The following is a transcript from the NaturoDetox Podcast #7.
Welcome to the NaturoDetox Show, with your host, Meghan Kennedy Brind, a show about hope and the achieving optimal health in a toxic world. The food we eat, the products we use, the air we breathe, the people we interact with, and even the very thoughts we think, it's all here and it all affects us. This podcast was designed to help you navigate how you can not only survive, but thrive in today's world. You're the author to your story, so listen in and allow us to help you become the best version of you. Through discussions with a variety of wellness experts, you can gain access into this world that is yet to be fully unraveled, but it's quite possibly the very key to vitality, longevity and joy.
Today we chat with Scott Forsgren, a health coach, blogger, podcaster, health writer, and advocate. He is the editor and founder at BetterHealthGuy.com, where he shares his 23-year journey through the world of Lyme disease, mold illness, and the myriad of factors that chronic illness often entails. His podcast, BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts, interviews many of the leaders in the field, and is available on his website, betterhealthguy.com, and on YouTube, iTunes, Google Play and Spotify.
He has been interviewed on numerous podcasts and he's lectured on his recovery from chronic illness at conferences and on several online summits. He has written for the Townsend Letter and other publications. He is the co-founder of the Forum for Integrative Medicine, which hosts an annual conference, bringing together some of the top integrative practitioners to share practical tools for treating complex chronic illness. He serves on the board of directors of LymeLight Foundation, which provides treatment grants to children and young adults recovering from Lyme disease. Today, Scott is grateful for his current state of health and all that he has learned on this life-changing journey.
It's your host, Meghan, and welcome to the NaturoDetox Show. I'm so thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with our guest today, Scott Forsgren, who has played a pivotal role in my healing and countless others. My husband stumbled actually across Scott's podcasts, and we felt like this vault had been opened in terms of thinking outside the box in the medical world. And Scott, I was sort of a podcast junkie from that day forward. So it's a pleasure to get to pick your brain today and pass the torch of some of your magic that'll you share on to our listeners. So thank you for being with us.
Scott Forsgren: Thanks so much for inviting me. I appreciate the opportunity.
Meghan Kennedy: So let's just get started, Scott. I often start with this question, but I think it's so vital for people to understand the meaning behind what you do. So can you tell us about your personal health journey with chronic Lyme disease and mold illness?
Scott Forsgren: You bet. So my journey actually started 24 years ago now. So I had a tick bite in Northern California, 1996. Actually, I was fine for about a year after that. In April of '97, really kind of fell apart over the course of a weekend. It seemed like a very significant kind of flu, but it wasn't a normal flu. It felt like a flu times 100. And so over the next several months, I honestly had points where I wasn't sure if I would survive it. Certainly there were many times where I would have been okay with that possibility. I had not experienced anything quite like this in my life to date, at that point. And so I had probably the worst symptom was head to toe burning sensation. So it felt like you had been out in the sun for hours. It was nonstop.
So just really feeling like a sunburn all over my body. I had trouble getting up and just walking across the room. I had balance issues. Even sitting in a chair or trying to lie in a bed without really propping up pillows beside me, I always felt like I was going to roll off the bed or fall out of the chair. And if I look back now at Lyme disease symptoms and mold illness symptoms, I mean, I certainly had a lot of them, and yet it took eight years and 45 doctors to finally get a diagnosis. So just to dig in a little bit more to some of the symptoms, I talked about the difficulty walking and the balance issues, but I also had things like blurred vision, floaters, lines, squiggles in my visual field. I had fevers that went on for a couple years. I had joint pain, lots of digestive issues, nausea, brain fog, memory loss, cognitive issues, muscle twitching and spasms, numbness, tingling.
I had this weird sensation in my left foot that felt like I was on the top of a car motor that just felt like this constant tapping sensation, tremors, muscle pain, back and neck pain, air hunger, kind of these crawling sensations in my skin. I was light sensitive, sound sensitive, certainly developed or worsened any anxiety, depression, OCD. And so from 1997 to 2005, most of the practitioners that I saw suggested that it was psychosomatic. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome with fibromyalgia. One doctor suggests exploring multiple sclerosis, which we did and did not find an indication for that. And so in 1997, looking at chronic fatigue syndrome, all I could really find was that it resolves on its own in some people in about a decade.
