the, the person who, you know, has dramatically elevated blood lipids and, and needs to modify their diet.
Dr. Lyon (01:51:36 -> 01:51:39)
But, is that from red meat or is that from saturated fat or extra calories?
Chris MasterJohn (01:51:39 -> 01:52:19)
Uh I would say the majority of hyperlipidemia, the dietary factor. That’s the biggest. Well, I, what if we’re eating? I, I’m talking about the, I’m talking about the edge case. So I, I think that, I think that uh let’s say someone’s heterozygous familiar hyper cholesterol Leia, it’s probably the cholesterol and the saturated fat. And um yeah, you’re gonna, if you make it, if you make it lean, um you, you’re gonna take some of that out. But you know, you, even if you cut off all the trim fat, a a steak is gonna have more saturated fat than a chicken breast. Um and then lentils like, so what
Dr. Lyon (01:52:19 -> 01:52:22)
about zinc iron and the bioavailability of the?
Chris MasterJohn (01:52:22 -> 01:53:06)
Right. So I, right, I, yeah, I, I think that um, I think there exists a very small minority of people, you know, one in 100 or something like that. Who, um, who, if they, if they are overwhelmingly concerned about optimizing for heart disease probably need to eat a low fat, low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet if they don’t want to be on a statin. Uh, I think that’s the edge case but I think, you know, I think the, for the average, I mean, I, I eat, um, you know, I probably eat Twinkies. No, I was gonna say I saw that I, I eat, I probably eat a couple like two or £3 of red meat a week. I’m guessing
Dr. Lyon (01:53:06 -> 01:53:10)
you didn’t find that funny. My mom joke about the Twinkies and the wrapping paper.
Chris MasterJohn (01:53:10 -> 01:53:24)
My PC told me that that women can make dad jokes. Um, I actually, I actually accused her of making a mom joke but it turns out that women, women can make, uh,
Dr. Lyon (01:53:24 -> 01:54:36)
I don’t even know what that means, but I find that very funny. Um, and I, I really, again, I appreciate the nuance that I tried to put you into a blanket statement. A yes or no answer because it’s fun. And I’m hosting the show and you very eloquently or in a very elegant nature said, um, the majority of the case, no, red meat does not cause heart disease, but there could be a very small percentage of the population that may have some genetic issue where they, they need something different. I can totally appreciate that. But then how would you then think so from the, that food standpoint, when you think about micronutrients, do you have your top five list of? Everybody needs to make sure that somehow they’re getting this. And again, I, I say this foolishly because we’re not taking into consideration what someone’s standard diet is. What if I eat 12 eggs a day? Not saying I do. But what if I did, then I might not need more Colene or X Y and Z. But are there five or a handful? You pick the number of, of micronutrients that you see when people implement, do much better and, or are strikingly deficient,
Chris MasterJohn (01:54:37 -> 01:54:58)
um, on micronutrients. No, on, on foods. I would say if, if you are trying to cover your new, your micro nutritional bases, um, you know, the top foods to include would be one or two clams a day on a, these are averages. Uh, so they don’t have to be every day, one or two oysters a day.
