The Natural Evolution Podcast

Season 2

Episode 2

S2E2 – Understanding the BIG Idea with Dr. Peter Kan

We discuss how individuals and practitioners can better help themselves and their patients by continuously asking “why?”. What is going on within my body to produce these symptoms? Dr. Kan explains how to grasp the BIG idea by learning about your Brain IMMUNE Gut connection.

After numerous family illnesses, Dr. Peter Kan realized his mission in life- to help those whom the pharmaceutical- driven medical system has failed. 

He “supports and manages patients with chronic conditions using a comprehensive approach by merging the exciting advances of functional neurology and functional medicine”.

In this episode, we talk about how individuals and practitioners can better help themselves and their patients by continuously asking “why?”. What is going on within my body to produce these symptoms? Dr. Kan explains how to grasp the BIG idea by learning about your Brain IMMUNE Gut connection.

To learn more about Dr. Peter Kan and his practice you can visit www.askdrkan.com.

Sign up for his limited-time Masterclass Series here.

Follow him at HopeFamilyWellness on Facebook@askdrkan on Instagram, and watch his videos on YouTube by searching Dr. Peter Kan. 

If you enjoy The Natural Evolution Podcast “like” us, subscribe, review, share us with your friends, and come join our Rebel Health Tribe group on Facebook. Click the “Get The Bundle” Button below to get a free download of our loaded quick start guide to help you along your healing journey!

Listen to Episode #2

We discuss how individuals and practitioners can better help themselves and their patients by continuously asking “why?”. What is going on within my body to produce these symptoms? Dr. Kan explains how to grasp the BIG idea by learning about your Brain IMMUNE Gut connection.
Play Video
Dr. Peter Kan

Dr. Peter Kan, DC, DACNB, FAAIM, CFMP, CGP

About our Guest

Dr. Kan supports and manages clients with chronic conditions using a comprehensive approach by merging the exciting advances of functional neurology and functional medicine.

Dr. Kan is Board Certified in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, and a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist.

He is the creator of NeuroMetabolic Integration, a science-based virtual online coaching program that identifies the root cause of autoimmune and other chronic conditions.

Over 5000 clients from across the country have come to seek out his holistic approach that is changing the lives of those suffering from chronic conditions.

Born in Taiwan and immigrated to America at the age of 13, Dr. Kan has a deep appreciation of Eastern wisdom and Western advances in natural healthcare. He believes in the God given ability of the body to heal and regulate itself.

Subscribe to The Natural Evolution Podcast

Understanding the BIG Idea with Dr. Peter Kan

Share this Episode

Recent Podcasts

S2E34 – Seeking Your Inner World: Breathwork & Psychedelic Therapy with Alex Manos

Alex enlightens us regarding the topics of terrain theory and germ theory, bringing us to

S2E33 – Embracing the Foundation of Gut Health with Dr. Sonza Curtis

Dr. Sonza Curtis joins us in this episode to discuss the foundations and hurdles of

S2E32 – Integrative Oncology and the Unique Power of Mistletoe Therapy with Dr. Nasha Winters

Dr. Nasha Winters has educated hundreds of professionals on the clinical application of mistletoe. In

S2E31 – Finding Balance & Understanding Overtesting within Functional Medicine with Dr. Michael Ruscio

Dr. Michael Ruscio discusses the common misunderstandings surrounding lab testing, how overtesting in functional medicine

S2E30 – Insight into the Clinical World of Chronic GI Problems with Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Tune in to further understand the nuances of chronic GI problems. Dr. Datis Kharrazian covers

Related Podcasts

S2E34 – Seeking Your Inner World: Breathwork & Psychedelic Therapy with Alex Manos

Alex enlightens us regarding the topics of terrain theory and germ theory, bringing us to

S2E30 – Insight into the Clinical World of Chronic GI Problems with Dr. Datis Kharrazian

Tune in to further understand the nuances of chronic GI problems. Dr. Datis Kharrazian covers

S2E28 – Brain on Fire: Getting to the Root of the Mental Health Crisis with Brendan Vermeire

In this episode, Brendan Vermeire talks about mental health and an array of related

S2E19 – Mycotoxins and Immune Responses with Dr. Eric Gordon

Dr. Eric Gordon joins us for another episode in this 2-part series diving into the

S2E17 – The Intersection of Mental Health, Family Constellations, and Inflammation with Dr. Ameet Aggarwal

Dr. Ameet Aggarwal discusses the ways trauma can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other

Subscribe to The Natural Evolution Podcast

Want to jumpstart your journey to health & well-being?

Grab the RHT Quick Start Bundle Today!

Podcast Transcript

Michael:

Hello, and welcome to The Natural Evolution Podcast produced by Rebel Health Tribe. I’m Michael and I’ll be your host. Together, we will be hearing inspiring stories of healing and transformation, learning from some of the brightest minds in the world of functional medicine and holistic wellness, and exploring the world’s best health-related products, services, tools, and resources. And we are live. I am here today with Dr. Peter Kan. Welcome. Thank you so much.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Thank you for having me.

Michael:

Yeah, this is going to be fun. For those out there who are not familiar with your work, Dr. Kan supports and manages clients with chronic conditions using a comprehensive approach by merging the exciting advances of functional neurology and functional medicine. He’s a board certified in integrative medicine, functional medicine, and a board certified chiropractic neurologist, and the creator of NeuroMetabolic Integration, a science-based virtual online coaching program that identifies the root cause of autoimmune and other chronic conditions.

Michael:

Over 5,000 clients from across the country have come to seek out his holistic approach that is changing the lives of those suffering from chronic conditions. Born in Taiwan and immigrated to America at the age of 13, Dr. Kan has a deep appreciation of Eastern wisdom and Western advances in natural health care, and believes in the God-given ability of the body to heal and regulate itself. Not much going on there, just a little bit. Did you know you wanted to … I always ask this question. When did you know you wanted to be a doctor?

