Age Slower, Lessen Your Inflammation & Boost Your Immune System with Polyssacharides

  |   EP160   |   47 mins.

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Episode Highlights

It's ignorant to say that sugar is bad Share on XPolysaccharides tamper down and control chronic inflammation Share on XImmune function is highly related to cardiovascular function Share on XNeurodegeneration is linked to a poor immune system Share on XDepending on their characteristic, sugar has a very different effect on us than what is commonly believed Share on X

About Dr. John Lewis

John E. Lewis, Ph.D., is the Founder and President of Dr. Lewis Nutrition™ and a former Associate Professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is a Diplomate, Faculty Member, and Advisor for the Medical Wellness Association and a lecturer for the Institute for Brain Potential.

Dr. Lewis has authored over 180 peer-reviewed publications and has led more than 30 research studies, securing over $23 million in grants and contracts. His research primarily investigates the effects of nutrition, dietary supplements, and exercise on health. Notably, his work on Alzheimer’s disease was the focus of his widely acclaimed TEDxMiami talk.

An advocate for a whole-food, plant-based diet and regular exercise, Dr. Lewis is committed to advancing clinical nutrition to improve health outcomes.

John E Lewis 1

Top Things You’ll Learn From Dr. John Lewis

  • [3:33] Benefits of Polysaccharides to Your Overall Health
    • Why sugar does not mean bad
    • The most important & effective nutrient humans need to consume
    • What are polysaccharides
    • The story behind polysaccharide research
  • [7:39] Sources of Polysaccharides
    • Common food sources to find polysaccharides
      • Aloe Vera
      • Rice bran
      • Mushroom
      • Seaweed
    • How a woman was saved from cancer by eating rice bran
    • Benefits of eating rice bran vs aloe vera for optimum polysaccharide consumption
  • [18:40] The Positive Impact of Polysaccharides for Your Immune System
    • 2 Types of inflammation you need to know about
      • Acute inflammation
      • Chronic systemic inflammation
    • 5 ways polysaccharides impact your health
      • Controls chronic inflammation
      • Boosts/modulates overall immune system
      • Balances different components of the immune system
      • Improves adult stem cell production
      • Increases natural killer cell count
    • The discovery of polysaccharide’s immune boosting function
    • Why ageing fast is linked to your immune system
    • Challenges of extracting pure polysaccharide
  • [24:59] How to Use Polysaccharide Supplements
    • How do polysaccharides compare to other immune boosters
    • The main link between polysaccharides & beta-glucans in mushroom supplements
    • Big red flags & what to avoid when using polysaccharides
    • How to dose polysaccharide supplements
    • More benefits of polysaccharides
  • [29:33] The Truth About Antinutrients
    • What are antinutrients
    • Health effects of antinutrients on your body
    • Concern over antinutrients in certain plant foods
    • The reason most cultures discard products that contain antinutrients
    • Why antinutrients are demonized
    • Where to find antinutrients

Resources Mentioned

  • Polysaccharide Supplements: Dr. Lewis Nutrition
  • Daily Supplement: All Natural Supplements for Brain Health – Daily Brain Care
  • Article: 75+ Latest Biohacking Stats & Facts to Optimize Your Health
  • Cheatsheet: Longevity Supplements Cheat Sheet
  • Teacher: Dr. Reg McDaniel

Episode Transcript

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Nick Urban [00:00:05]:
Can sugar be healthy? This week we are discussing a form of complex sugars or complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides. What they can do for your health, specifically, how they can modulate your immune system to work better, the link they have with how well your brain is performing, the surprising role they’re playing in improving outcomes from neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and a whole lot more. In this episode, we also discuss the role of anti nutrients in the human diet. These are the things like the trypsin inhibitors, phytates, oxalates, lectins, goitrogens, and a bunch of other plant defense compounds that are meant to deter humans and other animals from consuming the plants. Now, in the carnivore world and in certain nutrition circles, foods containing these substances are banned and shunned. If you have certain conditions, completely removing sources of those anti nutrients can benefit you in the short term. But as you’re about to see, some of the best sources of polysaccharides and other bioactive substances are in those same foods. Joining us this week is John E.

Nick Urban [00:01:30]:
Lewis, PhD. He’s the founder and president of Doctor Lewis Nutrition and former associate professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is a diplomat, faculty member, and advisor of the Medical Wellness association, and lectures for the Institute for Brain Potential. With over 180 peer reviewed publications, Doctor Lewis has led more than 30 research studies, raising over $23 million in grants and contracts. His research focuses on the impact of nutrition, dietary supplements and exercise on health. He also presented a TEDx talk on Alzheimer’s disease. And today we’re discussing one of the topics that has stood out to him most throughout his career, polysaccharides. You can find the links to everything we discuss in the show notes for this episode, which will the number 160.

