Brain health and how it controls your body health – Dr John Hart
Health Stronghold Podcast – Episode 5
Welcome and thank you for listening to Episode 5. Go to next Podcast
In here we dive into brain health with Dr John Hart. John explains in fascinating detail how we have to manage our state of brain decline that occurs from adolescence. Too much bad stuff and too little good stuff steers your body to more collateral damage which can lead to heart attack, stroke, dementia and more.
Surprisingly the environment also has a lot to do with how we enjoy the quality of our brain function. EMF radiation, especially in the bedroom is brought up also by John and the context will surprise you.
Also list to the ‘EMF Radiation, a detailed introduction’ podcast
Find a download link at the bottom of this post.
Transcript of the interview with Dr John Hart about brain health and its connection to body health and the environment
Copyright Patrick van der Burght 2019.
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Patrick: Okay, welcome everybody. I’m here with Dr. John Hart here in Sydney. John is a functional medicine practitioner with a particular interest in brain health and we’ve been working together for a little while and I thought it would be interesting for you to hear some of the things that John and his clinic do. So John, thank you very much for spending some time with us.
Dr John Hart: You’re welcome, Patrick. Good to be here, thank you.
Patrick: Thank you. So yeah, what do you do?
Dr John Hart: So we have a clinic in Sydney that uses functional medicine principles to assist people’s health. We’ll assist anybody who walks through the door, but particular interest is brain health. So people who realize their brain is not working properly or they may not realize, because they’re not aware that some of the symptoms that they’re experiencing are due to an under functioning brain.
Dr John Hart: And we look at the reasons why people’s brains are not operating properly and there’s a whole lot of possible reasons. Either things that are supposed to be in the brain. So good things that keep the brain healthy like hormones, vitamins, minerals, exercise, sleep. Or too many bad things in the brain that damage the brain leading to dysfunctions. Things like heavy metal toxicity, electromagnetic radiation exposure, chronic infections, allergies, stress, not enough movement, not enough exercise, not enough sleep.
Dr John Hart: So we work on the model that at the end of adolescence, that’s when your brain is at its biggest and healthiest. You have about 85 billion brain cells, but we all start losing on average, about 8000 brain cells a day from our 20s. And the rate at which we lose that varies tremendously between different people, depending on what you do to your brain over your life. So, if you have a lot of good things going into your brain, as I mentioned, the exercise, vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, stress management, sleep, sunlight and you don’t have too many bad things going into your brain. Like electromagnetic radiation, heavy metal toxicity, chronic infections in your body and in your brain, food allergies, et cetera and chemicals from the environment, in our food, our air, our water, or that you put on your skin.
Dr John Hart: It’s the balance between those good factors or what are called neurotrophic factors, or growth factors and neurotoxic factors, the bad things, that damage our brain and lead to disfunction and eventually, brain cell death. It’s the balance between those that determines whether you end up as an elderly person with an active brain and a vital, independent life, or you spend the last 20 or 30 years in a state of decline and poor memory and poor attention, poor mood control.
Dr John Hart: So the things that a healthy brain does for you as part of the system of the body, the brain’s just part of a complicated system which is our body and it has particular functions as all your organs in the body have. And the brain’s functions are mood control, memory and attention, cognition, planning things, multitasking, controlling your libido, controlling your sleep and controlling the rest of your body. And if you have a healthy brain, then all those things work well, so you’re happy, you’re enthusiastic, you’re vital, you’ve got good concentration, good memory and recall, you sleep well, you’ve got a good libido, you can multitask and deal with lots of processing, lots of information at once and usually, you’ll have a healthy body at the same time.
Dr John Hart: Whereas if your brain is in a state of decline, then the brain doesn’t work as well and you might notice that initially as poor mood control, so you might have some anxiety or depression or irritability or anger or sadness. You have poor memory and attention, so can’t concentrate as well, you get fatigued when you try and concentrate for long periods of time. You can’t remember what you did, if you’re reading a book, you can’t remember a couple of pages ago, or you walk into a room and you can’t remember why you walked in there, or where you put the keys a few hours ago. So declining cognition, sleep, libido. All the things that the brain does start to decline.
Dr John Hart: And the way I think about it is that initially, the brain cells are there, and if you’re getting an accelerated decline, then initially you’ll lose functions. So if you do a CT or an MRI of your brain, you’ll still have the brain cells there. So the CT and MRI will look normal, you’d be reported as normal, because it is. But those brain cells are not working properly and you may be aware of that because of loss of some of the functions of the brain, but it’s not showing up structurally yet. But if the process continues with the imbalance between the good and the bad things, the neurotoxic and neurotrophic factors, then eventually you start to get death of brain cells and after a certain number die, it becomes detectable with the technology we have at the moment with MRIs and CTs. So you’ll start to see shrinkage in different parts of the brain and the brain overall.
Dr John Hart: So, that’s the overall model we’re looking at, is trying to identify as many of the neurotrophic factors that a person should have, that they don’t have, that we can replace. Or we can get them to replace, because that’s the first thing I tell everybody. I don’t fix anybody, I’ve never fixed anybody, never will. I just use the science that we have available to tell them what they need to do to improve their health and it’s up to them whether they do it or not. So we identify the neurotrophic factors that are missing and tell them how they might replace them. Either make them themselves, or put them in from outside their body. And identify the neurotoxic factors that they have in their body and/or in their brain as much as the technology allows us to and remove those as much as we can to minimize the damage being done.
Dr John Hart: Because it’s all part of this cognitive decline that we’re all on the path of, but we’re all on it at our own rate. Initially, in medicine, we like to put labels on things, so initially, if you’re aware your brain’s not working like it was but all the tests come back normal, well we call that subjective cognitive impairment. So you’re aware of your cognition being impaired but you’re within the normal range. Now you might be at the bottom end of the normal range or you might have gone from the top end to the middle of the normal range and that’s definitely a decline for you, but you’re still in the side of the normal range.
Dr John Hart: But if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll continue to get what you get, which means you’ll get a a continuing decline and eventually as the tests start to become abnormal, that you then get the label of mild cognitive impairment, and if you don’t do anything about it, then often, the process will continue and you’ll get a label of dementia once you can’t look after yourself anymore. So dementia just means brain failure. It means the brain can’t do its job of you looking after yourself, managing your life, managing your body properly. And it’s just like we have heart failure when the heart doesn’t work as a pump. We have liver failure when the liver doesn’t work as a filter or a processor, and the kidney failure when the kidneys don’t work as a filter.