Dr. Peter Khan:

That’s interesting question, because I don’t think I even knew I want to be a doctor, even after I went into chiropractic school. My undergraduate degree is actually in exercise physiology. And I actually have a just big passion for exercise. Growing up, I was a gym rat, played all different kinds of sports. So I’m just really passionate about that subject. I just didn’t know what to do with that major. I couldn’t get a job as an exercise physiologist.

Michael:

I hear you. I have a Master’s degree in exercise physiology. I hear you on the …

Dr. Peter Khan:

Right?

Michael:

… on the job, you want to go be a low price, or low salary, like assistant strength coach at a division three college.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Or a personal trainer.

Michael:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And I think once I went into chiropractic school, I didn’t know what I was getting into. But once I went into chiropractic school, I discovered this whole paradigm of wellness and holistic health. I went into chiropractic college thinking, “Oh, I’m going to treat low back pain and sports injuries.” But I discover that health is not just merely the absence of disease, it’s really this holistic approach of addressing mind, body, spirit, nutrition, and everything else. So, that’s what really changed my mind about what I was doing. Then I got really passionate about it. And then, I think, also, just through a lot of personal and family illness.

Dr. Peter Khan:

I had a lot of family members who were sick. And that got me to, by necessity, to learn functional medicine, to learn functional neurology, to help my own family member. And I think that further my education, which gave me a chance to really stay on the tip of the spear, so to speak, as far as doing things that are out-of-the-box. And it turned out, the out-of-the-box stuff turned out to be the mainstream stuff now, within functional medicine.

Michael:

Yeah, I’ve noticed that over the last 10 years of being in the health field is that things that were fringy and not a lot of people knew about 10 years ago, our audience members bring up in webinars and podcasts, and it’s a lot more mainstream and a lot more just recognition and accepted and not as many weird taboos and it’s been fun to watch that transition with the audience. I used to teach classes, like live workshops, and if I did one 10 years ago versus doing one now, the level of education of the audience would be so radically different that I’d have to definitely change what I was teaching. Half the people in our audience could teach the things I was teaching before, so.

Dr. Peter Khan:

That’s a good thing.

Michael:

Yeah, it’s great. And you mentioned your own need from family in your own experience. Our first season in this podcast was all about healing journeys. And I featured a lot of practitioners who went through their own extreme health challenges and that’s how they wound up doing what they were doing. And for some people, it’s family. Like for me, a lot of the stuff that I’ve had to learn the last four or five years is because of my wife’s health, which is why we transitioned to doing more autoimmune content on here. And when we learned about stress and trauma and the nervous system and reactions to environmental sensitivities with her and her condition, then that led to doing brain and neuro stuff on here. So, life tends to guide us in the direction that we’re supposed to be going, one way or another, I think.

Michael:

This season, this second season, we’re all focusing on education, so information education. And today’s topic, we’re going to talk about the brain-immune-gut axis, right? And our audience has probably heard of the gut-brain or brain-gut axis a lot, and we’re throwing immune into the mix. So I’m curious, adding in the immune system there, why do you feel that’s so important?

Dr. Peter Khan:

Yeah, Michael. And, of course, a lot of people have heard about the brain-gut axis or the gut-brain axis. It’s been discussed many, many times, and there’s tons of research in that area that’s probably already talked about. And however, I think the immune system is the big missing piece within this brain-gut axis. And really, the immune system is the thing that mediates the brain-gut axis, right? So if you think about how the brain and the gut communicate, beside the hard wire neurological communications, through the parasympathetic nervous system, the vagus nerve and so forth, much of the communication between the brain and the gut is really mediated by the immune system.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And specifically, we have cytokines that are really doing a lot of these back and forth communication and cytokines really means immune messengers, right? And then I liken the cytokines as text messages being sent by the immune system to communicate and tell each other, hey, we got a pathogen over here, let’s go kill it. We got some cellular debris over here, let’s go clean it up.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And so, cytokines is really the main thing that’s mediating brain-gut function. And, again, the catch word of inflammation, right? It’s all cytokine mediated. So I think a lot of people think of brain-gut axis and the thought automatically goes to either the vagus nerve or the microbiome. That’s when people think, “Oh, gut-brain, yeah, I heard of that. I know that.” Microbiome, right? Everybody got to eat fermented food. Or vagus nerve, we got to do gargling and humming. But I think a big part of it is really how the brain, immune, and gut communicate in a three-way triangle.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So the visual here is not brain-gut by directional. Yes, we got that. But really, brain-immune-gut in a triangle, where the brain communicate with the gut, gut communicate with the brain, but brain also communicate with the immune system, and vice versa, and the gut communicate with the immune system and vice versa. So really, it’s a three-way triangle. And what I’ve noticed is that when one area of this brain-immune-gut axis dysfunctions, the other two parts of the triangle dysfunctions with it.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So you rarely, rarely have someone with just a brain issue without a gut issue. You rarely have someone with a gut issue without also having a brain component. You will rarely have someone with a gut issue without having the immune system component involved in it. And this is the pattern, right? So it’s all about pattern recognition. So, I think I’m probably the first person that talk about or coin the term brain-immune-gut axis. And really, it’s more about understanding the big picture.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So almost a brain-immune-got axis is a 30,000 feet view of, okay, how things dysfunction, and then what type of symptom that produces, because I think a lot of people out there have multiple health conditions, right? They may have autoimmune disease of some type, or multiple autoimmune diseases of multiple types, along with suspecting that they have mold toxicity, along with suspecting they have Candida, along with suspecting they have SIBO, along with Lyme, and everything else that you hear out there, they think they have, like the medical student syndrome, right? Every time you hear something new online-

Michael:

I have that.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Yeah. Every time you hear an interview or a summit topic, and you’re just like, “Oh, yeah, that sounds just like me.” And so people start to think that they have like 20 things wrong with them, when in fact they may have just one big thing wrong with them. The BIG is the perfect acronym, because that’s the brain-immune-gut, and that’s B-I-G, so I call it the BIG idea or this BIG axis of how things dysfunction, especially when it comes to chronic illness like autoimmunity. And in the sense that autoimmunity is really, of course, an immune system dysfunction.

