If you’ve paid any attention to what’s trending in the fitness space these days, you may have come across organ meats. Eating liver, kidneys, and heart seems to be on the uptrend in general, and is all the rage in certain corners of the internet.
Claims about organ meats can vary wildly. Some people say organ meats are reservoirs of toxins and shouldn’t be consumed at all, while others claim you can not only survive by eating only organ meats, but actually enhance your health. Yes, if you hate veggies, you can make up for it by eating enough of the right organ meats, proponents claim.
If you’re like me, you probably don’t eat any organ meats, and opt for more appetizing fare like chicken breast or steak. So what’s the real story here? Should we be incorporating organ meats into our diet? What value do they provide, how much of a difference can they make, and can we get those nutrients from more “normal” foods instead?
To chat about this subject, I invited Chris Kresser back onto the podcast. In case you aren’t familiar with Chris, he’s one of the most well-known names in the world of Functional Medicine, a New York Times bestselling author, and the host of the popular Revolution Health Radio. I last had him on the show to talk about The Game Changers film, and I knew he would be a good guest this time around to talk about the nutritional value of organ meats.
So, if you want to learn about what makes organ meats healthy, how you can incorporate them easily into your diet (and whether you should or need to), give this podcast a spin!
0:00 – Shop Legion Supplements Here: https://buylegion.com/ and use coupon code MUSCLE to save 20% or get double reward points
12:27 – How big of a difference does it make to include organ meats in your diet?
15:54 – Can you reach vitamin A sufficiency through carotenoids?
18:17 – Can you get too much retinol?
19:26 – An easy way to eat liver
25:55 – Are there other ways to get the nutrients from organ meats?
28:48 – Choline
29:12 – Folate
29:44 – Legumes
29:57 – Vitamin B12
30:39 – Vitamin K2
35:36 – What are your thoughts about taking a well-formulated multivitamin versus trying to get all the key nutrients through food?
37:33 – Bone broth
40:03 – What do you think about plant avoidance?
58:45 – Where can people find you and your work?
Mentioned on the Show:
Shop Legion Supplements Here: https://buylegion.com/ and use coupon code MUSCLE to save 20% or get double reward points
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Mike: Hello there and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today. And doubly thank you. If you have subscribed to the show, if you have not, please do take a moment to do that in whatever app you are listening to me in so you don’t miss any new episodes. And it helps me by boosting the ranking of the show in the various charts.
And so what is the order of business for today? Well, it is an interview with Chris Kresser. This is the second interview I’ve done with Chris Kresser, and this is all about organ meats eating tip to tail or nose to tail as it is referred to. And this is something I’ve been getting asked more and more about these days.
One, because primal slash ancestral living is becoming more and more of a thing. And two, because there’s this guy liver king on social media who clearly has really high levels of natural, of course, natural trend balloon production going for him. And who is a clever marketer because he’s jacked, he’s shredded, and he has a contrarian message that perks up a lot of ears, and he does weird stuff.
He does capers like eating raw cow testicles. I saw that. And squeezing raw fish eggs out of a dead fish into his mouth. I saw that. And eating dozens and dozens of raw eggs, if I remember correctly. I think he did that and other things like that. So clever marketing, of course. That type of stuff gets shared around a lot and it has quickly grown him a big following.
But many people have reached out to me asking about his message, which revolves around eating organ meats, and so I wanted to get someone on the show who knows more about this stuff than I do, because this isn’t an area that I’ve looked too much into. I could give you a basic rundown of some of the benefits of including organ meats in your diet.
However, I wanted somebody who could come on the show and go into more detail about some of the claims that are made for eating organ meats. Some people say that you shouldn’t because they’re reservoirs of toxins and they should not be consumed at all. Others say that you can not only survive by only eating organ meats, but it’s actually.
Than eating a balanced, nutritious diet. It is better to drop all of the plants out of your diet, drop everything out of your diet, really, and just eat organ meats. And that is why I invited Chris back onto the show because not only is primal slash ancestral living very much in his wheelhouse, it is something that he has studied and written about and spoken about for quite some time.
He is also one of the most well-known names in the world of functional medicine, which I understand is controversial, like chiropractic care, for example. But I do not believe that all functional medicine practitioners should be labeled as quacks, just as I do not believe that all chiropractors should be labeled as quacks.
There are many. Evidence-based people in functional medicine and in chiropractic. And I do think Chris is one of the good guys. And he’s also a New York Times bestselling author. He has a very popular podcast of his own called Revolution Health Radio. And the last time I had him on the show, it was about the Game Changers documentary, which is full of nonsense and propaganda.
And Chris did a very good job breaking that down. And so if you want to learn about organ meats and what makes them healthy and why you should consider including them in your diet and how you can do it without throwing up, then this podcast is for you. Did you know that you don’t need supplements to build muscle, lose fat and get healthy, that you don’t need any pills, powders, and potions whatsoever.
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Hey, Mike. Good to see you again. Happy New Year to you.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so we are here to talk about something that I’ve been getting asked more and more about, uh, recently because of this Liver king guy. And, and that is organ meats. How important is it to eat organ meats? Uh, if you only eat organ meats, if you eat enough of, of a variety of, if you eat to tip to tail as they say, can you just do away with plant foods all together?
I get asked that. Um, I get asked. Okay. I if maybe you don’t need to go that extreme. Are there any real health benefits to incorporating organ meats into, let’s say a, a well designed, nutritious diet, uh, that obviously has a lot of plant derived foods and, um, I think, yeah, I think those are, those are a few of the, the big questions that, that we can start out with and I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
I, I don’t, I dunno if I would call it a, a movement, a phenomenon maybe. Um, and, uh, how, how legitimate are a lot of the, the claims being made to sell people
Chris: on it? Yeah, yeah. Good questions. And I mean, it’s, it’s really actually a, a modern resurgence of a traditional dietary pattern that humans and homages followed for the vast majority of our evolutionary history.
Um, you know, there have been several studies done. There aren’t many traditional hunter gatherer cultures left, unfortunately, in the world, . Um, but there were still, throughout the 20th century and all the way up into the sixties, seventies and eighties, there, there were still some extant hunter gatherer societies that were largely following.
You know, pat, the same kind of dietary patterns that they’ve followed for thousands of generations and almost all of these cultures that have been studied eight nose to tail. And there are a variety of reasons why they did that. One is just simple economy and, and efficiency. If you, if they killed an animal, it didn’t make sense not to, to make full use of, of that kill.
Um, you know, to not just eating, you know, but of course using skins, um, for clothing and different parts of the animal for, for other purposes. But certainly they would want to extract full nutritional value of that animal that they killed. And of course, they didn’t have the benefit of modern science like we do to do nutritional analysis.
But, uh, humans are, are pretty clever and especially over a long period of time, they figured out that the, a lot of the different parts of the animal had, uh, Different, uh, benefits nutritionally. Um, so Weston Price, who was a dentist back in the early 20th century, he was starting to notice that people’s teeth were, uh, in, in, in the west were really unhealthy.