Nick Urban [00:02:32]:
If you want to explore his work further, he wrote a book called the Complete Nutrition guide to cognitive function, which is available in Amazon and other bookstores. What I found most fascinating about all of this is that functional, medicinal adaptogenic mushrooms have become quite popular recently, specifically for their role on modulating the immune system, bringing everything back into balance. One of the superstar ingredients within these mushrooms is beta glucans, and these substances fall into the category of polysaccharides. I have a feeling that a number of health foods derive a lot of their benefits from their polysaccharide content, as well as other bioactives that we don’t know much about yet, but we will over the coming years and decades. All right, let’s bring in Doctor Lewis. Doctor Lewis, welcome to the podcast.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:03:28]:
Thank you so much for having me. It’s my pleasure to be here today. I look forward to our conversation.

Nick Urban [00:03:33]:
Me too. Today we’re going to be talking about a subject that I haven’t covered much on the show before, and that is polysaccharides, and how they influence with, they interact with human health and the immune system and the brain, which is one of your many fortes.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:03:49]:
Thank you for that. I think it’s an interesting topic because, well, it’s interesting for a number of reasons. One certainly is the fact that, um, when you say the word polysaccharide, I think a lot of, maybe a lot of your listeners don’t know what polysaccharides are, right? So I could have said complex sugars, or you could have introduced it as saying complex sugars. And of course, as you well know, based on all the information in the mass media from the last, what, 30, 40, even many more years than that, people immediately associate the word sugar with bad, right? I mean, we just have this idea that you mention anything that’s a sugar and that’s bad. But I can tell you that’s wrong, that’s ignorant. And there are a number of reasons that we’ll talk about why that’s true, but there are lots of sugars that Mother Nature provides or makes. And so depending on the source of the sugar, which is one characteristic, and then depending on the biochemical complexity, that’s the other main characteristic. Sugars can be very, very different in terms of their interactions or effects on us.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:04:59]:
So, for example, a monosaccharide, that’s the simplest form of sugar. That’s a very simple sugar. Something like high fructose corn syrup is a simple sugar. We know that high fructose corn syrup spikes your insulin. It causes your glucose to go up. So typically that’s the sugar that we want to avoid or completely eliminate as much as possible. So I’d be the first to admit that that type of sugar is one that we want to stay away from. Then you have disaccharides, which are a little bit more complex, something like sucrose.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:05:31]:
Again, typically not thought of as a health food by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it’s a little bit more complexity in its design. And then you have the polysaccharide, which is actually made up of oligosaccharides, which is kind of one more sort of half step in between disaccharides and polysaccharides. And these are literally hundreds of glucose units attached together with different glycosidic bonds that create incredible information that our genes recognize and look for. In fact, when we consume anything, our genes don’t really do much until they receive information from the environment. And of course, through diet and our food, that’s really the way that our genes get, I would say, the most of our information, although they received information from, of course, different exposures, toxins, chemicals, radiation, exercise, other forms of stress. I mean, all these things give our genes information, but from our food and our diet, that level of information is really what our genes interpret from the environment and then give the instructions for our gene, I’m sorry, for our cells to function. So these polysaccharides that my colleagues and I have studied, in particular from aloe vera and rice bran. Wow.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:06:52]:
I mean, these are, you know, what, what can I say other than just really going into the research? But these are such complex, fascinating molecules, literally coded with all of this information that our genes utilize. And so based on the work that we’ve done over the last couple of decades, it’s just fascinating to look at this information that, that we’ve published over time and all this published work that we have, you know, now as part of our record of, part of our scientific exploration. But these polysaccharides from aloe vera and rice bran are just, in my opinion, arguably the most important and most effective nutrients that humans can consume.

Nick Urban [00:07:34]:

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:07:35]:
And yet most people haven’t even, they have no clue about this.

Nick Urban [00:07:39]:
So, John, what are the common food sources? You’ve listed a couple, but before this conversation, my knowledge of polysaccharides was that one of the best, most common sources is from mushrooms. Is that accurate?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:07:50]:
Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. So in addition to the aloe vera and rice brand, I would say the other two big classes of foods that you can find, polysaccharides are both mushrooms and different types of seaweed. So these two different group food groups have, they’re loaded with polysaccharides. Now, I talk about being ignorant. I would be ignorant if I tried to share any information that I could with our listeners about the polysaccharides from those other types of food groups, because, quite frankly, I haven’t studied them to any great extent. But yes, there are other food groups that you get, these polysaccharides as well. They’re obviously, again, different because they’re coming from different food groups, but they are similar in their biochemical complexity.