Dr John Hart: So, brain failure has it’s own special name called dementia, but it’s just brain failure, it’s that organ’s lost its ability to operate well enough that you can look after yourself. So, we’re all about trying to find as many things to fix as possible by doing extensive testing. And we don’t know all the things that affect the brain, and many of the things that do affect the brain, we can’t do hard tests for yet, we don’t have the technology. But we do have a huge number of tests that we can do to identify neurotrophic, good factors that are missing, and neurotoxic, bad factors that are present, and all of which we can do something about.
Dr John Hart: We don’t test for things that we can’t fix, that’s a waste of everybody’s time and money. So our testing revolves around, I guess it’s two categories. One is assessing the function and structure of the brain as it is right now, as a baseline. So things like MRIs, magnetic resonance imaging of the physical structure of the brain, combined with 3D volumization which is measuring the 3D volume of different structures in the brain and then comparing it with other people of the same age and sex. So you can, A, you get a baseline of where you’re at now for retesting later on if you wish too. But B, you can see where you are compared to your colleagues, in the same cohort you’re in.
Dr John Hart: There are other tests like SPECT scans or PET scans, which are scans that they’re nuclear medicine scans but they assess the metabolic health of the brain cells, so how healthy the cells are, how well they can metabolize glucose or energy in general. And so they might be there on the MRI, but they’re not there on PET scan, which means they’re not working properly. Or not compared to how they should be for other people the same age and sex. And then we do a neurocognitive assessments, so these are computerized assessments looking at the ultimate output of brain function. Things like memory, attention, reaction time, processing speed, perceptual flexibility.
Dr John Hart: So once again, you can compare your results, your speed and your accuracy in those test with other people of the same age and sex. And as well as getting a baseline for where you’re at, for comparing the future, just see where you are at with other people the same age and sex. So we do those sort of functional, structural tests for the brain. But the other part of the model we have is that if you have brain dysfunction, usually it’s not just a brain disease. It’s actually a whole body disease. Because the brain relies on the body to supply it with nutrition and not supply it with toxins.
Dr John Hart: And so if you have problems in your body where it’s not doing that job properly, then your brain will start to fail and then your brain’s not controlling your body properly, so then your body starts to fail and you end up with a spiral where the whole system starts to break. As more things break, then they cause other things in the system to fail.
Patrick: So the symptoms could be incredibly wide ranging, I’m guessing?
Dr John Hart: That’s right. Because the brain’s involved in just about everything you do, so as I said, could be just memory. So often the first thing that people notice or that their friends and family notices is mood changes. It might be just a little bit of depression or a little bit of anxiety that wasn’t there ten years ago. So something’s changed, and so that’s usually some information in the brain that’s stopping the brain from working properly. One of the early signs of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease which can both end up with dementia, just by slightly different pathways is a loss of sense of smell.
Dr John Hart: So the nasal nerves that transmit information from the nasal cavity up to the brain, they can also transmit infections and toxin into the brain and they get damaged in that process. And you might notice that the first thing you notice is you can’t smell things like you used to. And you might blow that off as nothing significant, but it’s one of the ways by which the brain decline starts. Because it’s an access point for toxins into the brain.
Dr John Hart: So inflammation’s kind of the word we bandy around a lot. But it’s actually what kills most people, the inflammatory process. But it’s not the acute inflammatory processes that we’re all aware of when we get an infection like a gastro or a sore throat, it’s the chronic, low-grade, longterm, systemic inflammation that’s the problem.
Dr John Hart: I’ll do a quick diversion on inflammation.
Patrick: Yeah, yeah. Please do.
Dr John Hart: … everybody’s heard the word but not everybody knows what it means. So inflammation is the process that our immune system evolved over millions of years to deal with the things that used to kill us. And what used to kill us was infections and trauma when we were out in the jungle. So if you get trauma to a part of your body and it gets damaged, the tissue’s damaged. Or if you get an infection in part of your body, chemicals are released which alert your immune system. And your immune system’s job is to survey for infections and trauma. And the moment it sees something that looks like that, to go onto full operational mode to fix it. So what happens is that the chemicals are released in the area where the infection is or the trauma has occurred, and the damaged tissue is, and these chemicals cause the blood vessels in the area to dilate. So more blood goes to the area, and that’s why the area looks redder and feels warmer.
Dr John Hart: And the blood vessels get a bit leaky, so that cells that are attracted there can get out of the blood vessels and get into the tissue. And those cells eat the damaged tissue and they eat the infectious agent, whether it’s a bacteria or a virus or whatever. And then other cells come in and they repair the damage. And once that’s all fixed, then the whole process settles down and goes away. So in that acute inflammatory response, you get the redness and the heat from the increased blood flow. You get swelling because fluid leaks out through the leaky blood vessels, which have to get leaky to let the cells out. So you get the swelling in the area, and you get pain from the chemicals that are released. But once the initiating agents, whether it’s trauma or infection, is repaired or removed, then the inflammation settles down and goes away.
Dr John Hart: So it’s an acute, sort of fairly rapid onset, localized, short term inflammatory response. And that’s Mother Nature at it’s best. The people who are good at that survived. So they were able to, if they got an infection, they were able to get rid of it before it spread through their body and killed them, and if they got trauma, they were able to repair the trauma and continue on being a very effective hunter gatherer and surviving.
Dr John Hart: But the problem now is that in the last couple of hundred years, whereas infections and traumas were the major killers up until a few hundred years ago, especially in the last hundred years, the major cause of death in Western society particularly is chronic low grade inflammation leading to collateral damage, which then manifests as a heart attack or a stroke, cancer, dementia, diabetes, osteoporosis or whatever. So if the immune system sees things that it perceives as foreign invaders like an infection or signs of tissue damage or actual tissue damage, it will just do what it’s programmed to do, which is go out and launch this inflammatory response.
Dr John Hart: But if these signs are happening all over the body and at a low grade, then you don’t get redness and swelling and heat and pain, you might not even know it’s happening, because it’s at such a low level, but it’s happening every day for decades, then you get the collateral damage. So you get collateral damage to your blood vessels, so your blood vessels get damaged over time, you don’t feel it happening. You might, maybe your blood pressure might go up, maybe not. And then eventually, a blood vessel will burst or block.