You know, they were rotting and, and, you know, and, and just, uh, there was a lot of tooth decay. There was a lot of facial degeneration. And so he set off around the world to study traditional cultures and traditional diets, most of whom, by the way, had beautiful teeth wide dental arches, and their faces looked really different than people in the West.
And he tells us very in, in, in his book, nutrition and physical Degeneration of a, a prospector in the 18 hundreds that went bli blind while crossing a, a plateau in the Rocky Mountains, who was then discovered by a Native American who fed him the, the flesh in the head and tissues of the back of the eyes.
This is a quote from the book, including the eyes of a trout. And within a few hours, the prospector’s vision or site began to return. A few hours after that his site was normal. And today, if we know that that type of temporary blindness can be caused by vitamin E deficiency or retinol, and we also know that the eyes and heads of fish are the among the richest sources of retinol that you can find in the diet.
So some Native Americans knew this just through, you know, many, many generations of trial and error and experimentation. And this is one reason that they incorporate. A lot of these nodes to tail foods in their, in their diet. And, and now we can look at, um, you know, use the, the modern research in scientific tools that we have to analyze all these foods.
And we find that liver, for example, is extremely high in vitamin A. It’s rich in iron and copper. Choline, b b6, glycine, um, you know, heart is a very rich source of coq 10. Um, You have, uh, kidneys that are rich in different nutrients, you know, so it’s, it’s like, uh, our ancestors figured this out, and even probably our grandparents, most of ours, grand, many of our grandparents were still eating foods like liver.
But it’s in the past couple of generations that they’ve really fallen out of favor and they’re no longer part of a typical diet.
Mike: And how big of a difference do you think it makes to include these types of foods? Uh, given that now we know a lot more about basic nutritional requirements, we know a lot more about which nutrients can offer additional benefits if you, um, if you eat larger amounts of them.
In some cases it’s maybe really only practical to do that through supplementation. Um, and, and that we know you can get. These nutrients for many different types of foods. For example, a lot of plant-derived foods. But are there some unique benefits that, do you think that
Chris: that, um, yeah, several actually.
And, and it’s, it’s here’s where, um, some of the biochemistry becomes important. Um, let’s take vitamin A, which I mentioned, the liver. Um, if you look at, uh, so, so first of all, let’s start with the definition. Vitamin A is not the same thing as beta carine. So when you look at a nutritional label, they, unfortunately, they’re conflated.
Um, like if you, on a carrot, it’ll list vitamin A, but that’s actually beta carinee. Beta keratine is a precursor to vitamin A. Uh, in humans. We can convert some beta keratine into. Retinol, which is the active form of of, of vitamin A. But that, uh, conversion is very inefficient. Uh, so it’s about, it could be as low as three to 5% in the case of beta keratin that you might eat from a raw carrot that actually gets converted into retinol.
Retinol vi active Vitamin A is what really fulfills a lot of the important functions of that vitamin. So you could be eating plenty of plant sources of beta keratin, you know, red peppers, carrots, et cetera. And you could still be vitamin A deficient, even if you’re getting more than the recommended dietary allowance of beta keratin.
If you look at the vitamin A content of typical foods, uh, for example, you know, carrots have no preform retinol or active vitamin A. Apples have none even. Red meat, just like, you know, lean kind of muscle meat that you would get. Like a steak has about 40 IU of retinol, a hundred grams of beef liver. The same amount has 53,000 IU of preform retinol.
So that is, uh, we’re talking about orders of magnitude difference there. Um, you know, cod liver oil, which is a supplement that has gained some recognition over the past 10 years. Uh, and, and again, something that often our grandparents, uh, un uh, you know, unwillingly took , uh, or was forced into their mouth if they were sick.
Um, but there was some wisdom to that because, uh, uh, you know, just a half teaspoon or teaspoon of coli is a very, very rich source of vitamin A and also a good source of vitamin D. So that’s a good example of a situation where, It’s actually not very easy to replace that amount of vitamin A with plant foods or even with other animal foods that are, that are, you know, uh, muscle meats or, or lean parts of the animal simply because there’s such a vast difference.
And, and do you think
Mike: that, that you can’t reach s you can’t reach sufficiency through various carotinoids, I mean, you, it doesn’t have to just be beta keratine, right? ,
Chris: uh, yeah, there are a bunch of different carotinoids, but they all suffer from the same conversion problem. So, um, the question of whether someone can reach sufficiency is, is fairly complex.
Uh, some, uh, is it possible? Absolutely many people do. Is it likely or is it universal? Um, those are different questions, so, and they depend on a lot of different factors. So that conversion process that I mentioned where beta keine gets converted into retinol active vitamin A depends on other nutrients and co-factors and enzymes.
And so if, and it also depends on genetic factors. So let’s take somebody who genetically is predisposed to not making that conversion very well. And then let’s say that they’re also not getting enough of the other co-factors in enzyme, uh, co-factor nutrients that are response, you know, required for that conver enzymatic conversion, then that person could very well develop a vitamin A or retinol deficiency.
Hmm. And they likely won’t know it, you know, at least not for some period of time. They might develop some bumps on the under part of their arm. That’s one sign of, of, you know, uh, suboptimal retinal intake. But they’re generally, you know, unless it’s severe, they’re probably not even gonna be aware of that.
Hmm. Um, on the other hand, you can take someone, you know, some of those, the, the people who are, tend to be successful on vegetarian or even vegan diets genetically, I suspect that genetically they’re very efficient at making that conversion and they’re doing a good job of getting enough of all of the other co-factor nutrients as well.
So there’s always those people out there who are able to do it, but I, I would say they’re probably not the norm. Um, most people I think, do benefit from eating some preform retinol and organ meats. Are not the only way to do that, but they’re one of the easiest and sort of most banged for your buck ways of doing that.
So, uh, for example, I th you really only have to eat one to two, three ounce servings of liver a week to reap the benefits because that’s how nutrient dense it is. It’s generally about, that was gonna
Mike: be a follow up question because people will also ask me about that. Like, uh, how much of this stuff should I eat?
Because I’ve heard if I get too much retinol, that’s. ,
Chris: that’s true. You can, you can get overdo it with retinol. Also, it’s a liver is such an incredibly high source of iron. Um, you know, again, to put it in perspective, with apples and carrots, you get, you know, apple, a hundred grams of apples, 0.1 milligrams of iron, carrots, 0.6, even red meat, muscle meat 3.3.
Livers 8.8, um, only clams and oysters are as high or higher at, you know, per hundred gram serving. So, um, if somebody has iron overload, which is not uncommon actually, it’s one, you know, the, the genetic polymorphisms that lead to iron, excess iron are among the most common in North America. Um, you know, you wouldn’t wanna be eating liver every day because that could push your iron levels too high.
It could also potentially push your vitamin A levels too high. So I think of it as almost like a medicinal food, uh, in the sense that it’s almost like a, like a supplemental food. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like, Here’s a couple, uh, here’s a couple ways you could do it and that a lot of people do do it is you, you know, you take three ounces of beef liver and you chop it up and you mix it with a couple pounds of ground beef, and then you season the ground beef and then you eat that beef throughout the week.