Dr. Peter Khan:

But really, a lot of people have autoimmune-like conditions, but they just don’t have an autoimmune disease per se, right. They don’t have frank autoimmune disease, but they have either silent autoimmunity or autoimmune reactivity without autoimmune disease, or they’re brewing an autoimmune condition, or they have autoimmune-like reactions, i.e. food sensitivity is an autoimmune-like reaction, i.e. leaky gut is an autoimmune-like reaction, i.e. multiple chemical sensitivity is an autoimmune-like reaction.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So, a lot of people struggle with autoimmune-like reactions or autoimmune diseases, and then it can manifest as multiple, multiple symptoms that can look like Lyme disease, look like mold, look like Candida, look like 20 other things. And so people start chasing these 20 other things, and they end up taking like 50 or 100 supplements for 20 different things that they think they have when they only have one big problem, potentially. And if we can just address the one big problem, it simplifies, it makes things not as complex. It also doesn’t drive people crazy thinking, “Is there something wrong with me,” that they have 20 things wrong. So if we can just address the most important thing, a lot of times we’re going to get a hormetic effect where the most important thing improves, everything else improves with it. So that way, you get better results without doing so much.

Michael:

So the trick there then is identifying what the big, like where’s the cascade starting. Because you mentioned if it’s a triangle and one side is off, it’s going to pull the other ones off. And then what I’m guessing is people then find themselves trying to patchwork the whole triangle at once and trying to do this for this, and this for this, and this for this, and this for this. And so there’s a bit of detective work involved in figuring out where’s the triangle being pulled out of balance from. And when going through that process, there’s probably different sets of symptoms or different history clues. If it’s more gut-related or if it’s more neurology-related or if it’s more immune system, are there different sets of symptoms based on where that original offense might be coming from?

Dr. Peter Khan:

Yeah. And there may be a propensity toward either the brain having more symptom or the gut having more symptom or the immune system having more symptom, but not always the case. Sometimes, you can have a problem that may have originated in the gut, but all this person ever experience is neurological symptoms. So then they think they have a neurological problem with brain issue and they’re taking supplements or seeing specialist for the brain when they should be fixing the gut. And vice versa. Some people’s brain problem shows up exclusively as digestive or GI problems. So then they’re fixing their gut when they should be fixing the brain. So that’s why I say it’s a three-way triangle, brain-immune-gut, and is connected. And when one area falls, you tend to get this domino effect where other area falls. So you ask about symptoms.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So, what I noticed is that there’s this common denominator, when people have brain-immune-gut axis dysfunction, that they tend to have symptoms in all three areas, maybe not all three, maybe two of the areas. So for example, people may experience brain symptoms when they have brain-immune-gut dysfunction. And these brain symptoms may include things like brain fog, short-term memory loss, depression, anxiety, neuropathy, peripheral nervous system, not just central, and they also can have fatigue.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Now, people a lot of times say, “Fatigue, is that a brain symptom?” Fatigue is absolutely a brain symptom. I mean, you don’t feel fatigue in your buttock. You feel fatigue in your brain, right? Your brain is experiencing that fatigue, the lack of energy, lack of thought process or endurance, neurologically speaking. So, if you have fatigue, people should just raise their hand and say, “Yep, I got a brain symptom right there.” That’s a brain symptom. So, these are brain symptoms that can manifest if the brain-immune-gut axis is dysfunctional.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Now they can also have immune system symptoms. What are those? Well, you can have inflammation, right? That’s the catch word. So people are like, “Inflammation, isn’t that like just a booboo on my elbow when I bumped my elbow?” No, inflammation is more than just swelling of the tissue, the redness, swelling, pain, and then the heat that’s generated from the cardinal signs of inflammation. Inflammation is an immune system-mediated response. You can certainly have localized inflammation when you bang your elbow or twist an ankle. But you can also have systemic inflammation. In fact, I would argue that there’s no such thing as localized inflammation. I mean, you can have inflammation that manifests or show signs locally, but when you bang your elbow, all the cytokines and all this stuff is circulating through the blood.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Every time your heart pumps, your blood circulate throughout your entire body about a minute or so. All these cytokines are just going to flow throughout the body. Of course, there’s a lot of chemo attractor that’s going to attract more of that stuff to the site of injury. But really, you can get that inflammation everywhere from twisting your ankle. This is why some people with autoimmune disease or with an inflammatory condition, they can injure themselves and that can cause a flare up for them, where they feel like everything hurts, everything’s swollen, or something like that. So that’s one manifestation of immune system dysfunction within this brain-immune-gut axis issue.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Now, other ways immune system dysfunction show up would be things like they get chronic infections that they can clear. People with like Epstein-Barr and five different viruses all at the same time. I had this one case where we test for all the different viruses and seven viruses test positive. So when somebody tests positive for seven different viruses, you have to ask, did they catch seven viruses, or is your immune system that weak that you can’t fight off any virus? So the virus just manifest in them. So, we have a lot of people with these imbalanced immune system where it’s really easy for them to catch things. That’s also an immune system imbalance. And then you also have people with immune system problem that show up as just autoimmune reactions, or autoimmune disease, as we talked about earlier. So that’s how that manifests immune system-wise.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And then lastly, you have the gut. Now you can have GI symptoms such as gas reflux, heartburn, things like bloating, SIBO, SIFO, constipation, diarrhea, alternating constipation, diarrhea. So these are GI symptoms. However, a lot of times, GI symptoms don’t just manifest in the gut, right? If you have GI problems, or leaky gut, intestinal permeability, you’re going to have a lot of systemic inflammatory issues which can cause things to cross through the blood-brain barrier and cause brain symptoms. In fact, most GI symptoms, GI problems manifests as neurological symptoms, like brain fog.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So how do you know if the GI problem is manifesting as a neurological symptom? An example of that will be you eat something and you get brain fog. Like, that’s not a gut problem. Yeah, you ate something, but what happens that something that you ate created an immune system reaction, and that created a brain inflammation of … which is brain fog symptom that you experience. So, if you ever eat something and you notice your brain function changes, that’s a sign that the GI problem is crossing over and causing brain problem.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So now, what I just discussed is brain symptoms, the set of symptoms that we just talked about, immune system symptoms and gut symptoms. Now, how many of your audience out there listening have symptoms in all three categories?