Nick Urban [00:08:34]:
And you chose to focus on rice bran and aloe vera because those are the highest nutritional sources.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:08:41]:
I’m glad you asked me that, because it’s. It recalls that, or I recall that the reason I got into both aloe vera and rice friend was actually meeting two people who came into my life about 20 years ago that did not know each other, and they completely changed my life. One of the things that was very apparent to me when I started getting into this was that I really knew nothing about the potential of polysaccharides. So when I was in grad school, I may have had, like, one lecture on polysaccharides and biochemistry. And basically all I knew about saccharides at that time was that they are a fuel source for the cells. I really had no clue about how dynamic they are. But I just happened to meet these two people. Doctor Reg McDaniel.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:09:26]:
He’s a pathologist, actually, by training, but his life became completely turned upside down when he was introduced to this aloe vera product back in the mid eighties. Now, this is again going nearly 40 years ago back, and doctor McDaniel had a group of guys that were taking this aloe vera product. They happened to be hiv positive at that time, but they had no viral load and their cd four cells were normal, and they had no idea why this aloe vera was so dynamic in keeping them healthy, essentially disease free. Reg thought, though, this is a joke. He thought he was being pranked, basically. But thankfully, they didn’t take no for an answer. And so it ended up changing his life. He went from running a pathology unit at a hospital to basically practicing nutrition.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:10:18]:
And now for, again, nearly 40 years he’s been at this. And so the aloe Vera polysaccharide story came from his side of the world. And then he and I met about 20 years ago through a mutual acquaintance who got us together because of both of our mutual interests in nutrition. And then Reg, Doctor McDaniel just completely changed my life on that side of the story. And then on the other side of the story, the rice Bran story, I just happened to receive a letter one day to my office while I was still full time at the University of Miami. And this lady, Barbara Kimley, was introducing herself and her journey. She had had an article written about her, about her journey and her basically surviving this horrible form of cancer. She had metastatic disease, originating, I believe, from her thyroid, went through radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, every conventional procedure.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:11:14]:
And they still told her, after butchering this poor lady. Well, Barbara, you only have about six months to live. So you can imagine how devastated this lady was. Well, she found this rice bran product that was advertised as basically saying if you have cancer or HIV or any other serious immunomodulation problem disorder, rice bran may help you, it may benefit you, it may boost your quality of life. And at that point, she thinks, well, I’ve got nothing to live, excuse me, nothing to lose. And she ended up living another nine years. And at the time that I met Barbara, she was already several years past this six month prognosis. So you can imagine at that point, I mean, this lady was, like, incredibly motivated to tell the world about this rice brand.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:12:06]:
And so I met these two people again about really about the same time. I mean, it was kind of amazing how they both came into my life around the same time almost 20 years ago, and it just completely changed the course of my life. We ended up developing relationships with various groups and were able to start running these different clinical trials, and it just totally changed my life.