Or, you know, if, if you’re single or maybe you cook it for your family, if, if you have a family, um, that’s a pretty simple low lift way to get some organ meat in your diet. And that’s the amount about the amount that, that we’re talking about. We’re not talking about sitting down eating liver and onions for breakfast every day.
Mike: to hear. Yeah. The liver king guy holding the, the huge animal liver. And then I’m probably eating it raw. I don’t know. I saw him eating things that like, like testicles raw or something,
Chris: you know, social media. Yeah. No, I mean, you can, you can really go overboard with this stuff, and that’s not generally what I’m suggesting.
And, and, and also, um, you know, the tastes and texture of liver are distinct. Um, let’s not kid ourselves. They’re, you know, some people, uh, are are fine with it and they like it. Uh, but I would say the majority of people, and I’ve been talking about the benefits of organ, uh, for, for 10 years. It was in my first book.
I tell my patients about it and I would, I would say I’m lucky if I can get 20% of my patients and people that I work with to eat liver on a regular basis. Um, I’ll share some ideas in addition to what I just shared for, for making that easier, more palatable. Um, but nowadays there are also supplements which are.
Almost as good as eating the real thing. Um, they’re, they’re freeze dried. You know, what they do is they take liver from a pasteurized animal in New Zealand, a cow usually in New Zealand, you know, which is a pretty good source of beef. Um, no hormones or, um, you know, antibiotics or anything like that. And then they, they freeze it and then they desiccate it in, you know, which basically means turn it into a powder, and then they put that liver powder into capsules, and then you can take the capsules every day.
So it’s a, about as close to eating layers, you’re gonna get, uh, it’s a, it’s a whole food supplement, so to speak, and you get a lot of the same benefits of doing it that way without the, um, you know, the preparation and, and eating of, of liver. Um, so yeah, liver is, is typically, uh, Talked about is one of the most important.
Um, I think another point I wanna make about why it’s important is, um, nutrient balance. So all of the different foods we eat have different nutrients of course. And, uh, lean meats are pretty rich in, uh, methionine, which is a certain amino acid, uh, that makes up protein. Um, and, and can be rich in certain B vitamins, um, you know, decent source of iron, um, you know, phosphorus and things like that.
But muscle meat is generally not a good source of choline, glycine, umer, some B vitamins or vitamin A or vitamin D or k2. And those are all really important nutrients and. Let’s just take the, the, the re the ratio, the relationship between methionine, which is in lean muscle meats and egg whites and things like that.
And then glycine and choline, which are in, uh, in B12 and, and Foley, which are in liver. There’s some research that suggests that if you get too much methionine, Over a li you know, a long period of time without enough glycine and choline that that’s, um, par. You know, that can actually increase the risk of cancer.
So if you’re, if you have a really high intake of methionine and that’s not balanced out by B12 six folate, choline and glycine, then um, there is some concern about increased cancer risk. And I think that actually explains some of the observational studies that do show, um, some correlation of cancer risk with meat.
It’s not about the meat itself, it’s about. Nutrient balance. So I, I think this is just a, a good way of, um, helping to avoid unintended outcomes, you know, over our lifetime. Just making sure that we’re getting this full balance of nutrients and, uh, eating in a, in a, in a, in a, in a way that humans and our ancestors have eaten for thousands of generations.
Um, because there’s some wisdom there. You know, it’s, it’s only one consideration. We should never look at ancestral diets and just try to replicate them just because our ancestors ate them. But when we see it, a dietary pattern that’s consistent across multiple cultures, multiple times all around the world and different geographies.
Uh, it should at least generate questions for us about why that is. What is it about this diet pattern that made sense for, for humans, for, for thousands and thousands of generations?
Mike: Yeah, and I, I, I, I think, um, that, that makes a lot of sense and it, it would be naive to think that because our, an ancestors ate a certain way, which I’m sure that, uh, this is, well, I, I know you know this because you are not a plant avoider, but it, it also included grains and other plant foods.
It wasn’t just meats. Uh, there’s, there’s a bit of a mythology there that helps sell something like the carnivore diet and, you know, if you want to sell people on something, if you can appeal to history or science, those are probably two of the, the most effective tools you can use to persuade people. And if you can persuade people that something has history and science on its side, you’re gonna get a lot of buy-in.
If you are a good. Persuader, right? Mm-hmm. . But, uh, those, those, mm-hmm. , those, those appeals work quite well. And so what are your thoughts on, well, two questions. First, I just wanted to follow up on, on what you were talking about, regarding, uh, these, some of these other nutrients that are important to get, um, what are, what are some other.
Or, or are there, are there other viable ways to get those nutrients, uh, that are also practical that don’t involve eating organ meat? So, mm-hmm. , um, again, a lot of, a lot of people listening, uh, probably don’t eat any, any organs whatsoever, but they probably do eat fairly well by, by anybody’s standards, meaning they’re eating, um, a higher protein diet.
And that’s probably a mostly from, from different types of animal products, but there’s gonna be some, uh, some protein from plant foods as well. But they’re probably eating several servings of fruits and vegetables per day and a variety of things and, uh, colorful things to get pigments. And they’re probably getting in some whole grains and maybe some legumes and maybe some seeds and so forth, uh, polyunsaturated fat.
Um, and so for those people, should they be thinking about, Incorporating some, well to call it liver or, or you can speak to other, other organs. Mm-hmm. , if, if, if you think that they’re particularly worth, including. in the diet, not just for, um, retinol or preformed retinol, but, but some of these other things as well.
Yeah. Like take, you know, vitamin K for example. Um, I guess seaweed, I don’t know. I don’t eat much seaweed. Right. So, or, or, or kale, I believe. Right. I don’t really like kale. So .
Chris: Yeah. So, alright, well let’s go through some of the nutrients. So vitamin A is one of the trickiest ones. Cause again, like for some people just eating a lot.
You know, uh, eat eating the rainbow, so to speak. Lots and lots of beta keratin. If they’re decent converting converters of that to, to retinol, then they might be okay along with some, you know, smaller amounts of retinol that they’re gonna get from just eating muscle meats and, and other sources of protein animal foods.
Uh, like Pasteur raised dairy products or something like that. Um, but for some, that won’t be enough. And, and, you know, either eating some liver, taking liver supplements or cod liver oil, which is probably one of the most popular liver supplements and easiest to take. And it has added benefit of having vitamin D and also e P A and d h a, which are the long chain omega-3 fats.
You know, I, I don’t like to take a lot of supplements myself. I like to get as much nutrient a a as I can get from food. So if I find a supplement that has that’s whole food base and has multiple benefits, I’ll tend to lean on that. And so cod liver oil is one of those because you get all three of those nutrients in a whole food.
It’s, you know, arguably not even a supplement in the, in a way it’s a food, it’s it’s oil front pressed from. A cod’s liver . Uh, but it’s a supplemental thing, like most people just don’t include cod liver oil in their diet on a regular basis. So I still call it a supplement. Um, choline. Let’s, let’s, choline is another interesting one.