Michael:

Probably a lot of them.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Yeah. They have some degree of brain fog and depression or fatigue. And then they also have inflammation or infection they can clear. And they also have GI problems. Like a lot of people with chronic illness or autoimmune disease. So this is the common denominator. So where people start to think like, “Oh, GI, I got to take some enzyme. And the brain, I got to take some flavonoids. Immune system, I got to take turmeric.” So they’re just chasing things without having a structure or methodology to solving these complex problems. And that can lead to a lot of frustration in just like the result. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Michael:

And a lot of expense.

Dr. Peter Khan:

A lot of expenses associated.

Michael:

Yeah.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Yeah, no kidding.

Michael:

I had clients come to me that would show me like two-page list of everything they were taking. And it was like 40 supplements, because they’d seen this practitioner who put them on these 12, and this practitioner put them on these seven, and they never stopped taking the previous ones because they think they still have the thing that they were taking that for. It was like they’re taking 30 pills at each meal. And I’m like, “How do you even know?”

Dr. Peter Khan:

This is where natural medicine mirrors or started to look like allopathic medicine, right? How many people go to the medical doctor, they get prescribed like three meds from the previous doc. They go to the next doc, they give them another three. And the docs don’t talk to each other. They don’t even know what the other person’s giving them. So this people end up 10, 15, 20 medications. And nobody even knows what they’re taking them for because they don’t know what they’re taking them for. They can’t take them off either because nobody ever want to take that responsibility, taking them off something.

Michael:

Yeah, it’s a mess. When you’re explaining some of that, I have an injury in my hand that I have noticed some days, it comes up in waves. So a day or two, it’ll hurt a lot, and then it fades away. And it’ll fade away for a week, week and a half, two weeks, and then all of a sudden, it’ll start to come back. And I didn’t reinjure it, I didn’t re-hurt it, I didn’t do anything strenuous, and I’ve been trying to figure out for about a month and a half what is causing it. And I’ve started now to look at a more detailed list of what I’m eating and keeping track of that.

Michael:

Or any other out-of-the-ordinary things that happen in my day-to-day life. Or just like a life journal because I’m … Because you’re talking about something gets inflamed. So say, I’m eating something that’s inflaming my gut, that could easily make this hand hurt. And it gets to the point where I can barely type and it’s really not good. But then two days later, it’ll be fine. And so, I think I’m experiencing exactly what you were describing. Would that make sense?

Dr. Peter Khan:

Yeah. So, if you have pain that goes away completely, but then come back like wax and wane, that’s more of an immune system response where you get flare up. Just like autoimmune. It’s like an autoimmune-like response or inflammatory response that waxes and wanes. Because if you actually have a structural problem, the pain-

Michael:

Yeah, it would hurt the whole time.

Dr. Peter Khan:

You can reproduce the pain. Every time you bend a certain way-

Michael:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Peter Khan:

That’s more of a structural issue. Now, you can still have a structural issue, right? Some people, especially with spinal problem, postural issues, because there’s gravity, you can compensate for things. So sometimes, pain goes away because your body … you tilt the other way and pain goes away. But a few days later, pain comes back because your body just can’t compensate for that anymore. But in other cases where your pain that comes and go, typically, there’s a metabolic inflammatory component. So then you go look what are the lifestyle triggers that could be potentially causing your immune system or your inflammation level to increase and decrease, and that’s how you solve that problem.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So, I think the biggest takeaway here is that we want to be detectives, we want to think about these things, not enough. Try to remove our cognitive biases as much as possible. Because we hear something on the internet and so next thing you know, everything we see is through the lens of that something that we just heard, because it makes so much sense and everything has got to be just that. I think we have to just remove these biases, be really objective. And the way to do that is having a map that helps you, a true north. The brain-immune-gut axis is a map. But there’s other maps that can overlay that, but that’s kind of the big idea of how symptoms are produced in brain-immune-gut, and you may not have 20 problems. And we can talk about more, how to solve these things.

Dr. Peter Khan:

One of the things that you talked about earlier, Michael, is that … And I say, hey, people think they have mold and Lyme, and they may not have them, but they may have those things also. That’s the point. Because what causes the brain-immune-gut dysfunction in the first place, right? So, it could be Lyme that have started it. It could be mold that have started it. It could be Candida that have started or leaky gut that have started this dysfunction of the brain-immune-gut. But once the brain-immune-gut dysfunction happens, it becomes a chain reaction where it causes brain, immune, and gut symptoms. Now, they feel like, well, everything’s going wrong, when what we may need to do is just, first, modulate the brain-immune-gut axis dysfunction, right? Get the system to calm down and reach homeostasis. At the same time, look for the most obvious trigger or the most pertinent trigger.