So that was not promising or acceptable or something I was willing to sit back and wait and see if that were true. So around 2005, I started with a new medical doctor. He really did not have any insights for me, but he did say that he knew a lady who did electrodermal screening, a form of energetic testing, also known as electroacupuncture according to [Vole 00:06:03]. And so he recommended that I get tested by her and then avoid any foods that may come up as being bad for my system. And yet that wasn't the direction that she went. She actually said that I should go back and get tested for Borrelia, Bartonella, Babesia, and Ehrlichia. And first I thought, I've seen all these great doctors, this lady's working at an outlet mall next to a coffee shop. What's the chance that this is going to be where the answer comes from?
She reached out again a couple of weeks later and really urged me to go back and get tested. And so ultimately after several tests, all of the things that she suggested, we were able to confirm. The practitioner at the time said that he worked with lots of people with Lyme disease and my symptoms really did match up. And so although he wasn't able to come to the diagnosis initially, he was able to get me to a resource that helped us work together as a team to figure things out. So that's what really peaked my interest in energetic testing and energy medicine. My background at that point was really all computers, very logical type A. So energetic testing seemed a little bit strange to me, but it really was and has been and continues to be my number one tool.
So I think one of the messages that I've gotten out of this journey is really keeping an open mind is critical in recovering our health from something like Lyme disease or mold illness or some other chronic complex illness. And so energetic testing really changed everything. It was about six months later then that I started working with Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt and learning from him and his system of autonomic response testing. So many years ago, that was 14 years ago, actually, that I started working with him. I was a patient of his for a period of time as well. Fortunately, haven't needed to work with him for a number of years now. And really working with him, coming to learn his ideas and frameworks for healing was one of the best decisions that I ever made.
So he's been really a very significant influence in my journey, helping me get my health back, giving me a methodology or a framework for healing and really changed my life in so many ways. So fortunately, today I'm doing really well. I do still take good care of myself. I do still take lots of supplements, good nutrition, try to get good sleep, all of those things. And so it's an ongoing journey, I think, in our modern society to maintain good health, but I'm so incredibly blessed to have the health that I have today and to be active and productive, and go to the gym a couple of times a week and really feel fantastic relative to the journey that I've been through.
Meghan Kennedy :Oh, incredible. And it's interesting because Lyme disease, which is obviously a lot more prevalent or maybe just well-known in today's world, I feel like when you first got sick, it wasn't probably so prevalent in terms of knowledge of practitioners. So that's fascinating, the journey that you took, but also really encouraging that they were able to discover that. And also with Lyme disease too, it seems there's this vast array of symptoms that can come or not come. And you look in textbooks and it talks about these are the symptoms for Lyme disease. And for many people you don't fit a textbook picture, right?
In your case, it sounds like you sort of had the whole gamut of things, so good for you for continuing to push forward and be an advocate for your own health. So within the 15 years since your diagnosis of Lyme, Scott, and then shortly thereafter, the mold illness, has a model of health and recovering for health emerged in your journey and how would you approach recovery today, if you were to start over that whole process from all of the things that you've learned?
Scott Forsgren: That's a good question. I would say the model in my mind is constantly changing and adapting based on new things that I encounter and learn. Many different mentors, including Dr. Klinghardt, Neil [inaudible 00:09:56], Simon Yu, Raj Patel, and several others really have helped shape the way that I think about this. And so I'll maybe just run through kind of a generalized approaches I think about it today, and then we can dig into each of those in more detail. I think everyone will be different in terms of their priorities, the order that makes the most sense. So it's really not a cookie-cutter approach, but it's the list of things that I think are important to really explore.
I do think when people have "Lyme disease," there are many other factors that are involved. And so even if someone has been diagnosed with Lyme, they really have to look broadly at all of these things to recover, because I think it's not just Lyme. And a focus on just killing Borrelia, Bartonella and Babesia, probably isn't going to get people back to the place that they'd like from a longterm health perspective.
So definitely I encourage people to explore these steps, anything they learn in this discussion with their doctor. But in terms of what's emerged for me to date, I would say we would always start by thinking about supporting detoxification and drainage. So really improving the terrain, I think that's really critical. Why are the microbes in us in the first place? And oftentimes that comes back to the terrain, the toxicity. Second, I would say improving our external environment. So we're only going to be as healthy as our external environment. And here I'm talking about mold and electromagnetic field exposures, and figuring out how to optimize the environment for healing.