Um, you can get choline from egg yolks. They’re a great source of choline, actually. Um, so if people are eating egg yolks on a regular basis, um, not the whites but the yolks, I mean, you can eat the whole egg, but the choline is in the yolk, especially if they’re Pasteur raised, uh, egg yolks, that that could be a good source.
Uh, folate is found in pretty significant amounts in, in some dark leafy green vegetables like kale. You mentioned, Mike, that you don’t like very much good source of folate. Spinach. Spinach. I do though, I do spinach. I do a couple handfuls every day. Yeah, so spinach has some folate. I, I would eat kale,
Mike: but. I prefer spinach, kale is a little bit too bitter for Got it.
You know, so it has to be, it has to be the right recipe that, that, uh, works with the
Chris: bitterness, you know? Yeah. Yeah. It can be really bitter, especially when it’s eaten out a season. Um, legumes, like lentils are de are pretty decent source of folate as well. You know, I know they don’t work for everybody.
Some people have kind of a digestive sensitivity, but if you can tolerate lentils, uh, those are good. Um, B12 again, you know, you’re gonna get some amount of b12. Red meats, a hundred grams has 1.4 micrograms of b12, but beef liver has 111 micrograms. So again, we’re, we’re talking about almost a hundred fold difference in the, in the content there.
So, There. I think to answer your question, there is a way to get almost all of these nutrients if you pay very close attention, um, with, you know, the foods that you eating, like micromanaging everything.
Chris: Oh yeah. Are just, and also if you re good at, um, converting, like I said before with the beta keratin, uh, vitamin K2 is another example.
So it’s different than K one, K one s found in, in plants, uh, leafy greens, stuff like that. Um, most, mostly the, the green stuff. Um, Some, some people can convert K one into K2 fairly well, but that like the beta keratin to retinol conversion, it requires different nutrients and, and their genetic factors. So eating some preform K2 is a good idea, and that’s primarily found in fermented foods.
So hard cheeses, for example, are good sources of k2, uh, kafi sauerkraut, kimchi. Um, unfortunately beer does not qualify. wine does not qualify. Um, but, uh, and then like fermented soy products, like, uh, there’s a Japanese food called nato, which is a, a fermented soy paste, which has really intense taste and a lot.
People like it, including me, but it’s off the charts in terms of the K2 content. And K2 is important because it helps regulate calcium metabolism and it, it makes sure that calcium gets into the bones and the teeth where it belongs to hard tissues and keeps it out of the soft tissues like our arteries and the kidneys.
And there have been studies that have shown that, uh, cultures like the Netherlands where they eat a lot of hard cheeses, for example, and they have high K2 intakes, they have a relatively low incidence of heart disease. Um, Japanese have done some really interesting studies on using K2 and high doses to treat osteoporosis.
Um, so yeah, I think with, with a little bit of intention and education and understanding, there are ways to meet these nutrient needs that don’t include eating organ meats. Eating organ meats are incorporating them in some way into your diet is kind of, I look at it as kind of an insurance policy. You know, it’s, it’s because they’re so off the charts with a lot of these nutrients.
If you just eat, you know, a couple times a week you eat liver or you take a liver supplement, it’s just making it less likely that you’re gonna run into problems from nutrient deficiency over time. Is it absolutely essential? Of course not. There are lots of people who live a full healthy life, never having touched liver or gotten anywhere near it, but it.
You know, makes it a little easier to meet your nutrient needs.
Mike: It, it’s funny because that, uh, whole breakdown is very similar to my pitch for a good multivitamin is simply that if a good, if a multivitamin is formulated well, it’s going to have appropriate amounts of each one of these things that you just mentioned, and you could, you could think of it as a, as an insurance policy that can help plug any little holes that might exist that you might not be aware of, like you mentioned because it’s not so bad to, to, to really.
Produce noticeable effects, but, um, to . So, so my, my multivitamin has all those things, for example. Um, and it actually doesn’t have choline, but um, it has, has the rest and, and, and a lot of other stuff in it as well. And something that, uh, if, if, if anybody goes and looks at the reviews on the website, something that is, is, uh, it’s just a theme is that you have a fair amount of people who are eating well and then they start taking the multivitamin and they notice that now they just feel better.
They just didn’t realize that by increasing their intake of, and it’s hard to say what did it, but, uh, maybe, maybe it was a vitamin A related thing or a K one, K two thing, or b12, right? Because that can, that can be an issue, uh, for, for conversion to the bioactive. Yeah. Um, so, uh, we use the. , the, the more expensive, um, five
Chris: form of five M t hf.
Yeah, exactly. You exactly. I’m thinking of folate. Yeah. Five methyl folate. Yeah. Oh, sorry, form. Sorry. Exactly.
Mike: Yeah. Yep. I said, I said b12. Yeah, yeah. Um, and very
Mike: Yes. Yes. Um, and, and so anyway, so my point is just that, um, it doesn’t, not that people need to take a, take a multivitamin, uh, but that’s why I do, and that’s why I think it’s smart to do that because I am actually pretty fastidious about my diet.
I, I have given some thought to the different vegetables that I eat, for example, and the fruits that I eat and everything that I eat. But there, there are things that I, I just don’t really like to eat, and so I’m , I’m willing to go to a. Point, uh, with that. And so I add a supplement, uh, as, uh, to, to get enough of some of these nutrients Yeah.
That I know I’m not getting much of now. What are your thoughts on that versus, uh, let, let’s say, not supplementing with liver or, or another organ, but eating it. What do you think about, let’s say taking, it doesn’t have to be my multivitamin obviously, but let’s say a multivitamin that is formulated well, that has, uh, proper amounts of, of these key nutrients versus trying to get them exclusively from food and taking no supplements.
Chris: Yeah, I think it just depends on the person, you know? Um, some people just know that they’re gonna be far more likely to take a multivitamin than to pay the level of attention that we’re talking about to, uh, you know, getting enough of each of these different kinds of foods. Like, first of all, just knowing what nutrients are in which foods and, you know, uh, that they, that you need to eat a certain amount of those foods on a regular basis.
Some people are really into that. You know, I’m, I’m a kind of a food person. I, I like food, I like preparing food. I think about food. I, I, I’m, you know, in my profession, of course, I pay a lot of attention to the nutrient contents of foods and, but I reali not everybody’s like that. You know, in fact, most people, I would say are probably not like that.
And, and, and even some people who are like that, just life intervenes, you know, they get busy kids, family, work, whatever, you know, they’re not necessarily able, they, they know how, what they should be doing or what they would like to be doing and they are not able to do that. So, you know, I guess I would say I, I have a general preference for getting nutrients from food whenever possible.
Cuz I think that’s just what humans are best adopted for. And, you know, it’s often the safest way and way to do it and the most nutritious way to do it, but, We don’t live in an ideal world. And, um, there are a lot of, we don’t,
Mike: we don’t all have personal chefs to, uh,
Chris: exactly. to make that deliver. And the, we don’t.
Yeah. And like I said, even when you know what to do and what you should be doing, it’s often a challenge to do it. So, um, I think, you know, making an effort to do the kinds of things that we’re talking about, like, Eating some organ meats. Uh, we haven’t talked much about bone broth and other nose to tail additions, but like bone broth is great.