Dr. Lyon (01:54:58 -> 01:55:01)
Um, doesn’t matter if it’s smoked or
Chris MasterJohn (01:55:01 -> 02:03:53)
not as much as it does, whether it’s there. Um, four day, I mean, it’s, you know, the fresher, your food is the better, uh, 48 oz of liver per week. Um, I don’t particularly like nutritional yeast but I think a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast a day can go a long way. Um, and I, I think those things are probably the top sort of superfoods that are, are useful to cover your nutritional base. Not, it’s not that everyone needs to eat them, but the, you know, the more that you have of these things that just sort of, you could say, um, you know, a couple of ounces of liver co covers a multitude of nutritional sins. And so, you know, if you, if you don’t eat it, you, you will probably have to be more mindful of other things. Um, because if you just, if you just get a handful of these kind of extremely nutrient dense, um no, you know, superfoods, you could call them in quotes. Uh that, that, that, that takes care of a lot of stuff that you don’t need to think about. Um, but, you know, in terms of, um, in terms of like which nutrients I’m uh, I’m a big, I’m a big believer against this uh question. And so, uh the, the reason is, um, the, the reason is like there’s, uh, so one of the approaches that they do in kind of public health and nutrition is they say what are the nutrients of con of concern? And uh there are, there are big problems with the way they, the math that they use, uh that is not relevant to this point. Um But let me say it anyway. So what they do is they, so let me back up. So when they say like how much, um how much of this nutrient do people need these values? You’ll see the FDA puts labels on food packages. But ultimately, the science comes from what used to be the Institute of Medicine and is now the National Academy of Medicine, their Food and Nutrition Board, which makes the dietary reference intakes, which are D R I S um which include R D A S A term more people are familiar with, uh which is a recommended dietary allowance of a nutrient. And then there’s some other, other types of D R I s that are included like upper limits and other things. So when they do this, they assume that the uh that there is an average requirement that they have some evidence of. And then they say around this is a distribution where 97.95% of people are gonna be within two standard deviations of a requirement. So, um you know, if zinc, uh you know, you, well, let’s just say nutrient X is 10 mg a day. Um then maybe, maybe two standard deviations requirement up goes to 14 mg and two and two down uh goes to six mg or, or something like that. And so they set the R D A to try to hit the um to try to hit everyone except the top 2.5%. So they say this amount of this nutrient, 10 mg of x will cover the needs of 97.5% of people. So when the public health people go out and they look at what, what are the nutrients of concern in the population? They say they, by policy and by guidance from above, they do not use the R D A, they use the E A R which is the estimated average requirement. That’s the mean A around which that distribution is. And so they say if the mean intake in the population is equal to or above the E A R, the estimated average requirement, then the nutrient is not a nutrient of concern. This is pseudo mathematics in itself, right? Because if there is an average requirement and 50% of people have a higher requirement than that, what makes you think if the average intake is equal to the average requirement that the 50% of people who are eating more than the requirement are the exact 50% of people that need more. And the fif the 50% of people who are eating less are the exact people who need less. There’s no reason to believe that whatsoever. Whereas if they use the R D A, then they could at least say that if the mean intake of the population is, is, is hitting the R D A, then most people are, are, you know, roughly 97.5% of the population at least is getting, is getting what they need. Um So I disagree just on the whole basis of how they calculate this. But the, the reason to take it back to what you asked, the reason that I, I in principle don’t like the discussion of that is that most people who, like, are listening to this show are so wildly deviating from the standard American diet that they are wholly outside the bounds of whatever they decide. Even if they were doing it my way, they would just be eating a completely different diet. Right. And, and so even in here, like, maybe you don’t have a whole lot of vegans here, but you might have, you know, high protein fitness people, you might have keto people, you might have paleo people and when you, you might, and people are taking a bunch of supplements. Right? And so, you know, you can say people don’t get enough vitamin D, well, you know, not in the, not in all the people taking five and 10,000 I U of vitamin D, right? Like they, they’ve, you know, once you put yourself in, in that situation where you’re taking 5000 I U of vitamin D, you are now wholly outside the population of almost anyone who’s studied in any context whatsoever. Right. Because you, you have, you’ve, you’ve just change, ultimately changed your nutrition. Um, and I think that’s true of, of all these different permutations of the diets that people could be on. So, I, I do think that it is useful to say, like, what are the nutrients that are most likely to run low on a vegan diet? What are the nutrients that are most likely to run low on a keto diet? What are the nutrients that are most likely to run low on a paleo diet? And so I could, you know, make certain rules of thumb, like a paleo diet. Cuts out beans. And if you’re not eating beans and you’re not eating liver, you are not getting enough molybdenum. So if you’re eating a paleo diet, that um and your molybdenum requirement goes up when you eat more animal protein, because the sulfur amino acids generate sulfite, which is toxic and needs to be oxidized using an