Dr John Hart: Healthy blood vessels don’t burst or block spontaneously. They need to be damaged over often decades, then they’ll burst or block, then you’ll get your heart attack or your stroke, often with no warning signs. And healthy cells don’t suddenly turn cancerous. They don’t start multiplying out of control unnecessarily overnight, as there has to be an extended amount of damage done to the DNA. Both in the mitochondria in the cell, which is the energy producing center, and to the DNA in the nucleus of the cell, which is where most of the genes are that control what the cell does.
Dr John Hart: There’s damage done over decades, and eventually the cell will start, as a response to that damage, either kill itself, or start reproducing uncontrollably as a survival mechanism. And in the case of dementia, we have the 85 billion brain cells at the end of adolescence, we’re losing on average, 8000, but more or less. And because of inflammation that’s happening in the brain, called neuroinflammation, triggered by too much bad stuff, not enough good stuff. So the bad stuff is basically pro inflammatory, triggering immune activation in the brain and inflammation and collateral damage, and the good stuff is antiinflammatory, or trophic. So it dampens down inflammation and promotes growth and repair.
Patrick: Can you give some examples of both?
Dr John Hart: Yes. So neurotrophic factors that are important are:
Patrick: So that’s bad stuff?
Dr John Hart: No, neurotrophic’s the good stuff.
Patrick: Oh sorry, yeah.
Dr John Hart: So trophic is Latin for growth, I think.
Dr John Hart: So growth promoting factors in the brain, or antiinflammatory factors in the brain are things like a healthy diet with lots of vitamins and minerals and good quality water and fats and proteins that are good quality. Not so much sugar, we don’t need sugar. And then so exercise, having a healthy musculoskeletal system. Your muscles make up a myosin, well they make several hundred myosins but one of the really important ones for the brain is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which grows in your brain cells and repairs brain cells. And you can make it from having healthy, strong, regularly exercised muscles.
Dr John Hart: Obviously, sleep’s really important. Sleep is when your brain repairs itself. Turns out, it was discovered a couple of years ago that your brain cells shrink at night, about 60%, to about 60% at night when you’re sleeping. And the brain sits in a tank, the skull, of fluid, and there’s blood vessels going through the brain and when the brain cells shrink at night, there’s more space between the brain cells. And the blood vessels going through those spaces which are pumping through with the pulse, pump the fluid of the tank through the brain and take out the garbage, the waste products that we accumulated from the day’s work.
Dr John Hart: And so if you don’t get enough quality or quantity of sleep, then you don’t take out the garbage, the garbage accumulates and then you know it the next day, because your brain’s a bit foggy, you’re not working properly. But over time, the garbage accumulates and leads to damage to the cells and promotes inflammation as your immune system tries to get rid of the garbage.
Patrick: Makes sense.
Dr John Hart: So exercise, sleep, stress management. Too much stress kills brain cells and the 1990s was the decade of the brain and there was billions of dollars spent on brain research in that decade. One of the things they found was that prolonged levels of stress and high levels of the sympathetic stress management nervous system activation and high levels of cortisol, the sort of stress hormone to activate your body to deal with the stress, high levels of those over time kill brain cells.
Dr John Hart: So people who have high levels of stress, prolonged, have high levels of cortisol and they have increased risk of dementia later on in life. So there’s some of the good things, or sunlight, natural sunlight. So sunlight on your eyes, sunlight on your skin. It’s not just about on your skin making vitamin D, which it’s a hormone. It’s not a vitamin, it’s a hormone. Because it’s made in one part of the body, the skin and then via the liver and the kidneys goes via the blood to all the cells in the body telling them what to do, that’s actually a hormone.
Dr John Hart: A vitamin is a vital amine, it’s something your body can’t make, you have to have it in your diet. And vitamin D was called vitamin D because it was first discovered in cod liver oil and they thought that the body couldn’t make it. So it was called vitamin D because somebody had just discovered vitamin C.
Dr John Hart: But, this was 1921. And then a couple years later, it was worked out that most of the vitamin D in your body is not dietary, it’s made via sunlight on your skin. So if you don’t get enough sunlight on your skin, you don’t make enough vitamin D. Now, vitamin D, as well as being anti-cancer, and immune system regulatory, it’s antiinflammatory. It’s a strong antiinflammatory hormone.
Patrick: That is really good for what you’re talking about.
Dr John Hart: So, that’s right. So if you don’t get enough sun on your skin, then you don’t make enough vitamin D, then that’s promoting a pro-inflammatory state by not having enough antiinflammatory or without inflammatory systems. So obviously, we don’t say go out and spend all day in the sun and get sun burnt, because sunburn is damage. But we also say don’t hide from the sun and live and work inside and then play inside and expect to be healthy. Because the body evolved over millions of years as a hunter gatherer on the equator. That’s how much sun we expect to get on our eyes and then our skin. We evolved into that environment. That environment was there first. We evolved to operate optimally in that.
Dr John Hart: Now we’re so used to changing our environment now, to make it safe and comfortable for us, that we think that we’ve made it more suitable for us. But we haven’t, what we’ve done is we’ve made it safe and comfortable, but in the process, we’ve removed a lot of the inputs from our environment that we evolved to use and need, and have made ourselves softer and weaker in the process and that’s one of the reason why the chronic degenerative diseases are exploding. Because of that loss of appropriate environmental interaction that we evolved to have.
Dr John Hart: And in electromagnetic radiation, it’s exactly the same scenario as you know. We evolved into a particular electromagnetic environment that was here first and it was determined by the Earth’s electromagnetic field, north and south poles, and by sunlight. And so sunlight consists of a photon, a little parcel of energy that moves in a waveform. And some of the photons move at very high frequencies, so very short wavelengths and very high frequencies, and we call those cosmic rays. And then the lower frequencies, therefore longer wavelengths are then the gamma and gamma waves and alpha waves, beta waves. Then you get down into the ultraviolet spectrum, or X-rays, below that. And then ultraviolet, and most of that gets filtered out from the sunlight via the Earth’s atmosphere. Except if you’re in Australia, not so much unfortunately.