Third, I would say optimizing sleep is so critical. And I would say that many people have issues with sleep. In fact, this is an area that I have been working on personally over the last year. I never had problems with sleep. And about a year ago, I started having problems for the first time. And so I've learned a lot about sleep in the last year. Next, I would think about mental and emotional health, relative to past traumas and conflicts. I think there's generally always some emotional work that can be done to really optimize our forward path towards healing.
Fifth, I would think about rebooting the limbic system and really ways to support the parasympathetic nervous system. If we're constantly in a sympathetic dominant state or the fight, flight or freeze response, it's very difficult to really optimize our healing. Six, I think about stabilizing mast cells, reducing inflammation in the body, modulating the immune system. Then I would think about optimizing nutrition, the microbiome, our gut health, you know that's so critical from an immune system perspective.
Eighth, so I would think about adding a number of foundational things. So here, I think about things like exploring and addressing Kryptopyrroluria, adrenals, hydration, mitochondria, all of those are important to look at in optimizing our health as well. Ninth, which is actually fairly close to the end of the list of things that I think about is really addressing the microbial piece of this. So this is where people often want to jump ahead to killing the bug. And I think that strategy is probably not ideal. So when we look at the microbial overgrowths, we kind of break those down into looking at viruses, retroviruses, parasites, dysbiosis in the gut, SIBO, colonization of fungus, yeast or Candida. And then Lyme and co-infections, so Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella, maybe mycoplasma and chlamydia here as well.
Then we can think about potentially introducing some things for biofilm support. So I think that's also something you don't want to do too early because you really can open a can of worms, so to speak, and over-activate or stimulate the immune system if you do aggressive biofilm support early in a protocol. And then number 10, I would say is the dental contributors. Now, again, the order could change here. If someone has significant dental issues, they have root canals or cavitations, they may need to actually explore that earlier.
I think a lot of people can do the earlier steps to try to balance and support the body, and then see, are there some other dental issues that need to be explored? And then lastly, once we get through this journey, do we need to do some things to regenerate, repair, restore the body from, oftentimes, years of health challenge? And so I think there's a lot of exciting things that are coming out at this point that can really help us in this regenerate and repair and restore step.
Meghan Kennedy :Incredible. It sounds daunting when you hear it and you go through all those steps, especially to listeners who aren't really aware of all this stuff. For me, I've heard it a lot. So I think that's the big message too, I think, for people with chronic or complex illness is that there is a process. It's not a quick fix. It's not an overnight fix and it can be methodical. But I love that you nailed it on the head in terms of individuality for approach. So there's no cookie cutter per se, but it's nice to have that guideline support you're providing.
Scott Forsgren: I don't want it to be overwhelming for people that's actually probably not supporting their parasympathetic nervous system, which is important. So if it helps, I would say, even if we look at just the first two steps, which is starting to detoxify and making sure that we're not getting exposure to mold and EMFs on a regular basis, I think we are making very significant progress towards recovering health.
Meghan Kennedy : Absolutely.
Scott Forsgren: So it is a lot, but we don't have to understand it overnight and we don't have to take action on all of these things at once. So, yeah, I agree with you. We don't want it to be overwhelming.
Meghan Kennedy: No, we don't. And you're right, it doesn't have to be. And I think too, as people begin the process and start to feel a little bit better, they become a little bit more competent in terms of being able to take on a little bit more in terms of the treatment approach. So I love that you shared that. So let's talk about the step one that you discussed. So you talked about detoxification and you talked about drainage. So what is the difference and why is this really so critical to differentiate those two terms?
Scott Forsgren: In my experience, the detoxification and drainage piece is probably the most important, that combined with the environmental reduction of mold and EMFs, I think very, very critical. So when we look at the soup of toxins that we're in, from an environmental perspective, I don't think the human race has ever experienced what we experience today. So I think if we didn't have the environmental toxicity or the toxicants that we encounter on a regular basis today, I doubt that we'd have significant health challenges from Lyme and co-infections. So it really comes back to, improving the terrain is the road back. And so if we look at microbes like Candida, some people say Candida, but if we look at Candida and parasites, they may actually be present in the body, in part, to serve us. And that they may be holding on to, or concentrating heavy metals.