enzyme that has moli moli as a co factor, sulfide oxidate to sulfate, which is highly useful. So you’re not gonna get the sulfate benefit of your animal protein and you are going to get sulfite toxicity or whatever you wanna call it. So, sub optimal health from too much sulfite, if you eat a diet that is high in animal protein and low in molybdenum. And that’s what a paleo diet looks like when it has no liver and it has no Lagos not saying you have to eat the lagoons. I’m saying you have to pick something that’s high in molybdenum and it’s gonna be very obscure if it’s not liver lagoons. Um And so, you know, then you can uh pick like keto is, well, it really a lot of these things really depend on, like what type of keto you’re doing. Right. So, if you’re mostly fat keto, you’re gonna have all kinds of nutrient deficiencies or, or at least a propensity to it if your diet is 80% fat, because even the lean protein that you get is not gonna be meeting your requirements for all kinds of micronutrients. Um, and fat has certain things, but it’s just completely absent of magnesium, it’s completely absent of potassium, et cetera, et cetera. But if you, you know, if you take someone who’s eating six, uh is eating like a sandwich for each meal and three pieces of white bread, you can pretty easily predict that the things that they’re gonna be low in are the stuff that they took out of the flour when they refined it that they didn’t put back in. Right. So all those people are magnesium deficient, but there’s people running around saying everyone’s magnesium deficient and this is insane like, yes, everyone, someone who’s, you know, yes, the average person who’s, who has like the number one source of calories in their diet is white flour. And the number two source of calories in their diet is white sugar. Yes, they are deficient in magnesium. But you are speaking to people that don’t eat that, right? And so I, I just, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to promote the idea that like these are the five nutrients that everyone needs to think about. It’s, it’s more like, where are you in your diet today? Well, tell me that and I can tell you what nutrients that you probably want to think about. Someone who’s on carnivore should be thinking about vitamin C should be thinking about folate and, you know, conditionally they may, well, need to be thinking about other nutrients as well. Like molybdenum, for example, it depends whether they’re eating shellfish, whether they’re eating liver and so on.
Dr. Lyon (02:03:53 -> 02:04:01)
How do you determine um if someone needs moli, do you look at organic acid? What’s the best way to look at some of these nutrients?
Chris MasterJohn (02:04:01 -> 02:07:24)
Yeah. Well, the best way is to do testing. Um and I have, I I I do have an ebook on this called testing nutritional status, the ultimate cheat sheet. But I, I think as a um as a, a simple rule of thumb, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you were to pair um a Genova ion panel or a nutri val, which both have a combination of plasma amino acids and urinary organic acids with a vibrant America micronutrient panel, which has plasma levels and intracellular levels. Sometimes red blood cells, sometimes white blood cells uh together and you just get your serum biotin measured as well as that. Uh those, those three things cover most, almost all tests and do so pretty efficiently, you know. So if you try to, if you try to like reverse engineer how would I get this from lab core? Um You’re gonna have a lot more vials of blood. I’ll tell you that we go through that all the time. Yeah. Um but I, I, I think that covers most of it. You have to look at a combination of functional markers and nutrient levels. I think a lot of functional medicine practitioners make the mistake of, of just saying, well, here’s the limitation of the plasma serum B 12. Like no, we should look at homocysteine and methyl melodic acid. Well, not really because if you have, if you have uh no B 12 in your blood, then it is worth knowing that the problem is you’re, you know, you’re probably not absorbing B 12. It could be a dietary deficiency. But you do want to know that versus it’s um you know, not getting into your cells, it’s a totally different problem versus, you know, you’re urine urinating it all out or these are all different um different problems. And so I, as you know, as an example, a lot of uh a lot of functional medicine practitioners will measure red blood cell magnesium and not measure serum magnesium. Because uh one of the, one of the sloppy inferences I I see is that you want to measure it in tissues even though plasma is a tissue. But um the reality is that your serum levels of electrolytes are extremely important in and of themselves. And so I, I’ve seen cases of people um who might not have getting, been, getting any guidance, might have just been self running their own, you know, using AD T C company to measure their R BC magnesium. But they just, they just keep measuring their R BC magnesium and it’s low. So they keep upbringing their dose of magnesium and they’re like, uh but I have some other problem that’s making slowing my heart rate and I don’t know what it is. And I’m like, no, you have hypermagnesemia because you’ve never measured your serum magnesium. You don’t realize that the problem is it’s not getting into your cell and you probably have two X at the top of the reference range on the serum magnesium that is altering your heart function. Um And so there, there’s a, there’s a lot of problems when you try to pick one marker of a nutrient status and say this is, is the right one. Um And so I, I do think that when you pair plasma levels with cellular levels that gives you is the nutrient there and is it getting inside the cell? And then, and then organic acids and, and amino acids are, are generally your top markers for, is it doing its job like is the, is the thing that’s supposed to be metabolized with the help of this nutrient getting metabolized in that way?