Dr John Hart: And then below that, we have the visible spectrum. So that’s the sunlight that we can see, because we have receptors for that. We can’t see these higher ones. We don’t have receptors for those. But we have receptors for the visible spectrum, which is a very narrow band of frequencies, and we call that red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. And then below that is the infrared spectrum. And the infrared spectrum, we don’t see it, but we feel it as heat. So we perceive infrared as heat. And then below that, there wasn’t much. There was a little bit of radiation at the very low frequencies primarily generated by lightening.
Dr John Hart: So when lightening strikes and there’s about a hundred lightening strikes every second somewhere in the world. But every time the lightening strikes from the ionosphere down to the Earth, it releases energy that reverberates around in the atmosphere which acts as a cavity between the surface of the Earth and the ionosphere, the outer layer. And that’s called the Schumann Resonance, and it’s at 7.83 hertz, which is a very low frequency compared to the many billions of hertz at the higher end. The Schumann resonance is kind of the Earth’s electromagnetic pulse generated by lightening strikes, 7.83 hertz, reverberating round and round and round, and there’s harmonics of it which are exact multiples of it.
Dr John Hart: So, 7.83 hertz, 16 hertz, 20, whatever the next one is. 24, and up to about 50 or 60 hertz, the harmonics get weaker and weaker. And that’s interesting, because if you look at the frequencies of the human brain, it’s the same frequency band. And 7.83 hertz is the frequency your brain goes into when you’re alert and active and creative. And that’s not coincidence. That’s because that frequency was here first and we evolved as an organism to use that frequency and to operate optimally in it.
Dr John Hart: And that was fine for millions of years, we evolved into being the best hunter gatherer in that electromagnetic environment. But then a hundred years ago, we totally changed the electromagnetic environment by pumping out manmade, non-native electromagnetic fields. So things like radar, radio and TV that are below the visible spectrum so we can’t see them, but they’re there and we’ve got devices that enable us to see them. But it’s particularly gotten bad in the last 10 to 20 years with the microwaves.
Dr John Hart: So the radio frequencies, which are wavelengths that have, in the microwave band, they have centimeter wavelengths, they’ve exploded in the atmosphere, all over the Earth in the last 10 to 20 years, because they’re the frequencies that we’re using in our telecommunication industry. As an idea of where this is all coming from, it’s your phone, it’s everybody else’s phone around you, it’s all the cellphone towers. It’s all the wifi which uses the same frequencies, or everybody’s wifi that you’re exposed to. You can see it on your phone when you look at the networks. Bluetooth is the same thing. Smart meters, baby monitors, cordless phones at home are particularly bad because they’re transmitting all the time, even when you’re not using them. Even microwave ovens which leak and send microwaves out into the environment and anybody who’s standing nearby.
Dr John Hart: They’re saying now that the intensity of this radiation compared to 100 years ago is one quintillion times higher, which is a one with 18 zeroes. So this wasn’t there a hundred years ago. And so if you believe that we’re an electromagnetic being, which we are, because we measure the electricity with our electroencephalograms, electrocardiograms, electromyograms, we measure all of that electricity that we operate on. And whatever you have electricity, you have magnetism, and we operate on magnetism. You can measure it in the body and around. Everybody has a magnetic field around them generated by their body.
Dr John Hart: That whole system evolved in a particular environment. We’ve very recently, in evolutionary terms, very, very recently changed that whole environment. So you’d be thinking there’s gonna be some sort of a negative interaction, possibly. And you’re as right. And the biologists have worked out now the mechanisms by which the invisible radiation that we can’t see without a machine to transduce it into a form we can perceive, the mechanisms by which it causes physical damage to us and leads to cancer and heart attacks and strokes and dementia.
Dr John Hart: And those are model mechanisms, but one of the main ones seems to be voltage gated calcium channels. So what that means is on the surface of your cells, especially cells that transmit electricity along the surface like nerve and muscle. So nerve in your brain, your spine, your peripheral nerves and all your muscles, whether it’s the heart muscle, skeletal muscle, smooth muscle of your gut. They all have these voltage gated calcium channels, and they’re there on purpose so that when an electrical signal which often starts in the brain, travels down the nerve, gets transmitted to a muscle or even along a nerve, that electrical signal causes these voltage gated calcium channels to open and increase calcium flow inside the cell.
Dr John Hart: When that message happens at the right time and the right frequency, you get the right amount of calcium going in. Calcium in the case of muscle causes the muscle to contract. It’s also a signaling molecule, it turns a lot of processes in the cells to enable the muscle to contract and work properly, for instance, in muscle, same in nerves. As it turns out, and there are lots of voltage gated channels, not just calcium channels. There’s voltage gated sodium channels, potassium channels, chloride channels, that all control the in flow or the out flow of these ions into cells and affects cell function.
Dr John Hart: So if you’re exposed to an electrical field, especially one that’s a quintillion times higher than the one that we evolved to, that activates these voltage gated calcium channels. Now you’ve got ions moving in and out of cells inappropriately, doing damage. In the case of calcium, if you have too much calcium coming into cells, it turns on an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase, which makes a molecule called nitric oxide, which in excess gets converted into a free radical called peroxynitrite which is a very powerful free radical which is so small it can actually translate across cell membranes. So mitochondrial membranes, DNA membranes. And being a free radical, it causes oxidative stress, inflammation and damage. So we end up seeing the damage, that’s one of the mechanisms that the invisible radiation that we can’t see, ends up causing physical damage that we eventually do become aware of as cells and tissues start to fail.
Dr John Hart: That is one of the toxins, the neurotoxic factors that we’re big on assessing, people’s environments. Particularly to measure your sleep space, because that’s the most important space and as you know, 95% of bedrooms have unsafe levels of man-made radiation in them, because the builders don’t know about it. Nobody can see it, smell it, taste it or hear it. Nobody knows it’s there but it is. And if it’s in your bedroom space, then you get a double whammy there because of the amount of time that you spend in that space.
Dr John Hart: If you’re exposed to manmade radiation and getting all this inflammatory oxidating stress caused, A, it’s doing physical damage to your body, B, it’s actually turning off your repair processes. Because your brain sees this radiation, doesn’t know what it was because it wasn’t on the planet a hundred years ago, thinks it’s sunlight. Which is the radiation that it does know about and sunlight means daytime. So daytime means we don’t repair and regenerate, that’s what we do at nighttime. So you turn off your repair and regeneration processes. So you might find it’s harder to get to sleep and harder to stay asleep and you wake up unrefreshed, because you’re not regenerating and repairing.