Nick Urban [00:12:29]:
So, yeah, I’m not sure the FDA would love those claims about what the rice brand products can do for conditions like that. But how do both of them know that it was the polysaccharides specifically, those were the constituents within the products that made the difference. And it wasn’t something we still haven’t identified, or even a combination of the things that we have identified in those products.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:12:53]:
Well, I’m glad you, I’m glad you said that about FDA. I mean, let’s be clear. I’m. I didn’t make any, I still haven’t made any disease claims, and I won’t do that. I’ve never, uh. You’ll never hear me say anything about using nutrition to treat, cure, manage, mitigate, or diagnose disease. I don’t do that. So I operate very specifically under the Deshay act of 1994, which Congress passed, unfortunately, was signed into law by Clinton to allow the industry people that work in nutrition to make structured function claims around nutrition and how they affect ourselves.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:13:29]:
So I’m very clear that I never claim that we’re treating disease with nutrition. But, but the. Again, Doctor McDaniel’s story just goes back to. He was introduced to this aloe vera product, and as a physician, he, you know, once he finally took an interest, he said, okay, well, you know, let’s see if I can understand, mechanistically, what’s going on here. You know, as a pathologist, I mean, obviously he had great training in terms of understanding disease process and how your cells, over time, either you get exposed to a virus in the case of HIV or just through aging, you’re your cells and your DNA degrade over time. But he couldn’t get any of his physician friends interested in nutrition. They just had no interest in it. However, he had a group of friends at Texas A and M at the veterinarian school, and they ended up launching, basically launching a research program.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:14:22]:
And what they discovered was that these particular polysaccharides in aloe vera. So aloe vera is not just polysaccharides. Just to make sure we’re clear, the inner leaf gel is about 98 and a half, 99% water, first of all. So anytime anybody hears me talk about aloe vera, they always. A lot of people initially think, oh, well, I can just drink the gel and I’ll get the same benefit. No, you can’t, because you’d have to drink buckets full of that gel to get any amount of therapeutic concentration of the polysaccharide. So that’s, that’s the first issue. You’ve got all of this water that you have to get rid of first.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:15:01]:
So you first extract out all the water. Well, then even after that, you still have, you know, other things. You’ve got fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, minerals. You’ve got lots of other things that are sitting there in that gel, not just the polysaccharides. So you try to get all that stripped out, too, and then you get as much of a pure concentration as you can of these polysaccharides. But what they discovered in their research program was that in giving these polysaccharides to basically anything they could, you know, put in their mouths, whether it was mice, rats, rabbits, pigs, cows, horses. I mean, you name it, literally every animal. Students, whether they were undergrads, grad students, medical students, vet students, you know, they gave it to anything and everything that, that walked and had a central nervous system, and they couldn’t, they couldn’t.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:15:55]:
First of all, they couldn’t kill anybody. So there were no adverse effects, there were no downsides to it. But what they discovered time and time again was that the polysaccharides basically boosted immune function. And again, that’s not talking about treating disease. That’s talking about enhancing your immune system’s functionality, which is incredibly important to your wellbeing, to all of our wellbeing. And so they ended up publishing a bunch of papers. And again, this is way before Reg and I had met. So this is like in the 1990s, up until the early, first part of the early two thousands, where they had published, you know, a series of different papers looking at, at how these polysaccharides function.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:16:38]:
And so that’s how all of that sort of came into being. On the rice brain side, this actually all originated out of Japan. And so there have been other papers showing that literally bran had rice bran has thousands of different phytonutrients in it. Again, you know, polysaccharides, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, elements, cofactors, metabolites. I mean, just a wide, a wide, wide range of different components. But again, they focused in on the polysaccharide content of it. They, they looked at all these other materials and they said, yeah, but the polysaccharide is where the most information occurs. So I think that’s the link, you know, between the two different plants, is that if you look at both plants, aloe vera and rice, and then you drill down into both of those plants and look at what potentially is the most bioactive or informative for cells, and that is the polysaccharides.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:17:34]:
And so the same thing ended up happening on the rice bran side. They started looking at the polysaccharides that were contained within these rice bran, and almost the exact same story occurred. And again, this is happening in Japan and Asia, whereas the aloe vera stuff is happening in, you know, Texas and the United States, two totally different parts of the world, but yet very similar things going on at the same time and very similar outcomes. The same thing happened with the rice bran. They showed all these incredible immune enhancing, immune boosting immunomodulation effects due to consuming the rice brains.

Nick Urban [00:18:10]:
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Joel Green, but he’s been talking and writing a lot about immune centric medicine and how your the savior immune system, whether it’s in a pro inflammatory or anti inflammatory state, how that can interfere with fat loss or it can make putting on muscle and even strength harder, how it has all these seemingly unrelated effects that you wouldn’t assume would be attributed to or linked to the immune system function, but are. So let’s first give a 10,000 foot lay of the land. Like, what are the different things that polysaccharides impact? And then let’s dive more into immunity as it pertains to more than just defending from pathogens.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:18:56]:
Well, this is a great point. And I think one of the things to emphasize about inflammation is that, globally speaking, or the 10,000 foot view is that we, we actually deal with two types of inflammation. So the first type is the acute inflammation that we have. If we get exposed to a virus or a bacteria, now we have some sort of infection, we need that inflammation. If we have an auto accident or we’re out playing sports or something and we break a bone or we tear a ligament, we have an injury. From that, we have inflammation. So that inflammatory signaling is not only necessary, but it probably actually allows us to live, right? We actually can either recover from a trauma, a traumatic event, or we can recover from an infection. So we want that signaling to be in place, and we want inflammation in that case.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:19:47]:
But then once we’re healed, once the trauma is repaired, once the that damages has been repaired, or once we’re beyond a virus or a bacteria, now, we want that signaling to change. Now we want the signaling to go back to the normal type of signaling. But if it’s impaired for some reason, because either we, you know, we don’t eat well, we don’t exercise, we maybe use tobacco and alcohol or other drugs or can’t manage your stress, we have insomnia, all these things that a lot of people deal with today. If all of those things are happening and we’re not healthy now, we probably do have impaired signaling. And then that signaling translates into the chronic systemic inflammation that, as you mentioned, now causes us to become obese. Then we go down the road of metabolic syndrome. Then we have type two diabetes or heart disease on top of it, cancer, dementia, all these other things that happen to us as we go through the life cycle. So that’s the chronic inflammation that’s dysregulated, that’s not welcome that we don’t want to have.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:20:56]:
What we do know with the polysaccharides related to inflammation is that if you are in a state of dealing with chronic inflammation, for example, in the studies that we conducted with people with Alzheimer’s and Ms, we know that inflammation is a significant part of this story. In any type of neurodegeneration, there’s an inflammatory component that’s chronic, systemic, that helps to progress that disease. And that’s obviously not what we want with these polysaccharides. They actually help to re regulate or modulate the immune system, to tamper down or to reduce that inflammation. So that’s a very significant effect that we’ve noted. And again, this is not just from our lab. This is from scientists from all around the world show that the polysaccharides can help to control inflammation. So that’s one very significant thing that they do.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:21:50]:
The second thing that they do is to, again, regulate. There are different words, different synonyms, regulate, boost, enhance, modulate the overall immune system. So looking at different cellular components, like we’ve looked at cd four cells, cd eight cells, those are two of the primary t cell categories that we’ve looked at in a lot of our research. We know that we can help to improve the functionality of these types of components of the immune system. So those are very important drivers of overall immune function. And I’ll talk about this a little bit more when I get more specific about our research. Third, we know that we can balance different components of the immune system. So much like I was talking about.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:22:33]:
The immune system helps to balance and coordinate with all the other organ systems. It also has its own intricate balance within itself. So you have these different pro inflammatory and anti inflammatory components and signaling mechanisms. And we know that the polysaccharides help to balance those components as well. That’s another component to this or another function of these polysaccharides. Fourth, we know that they help to improve or boost adult stem production. Adult stem cell production, sorry. We know that, as you know, we need adult stem cells every day.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:23:12]:
Our body is constantly going through at the cellular level, the life and death process, apoptosis. And as a cell dies, we need to make sure that our immune system is surveillant enough to make sure that those cells get basically eaten and disposed of so that they don’t clump together and create carcinogenesis, atherogenesis, other disease type progress that can occur. And so we want to make sure that our immune system is really functional and able to take care of that stuff. Well, as a cell dies, of course, it’s replicating itself and replacing itself. And so the body does that, globally speaking, through this adult stem cell production process. But, of course, like many other things as we age, that that capacity or that process starts to go down. So we know, again, that the polysaccharides can help to increase that particular mechanism as well. Natural killer cells.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:24:10]:
I didn’t mention those yet. Our natural killer cells are one of the first lines of defense, again, against virus or transforming cells. So these transforming cells as they’re dying, they have a tendency to become carcinogenic, if you will. They can become something that is damaged, that will replicate, and then clump together with other damaged dying cells. And if that happens, that can end up turning into cancer down the road. So our natural killer cells have the capacity to say, hey, there’s a virus, or, hey, there’s a dying cell. I need to take that thing out before it causes us damage or it causes us a problem. So we know that the polysaccharides can help to increase the natural killer cells capacity to knock out these cells and to increase the natural killer cell counts.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:24:59]:

Nick Urban [00:24:59]:
Yeah, that’s comprehensive. And what is the link between polysaccharides and beta glucans in commonly listed as a component in mushroom supplements?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:25:12]:
Great question. In fact, some. I just was in Austin, Texas, this past week and giving a similar lecture or presentation, and someone asked me about beta glucan. So beta glucan is another type of polysaccharide. Actually, it’s different, obviously, from the aloe vera and rice brain. I think most beta glucan actually comes from oats. And. And then beta glucan can be found in some types of mushrooms, and I believe in things like lentils as well.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:25:42]:
So, again, it’s another type of polysaccharide.

Nick Urban [00:25:46]:
The other thing that I find the most interesting about immunity, because I don’t get sick very often. So I often think, so what if it fortifies my defenses and modulates my immune system more? I don’t really care. But then when I looked into the research and realized what an important role it plays in so many other things, like we mentioned previously, but also like the rate of aging, how fast you age, is in part determined by the state of your immune system. Are there any other really big important links like that that people should know?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:26:18]:
So, for example, immune function is highly related to cardiovascular function. So if we allow our immune system to not, excuse me, not function as it should, if we insult it with, again, being sedentary, eating a crappy diet, using tobacco and alcohol, all these other things, we’re not only damaging the classical things like our cardiovascular system, but we actually are damaging the immune system’s ability to protect the endothelium. So the endothelium, that is your lining in all of your blood vessels, it has a very intimate relationship between the cells in the immune system and the cells in the endothelium and in the cardiovascular system. So if you’re not protecting yourself, if you’re not eating well and supplementing with certain things and exercising, you’re speeding up your cardiovascular disease process as well. And again, that’s very intimately related to immune function because of the way all these different cells, all these different cellular components between each of those systems talk to each other. So that’s one very good example of this. The other one, of course, neurodegeneration, which is what we’ve looked at, there’s very significant links between how, for example, the brain clears plaque and other waste byproducts at night when we sleep. There’s a whole system to that.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:27:45]:
And so that’s also very linked between the immune system and the central nervous system. So clearing out all of that material every night is very, very important. And I think thats why insomnia, as you know, is such a problem for people today. And its really tragic.