It’s a, it’s, it’s a great source of glycine, which I mentioned before. That’s another amino acid that balances out the effects of methionine. You know, for, from a strength training perspective, methionine is really wet, puts on muscle or one of the proteins that does that. But glycine helps a lot with recovery and repair.
So you wanna have both, right? You don’t wanna just have glycine and then you’re not gonna build muscle and strength as much. You don’t want to just have methionine because if you get injured, for example, it’s gonna be harder for you to recover. And this is why like the LA Lakers, the basketball team, they’re all drinking bone broth now and of finding that it helps with their.
You know, recovery and, um, you could consume some fermented dairy products if you like them and tolerate them. And you could get some tu that way. In addition to calcium, you could con, you could take some cod liver oil, which is a pretty low lift thing. Um, you could eat some, uh, fattier cuts of meat like brisket or oxtail or shanks or things like that to get some additional glycine.
Uh, you know, as it’s convenient and easy for you to work into your life. You know, some egg yolks, you could eat some shellfish, which are amazing sources of zinc and copper and iron. And then if you feel great and that’s enough for you, then awesome. You stop there. But if you’re still then maybe tired or not sleeping well or experiencing some kind of, um, what I call, you know, mark Hyman, who’s a friend and colleague calls F l c feel like crap, not a, not a sickness or a disease, you’re just not quite where you want to be.
Then try adding a multivitamin, uh, you know, a well formulated one that has all the right forms in the nutrients, like you mentioned, Mike. And, and if you feel better with that great, you know, , then, then you get that much, uh, better of a result. So I’m not super dogmatic about this stuff. I, I think people need to choose what works for them and what’s realistic, uh, based on their circumstances.
Mike: that makes sense. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world. What do you think about plant avoidance?
Because that’s a big part of this whole topic. Uh, there’s, there’s the, the carnivore diet, and that’s something that, oh, it’s probably been a couple of years when it was first coming, uh, into its own. I, I put some time into to writing a, a long form piece on it that then I spun into a podcast and, um, it’s, I haven’t paid too much attention to it since, because it.
So ridiculous to me at the time. Uh, but it’s probably even more popular now. Certainly. If I were to look in Google Trends, I don’t think it’s going down. Uh, what what are your thoughts on Yeah, that and, and the claim that if we are willing to eat enough of, uh, I don’t know. I mean this, there might be carnivore people out there saying, nah, just eat like steaks and hamburgers and you’re fine.
Uh, but what about the people who are saying, okay, well you can’t just eat steaks and hamburgers, but if you eat nose to tail, if you’re willing to eat enough of these things that you’ve been mentioning, these different types of meat, um, organs, then you don’t have to eat any plants. . Yeah.
Chris: So, and I guess the pitch is
Mike: probably that it’s even better actually, right?
Because it’s not a sexy pitch. If it’s like, well, well you’ll get the same result, but you have to eat all this weird
Chris: stuff. Uh oh. Yeah. Well, they argue that plants are toxic, right? And so they’re definitely not just saying it’s, you know, you’re just saving the trouble of preparing vegetables who’re saying you’re, you’re gonna feel better because you’re not eating toxins.
That’s, that’s really actually the core argument. And as with most of these kinds, Arguments, there is a kernel of truth in them. If there wasn’t, it would just be dismissed outright. No, nobody would take it seriously at all. But it’s true that plants have toxins. That’s how plants defend themselves. You know, animals can run away or fight plants, produce toxins.
That’s, you know, any biologist will, will agree to that and, and tell you that that’s true. The question is, is the level of toxin that’s in a, in broccoli or kale or whatever, harmful to humans, because we are constantly exposed to toxins in our environment, water can be toxic at high enough doses and kill us.
Uh, so the, the question is not whether there’s any, uh, compounds that have potential toxicity in them. The question is whether the, the level of that toxicity is problematic for human health. and, uh, even more are the nu do the, does the nutrient value of those plants far outweigh, you know, whatever potential downside they might have in terms of plant toxins that they contain and come back to that.
Mike: start, and then just also what happens to some of these things when you cook
Chris: food as well. Exactly What methods of preparation, uh, do to the levels of toxins in, in these plants and that, that’s quite significant in most cases. So, and I’ll u I’ll, I’ll, I’ll use an example of that, um, but just kind of zooming out a little bit and going back to the ancestral lens again, it’s not the only lens we should be looking at, but I think it’s an i it’s a good one for generating hypotheses, right?
And so if we, if we look at every traditional diet of every traditional culture that’s been studied, and we see that not a single one of them was all plants, or not a single one of them was all animal foods. Then we would have to at least question a strategy that, in that advocated for an exclusive plant, you know, composition of the diet or an exclusive animal composition of the diet, we would have to say, okay, on what basis are we.
Advocating for this as a theory. If, if we have no examples of any human cultures that have ever followed that approach, like we’d have to, we’re starting from below the line as it never occurred to them to, to even try them. Right. Exactly. And, and then on the, on the contrary, you see cultures, That have like a primary animal focused in their diet, go to great lengths to obtain what little plant foods they can.
Like The Inuit is often, are often used as an example of pe of, of culture that primarily consumed animal foods. Well guess what? As soon as they can get their hands on some blueberries, they eat them . It’s not like they’re, they’re just eating animal foods because they, that’s, that’s their dietary philosophy.
It’s because they live in the, in the, in the North Pole, you know, the Arctic and there’s not a lot of plants growing there for the vast majority of the year and they do whatever they can to trade for and eat those plant foods and, and vice versa. Cultures that are eating a higher proportion of their calories is plants.
They’ll trade for high value animal foods like shellfish and things like that because animals and plants have different nutrients that are important to human health. And so, Animal foods are definitely higher in what we, we call essential nutrients. So these are nutrients that we’ve known about for a long time that we can’t produce on our own, inside our bodies, and that we have to obtain from the diet.
So they’re the, you know, vitamin b12, uh, vitamin A, the, the, the preformed, um, uh, vitamin D, zinc, iron, minerals like that. So they, they’re, they’re really crucial to our health. We need them, and animal foods are often the best source of, of those essential nutrients. But there’s another class of nutrients that.
Has not been, you know, is, is, uh, we’ve only been aware of, um, their importance really for the past maybe 50 years and, and even more so in the past two to three decades. And these are things like Carotinoids, which we talked about a little bit. Beta keratine, lycopene, lu Lutin, um, Zanten, and then polyphenols, flavonoids, um, lignins plant steriles and stanols, iso isothiocyanates and endos prebiotic fibers, which we know are really important for not feeding us, but feeding the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Well, guess what? Those are all only founded plants. You cannot find those foods that I, or those compounds that I just mentioned in, in any animal foods. So, A lot of the carnivore folks will argue that those are not essential, like vitamin D or like vitamin A, that, you know, and that humans don’t need them.