Patrick: That’s where melatonin sets in, is it?
Dr John Hart: Yeah. So one of the measures of that and one of the best measures of that is that your melatonin production, which is the hormone that your brain releases to tell your body that it’s nighttime and now we’re gonna get into repair mode. And melatonin’s a strong antioxidant, especially in the brain. It’s a very strong antiinflammatory, antioxidant by itself as well as being a signaling molecule to your gut and your immune that now’s the time to regenerate and repair.
Dr John Hart: If your brain thinks it’s daytime, you don’t make melatonin, you can measure that. And for people who are electro hypersensitive, which is about three to five percent of the population and growing, as we’re getting more and more radiation exposures over our life, they don’t make melatonin. And they can’t live in the city and they can’t be around cellphones or any source of man-made radiation. And they have to go and live in a forest in a tent, otherwise they’re really sick.
Dr John Hart: And many of them who can’t do that, they just end up committing suicide because life is just unattainable for them. And we’re going to see more and more of those people, I think, as the radiation levels in the environment continue to grow exponentially. And I think in a couple of years when the 5G network comes along. So at the moment, telecommunication, the wifi and the cellphones, they’re using the 2G, 3G and 4G networks, they’re using centimeter wavelengths, microwaves. But the 5G network is using millimeter wavelengths.
Dr John Hart: So they’re 10 times higher frequencies, which means 10 times higher energy. So that’s great because you can carry more information and you can download your movie faster, you’ve got better bandwidth, but it’s not good for cells and it’s not just human cells. This is all forms of life on the planet all get affected and they’re all being damaged. So plants, our food supply, animals, even bacteria. There’s studies showing that bacteria becoming more, one of the reasons they’re becoming more antibiotic resistant is because of the stress that’s being applied to them by this radiation and they’re reacting to that stress and becoming more virulent and aggressive and more invasive.
Dr John Hart: There’s the thoughts that the mold that is quite common in water damaged buildings, you only have to have water on building material for 24 hours for mold to start growing on it. And particularly the downside of having energy efficient houses, which are very enclosed, is that if you get any moisture in through leaky roof, leaky pipes, the waterproofing in the shower wasn’t done properly and it leaks through into the building material, is that any mold that grows, makes things called mycotoxins, which are toxins that stop the mold, or other molds growing on its same patch.
Dr John Hart: So, a mold, or molds on water damaged buildings make mycotoxins and often a range of them to stop other molds growing on its patch. But these mycotoxins are nanoparticles and they aerosolize and you don’t have to see or smell a mold, it can be in the ceiling space, in the wall cavity, sub-floor. But the toxins aerosolize, get into the living space, then you inhale it and then 24% of people have genes, they’ve inherited genes that they don’t remove these toxins effectively. So their immune system gets activated to try and get rid of the toxins, but can’t, especially if they keep coming in and people often don’t know, because you can’t see and smell it. And so it promotes inflammatory which then leads to problems throughout their body.
Dr John Hart: So the connection with the radiation is that the mold, being a living organism, is aware of this manmade radiation and sees it as a threat to its survival, which it is, same as it is to ours, and becomes more virulent and active and it’s under threat. Well, what do I do when I’m under threat? Well I’ll throw little mold spores and try and colonize somewhere else and I’ll throw a lot of toxins to protect from the threats that I’m used to seeing and we get the collateral damage. That’s another example of, depends on who you speak to, that most buildings, well 10 to 40% of buildings have water damage depending on the studies you look at. So it’s quite common.
Dr John Hart: And so that’s another neurotoxic factor that’s in the environment, that if you wanna have a healthy body and a healthy brain, you have to assess it and remediate it if necessary. I mean other toxins are other heavy metals that we’re pumping out into the environment now because of all the processing we’ve done. Ones that we know of and that we see a lot of is high levels of aluminum. So aluminum is bound to silicon in the Earth’s crust and it’s one of the commonest metals in the Earth’s crust.
Dr John Hart: But when we dig it up and pull the silicone off it, we use the aluminum for all sorts of things, with cooking ware and paints and deodorants and it ends up in the atmosphere and in the water supply and therefore in the food supply and then we ingest it. And we know that aluminum, even in vaccinations in kids, aluminum is used as an agitant to irritate the immune system so that it will react to the antigen that you want it to. Especially in kids, they don’t have good barriers to stop the aluminum going where it’s not supposed to be in it’s an inflammatory to the immune system. That’s why we give it, but that’s not why we want it to stay in the body and keep doing that for the rest of your life.
Dr John Hart: Other ones that most people are aware of is mercury, from amalgams and from fish, but particularly the big fish. So the longer lived, big mouth, larger fish. Swordfish, marlin, shark or flake, even the salmon have relatively high levels of mercury now. Because it’s in the water, they can’t avoid it. The mercury is very neurotoxic to the brain. So if it comes in via the silver fillings, which are 50% mercury and which release the mercury all the time and more so when you chew on them or heat them up with hot food or drink, the mercury that ends up in the brain kills brain cells and it’s just another one of the neurotoxic factors that we’ve all probably got hundreds of them. But we all have our own levels and it just depends on what we’ve got and how well we balance them with the neurotrophic, protective, antiinflammatory factors that determines whether our brain’s working and whether we’re killing off brain cells faster than normal.
Patrick: Yeah. So with dementia, which of course, nobody wants. A little bit like brushing your teeth. You brush your teeth because you want fresh smelling breath, but at some level you don’t wanna have those brown teeth that you see in the dental magazines when you’re in the waiting room.
Dr John Hart: Yeah.
Patrick: What are some things that people could kind of pull into their lives that reduce it, that’s kind of a good practice to do for brain health and maybe specifically the dementia, which nobody wants.
Dr John Hart: Sure. Yep. Funny you say the teeth, because oral health is really important for brain health. One of the ways that you can accelerate the death of your brain cells is to get infections in the brain. Not the gross infection that causes encephalitis and gives you high fevers and blinding headache and paralysis and you get straight to hospital, but low grade, chronic infections that they’re now finding that can survive in the brain longterm by different mechanisms that different microorganisms have to invade your immune system.