We really need to look at detoxification even from a perspective of ultimately lowering the microbial burden. I think the first step is to look at reducing incoming toxins. And this step is often missed. People focus a lot on detoxification, but have they looked at their personal care products? Are they still using scented products, candles, laundry products? Making sure that we're getting pure air, food, and water. I mean, it sounds simple, but a lot of times people have not explored minimizing what's coming into the body. And then detoxification conceptually for me is about binders. So once we get toxins from the liver into the bile, the gallbladder into the small intestine, we need binders to really grab onto them, to minimize enterohepatic recirculation of bile and toxins back into the system. So maximizing what's getting excreted is where binders really come into play.
Drainage is about supporting the body's innate ability to process and excrete toxins. So here I'm thinking about liver, kidneys, lymphs, extracellular matrix, or interstitium, the colon, even the skin and the lungs. We really have to optimize all of the exit routes out of the body. So nature has given us a number of tools for supporting detoxification, and we want to make sure that we're supporting and optimizing our own ability to detoxify. And then a lot of people don't realize, but pooping is really important. So that's an early priority. If people are constipated, constipation and healing don't go together. And I know you've talked to many people and I have as well, where maybe they're only pooping once a week or once every 10 days. I mean, that's a significant issue that should come very high on the list of things to address.
From a detoxification and drainage perspective, we don't want to forget about the gallbladder. We need to keep the bile moving from the liver to the gallbladder, to the small intestine. If we're using binders, but we're not optimizing our bile flow, we may not be getting a lot out of the binders. So it's really important to make sure that the toxins are getting from the liver to the gallbladder, to the small intestine, bound up and excreted. Otherwise, what happens is oftentimes the toxins will move from the liver back into the bloodstream and create a detox reaction or Herxheimer reaction. So we want to make sure that that's all optimized as well.
In the realm of binders, I really like, Supreme Nutrition has a product called Takesumi Supreme. I'm a huge fan of the BioActive Carbons from Microbe Formulas. So things like MetChem, Foundation, BioTox, those are fantastic tools. I like Beyond Balance TOX-EASE BIND. People often find tools like zeolite or bentonite clays or chlorella, those can be great as well. And then drainage is a little different. So commonly homeopathy is where I find a lot of the drainage tools. So there's a number of different companies that have kits for liver, kidneys, lymphatics. Some of them are Energetix, Physica Energetics, Pekana, DesBio. There are some tools in the herbal realm here that can help as well. So think about milk thistle or dandelion, Solidago for the kidneys, or Red Root for the lymphatic system. And so BIORAY is a company that I use a lot. Liver Life is one of their tools, it's fantastic. Biopure is another company that just came out very recently in the last week or so with a new product called Liver Tincture, which is a liposomal herbal formulation that I'm very excited about as well. Then incorporating bitters. So Ann Louise Gittleman says, "Bitter is better." And making sure that we're really supporting the gallbladder by getting some bitter foods or bitter herbs. I think trace minerals are often overlooked in the realm of detoxification and drainage and the terrain and reducing metals and so on. So silica can be a great tool. Lots of things that can be done around heavy metals as well. I generally think of detoxification as a daily lifelong process. So I don't personally like to be too focused on heavy metals early on. I think a lot of these detoxification strategies are helping the body with heavy metals as well, but sometimes being too aggressive with metals can backfire. And so I like to start with the broader tools and then if people need to get more targeted later towards heavy metals and glyphosate and things of that nature, then certainly those tools can be brought in.
I'd say movement is something we forget as well. Now, for some people it's difficult, but it doesn't mean that you have to aggressively exercise. Just taking a walk is enough to keep the fluid flow in the body moving, the lymphatic system moving. So getting some movement in our daily routine is really critical. And then there's all kinds of other adjunct tools that I personally find incredibly helpful. So coffee enemas would be at the top of my list. Colon hydrotherapy can be helpful, ionic foot baths, that's definitely something that I regularly do. Castor oil packs, oil pulling, medically-supervised liver gallbladder flushes. So I say medically supervised because I think these are not something to be done without some supervision.
Sauna therapy can be helpful, but I also don't think this is something to introduce too early, because if the elimination channels aren't fully open, you are potentially mobilizing toxins in the body beyond those that are getting sweat out from the sauna itself. So I think you want to make sure that the binders are in place, the drainage remedies are supported, the adrenals are supported. There's hydration, electrolytes, all those things before jumping too aggressively into sauna therapy. But those are some of the tools that I think about from a detox and drainage perspective.