Nick Urban [00:28:02]:
So how do polysaccharides compare to other immune boosters and substances that modulate the gut and immunity?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:28:13]:
Well, I think the classic ones, you know, obviously we think of vitamin C and zinc anytime. You know, you talk about helping to prevent against an infection. I think those are two, you know, vitamin and mineral that most people commonly think of. And obviously those have been studied, it’s been shown to have such a very potent effect on being able to block the replication of virus. And so I think that’s obviously a very important material and the science is pretty, pretty significant for that, I think. Anything else? You know, maybe you’re talking about what vitamin D? Obviously vitamin D has now been shown. The last time I checked, I think it’s up to like 4500 out of our 30 or 40,000 genes that we have, 4500 genes are affected by vitamin D on some level. And a lot of that, you know, classically we thought of was mostly for brain health.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:29:05]:
But now we know that vitamin D operating as kind of like a pro hormone, not really a vitamin, is very significant in, in basically every part of our body. And of course that relates to immune function as well. I don’t think it’s quite as maybe well known or recognized as it’s for its value and immune function as vitamin C and zinc. But, but I think, um, you know, those are arguably, you know, a couple of the most significant ones.

Nick Urban [00:29:33]:
Well, I want to segue a little bit now to something you mentioned earlier, and that is the whole concept of anti nutrients, the phytates, the oxalates, the trypsin inhibitors, all those things that are typically present in certain parts of plants and plant materials. And I’m curious on your thoughts of what, why most cultures around the world discarded the brand of rice and the parts of the plants that contained the highest levels of those anti nutrients or those substances that people now, especially in the carnivore and keto world, and even some of those in plant based, tend to avoid like the plague.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:30:14]:
I always reflect back to one thing one of my professors in grad school said, and he was, he was a guy who actually was involved in the creation of Gatorade and he was making a joke about Gatorade. And this, I’m dating myself, but this is back in the nineties. And, and Doctor Welch said that when they were initially developing the formula for Gatorade, it tasted so badly that they couldn’t get anybody to buy it. But they had tested it on University of Florida athletes who were, you know, they were at practice and they were sweating their butts off and they were tired. And so when you’re that exhausted and you’re that dehydrated, your, your body turns down the sense of taste, and you’ll drink anything. I mean, you’ll drink battery acid because it’s a liquid, and you’re attempting to try to hydrate yourself. So the formula that they had developed that they showed actually worked to help rehydrate and, you know, be beneficial for sports performance turned out to be nothing close to what the Gatorade product was on the shelf because they had to load it with sugar and whatever else they had to do with it, change the formula to make it taste like something that a consumer would actually taste. And so I say that.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:31:25]:
To say that, and again, I can’t take credit for this, but doctor Welch always said, you have marketing, and I can’t do it in the screen, but you have marketing way over my head, and you have science, you know, way down at the floor, and you have this big gigantic gulf in between. So I say all that to say that this rising notion of anti nutrient, I mean, I really, quite frankly, I haven’t focused too much on that. I really don’t know. That’s actually a great question, and I don’t have a good answer for you. Yeah.

Nick Urban [00:31:55]:
And I think that anti nutrients have been definitely demonized more than they need to be. For the average person, sure, it might neutralize and bind to some of the vitamins and minerals, maybe not even vitamins, just minerals within certain plant foods. So you won’t be getting the same levels that you’re reading out in the research or seeing on the package label. But for people that have a robust, modulated, healthy immune system, don’t have sensitivities, I don’t see much harm in getting a few calories of a brown rice or something like that to get your polysaccharides in, because there’s other beneficial constituents and compounds within those foods that aren’t going to be harmful. And so if there is an issue that’s not genetic or genomic, with sensitivities towards those substances or proclivities to not be able to detox them or whatever, then there’s probably an underlying issue that, once resolved, then introducing a small amount of them into the diet will yield more benefit than harm.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:33:01]:
That’s right.