Dr John Hart: There are a range of microorganisms and viruses and even fungi that can hide from your immune system in different parts of your body like your brain and just sit there constantly sending out toxins and just triggering the immune system because the immune system sees there’s something wrong, but it can’t get rid of the things that’s wrong. So it keeps doing its programmed neuro information thing, trying to clean up, but getting collateral damage in the process. And the studies at the moment show, the two major ones, and there’ll be many more I’m sure in the future, are the herpes simplex virus. So the virus that gives you cold sores which travels along the nerves into the brain and can sit there and just as cold sores can reactivate on the skin, the herpes virus can reactivate in your brain. And you get basically little cold sores in your brain, each time doing damage, each time spreading the virus a bit further.
Dr John Hart: We know that people who have herpes simplex virus exposure have increased risk of dementia, particularly if they have the main inherited risk factor. In terms of dementia, only about 10% of it is inherited. There’s about a hundred genes, that pre disposure to dementia. But that’s only 10% of the story. 90% of dementia is you give it to yourself by what you’ve done to your brain over your life. Good and bad stuff, it balances out.
Dr John Hart: But of the inherited, roughly a hundred genes that contribute heavily to 10% of dementia, the APOE gene is the main one. And the APOE gene, as with all genes you get one version from mum, one version from dad, and it comes in three forms. What they call E2, E3 and E4. So you’ve got one of those from mum, one from dad. So you might be a 33 or 32 or a 43 or whatever, everybody’s different. now it turns out that the E4 version promotes information in the body. So when you get an inflammatory trigger, like an infectional trauma, you’ll have a stronger inflammatory response if you’re an E4.
Dr John Hart: So and that then leads to more cardiovascular disease in E4s and more dementia in E4s. So if you have no E4, so you’re like a 3-3, which is a very common one. You’ve got about a 9% risk of dementia. But if you have one E4, you have a 30% risk of dementia. And if you have two E4s, you have a 50% to 90% risk of dementia. So even if you have two E4s, that means you have a 10 to 50% risk of not getting dementia. So it’s not a guaranteed death sentence, it’s just it’s a predisposition which you then need to manage by putting in a bunch of antiinflammatory stuffs so that you go from the 50 to 90% of E4-4s who get dementia to the 10 to 50% who don’t get it. You can do that by manipulating your environment and all the good stuff and bad stuff.
Dr John Hart: The reason I went on to that was that one of the things the E4 does, is it makes it 12 times easier for the herpes simplex virus to get into brain cells. So that’s one of the ways by which it promotes that infection getting into brains and then over time, neuroinflammation and brain failure.
Patrick: Is that something you can get tested for?
Dr John Hart: Any doctor can order an E4 gene test, yeah. You can get it as an isolated test or you can get it as part of different panels that can be done on blood tests or skin samples from the cheek.
Patrick: Going to be when you have children, that would be an interesting thing to find out about them.
Dr John Hart: Yeah. Well particularly if dementia runs in the family, that might be that everybody’s got a really lousy environment or not enough good stuff, too much bad stuff. Or it might be that there’s a genetic predisposition that’s being transferred down the gene line. And so if that’s the case, if you have that genetic predisposition, for some people say ‘you can’t change the genes, it doesn’t make any difference, I’ll just do what I can do.’ Then other people say ‘well, yes, you can’t change the genes but if I know I have a gene that predisposes for something, I know I need to work harder than the normal person who I see around me…
Dr John Hart: … to stop me getting that disease.
Patrick: Because those percentages you mentioned, that’s reflective of the average person who doesn’t know about anything out there in the average environment.
Dr John Hart: That’s right. And so if you know, then you can take steps to put yourself into the healthy cohort.
Patrick: Yeah. And that percentage would then obviously get less amongst those people that are aware of it.
Dr John Hart: That’s right. That’s right. So yeah. So I think, we can’t test all the genes, many are them are just sort of at research levels at the moment. Well, you can get all your genes, if you do sort of gene sequencing like 23 and me, but we don’t really know percentage-wise and how they interact. If you have two genes, how does that compare with having three of these genes or one of these genes and all of that stuff is still yet to be worked out.
Dr John Hart: I think if there’s cognitive decline or dementia in the family or you’re particularly worried about that you might be declining faster than you should be, then it’s worth knowing, but that’s not the only test. That’s like a secondary test. You want to test all your hormones, test for infections, inflammatory markers give an idea of how much information’s going on in your body.
Dr John Hart: Going back to the dental thing. If you have infections in your mouth, either infections in the teeth that need fillings, or infections in the gum, called gingivitis, which causes bleeding and pain when you brush or floss. Or infections in the bone underneath the tooth, which often you don’t know, because you don’t feel it and the dentist can’t see it. Those infections, because of damage to the associated blood vessels and the overgrowth of the bacteria, the bacteria get into the blood and they travel around your body. They end up in your brain, they end up in your blood vessels.
Dr John Hart: We’ve known for decades that if you have dental disease, oral disease, that you have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia and if you’ve had teeth removed in early to mid-life because of infections, not because of trauma, because of infections, you have twice of the risk of dementia in late life. Because the infections early in life have an opportunity to get into the brain and accelerate the decline.
Dr John Hart: Studies show that if you look at the brains of demented people after they die, on autopsy, they had three to eight times higher level of oral bacteria in their brains than people who don’t get dementia. And so the way the bugs get into the brain, as I said, is through dental disease, oral ill health. And so optimizing your oral health is really important. And if you’ve had root canals, which are dead teeth and have bacteria in them, living in them, multiplying and traveling out to the rest of the body. If you’ve had fillings, forget about the mercury side of things, but just the fact that you’ve needed to have a filling means the tooth has been damaged and infected, promoting inflammation flow.
Dr John Hart: If you’ve got or had gingivitis, some pain and bleeding with the brushing or flossing or, I get all my people to do a cone beam CT, so that’s a high resolution but low radiation picture of their teeth and the bones underneath the teeth. And it’s amazing how many times you have infections in the bones underneath the root canal tooth. So the root canal tooth is infected, it’s a dead tooth, it has to be. But it then leads to infections in the bone and the abscesses that you can see on a CT, and reasonably often, teeth that have had fillings and crowns in the past, i.e. infections, and infection can translate either around the tooth, through the gum or through the root pulp in the middle and set up home in the bone underneath.