Meghan Kennedy: Wow. So surreal. Thanks for sharing that. And also for sharing some of your favorite products, because from the practitioner's standpoint, and obviously for our listeners, it's really helpful to have some tools to start with. Next for step two, you talk about the external environment and I remember reading something once and it said, "You can't heal in the place where you got sick." And it stuck with me because I've had patients that have said like, "I went away for the weekend, I felt really good. And then I came home and I just kind of sunk back into it." So how does external environment really play a role and why do you think it's so important in this process of healing?
Scott Forsgren: So first, maybe I'll just mention, I mean, I think you can heal in the place that you got sick, but there may be are a couple of considerations there. One, if that environment needs be remediated, then there may be some steps that need to be taken to make that environment supportive of your health. I do think there are some environments where people can't remediate enough to make it safe for their healing journey. And then I would say just from a mental, emotional perspective, the first three or so years of my illness was so emotionally stressing that I actually had to get out of that environment just because I couldn't have the constant reminder of how sick I had been there. So I do think sometimes changing environments is important.
Our internal environment is only ever going to be as healthy as our external environment. And I think that's why so many of us are sick today. The external environment is incredibly toxic in many, many ways. We can take supplements all day, but if the external environment in our home, in our school, our workplace, even our car, if those are our personal kryptonite, then we may never regain our superhero status. So we need to figure out how to look at these things and optimize the environment. I would say, first is mold and the soup of stressors or toxicants from water-damaged buildings. I think for many people with Lyme disease, mold is ultimately more important than chasing the Lyme microbes. And I think it also leads to immune dysregulation that allows Lyme and co-infections to be a bigger issue than they otherwise would be. If you talk to people with chronic Lyme disease, it's fairly common that you can find significant mold exposure in their history or in their current environment, if you look for it. There aren't any perfect tests here either, just as with Lyme and co-infections, but I would say starting with something like MicroMetrics or Envirobiomics, the ERMI or Environmental Relative Moldiness Index, that's E-R-M-I. ImmunoLytics has plate testing, I think that can be interesting. If you see things growing on these plates, you can send it in and have them identify what's growing there. Ideally, if people are really sick and they have the funds getting a indoor environmental professional or IEP to come in and inspect the environment, is probably the best way to approach this. I do personally like the urine mycotoxin testing. I know there's a lot of debate out there about these tests, but I have found the Great Plains, MycoTOX, very helpful in looking at the burden of mycotoxins coming out of the body.
Once we identify an exposure, then we either have to remediate it or find a new environment that better supports our health. It's probably the case that about 50 to 70% of buildings, at least in the U.S. have enough of a mold issue, that it would not be supportive of regaining health. And so you have to decide, is it better to improve the environment that I'm in, which has a known issue, or to trade a known issue for an unknown issue. And I've seen people go from place to place to place and not really be able to find a suitable environment. So sometimes remediation, and I would say even more commonly remediation can be successful rather than having to move. It's not an easy process, but we do have to make some environmental changes.
I would say this really should come very early in the process. It's not something to put towards the end and treat your Lyme and all of those things and not look at mold. I think that's doing a great service to our journey. Air filtration can be great. I don't think it's a solution for a water-damaged building problem. It really kind of the core needs to be addressed. I would say, I think of mold from a water-damaged building much like a cancer that you want to remove the tumor before you start the chemotherapy, so to speak. So eliminating the exposure, incorporating binders at this point. We've talked about that already. So more specifically to mold, I like the Microbe Formulas has one called BioTox, which is great. Beyond Balance TOX-EASE BIND and PRO-MYCO, Takesumi Supreme can be helpful here.
There are some people that do find symptomatic improvements with cholestyramine. So I think natural options can work quite well if the source of the exposure has been addressed. But if somebody still has an ongoing daily exposure, cholestyramine may still be helpful to explore. And then when we talk about the microbes, some people may need to consider that fungal or mold colonization in the sinuses and the gastrointestinal tract could be a possibility, where we've been exposed to these things for so long that we essentially then have our own mycotoxin producing factory in the body. And regardless of how clean the external environment might be, we may need to still do some internal work then to reduce the fungal colonization and the production of mycotoxins.