Dr. Peter Khan:

For some people, it may be SIBO. For other people, it may be the mold toxicity. But the problem that I see is people start to assume that they have all of them. Without testing or … Sometimes, the test could be wrong, too, right? So you have to take a very good inventory and really play the detective. And even if you have 10 things wrong, you don’t fix 10 things all at the same time anyways. You got to take a step-by-step approach.

Michael:

Yeah, that makes total sense. Some of this is extremely personalized. I’m sure when you work directly with people, there’s lab testing involved, there’s detailed case histories, there’s a lot of detective work. Some of it is very, very personalized. But there’s also, say, you find X, Y, and Z are the root cause things that are starting this cascade via your detective work. There’s probably a whole bunch of recommendations and things that would apply to anyone to make them more resilient to bring things back towards homeostasis, to be able to do the personalized work. I worked with somebody once who swore upside down, left to right, and sideways that they had no sensitivity to gluten. And because they didn’t have bloating, they didn’t have gas, they didn’t have diarrhea, they didn’t have … “I eat it, I feel fine.”

Michael:

After every time they ate, they couldn’t work for an hour because their brain felt like a zombie and they needed to lay down and they couldn’t think in the afternoons and they always had a big sandwich for lunch. And when I convinced them to give that a try, for a couple of weeks, to not have that … And this person had spent a fortune on … They were so well-researched on nootropic supplements to give them the edge. They were on all those blogs about take these things and you’re going to have laser focus and all these things and whatever. Some of those are extremely expensive. I’m not going to name any brands. But there’s some very, very expensive nootropic formulas out there. And this guy had researched every single one of them and taken them all. Two weeks, no gluten, no dairy. Ditch all those nootropics. Could think clearly after work or after lunch and was not needing to nap in the afternoons. And so I think that’s a good example.

Dr. Peter Khan:

That’s actually a perfect example.

Michael:

And he was chasing the brain.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Right. Nootropics, right? It’s all about-

Michael:

Yeah, loads of them, too.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Right? He’s forgetting the foundation stuff, or the real reason why he’s having problem, which is gluten. Now, he didn’t associate gluten with the problem because he didn’t have GI symptoms. But we all know that gluten doesn’t just cause GI. It could, but it can just cause brain symptom. It could just cause energy issues. It can just cause autoimmune disease, like arthritis, without having any GI distress. So, this is where why I’m bringing this message out. It’s brain-immune-gut. But more than that, it’s more about changing people’s paradigm about how to think about functional medicine. Because a lot of people claim that they do functional medicine, where really all they’re doing is green pharmacy, right?

Dr. Peter Khan:

They’re chasing symptoms with a supplement, just like the allopathic doctors are doing. No better, in fact, even worse, because there’s not even any scientific basis to a lot of this natural stuff that people are doing. Or they’re assuming that they have certain conditions when they don’t, right? They just heard on the podcast. Oh, if you have brain fog, fatigue, and you’re inflamed, then you have X, Y, Z. Well, what causes brain fog, fatigue and inflammation? Everything? I mean Hashimoto’s does, autoimmune disease does, leaky gut does, Lyme disease does, mold does …

Michael:

And then, you have 117 conditions.

Dr. Peter Khan:

… I mean, insulin resistance does. I mean, we can go on and on about what causes those symptoms. So the symptom could be manifesting, could be caused by 20 different conditions. So we have to play the detective. So it’s more about thinking process. That’s really what I’m trying to promote to people is that you got to play the detective. And the reason I say that, because I failed many times before trying to help somebody, because I was following a dogma of what some instructor told me or something that I heard, right, or some supplement company say, “This is the way it’s going to work,” and I gave that supplement or I took that approach, and it didn’t work. So I have to really be honest and ask, okay, why did it not work?

Dr. Peter Khan:

And through failure is … These are valuable lessons. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that because it’s not that I have all the answers, or I came up with all the stuff, it’s more about asking better questions to get better answers, right? If our question is, “Oh, I have this symptom, what do I take for it,” you’re going to very easily find a lot of stuff you can take for it. But how do you know what it is for you? How do you know that’s even the thing that’s really impacting you? Because you could be wrong, right? You have to be open to new ideas and not be biased. I think that’s the most important message.

Michael:

I’d like to briefly interrupt this conversation to let everyone know that we’ve got a free downloadable Foundations of Wellness starter kit that’s available for you right now over at www.rebelhealthtribe.com/foundations. If you’d like a little help organizing and implementing all your learning from this podcast, a gift from our team over at Rebel Health Tribe producers of this show. And now, back to your episode.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Just as important as a root cause is also understanding the mechanism, right? Or the mechanism of how you produce that symptom? Why do you have that symptom in the first place? What’s the cellular physiological mechanism? Or, what’s even the mechanism of the root cause? People may say, “Oh, leaky gut is the root cause.” It may be, but what’s causing the leaky gut and what’s the mechanism? Because if you understand the mechanism, then you can actually be creative and create your own solution that’s customized to you, because you can work around it. It’d be like teaching somebody how to add 1 plus 1 equals 2, that’s all I taught you, you just now only know how to add 1 plus 1 equals 2. But if I taught you how to add any number, any combination number, then you can add for yourself.

Dr. Peter Khan:

I think a lot of people out there are just learning how to fall into somebody’s cookie cutter protocol without understanding the mechanism of how things work. And this is a big part of my education to my audience. And programs that I develop is to teach people mechanisms, so even lay people can start to utilize this information and help themselves, and also healthcare professional to do a better job. So yeah, I think that’s important. And how do you do that? A lot of it is not just having discussions like this.