I don’t think that’s the case. I think there’s a lot of, that’s,
Mike: that’s, uh, that’s an interesting jump, uh, to say that they’re not essential. Meaning, okay, fine, you’re not gonna die if you don’t exactly. Enough. But then to say, well, therefore we don’t need them.
Chris: Right? So, so I, I think when you look at both modern research and, uh, traditional diets, anthropological, ar, archeological research, you see that humans.
Uh, generally do be, you know, I’ve always eaten and do best on some combination of plants and animals and the, you know, the specific combination of like how much animal food versus how much plant food. I, that’s varied from culture to culture. You have some cultures, again, like the Inuit or the Messai who have a very high proportion of animal of calories from animal food and low from plants.
You have other cultures like the Tuta in Papua New Guinea, uh, and or the kivas in the South Pacific who had a relatively high percentage of calories from, uh, plant foods and a lower percentage from animal foods. And I think you can even see, argue for a similar kind of individual split. Like some people feel better with a larger percentage of their calories from animals and a smaller percent from plants and vice versa.
But generally, most people do best. With a combination. Now, there is a caveat to this that I have to mention just because I’m a clinician and I treat patients and often patients who are quite sick with very complex chronic disease. I think the origin of the carnivore diet where it, where I started seeing it like long before it became really a mainstream, I, I mean it’s still not Main Street, but be before it became a trend I was seeing.
It, it, people who are really sick use it. And I was seeing some pretty incredible re results, um, at least in the short term where you had people with severe autoimmune disease or you know, other, uh, really, you know, Lyme disease or conditions like that where they completely removed plant foods from their diet and they had a pretty spectacular response and recovery to that.
And I have a theory, uh, that might be going on there. I don’t know if it’s accurate. I think in a lot of those cases, their gut flora is so severely dysregulated and disturbed that in intake of any fiber, which is what you’re gonna get in plant foods, is causes a, a really bad reaction. And so when they remove that fiber and maybe some of the plant toxins that, like generally healthy people don’t have an issue with or are a bigger issue for them, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy diet.
For everybody to follow. It doesn’t even mean that it’s healthy for them to follow for the
Mike: long term. I mean, you’re talking about an elimination diet, the essentially, yeah. And really, really starting with something that, uh, is well tolerated by most people, which, which would be meat, right? If you had to get rid of everything.
Chris: it’s digested very high up in the small intestine. It doesn’t have any residue that gets down into the gut. And, and you know, the, the problem with it is, I. I would often start to see other issues develop if they stayed on it for a while mm-hmm. , and then when they started to add plants back in, it, it, it wasn’t better.
So I, it was hard to tell people not to do it because it was so incredible for them. Like their symptoms would, you know, be 80 or 90% better. And these are people who were really, really suffering. So, you know, I, I, who am I to say don’t do, you know, like, don’t do that. Um, and I didn’t, but I was curious about what the longer term effects would be.
And I, I don’t think we really have a lot of research to guide us on that, nor do we have historical examples that we can look at to give us any indication of what might happen there. And I just worried that it wasn’t really addressing the cause of the problem. , even if it was providing significant symptom relief.
But again, we’re talking about a very small segment of the population here, and we’re not talking about what’s generally healthy for, for the vast majority of your listeners who are tuning in. Yeah. Most
Mike: people are, are not going to derive any benefit from an elimination diet. They’re , they’re not gonna learn anything interesting.
Uh, you know, I, I’ve told people for, for some time, uh, they’ve asked me about food sensitivities, for example. And, um, these are people, they don’t have any major issues. They’re not sick, they’re not suffering. And I’ve always told people, I, I think we can keep it simple. If you eat something, and it, it doesn’t sit well with you if you get gassy bloated.
If it upsets your stomach, uh, then just stop eating it and yeah, you know, some people, for example, with FOD maps, um, for anybody listening, if you wanna learn about that, you can find a, I recorded a podcast on it. You can find an articles type of carbohydrate that, uh, some people can’t process well, but it includes, Uh, nutritious stuff.
It includes, uh, beans, onions, garlic, yeah. Onions, garlic. Mm-hmm. . And so, uh, I’ve, I’ve heard from a number of people over the years who had that issue who were very relieved to learn about it because they, they couldn’t understand, obviously how, how are they having these regular GI issues when they eat really well.
And then when they removed the foods that were high in this type of carbohydrate, that was it, it, it resolved the issue. Yeah. Um, but, but again, for most people, they don’t have that issue. And so it’s mostly a matter of if something bothers you, your stomach, when you eat it, you don’t even necessarily have to worry about why if you just stop eating it and that resolves the issue.
Uh, I think that’s workable for most of us.
Chris: Yeah, definitely as long, you know, as long as you’re not doing that with so many foods that you’re decreasing your overall nutrient intake, at that point, it would be good to probably seek cow. But if it’s just right, if you don’t tolerate beans or legumes, that’s a pretty common one.
Right? I think you can, like my
Mike: wife peas, they just bother. Yeah. They upset her stomach, so she just doesn’t eat
Chris: peas. Exactly. And you can eat a completely nutritious diet and be fully healthy without eating peas and, and eat. And in fact, without eating any legumes, like there’s, there’s nothing that you can’t get, you know, that you can get from legumes, that you can’t get from other foods, uh, if you eat a diverse diet.
So I, I agree with that. And I think sometimes there can be a little bit of an obsession with testing and, you know, uh, a lot of the tests are not, Depending on what we’re talking about are not super accurate anyways. So, um, at the end of the day, your body is the final arbiter, , you know, if, if a test tells you, for example, that you’re not gluten intolerant, but every time you eat gluten, your body freaks out, then does it really matter what the test says?
Yeah. You know, like at, at the end of the day, you’re, you, you’re the one who has to live with that. So, uh, I think that’s an important point to, to remember.
Mike: And, and for the, the carnivore for, for the, for the people who, who. Or are getting into it because it’s, uh, it sounds interesting to them. Or is it, uh, I guess for some people I’ve heard is it is just plant avoidance.
It’s, I don’t like vegetables and this dude is telling me I don’t have to
Chris: eat, I don’t have to eat my vegetables somewhere done. Correct. Yeah. That’s it. Like I don’t have to, this guy, he’s a
Mike: doctor, he says, I don’t need to eat vegetables. And he says, in fact, if I stop eating vegetables and I start eating all this other delicious stuff that I like to eat, I’m gonna be even healthier.
It, it can be hard to change that person’s mind because they are being told what they want to hear. Right. And, you know, so it’s just, it’s interesting to have some of these discussions. Uh, with people where, you know, a lot of the stuff we’ve been talking about here is, is, is kind of boring. It’s kind of unsexy.
It’s what everybody’s been saying for a while, or at least the, the basic philosophy has not changed all that much. Yeah. And, and, and it, and it won’t, it’ll, it’ll evolve for, for for sure. But I highly doubt in our lifetimes there’s gonna be a point where credible experts are going to say, you know what? We had it all wrong.
Throw away the vegetables, throw away all the plants, , just eat these specific organ meats and these, these other animal products. But if you have to, you have to prepare them maybe in a certain way, or you have to combine them with these other weird substances that, right. It’s just, I just,
Chris: it’s just not gonna.