Nick Urban [00:33:02]:
What else should we know about polysaccharides?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:33:06]:
The two clinical trials that we conducted with people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease and people with relapsing, remitting multiple sclerosis. I don’t know how many. If you even, you’ve had someone in your family with one of those diseases, or Parkinson’s, you know, the three big neurodegenerative diseases, obviously, from a conventional medical perspective, not a lot can be done for those people. It’s really sad to me how badly people with those three diseases are affected and how little the conventional medical perspective offers those people. You know, I mean, if you, if you think of the five FDA approved drugs for dementia, basically, if you’re lucky, you have a stabilization of whatever level you’ve been diagnosed, but then you’re going to continue falling off the cliff because the body ultimately builds up a resistance to those medications and then Parkinson’s. I mean, look at people like Michael J. Fox and Christina Applegate. They’ve been afflicted with it now, and, and I know Fox has been trying for many years to raise money to figure out a cure for this, but it’s fascinating when you look at these diseases, not only is there nothing really effective for them from a conventional medical perspective, but the scientific community can’t even really come to a consensus on what causes these diseases.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:34:27]:
So from that perspective, it’s kind of no wonder that there’s no effective treatment because no one can. Even we took our allopolysaccharide complex and we ran clinical trials in these two groups. People with Alzheimer’s and people with miss. The people with Alzheimer’s were at the moderate to severe severity level, which, as you probably know, Big pharma has no interest in studying those people. Those are people Big pharma already considers a lost cause anyway, so they don’t even care. We put them on our dietary supplement. We conducted assessments, neurocognitive assessments, at baseline, three, six, nine and twelve months. And then we drew blood at baseline and twelve months.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:35:10]:
We didn’t have enough funding in our budget to do three, six and nine for the blood work, but what we showed in the results was beyond our expectations. We showed clinically and statistically significant improvement in cognitive function at nine and twelve months, according to the ADAS. Cognitive. The ADAS cog is widely considered to be the gold standard for assessing cognition, particularly in dementia studies. It’s probably been referenced in I don’t know how many thousands of articles, but it’s been around a long time, so it’s definitely the gold standard. And I’m here to tell you, I mean, it blew us away. We were getting anecdotal responses along the way that I was hopeful, but until you actually look at the data and run the statistics, you don’t know what you have. We showed the cd four to cd eight ratio, which is an overall marker of immune function.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:35:59]:
We showed that increase over that twelve month period, and that’s your ratio of your helper cells to your cytotoxic cells. And that’s not just important for people with Alzheimer’s, that’s important for all of us. In our inflammatory markers, we showed reductions in TNF alpha and VEGF. Both of those proteins are commonly looked at in cardiovascular disease and cancer. Our paper was also probably the first paper that ever showed reductions in those two markers in people with Alzheimer’s disease. And then we showed just under a 300% increase in the adult stem cell production process according to cd 14 cells. And so I didn’t mention that the average age of these folks in this study was 79.9 years of age. So these were people with the worst type of Alzheimer’s, nearly 80 years of age on average.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:36:51]:
And oh, by the way, they didn’t just have Alzheimer’s, they had depression, diabetes, hypertension, other comorbid issues going on. So these were very old, very sick folks, and yet we had just incredible results. That study was incredible. We published two other papers after that looking at the relationship between Braden derived neurotrophic factor and different components of cognitive function and immune function. I didn’t think those two papers were as exciting as the first one, but we published the fourth paper from this study just this past year, where we looked at the ratio of th one to th two components in the immune system and then ultimately how that correlated with cognitive function. The th one to th two ratios, to our knowledge, and still to our knowledge, has, has never even been characterized in people with Alzheimer’s disease before. So for our listeners, just to make sure you understand, globally speaking, we’re talking the balance between pro and anti inflammation. So pro inflammation versus anti inflammation, that’s typically, broadly speaking, what the th one to th two ratio looks at.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:37:58]:
And that’s been around for quite a while, going back to like the mid eighties, I think it was first introduced as a theory in a mouse model of HIV, but it’s been classically looked at in things like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, even MS, lots of things that you think of as autoimmune, but it had never been characterized before in Alzheimer’s disease. It’s more recently been looked at in cancer and heart disease for its importance there. But in the MS study, we published two papers from there so far. In the first paper we looked at infections, which I learned as we were doing this work, that people with MS don’t actually typically die from neurodegeneration. They actually die from infection. So whether it’s a lung infection, a UTI, some other infection in the body, they actually die from infections as opposed to neurodegeneration. So in our study, at baseline, they had on average like eight infections. They were reporting at twelve months it was down to 2.5.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:39:00]:
So a huge change in their infection status. And that’s, you know, another component to, to these polysaccharides, their ability to, to deal with infection and help the body to overcome them. We also showed similar, although different, in different molecules, different proteins, lowering of inflammation, improving overall immune function. So those were really nice findings from that study and then a whole different data set. We looked at all these different quality of life markers, the FAMS, the functional assessment in multiple sclerosis is considered the gold standard for assessing functionality in people with MS. We showed very statistically significant improvements in all of those subscales over that twelve month period, along with improvements in, we had two different quality of life measures and then the Beck Depression inventory, which is a symptom or an inventory of different depressive symptoms. So wildly, statistically significant changes.