Dr. Peter Khan:

But I think, also, having some type of roadmap, right, like a roadmap. Remember, roadmap, it’s guidance, right? It gives you some type of map to follow. It doesn’t mean it’s stiff or unflexible, that if you just don’t follow the roadmap exactly, then you screw up. Because there’s a lot of flexibility within the human body to do different things differently. But a roadmap still will help you to get there faster so you don’t end up on some rabbit trail that you shouldn’t even be on in the first place.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So it increases the probability of you being right. It doesn’t guarantee it because it’s always test, see the response, right? And then you treat and you see the response and you change your protocol. But if you’re just completely off on the wrong trail to begin with, you got a nice picture of the forest behind you, you can climb the wrong tree and you get to the top of that tree and see that you’re in the wrong forest, you’re climbing the wrong tree, right?

Michael:

For sure. For those of us who are old enough to remember, that’s more gas stations you’ll have to stop at along the way to ask directions. If you don’t have a roadmap.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Right.

Michael:

I brought that up with a 22-year-old the other day and they’re like, “What do you mean?” I said you go to gas stations if you’re lost and ask them where to go. And they’re like, “You talk to the gas station person?” I was like, yeah.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Google map.

Michael:

Yeah, yeah. They’re like, “And how did they know how to get anywhere?” I’m like, it was part of their job. They knew the local area. They would tell you … They were just mind-blown.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Well, Michael, I never talked to the gas people about direction. I just continue to stay lost.

Michael:

Yeah, the man way of doing it. So, that roadmap you mentioned, what might a general roadmap start to look like for this brain-immune-gut axis and chronic symptoms this way?

Dr. Peter Khan:

I’m glad you brought it up. Because I think I’m going to start off by saying the roadmap, it is like … In medicine, we have this concept called triage. And triage means that you want to address the most important thing first. So the example that I give is if you see someone unconscious, laying on the side of the road, and this person’s not breathing, and have a broken leg, what do you fix first?

Michael:

The breathing.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Right, because that’s going to have the most significant impact for that person, right? So the hangnail is not that important in that instance. However, in natural medicine, oftentimes, people are going for the hangnails, people are going for the stuff that’s not important at this moment in time. It doesn’t mean the broken leg is not important, it’s just not important at this moment. You got to do the first step first. So, the concept of triage means we got to address things that are physiologically the most important for that person so that they can have a better chance of healing from other things. Example of this will be, let’s say someone has blood sugar problem, okay.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Let’s even go a step before that. Somebody has perfusion problems, they’re anemic. Okay, they’re iron deficient anemic. And when you are anemic, that means you cannot deliver oxygen to your tissue because you’re not carrying enough oxygen. Your red blood cells are smaller, you don’t have enough hemoglobin. If you can’t deliver oxygen to your working tissue, you can’t heal from anything. Or it’ll be very difficult. You’re going uphill if you’re trying to heal, right, from autoimmune disease, from whatever it is, if you’re anemic.

Dr. Peter Khan:

I see this all the time where people have these underlying foundational problems, like anemia or blood sugar problem, and their doctor is telling them, “Oh, you just need some testosterone.” “Oh, you just need some hormone replacement therapy.” “Oh, heavy metal detox.” Maybe you need a heavy metal detox, but guess what, if you’re anemic or your foundation is not solid, you do the detox, you’re the one that’s going to feel worse with the detox. And then, the doctor that’s telling, “Do the detox,” is telling, “Oh, you’re just having a Herxheimer reaction. It’s good for you. It’s good, it’s working.” Is it? Is it actually good?

Dr. Peter Khan:

What if somebody has MS and they do a detox and they caused metal to disperse more and create an autoimmune reaction and this person get MS flare up and lost more neurological function? Is that actually good? I will say it’s not good. It’s actually bad. You just hurt this person permanently. So we have to be very cautious about how we do these things. And using a roadmap will help us to not do the things that will potentially not work or cause more problems down the line by addressing the most important things first.

Michael:

It makes sense, yeah. In that instance, it would be better to leave the metals where they are.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Sometimes, metal don’t hurt you.

Michael:

Yeah.

Dr. Peter Khan:

I mean, you don’t like to have metal, but it’s a fact that we’re all exposed to metals. But if it ain’t doing nothing, then you’re better off just leave it alone and work on other more pressing and urgent things, okay? Because people always think metal is just automatically bad. Of course, metal is not good. But your body has a way to sequester them in a way that minimizes their damage. But if you have other problems, then those problems may need to be addressed first so that when you do get to the metals, then you have a much easier time with it or more success at detoxing the metal.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And I see this happen all the time. And this is the reason why people get frustrated because they say, “Hey, I’m such a good patient, I follow every direction, I took these things.” Okay, you do those things, but was that step number one? Or did you try to do step number nine and you left step one through eight unattended to? And a lot of this is, really, the practitioner’s ignorance or not knowing, or the individual person just went to Dr. Google and tried to do these things on their own without having someone guide them in that process.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So I think, again, the big takeaway here is that we got to use some common sense here. We want to eliminate dogma. We want to follow this healing process with a step-by-step process that’s flexible, but also give you that guidance, so you’re doing things that physiologically make sense first. Let’s just give the audience just a few steps of the roadmap, the most important, the first few steps right.

Michael:

Okay.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Because I think this is really understated and not talked about enough. The first part of the roadmap that I think is most important for anybody to address, if they want to heal from chronic illness, is really addressing issues with fuel delivery, okay? Now fuel delivery is not the same as fuel production. Fuel production is ATP production. That’s within the mitochondria. I’m talking about even delivering fuel to your working tissue so your body has fuel to work with to produce mitochondria. So a lot of people hear fuel delivery, they just think, “Oh, yeah, ATP, I’m going to take some mitochondria supplement.” That’s not really what we’re talking about here.

Dr. Peter Khan:

When we’re talking about fuel delivery, the first step in that fuel delivery process is really ensuring proper perfusion. Now perfusion means how well are you able to saturate your tissue with blood, and therefore, fuel or oxygen and so forth. And that perfusion is determined by two things. One is circulation, right? If you don’t have good blood flow to your tissue, you’re going to have poor perfusion. It’s like a yard that you have a hose and you’re trying to water the yard, but the water coming out of the hose just doesn’t squirt out that much water. So then you don’t get enough water on the grass, so the grass is turning yellow.