Yeah. And that’s always gonna be a niche too, because there are people who lit who are, are that opposed to eating plants. But I would say they’re even in the minority. You know, most people like to have a little bit, at least a little bit of plant food in the diet. Like a slice, a piece of lettuce and a tomato on their burger
Yeah. Yeah. You know, like some, some blueberries or fruit or I guess for many people
Mike: too, it’s about weight loss, right? Uh, and, and that’s if, if their calories come down enough because now they can’t eat all their delicious carbs anymore and they don’t, right, uh, they don’t fill up, uh, their, their, their, their energy expenditure with, with fatty meats and stuff.
And then they see, they see that and then that excites them. And, and I understand that. Uh, it’s one way of going about it, I suppose.
Chris: Yeah. So I mean, just, I know we’re get probably getting close to time here, but Yeah. Yeah. Um, just a few like simple ideas, I think to, to bring this home for people. We, again, it does not have to be crazy.
Um, you know, we’re talking about like make have some, some soup. A couple times a week with homemade bone broth or, or you can get good bone broth in the store. Now, kettle and Fire is a great brand. They simmer it for 24 hours. It’s got all the glycine and collagen stuff in there. You can use bone broth to really enhance the flavor of a sauce that you might make or stew.
Sometimes if we cook rice, we’ll cook it in bone broth. There’s just like really easy things you can do and that will help get you some more glycine and collagen if you want to. You can use, like I said, three ounces of beef liver, mix it with some ground beef. Uh, when you cook on beef and have tacos or whatever you’re gonna do with that ground beef.
It can be a pretty simple, easy way to do it. Make sure you know, if, uh, eat some egg yolks throughout the week, that’s gonna get you cho. Um, that’s a really good source of cho uh, second only to liver. Um, if you don’t want to eat liver, You could take cod liver oil on a daily basis. It’s pretty easy to do.
They have cums and capsules now. So if you don’t like the taste and then work some fermented foods into your diet, sauerkraut, kafi, kimchi, uh, hard cheese. If you tolerate dairy, that’s good for K2 and other nutrients. And then if you’re eating meat animal products, maybe occasionally have some stew or some brisket or c roast or like a fattier cut of meat that has some collagen in it instead of just the lean, you know, the lean 98% lean gr ground beef or, you know, super lean steak.
It’s really as simple as that. You know, that’s, that’s, that’s the level that we’re talking about here. And, and it’s, it should enrich your diet and make it. Better and more interesting and more delicious. Not, not, it shouldn’t feel like a chore. That’s
Mike: a, that’s a great summary and, uh, you’ve in, you’ve inspired me.
I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna expand my, my, my palate a little bit. I’m gonna expand my, my meat horizons. I tend to, I tend to go for, um, I’ll eat a bit of chicken and I’ll eat a bit of lean ground beef, but. I, I’m, I haven’t had liver in a while, so I actually don’t even remember what it tastes like. So I’ll find out.
Chris: let me know. Think
Mike: maybe I can, maybe I can get away with it in a stir fry, but I don’t know. Maybe it’s so gross that it’s gonna ruin
Chris: the stir fry. We’ll see, it really depends. I would try some before you put it all throughout the stir fry. Oh, I’ll eat it regardless. As long as I’m not throwing it back up.
It’s going down. So the
Mike: question is, do I do it again, ?
Chris: Yeah. Well, let me know how it goes. I’m curious to hear . I will, I will. Well, hey,
Mike: uh, thanks for, thanks for doing this. This was very informative, always great, uh, talking with you. And let’s wrap up with where people can find you and your work, and if there’s anything in particular that you want them to know about any particular product or service, maybe that’s new or exit.
Chris: Yeah, thanks Mike. Uh, most of my work can be found at my website, chris kresser.com. And I’m al also on social Facebook and Instagram. Um, under Chris Kresser. If you searched me, you’ll find me. And, um, no, no particular, nothing particularly new right now. Uh, we’re doing some workshops this year. We’re doing one on how to boost your immunity naturally, uh, which I think is a really important topic given the day and age that we’re, we’re living in, cuz we actually do have an immune system that, that functions really well when you give it the right inputs, which, uh, you, you would almost not know, um, if you were.
Just following the mainstream media coverage right now, that’s gonna, I don’t know when this is coming out, Mike, but that’s gonna be at the end of January. Um, and I’m excited to get that out there because I, I just think it’s so important for us to just stay healthy and take and, and boost our immune system as much as we can at this point.
Yeah. It’s a, it’s
Mike: really amazing that the, the media isn’t constantly talking also about the importance, especially now with, with research coming out. For example, how body composition, particularly body fatness affects your, your risk of having real problems with C O V I D. Um, how sedentary living also directly relates to your ability to fight off this virus and fight off, uh, the disease is particularly cardio your cardio, maintaining your normal cardiovascular.
Chris: Yep. You’ll appreciate this, Mike. The, there’s a study that showed that people who are completely sedentary are two and a half fold more likely to die from covid than people who are in the most active group. Why is that not being Yep. You know, broadcast shouted from every corner, . Then we have studies like, uh, uh, pro almost a hundred studies now on vitamin D, you know, taken in and meta-analysis to show.
Uh, people who are deficient in vitamin D have a, uh, 2.35 fold, higher risk of death, a 2.6 fold, higher risk of severe covid. These are really, really simple things that people can do to reduce their, their risk of, uh, of a bad outcome from covid. And unfortunately, this information is just not getting out there.
So that’s why I did this, this workshop. I’m, I’m, I’m just keen to get it out to as many people as possible. Cause we have to do something about this. Yeah. Yeah. I have a
Mike: note to, uh, I, I wrote, uh, an article, uh, it might have been six to eight months ago regarding Covid and I, I got into a lot of, a lot of data and, and more of a risk analysis and was explaining to people why I myself could care less about it for my own personal health.
Mm-hmm. , or I guess the, the saying should be couldn’t care. Less . Yeah. Uh, for, for my own, for my own, uh, personal health. Right. And, and then ironically after then I had gotten it and. Shocker. It, it, I barely even noticed. I think I was congested for a few days. Um, but I have a note that it, it might be worth writing another piece on it, particularly about this angle and, and how fitness and body composition, uh, how big of an effect it can have.
And it’s, it, it gives somebody something that they can do so they can worry less and, and just telling people to worry less. It, it doesn’t work. And even, even if you show them the data, if you show them, Hey, let’s look at your age. Let’s look at your health status. Do you have comorbidities? Let’s break all this down.
Well, here, look, the data, it clearly shows that you really don’t have much to be worried about. Even that is, is it’s not very persuasive, many people, right? They’re still worried. And so getting in better shape. Is something that they can do. Yeah. That actively dramatically reduces their risk. And we have to accept at this point, I think that the virus is never going away.
At least that’s the consensus of like every epidemiologist a hundred percent,
Chris: is that it’s heres to stay a seasonal, a seasonal event.
Mike: Yep. And, um, the, the amic cold variant is, it’s nice to see that it’s getting less virulent, but it, it probably will always be unique and, and present unique risks to certain people.