Dr John Hart: So oral health is one of the things you need to do. But in terms of the big picture, if you look at the good things that you need to have a long, healthy life. Not just brain function but bones, muscles, liver heart, cardiovascular system, the whole lot. Roughly in order of importance, I think it’s exposure to natural sunlight and earthing. So earthing’s where you touch the Earth, or the surface of the Earth with your bare skin and you get exposed to the natural magnetic field and some electrons that come in from the surface of the Earth into your body which is how we evolved. We evolved earthing all the time. We walked around in bare feet, sleep on the ground.
Dr John Hart: Now we never touch the Earth. So earthing puts you in touch with the Earth’s magnetic field which we use and need. Being out in the sun and getting sun on your eyes and on your skin puts us in touch with those frequencies of energy which we use. Sunlight is absorbed by the skin and used. Similar, just as plants do, plants and us, we all evolved from the same origin. Plants use sunlight to combine carbon dioxide and water together in the process of photosynthesis, which means grabbing a photon of light and synthesizing a bigger molecule from carbon dioxide and water.
Dr John Hart: Basically photosynthesis is storing sunlight. You wanna keep the energy levels in your body as high as possible. The way you keep the energy levels as high as possible is, A, use the energy you’ve got effectively, but get energy in, because we’re always using it up. So we always have to keep it coming in. And the three ways that you can get energy into your body is sunlight on your skin and the frequencies of sunlight from the infrared up through the visible and the ultraviolet. We have ways of using that energy within ourselves and within our mitochondria and within the fluid of the cells to hold that as a charge to store that energy to be used.
Dr John Hart: Getting out in the sun and not hiding from the sun. Not getting burnt and damaged from it but not hiding from it and touching the Earth, I think, are really powerful cheap, easy things. The best time to get out in the sun is first thing in the morning. Because of the balance between the frequencies in sunlight changes during the day and in the morning it’s very safe, but it’s also very effective and it helps set your circadian rhythm which means it tells your brain that the day has started. So your brain tells your body the day’s started. So you turn on all the things you need to do during the day, which is be the best hunter gatherer on the planet.
Dr John Hart: And conversely, avoiding sunlight, particularly blue light. The blue part of the natural frequency of visible light is the frequency that we use to monitor sunlight, like daytime. So the eye picks up blue light and the brain picks up from the eye and that tells the brain it’s daytime. And so for millions of years when the sun went down, there was no blue light, because there was no sunlight. And so that tells the brain, okay now, nope. No need to activate the body to be a hunter gatherer. It’s dark, now we’re going to enter into the repair cycle.
Dr John Hart: Repair, regeneration, detoxification cycle. If we expose ourselves to blue light after sunset, then that’s telling the brain it’s daytime. So we turn off all the repair and regeneration stuff. We find it harder to get to sleep, we don’t sleep as deeply, we don’t regenerate as well. Avoiding particularly blue light on your eyes and on your skin, because of the signaling happening through your skin after sunset is a really cheap, easy thing to do.
Dr John Hart: So something like just having long sleeves on and long pants on after sunset to avoid the artificial lights that we’re surrounding ourselves with now. With our screens and our internal lighting, and having a barrier over your eyes. So either remove blue light from your environment, which you can do. There’s apps you can put on computers and phones. But a cheap easy way is just turn off all the bright, white, so the bright white LEDs in screens and in internal lighting have a lot of blue in them. Huge amount of blue.
Dr John Hart: That blue light actually does damage when it’s unbalanced with other frequencies. It damages a mitochondria and it leads to changes in shape in the eyeball. So that’s why you’re seeing so many kids now who are myopic, they need glasses. Like when we went to school, how many kids had glasses?
Patrick: Not many. A couple.
Dr John Hart: Yeah. Now, it’s half the class needs glasses. But that’s the blue light changing the shape of the eyeball so you can’t focus properly, you need a lens to help you. It also does damage to your mitochondria and your whole cells. After sunset it tells your brain it’s daytime so you don’t get proper regeneration and repair.
Dr John Hart: They are cheap, easy hacks. The three ways you get energy into your body are touching the Earth and getting in touch with the Earth’s magnetic field and getting sun on your eyes and your skin and using that radiation as we have for millions of years until we started living and working indoors and putting clothes on and hiding from the sun. And then the fourth way is just food, which is frozen sunlight. Via photosynthesis, sunlight is frozen and stored, and then when we eat that food, we pull it apart and release the energy and use it. Then we breathe out the carbon dioxide and the water.
Dr John Hart: Actually, the water is really important because the water that we make from food is not just a waste product as we were taught in chemistry, it’s what’s called deuterium depleted water, it has low levels of deuterium in it, which the water in the environment that we drink has relatively high levels of deuterium. Deuterium stop the cells from working properly when you have too much deuterium.
Dr John Hart: And particularly in Australia, our rainwater, because of the hole in the ozone layer, our rainwater has a high amount of deuterium, which means our drinking water and our plants have it and therefore we have it, and that’s contributing to mitochondrial dysfunction and not enough energy and accelerated wear and tear of our cells.
Dr John Hart: When we make water from pulling apart food, frozen food, or frozen sun in food, that water is relatively deuterium depleted which is good. But it depends on the food that you’re eating. So if you’re eating grains and fruits and potatoes, they have a lot of deuterium in them. Therefore the water you make in the process of breaking those foods down for the energy that’s stored in them will have high deuterium. Whereas vegetables and nuts and seeds and grass-fed organic animals, they have fats and proteins that have relatively low amounts of deuterium. Therefore you have good quality water being made from it.
Dr John Hart: So this is getting into a bit of biophysics, which is relatively new stuff but it’s just an indicator of the more we look into the detail, the more the basics become the bang for the buck stuff. There’s never gonna be drug, and there’s never gonna be a combination of drugs that fix up all the hundred things that cause dementia. It’s just not gonna happen. You’ve gotta address the underlying causes. But the vast majority of the underlying causes are relatively simple to address.
Dr John Hart: So it’s that sun exposure, Earth exposure. And then it’s moving your body and exercise. So moving’s important because that makes you healthy. So standing and walking as much as you can, you get a lot of health benefits from that. As opposed to sitting and lying, which most people do about 22 or 23 hours of the day. That’s not what a hunter gather did. That’s not how we evolved to be like that. So that’s a problem. And then there’s the high intensity exercise.