Dr. Peter Khan:

That’s literally what happens to a lot of people when they have poor perfusion. The grass just turns yellow because they’re not getting enough water or perfusion to the tissue. This can be measured with a blood pressure cuff. If you have low blood pressure, low normal, and then also, low blood pressure along with symptom, right? Just low blood pressure by itself, it may be just low blood pressure because that’s your normal. But if you have low blood pressure and you have symptoms associated with that low blood pressure, then that could be a problem.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So, what symptoms are associated with low blood pressure? Well, that could be dizziness, lightheadedness. It could be even fatigue, right, because you can’t get blood to your brain. Guess what, you’re going to experience fatigue, that’s a brain-immune-gut axis dysfunction, that’s a brain symptom. So how do you know if your brain symptom is not … fatigue is not caused by a perfusion problem versus the mold that you think you have? You don’t know unless you check. So you got to check it.

Dr. Peter Khan:

High blood pressure can be just as insidious, but low blood pressure is typically not looked at. People don’t talk about it. Functional medicine doctors don’t really talk about it, don’t emphasize it. I think it’s a deal-breaker. If you have low blood pressure and you also have low perfusion symptoms, that’s something you got to identify and help to alleviate and identify the root cause why they have low perfusion in the first place.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Now, that’s just one way perfusion can manifest, having low pressure. You can also just have poor circulation. How do you know you have poor circulation? Well, cold hands, cold feet, your nose is cold. You just can’t warm up ever if you have that and you have low blood pressure. I mean, that’s two strikes against you as far as perfusion. It’s going to be difficult for you to heal because you just can’t generate enough blood flow to deliver tissue … to deliver fuel to your tissue. And another way that perfusion problems show up is anemia, as I talked about earlier.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Now, anemia could be iron deficiency anemia, but there are more different … there’s different types of anemia that doesn’t involve iron. You can have B12 deficiency anemia, megaloblastic anemia. You can have anemia of chronic disease. You can have many different types of anemia. Again, not all anemia equals iron deficiency and not all iron deficiency automatically means that you have anemia, so that has to be teased out.

Dr. Peter Khan:

But nonetheless, if you have anemia, you cannot deliver oxygen to your tissue. Again, that’s going to make it very difficult. So that’s the first step, right? That’s the example of somebody who’s not breathing and have a broken leg. And you say that, “Oh, this person’s not breathing. We got to give him some testosterone to revive them.” We don’t ever think that. So why will we … And people with chronic issues automatically jump to like, “Oh, they need hormone replacement,” which is like a lot of these so-called functional medicine doctors do. All they’re doing is just doing bioidentical hormone replacement, then they call themselves functional. Functional medicine has nothing to do with hormone replacement.

Dr. Peter Khan:

It has to do with your way of thinking. And this is what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about how do you think about the problem and how do you assign priority to what’s most important. So that fuel delivery is a main key or the first step. If you can establish that, you’re going to have much easier time to heal the gut, to detox, even for hormones to work, brain function improving. You’re going to have an easier time if your perfusion is optimized first.

Michael:

That makes sense and it brings me back to my days of doing rehab work and injury rehab, because injuries, muscles will heal much faster than connective tissue. And so the bones, like a little bit. And so, it was always the sprains that lasted forever, the ankles, the wrist and knees that lasts forever. But if you get a bruise in your leg or you hurt a muscle, it heals pretty quickly. And I was always like, “Why does this ankle take six weeks to heal?” And the patient PT would always tell me, “It’s because your connective tissue doesn’t have blood flow.” And so, that would make sense that that would apply to any sort of healing and function. If it’s not getting the gas to make everything go, then everything you’re giving … and your 62 supplements then aren’t going to get to where they need to go either.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Exactly. And you mentioned getting gas to the tissue. That’s a great analogy for the next step in the roadmap. The next step after perfusion is actually blood sugar stability. And so, this is also another area that’s just so common for people to have blood sugar problem, either insulin resistance or hypoglycemia, or blood sugar instability, where they swing from insulin resistance and hypoglycemia. And that is a big problem because blood sugar, having stable blood sugar is like sending gasoline to the engine block. So in the car, you have what’s called a fuel injection system.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Now pretty soon with electric cars, we’re going to be talking about fuel injection like gas attendants. But fuel injection system in a car is to ensure steady delivery of gasoline into the engine block so your car is getting steady fuel, so that you don’t lurch and sputter as you go, right? Blood sugar stability is that fuel injection system in your body.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So if you have steady blood sugar, then you’re ensuring steady energy flow into your brain and working tissues. And that is vitally important. If you have blood sugar swings that are wild, it is going to create inflammation in and of itself, and it’s going to create all kinds of hormonal responses that’s going to break … Your insulin receptor is going to cause … The insulin receptor problems can cause cortisol imbalances because your body have to secrete cortisol to try to balance that unstable blood sugar. So therefore, you’re putting a stress on the adrenal gland. Then I mentioned inflammation, right? So, blood sugar is really important as a second step of that roadmap.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And now, some people have both low perfusion, like they’re anemic and low blood pressure, and they have low blood sugar at the same time. And that’s not very good because you got two problems in two first steps of that roadmap that’s going to immediately impair your ability to heal and to feel good. And by fixing those two steps first, people oftentimes can feel better immediately. And that’s the cool thing about fuel delivery, blood sugar, perfusion. If you improve those areas, usually the symptomatic improvement and improvement in quality of life is pretty immediate. It’s quick, right? It doesn’t take forever for you to feel something from that. So that’s the benefit of addressing those.