Dr. Lyon (02:07:24 -> 02:07:42)
Do you think that it matters what your nutrition is for the week? Because those markers probably change pretty quickly. If, for example, you’re eating a lot of liver this week and then you take your vibrant, your organic acid and whatever else the other in your, your blood, your serum biotin. How fast do these things change?
Chris MasterJohn (02:07:43 -> 02:09:44)
Uh It’s different for each nutrient and it’s, and it’s very different. If you’re looking at the functional markers versus you’re looking at the plasma level. I, I think if you don’t take supplements and first of all, I think if you do your, your, your um testing in the fasting state and you don’t take any supplements from the evening before and you’re not mega dosing anything and you’re not, and you’re not pounding like a specific source of something. You know, for example, like you’re not eating um a whole plate of clams the day before you run your serum B 12, uh if you’re just eating sort of a smoothed out diet over time and you’re on your normal regimen and you don’t have a megadose of anything, then you can just, you can just cut out supplements from the dinner before and, and fast on the morning of and your serum and plasma levels should be fairly accurate. If you are mega dosing something, it would, it would behoove you to go Google plasma, half life of X and multiply it by five and cut out that amount of time. Um So biotin, for example, you will see different half lives depending on the the dose and the context, but the longest half life I’ve seen is 26 hours. And the uh you would want eight days off of it if your goal was to measure the bi by can interfere with bunch of other tests. And for me, most of those tests, you can just cut it out, cut out megadose of biotin for four days. Um Although thyroid antibodies, there’s some evidence that you wanna cut out for seven days. But if your goal is actually, I wanna measure my serum biotin to quantify my biotin status, then you, then you, you wanna cut out any Megadose for eight days. Um It’s different for each nutrient. But I would say like if it’s a Megadose, like, you know, 100 X, 200 x, 300 X the R D A of that vitamin, you probably want to cut it out for a week before you do the testing.
Dr. Lyon (02:09:44 -> 02:10:02)
I think that that’s very valuable and we’ll put a link to where people can find your book and I, I read it uh quite a while ago. I think it was, I remember it being really good and uh you’re welcome. Uh What’s next for you? What do you think is next for you? What’s on the docket aside from you being a nomad and not wanting to borrow my Children?
Chris MasterJohn (02:10:03 -> 02:11:30)
Um Yeah. Well, I’m uh I got, I have one ft straddled in finishing my vitamins and minerals. One oh one book and one ft straddled in uh doing all this on myself and optimizing my own biochemistry. And then, as you indicated, when I do finish my book, I am gonna become a nomad. Uh But you know, uh in the nutrition space, I think what I, what I wanna do is uh take up and down the teaching of nutrition. So I think the first step will be to, I hope my vitamins and minerals one oh one book is something that a lot, you know, people ask me what’s my target audience. And I say that the person that didn’t realize they want a new, they wanted to know what each nutrient does did until they started flipping through the book. And so if I get all these people interested in nutrition, I think the best next thing for them is to give them, you know, the next step of education. And so I’ll probably design uh micronutrient classes that are at kind of a, you know, beginner, intermediate advanced level or a sort of um you know, undergrad, grad school, expert level. Uh And then I also want, I also wanna drill down. So eventually I’ll probably team up with someone who wants to make children’s books or something like that and just vertically integrate, getting, getting them interested in nutrition while they’re young and then giving them what they need to become an expert.
Dr. Lyon (02:11:30 -> 02:11:48)
I love it. I love it. Um Chris Master John, I am very much hoping that when you complete your book and do all your stuff and you are a nomad that you will still come back on the podcast because you are insightful, articulate and just a pleasure. So, thank you so much.
Chris MasterJohn (02:11:48 -> 02:11:49)
I’d love to. Thank you so much