Nick Urban [00:40:00]:
Well, im glad youre doing that, John. We will start to wind this one down. A couple other questions for you before we part ways today. And when youre looking at polysaccharide products on the market, are there any big red flags for things that you want to avoid, such as using only a single type of polysaccharide or not having the right sourcing or not disclosing some percentage? Do you want to make sure that you don’t stack it with other ingredients? Does it bind to them and deactivate them or anything like that?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:40:32]:
It’s interesting, too, because I’m not, I’m not promoting, you know, vitamin C or vitamin D or magnesium that have, you know, literally hundreds, if not thousands of different products on the market. So the polysaccharide niche is actually pretty small. And so I would, I would argue that the, the type of aloe vera that I use that. I work with a company called Lauren Labs. I. I think the. The biolo, you can see it on, on our label of products. That is the supreme form of allo polysaccharide.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:41:03]:
There are some other suppliers, other material suppliers out there that also supply different types of allo polysaccharide. But I think the biello is the one. That’s the industry standard. So I would just encourage people, if. If they’re not interested in my brand, for whatever reason, to look for a brand that contains bialo. That would be one recommendation or suggestion I would have. And to our knowledge, and this is relying on Doctor McDaniel, too. So this is between the two of us.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:41:31]:
Over 60 years of experience combined with, you know, the research and working with individual people, individual clients, I would say that we have not seen one thing, literally not one other material, whether it’s a dietary supplement or even a medication, where if you take this allopolysaccharide complex, then it could potentially have a negative interaction or some sort of, you know, polypharmacy effect that would be going in the wrong direction. We literally haven’t seen anything like that. So that’s the beauty of that, too. I know, for example, say, curcumin and ginkgo biloba. I’m sure, you know, those are natural blood thinners. So anybody who’s taking Plavix or some other kind of medication, blood thinner, you have to be very careful if you’re going to start adding ginkgo biloba or curcumin to your regimen, because your potential for interaction with that drug, blood thinner, could be significant. But for us with the allo, we haven’t seen anything like that. So that’s actually also a great benefit to taking this complex, is that, if anything, you should expect anything else you’re taking to actually work better if you take it along with the allo complex.

Nick Urban [00:42:43]:
Very nice. And is there a standard dosing that’s recommended for the aloe based polysaccharides?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:42:48]:
Evan, it really depends on the individual. I mean, I like to tell people, for example, our product, that. So we have a powder and a capsule version. So for our product, anybody who’s middle age or older, definitely take at least two scoops per day. But, you know, you’ve lived life, you’ve been exposed to all this stuff in the world. You may not have eaten well, maybe you haven’t exercised the way you should. You probably actually need a little bit more support than that. But one scoop of the powder is two and a half grams for the capsule side.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:43:17]:
It’s, the standard recommendation is four capsules, which is about 2 grams. So you know, some, we’re talking somewhere in there around a couple of grams per day, uh, to maybe 10 grams per day depending. Again, if you’re older, if you have some very significant health challenge that you probably need more cellular support, but at least a couple of grams per day.

Nick Urban [00:43:39]:
How can people find your work, your research and your products? I’ll put the links to everything that you mentioned in the show notes, but where can they go to find them?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:43:49]:
So I have a, just a ton of information. Go to that’s doctor with no period. Lewis we’ve spent a lot of time compiling all this information. We have lots of summaries of all the articles that we’ve published, lots of other information as well. You can certainly check out any of the videos on there as well. There’s a ton of information there.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:44:15]:
And then of course, Doctor Lewis nutrition, that channel for the different social media, you know, whether it’s YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, you can find me there. You can, you can, people can click on the email address there. I think we even have a phone number there. So if anybody has specific questions, they’re more than welcome to contact me through any of those vehicles. I’m more than happy to answer any questions and work with anybody if they have that interest.

Nick Urban [00:44:44]:
Okay, well, if people made it this far, how would you like to leave them today?

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:44:49]:
I mean, just be open minded to using these polysaccharides to your health and to your benefit. It’s not anything that’s going to cause you any complications. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s actually going to benefit your life. And all the great points you made about inflammation and immune function. That’s exactly where these polysaccharides do so much good work. And, and they’re just really important. And I don’t care if you’re vegan or carnivore or keto or paleo.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:45:16]:
I, I could not care less what your, your dietary philosophy or habit is. You’re not going to get these things from any food, so you need to take them in something like daily brain care or you know, some other competitive product. But it, it will do your world such a benefit of good. And you really owe it to yourself to, to learn more about this and, and discover how these polysaccharides can be so beneficial.

Nick Urban [00:45:41]:
That is the perfect place to wrap it.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:45:43]:

Nick Urban [00:45:44]:
Doctor John Lewis thank you for joining the podcast today.

John E. Lewis Ph.D [00:45:47]:
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Nick Urban [00:45:52]:
Likewise. I hope that this has been helpful for you. If you enjoyed it, subscribe and hit the thumbs up. I love knowing who’s in the 1% committed to reaching their full potential. Comment 1% below so that I know who you are. For all the resources and links, meet me on my I appreciate you and look forward to connecting with.

Connect with Dr. John Lewis @ Dr. Lewis Nutrition

This Podcast Is Brought to You By

Nick Urban is a Biohacker, Data Scientist, Athlete, Founder of Outliyr, and the Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast. He is a Certified CHEK Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, and a Performance Health Coach. Nick is driven by curiosity which has led him to study ancient medical systems (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hermetic Principles, German New Medicine, etc), and modern science.

John E Lewis

Music by Luke Hall

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