Michael:

Sure. Well, that’s a great place to start. And when we air this, so if you’re listening to this episode now, we’re going to have a button down below that is going to lead to your Brain-Immune-Gut Masterclass. Would you mind sharing a little bit about what that means and what that is and why somebody might want to click there and go check that out?

Dr. Peter Khan:

Absolutely. Yeah, the Brain-Immune-Gut Masterclass is basically a masterclass, seven-day event, where I highlight not just the brain-immune-gut axis and how the interconnection plays, but also lay out the roadmap, okay. I gave you the first two steps. There’s actually a total of 12 steps in this roadmap. And each step, I go into detail teaching you clinically relevant and the things that I learned, through working with over 5,000 clients over the past, oh, gosh, since 2009, things that I learned that really has stand out to me, that give us the most bang for the buck. You see, you don’t want to chase things and do a bunch of stuff that’s irrelevant, that’s going to push the needle only a little bit. You want to do things that’s going to push the needle the most. And you want to do that in a sequential manner so you’re doing the first things first.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So the Brain-Immune-Gut Masterclass is me going over through this roadmap that I’ve developed step by step and giving the details on that. And I think it’s going to help people to really get the big idea. I love the word big because every time I say “big,” it’s reminding me of the brain-immune-gut axis. But it’s going to give you the big idea, but moreover, change your paradigm of how you see these symptoms, how you see these conditions, how they interplay with each other. Yes, I’m not discounting Lyme and mold and SIBO and all this stuff, they can all be a trigger or a part of it. But if you can learn to start to organize this information so that you’re doing the first things first, and so on, it’s going to make it easier for you to solve chronic health condition, either in yourself or in other people.

Dr. Peter Khan:

So, again, the Brain-Immune-Gut Masterclass is a seven-day event. I recommend, if you have an interest, keen interest in healing chronic conditions that you want to register for that event, and really, I mean, the feedback that I get is phenomenal. People usually are picking up their jaws from floor after they watch it. And I’m not saying that … I’m not one for hyperbole, this is just a feedback that I’m getting and I’m giving your audience a little taste for what’s to come. So, hopefully, people register for that.

Michael:

Yeah, we’ll make it real easy. It’ll be right below, right below where you’re listening or you’re watching, you can go there, click, head over there, check that out. I’ve actually heard similar feedback about your masterclass from professional colleagues of mine. So, it’s getting around that you’ve got a good thing there that’s really helpful for a lot of people, and that is really high quality content. So, our audience knows we don’t often promote a ton of things like that. And so, I definitely put my stamp there and head on down below, just click there. Head over, check that out.

Michael:

I want to leave with one … We talked about a lot of different things today from different ways to identify different locations of where your gut-immune-brain axis is thrown off, or steps and roadmaps. What would be one takeaway? Somebody is going to start doing something differently tomorrow than they’re doing it today and they want just one recommendation, what would you be able to say to them that you would make as your one tip or suggestion to start tomorrow?

Dr. Peter Khan:

Take a deep breath. And when I say that, I don’t just mean take a deep breath as in like meditate. I think meditation is really probably that one thing you need to do. And the reason why I think that’s important, because when you take a deep breath, you’re taking a step back, you’re not chasing, right? You’re letting things come to you, you’re letting your intuition come to you, and you’re reevaluating, reflecting, instead of just reacting. So take a deep breath. But also, what I mean by that is take a deep breath so that you can actually take time to evaluate what you’re doing and whether it’s working.

Dr. Peter Khan:

And really, I don’t mind people doing whatever it is that they choose to do. The main question is, how’s it working for you? Right? If you’re getting a lot of result, you’re feeling great, great. It’s working. I’m not going to argue, right? If you’re waving a magic crystal, and you’re feeling better, keep waving that magic crystal and maybe let met borrow it. But whatever you’re doing, if it’s not working, you have to just be honest, like, okay, maybe there’s something else? And how do you know there’s something else depends on knowledge that you gain. So, take a deep breath and don’t think that you have 50 things wrong with you, because you probably don’t. You probably just need to step back and reevaluate it and use, perhaps, a different map and see things in a different sequence.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Maybe you already know a lot of the things that we’re going to talk about, that I have talked about, but maybe just putting it in a different order will help to elucidate and clarify it for you, so now you get better results. Just simply from putting things in a different perspective or a different order of execution. So it’s not about doing new things. In fact, many times what I see is people need to do less, right? People need to do less, they need to do the more important things, and they need to do it in a specific way, in a specific sequence. Sometimes, it’s moving to Italy. Sometimes, it’s quitting a job. Sometimes, it’s getting out of a bad relationship. Sometimes, it is … you’re just vitamin D deficient, right? So you have to find what the thing is that’s going to move the needle for you the most and really focus on that.

Michael:

Perfect. And that’s much easier to do when you’re breathing and grounded and not from a place of reaction and panic. So, I’ve learned that firsthand in health crises with my wife that when I was like this all over the place, it was much less effective than if I could breathe and get relaxed and grounded and be like, “Okay, what do we do from here?” Thinking from that place is probably a gut-immune-brain triggering there when you’re freaked out, so.

Michael:

A perfect place to stop. We’ll have links below to your website, to the BIG Masterclass signup event, everything else down below. Thank you so much for sharing everything that you shared here, for creating that masterclass, for mapping this stuff out, and for everything that you’re doing. I really enjoyed the conversation. And I hope we can collaborate more in the future.

Dr. Peter Khan:

Absolutely. Thank you so much.

Michael:

And that wraps up another episode of The Natural Evolution Podcast. Thanks for listening and please check out the links in the show notes below to learn more about our guest and grab your free downloadable Foundations of Wellness starter kit, which will help you implement what you’re learning here and make powerful shifts in your health and your life right away. Just go to www.rebelhealthtribe.com/foundations, and you can be started in only a few minutes. If you enjoy the show, please drop a rating review or subscribe to stay in the loop with future releases.