And so if somebody hasn’t gotten it yet, unfortunately, if you’re one of those people listening, if you. No, you haven’t gotten it, which is actually hard to know, right? Because maybe you did and you were just asymptomatic. Yeah. Testing
Chris: is particularly inaccurate now. Yeah. Unless you’re gonna get a
Mike: T-cell test or something.
But let’s say, let’s say you don’t think that you’ve gotten it well there you will, you will be exposed to this virus eventually. Uh, it’s inevitable. And you, you can, if, if you listen to the tv, it’s that you should just get a new shot every, I think I saw a headline. Now, Pfizer saying every five months in Germany, I saw a headline.
Uh, it was one of their fish. One of somebody in their government said, Hey, actually you can just, you can just get a new shot. One month after you’ve gotten your initial round, right? Mm-hmm. . So, so from a, if, if we’re just gonna be generous and say, look, there’s a lot of money involved here, right? There’s literally tens of billions of dollars.
Pfizer alone is on track to do what? I saw Forbes article a couple of months ago. Last year they were on track to do about 35 billion from vaccine revenue or revenue from vaccines up from 9 billion the, the year before. So there’s a lot of money here, and if you listen to the tv, it’s, well just get shots forever.
Like, that’s it. That, that’s how you are going to sleep at night. Uh, and, and not be afraid of dying from C O V D. And, and if people wanna do that, they can do that. Uh, but I, I do think that it’s worth talking about other options. Uh, and that doesn’t necessarily mean don’t get vaccinated ever under any circumstances.
But again, for the people who are not excited about getting booster shots forever, Then maybe there are some other things we can do, uh, to, to strengthen our immune system so we can live our lives without, um, this, this shadow kind of moving. Absolutely. You know, yeah.
Chris: We need a more nuanced discussion about it, like there, and it’s not, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.
Mike: I don’t think it’s gonna come from the tv.
Chris: Uh, no, this is not gonna come from the tv that that ship has sailed. And for, for various reasons we don’t need to get into here. The public health. I think it’s, it’s pretty clear that the public health infrastructure has failed us miserably during this pandemic.
So yeah, the good news is we can take matters into our own hands and there’s a lot we can do. And like you said, I think vaccination may very well make sense for some risk profiles and demographics, but it might not, you know, boosters, for example, have not been well studied, particularly in kids. Um, and, and the kids are at such low risk for hospitalization and any and death from Covid like, 10,000 fold lower risk by some accounts than like a 75 or 85 year old with comorbidities.
Um, and there was actually a study outta Germany that I covered in an email recently, uh, where they had a 400,000, five to 11 year olds and there wasn’t a single death. Yeah, I saw that study up. Uh, it was healthy, healthy five to 11 year old. So, so any of the bad outcomes that are occurring in in in young kids are almost always PE kids with serious comorbidity.
I’m not talking about overweight. You know, or asthma, I’m talking about kids with like leukemia or, you know, very, very severe, uh, conditions that were hospitalized. Um, and, and even in those cases, it’s not always clear that Covid was the cause of death. It was, you know, they, they tested positive for Covid when they went into the hospital.
So in those cases, , you know, and, and in case of young, relatively lean, healthy people, um, the risk benefit analysis is very different than it is for someone who’s 85 and has diabetes and is obese and has, you know, stage two chronic kidney disease and you know, a lung problem like that. That’s, we should be having the conversation of how the, the approach to And what about natural immunity, those people?
Mike: What, what about, I mean, okay, let’s take, let’s take a, a 20 year old kid. He’s an athlete, right? Right. Super healthy and yeah, he just, he just got covid and it was like me, he was congested for a couple of days and, uh, he did his little quarantine and now he’s fine. No lingering symptoms whatsoever. And, uh, I mean, I’ve seen.
I’ve seen a, I’ve seen scores of, of papers now on natural immunity, robust, durable, cross species, et cetera, et cetera. Um, there was a paper in nature that showed changes at the, at the level of bone marrow that look to be permanent positive changes that, that, that indicate that for people who have had it, their, they, their, their bodies will be able to fight it off more effectively, permanently is how it, how it appears, right?
Yeah. And so you take this kid, he’s 20, he just had it, and he’s fine. Should he go get vaccinated right now?
Chris: And they’re also what’s in it for him?
Mike: I mean, even if, if there were no risk of side effects whatsoever, why would he even bother taking the 30 minutes to go do it? Why?
Chris: Well, on top of that, the, those pa, some of the, the nature medicine paper, recent one showed that, that the immunity from infection is likely to be more effective against few different variants as well, whereas I didn’t see that.
Whereas the, the vaccines were pretty much all designed for the earlier variants. Uh, and, and, and there are some dis, you know, new data suggesting that they’re less effective for preventing omicron infections and, and, and, and probably also even from preventing severe disease with omicron. Um, and, and, and it, it makes sense because this is a different variant than when the vaccines were originally designed, but it’s, these studies are showing that that immunity that comes from infection is broader in, in nature and, and maybe, you know, more likely to cross react with other, you know, uh, other, uh, variants that exist now in future variants. So, you know, there’s a lot more to this.
Mike: And what’s ironic is that’s actually not a controversial statement before Covid, I, I right privately have spoken with, with a number of, uh, epidemiologists and virologists people who, who know what they’re talking about know a lot more about this stuff than I do.
Yeah. And it’s just been interesting th that the. They, they won’t say some of these things to their work colleagues or, or in some cases they have more public platforms. But, but take what you just said that that would’ve been, yeah.
Chris: Uh, you can’t really say that. And, and that would’ve been immunology 1 0 1 before, before Covid.
Mike: Definitely because like, okay, you have this vaccine that’s specifically is targeting the spike protein, but if you’ve, if your body has actually seen the virus, there’s, there’s a lot more going on than just the spike protein than this.
Chris: Yeah. Yeah. So, and that, that’s, you know, I know we gotta get off here, but that, that is this, the saddest thing about this for me is just the, the polarization and, and tribalism that’s happened and the lack of open discourse and con consideration of a broad range of opinions from qualified people.
You know, pe people who ha are legitimately qualified and have all of the same bonafide credentials as people who are on the, the sort of mainstream side are being shut out of the conversation and debate. And I think that’s anti-science. It’s anti-progress and it’s anti-democracy. It’s, you can’t run a functional democracy when you, when you don’t have that.
And that’s, that’s my biggest concern about all this and where we’re at with it.
Mike: And you’re not supposed to ask certain questions, I mean, right. Come.
Chris: Yeah, that’s a dangerous, that’s a dangerous place to live actually, . So my, my wish is that, you know, I, I do see some positive changes here and, and you know, and I also see some, some stuff that’s going on that still shouldn’t be going on.
So if I’m, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that we regain our collective sanity and can find a way through this. I hear you, man.
Mike: From, from your lips to God’s ears, right? . Uh, but, but anyway, chris kresser.com and thanks again. I look forward to, to the next chat.
Chris: Likewise, Mike. Thank you.
Mike: Well, I hope you liked this episode.
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