Dr John Hart: So movement makes you healthy, exercise makes you fit. If you want a long, healthy life, you have both. So moving is like being a gatherer. And exercising is like being a hunter. It’s the high intensity stuff, short duration. And they all have benefits and you need a bit of both to be optimally healthy. We talked about the sleep, we talked about the radiation, identifying sources of foreign molecules that are coming into your body.
Dr John Hart: Foreign molecules are perceived by your immune system as this is not me, this is not something I recognize as a food or a nutrient, therefore it’s a foreign invader. What do I do when I see a foreign invader? Attack.
Dr John Hart: Inflammation.
Dr John Hart: If it keeps coming in, I will keep attacking until I win and it’s gone. But if the environment is such that it’s just always coming in, you’ll always be doing it. So there’s a hundred thousand chemicals in the environment that weren’t here a hundred years ago. And only a couple of thousand of them have been tested on humans because the idea was that we wouldn’t be eating them. They’d be used in industrial processes. However, from the industrial process they end up in the water supply, the air supply, the food supply. They end up in us.
Dr John Hart: Most of them have not been tested. We don’t know what they do, we just know they’re foreign. We certainly don’t know what the interactions are when you get two or three or four of them together.
Patrick: Between them.
Dr John Hart: I mean kids, there’s a study done where they looked at the chemicals, man-made chemicals in children at birth, and they only tested 400 and something chemicals, but there were 300 and something in children at birth. So the kids now, not only are they born into a toxic environment, but even in the womb, there was a toxic environment from what mum was exposed to and all this radiation.
Dr John Hart: When we were, the first couple decades of our life, the radiation levels were relatively low, before the microwaves took off with telecommunication and mobile phones. But these kids have had it from in the womb. The kids are most susceptible to this radiation, because the thickness of their skull plate is thinner and that helps protect. So a phone held a certain distance away from a child’s head, more of the radiation from that phone will get into a child’s brain than an adult’s brain. Their cells have more water in them, so that makes them more susceptible to the radiation and their cells are turning over faster, which makes them more susceptible to the damage that’s being caused by this radiation.
Dr John Hart: I think we’re going to see in this current generation, a lot of degenerative diseases happening years to decades earlier. I mean we’re already seeing it. We’re seeing neurodevelopmental diseases and neurodegenerative diseases going through the roof. Neurodevelopmental diseases like autism is just exploding in the last couple of decades. That just means the brain’s not developing. Not enough good stuff, too much bad stuff. Neurodegenerative diseases which end up as dementia and brain failure, they’re also becoming, in Australia, they’re the second largest cause of death and there’s a forecast they’ll be the largest in a couple decades.
Dr John Hart: And so neurodegenerative diseases are not a lot of good stuff, too much bad stuff. So autism is just dementia in a kid. Dementia is autism in an older person. It’s not able to grow and declining too rapidly. And it’s all environmental. It’s all changing in a couple of decades. It’s not genetic, our genes haven’t changed in a couple of decades, but our environment has changed tremendously. So if you wanna be healthy, you wanna take your environment back as far as possible to the environment your body evolved in.
Dr John Hart: You can’t go back to it unless you want to live as a hunter gatherer in the jungle. Even the jungles have got chemicals and radiation in them now, everywhere on the planet. So you can’t eliminate all these sources but you can minimize them. It comes down to a choice between convenience and health. It’s convenient to take the elevator. It’s healthy to take the stairs. It’s convenient to pour your breakfast out of a packet that was made…
Patrick: Months ago.
Dr John Hart: Months ago somewhere else in the world. It’s healthy to make it from real food, freshly bought, in season, locally. And it’s convenient to be connected to the net and be…
Dr John Hart: …wirelessly and be so that people can contact you any time they want. It’s not healthy being exposed to that radiation. Everybody has to make their own decision about where along that continuum they want to go. The more you go down to convenience, as a general rule, the less health you will have and the more degenerative diseases you will have, and you’ll be paying eventually. It might be expensive in the short term to prevent it, but you’re not eliminating the cost by not doing it, you’re just delaying the cost until later on in your life when you have to spend a lot of time and money, when you can’t work, when somebody has to care for you, they can’t work. When you’ve got all these medical expenses that often, you didn’t need to have, it was because of decisions that you’ve made over your life that’s predisposed you to getting those.
Dr John Hart: So you’re gonna pay at one end, usually you’re gonna pay a lot more later.
Patrick: Yeah, and if you do it now, it’s an installment plan.
Dr John Hart: It’s an installment plan. Smaller amount and you can keep working.
Dr John Hart: If you get sick and you can’t work or you’re not productive as you need to be, then… Yeah.
Patrick: It’s even harder. All right, John, thank you very much for all the input you’ve given. I think that’s a nice summary to end up. Now, you do a lot of consulting, of course in person but also over the internet using Skype and facilities like that.
Dr John Hart: Yeah.
Patrick: So if somebody wanted to get in contact with you or ask for your assistance, how would they go about that and how do they contact you?
Dr John Hart: Easiest way is just to go to our website, it’s www.hartclinic.com.au and that gives you an idea of some of the things we do, there’s a phone number, there’s an email that you can contact reception and you can give them an idea of, if you don’t know what you want to do or what might be involved, we’ve got very good staff here that we spend a lot of time with people.
Dr John Hart: We’re not five minute consults, initial consult’s an hour and a half to two hours and it’s very detailed and we do a lot of testing. I like to test, not guess. No, I don’t wanna take a guess at what’s wrong with you, I wanna know and the technology gives me a lot of information. So as much as the patient’s resources will allow, we’ll do hard objective testing to work out exactly what’s going on. And that usually then means that the treatments are much cheaper because you know what you have to do.
Dr John Hart: You’re not treating things that you didn’t have to treat because you guessed that they were wrong.
Patrick: It’s targeted.
Dr John Hart: It’s a very targeted, cheaper, more effective and then if you’ve identified things that are broken with the testing, you can then retest them some months later to show that you’ve fixed them.
Patrick: Made progress.
Dr John Hart: Yeah.
Patrick: All right, wonderful. Well, I certainly know all the patients of yours that I deal with speak very highly of you. So thank you very much for your time and the insights you’ve shared. That was awesome, thank you.
Dr John Hart: You’re welcome. Thanks Patrick.
Patrick: Thank you.
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