Once we rule out the mold exposure, address the mold exposure, I really do feel like a significant roadblock to recovering our health has been removed. I can't stress enough, the importance of this area. It really can be probably the most significant impedance to overall progress. And definitely don't want to miss mold in the environment. It can save lots of years of struggle from your recovery from Lyme or other complex chronic illness. And then next, and this is really becoming a bigger and bigger issue, is the conversation around electromagnetic fields, so EMFs or EMRs. I view this as another toxin that can really drain our vitality, keeping ourselves in a constant sympathetic dominant state that impacts our ability to detoxify. So turning off our Wi-Fi, tossing out cordless phones, which by the way, are actually worse than cellphones, sleeping in a canopy or Faraday cage can all be helpful.
I also think we have to think about the electrical stress components. So what about the wiring in the walls and what is that doing from a body voltage perspective? So sometimes installing a demand switch, that can be helpful to create a sleep sanctuary. And reducing EMF exposure is another really critical part of the recovery process. So for me personally, I eliminated all my cordless phones. I limit my cellphone use to speaker phone or texting. I do have a protective case on it. I have my Wi-Fi on a schedule that turns off during the day and is on just a couple hours a day when needed for certain devices. I use hardwired devices when I'm working at my desk during the day. I have Stetzer filters to reduce dirty electricity. I do sleep in a canopy or Faraday cage. I do have an EMF kill switch to turn off power in the sleeping location at night. So a lot of things that can be done.
I'm actually really excited, Dr. Joe Mercola just came out with a new book this week about EMFs. And so I just got a copy and I'm excited to go through and see if he has any new tools for us in there that I potentially can incorporate. Dr. Klinghardt has suggested that EMFs lead to mold creating more mycotoxins. So all of the EMF exposure may make both the environmental molds in a water-damaged buildings or those molds and fungus within us create more mycotoxins as a protective mechanism. So if you asked him what the number one thing is to do to fix your moldy house, he's going to say to turn off the Wi-Fi. And he's also observed that EMFs trigger the many microbes within us to be more aggressive. And so in his world, there is no road back without reducing EMF exposure. In fact, at one point, he wouldn't even take on new patients unless they were willing to reduce the EMFs in their environment.
I think there's lots of meters that are available to explore this. I think people can do some self exploration, but it takes several different meters. I found it helpful to hire a building biologist to evaluate my home, make some recommendations. There's also some thought that EMF sensitivity is correlated to the level of heavy metal, the heavy metal toxicity within the body. So a focus on detoxification, removing heavy metals, that can really help reduce the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity over time. So we kind of come back to the importance of the detoxification focus that we talked about as another strategy to minimize the EMF exposures that we cannot mitigate in our environment.
Meghan Kennedy : Wow. So full of incredible information for people. I think the Wi-Fi component, the EMF, EMR, it's stressful for me because I know that it's everywhere. But you just gave some incredible points for people that we can just make small changes. And I always say too, it's not about doing everything right away. It's about choosing something that you can work with and then continuously adding on to that. So you gave me a lot of ideas. Thank you so much for sharing that. So next is sleep, and this is one of my favorite topics because my sleep's never been great. So talk to us about sleep and why does this come after the external environment component that you talk about?
Scott Forsgren: If someone wanted to focus on improving their sleep first, that's an option, but the reason that it comes after is because EMFs are often one of the key reasons that people experience insomnia. So we want to make sure that that's not contributing to potential sleep issues before we really start focusing on other ways to improve sleep. So like I mentioned, my sleep was always tremendously good until about a year ago. And so I've worked on this and found a number of tools, some of which have been helpful, some of which were not, but I think if we don't sleep well, we don't heal well. So there's lots of different supplements, people are familiar with things like melatonin or GABA or 5-HTP or P5P, things like that, that can potentially be helpful.
I think also looking at things like our blood sugar, is our blood sugar going too low in the middle of the night, causing cortisol to spike in order to bring the blood sugar back up, and is that potentially waking us up? Using things like weighted blankets or BrainTap, which is a fantastic tool for really improving the parasympathetic nervous system. I'm exploring currently something called the Zeez Sleep Pebble, which is a little device that you put under your pillow that puts out frequencies that really help the brain to get into a deep state of rest and recovery. And so this is an area that I'm still working on further optimization. I really like tracking my sleep on a regular basis with an Oura Ring so that I can see as I implement certain things, how does that impact my sleep? That's been very, very helpful.
Any improvement that we get with our sleep will have exponential increase in terms of our healing potential. So it is an important area. Everybody's sleep issues potentially can be caused from a number of different places, but kind of starting again with that reducing EMF exposures. It's surprising people will say, "Well, I don't sleep well." And yet they're charging their cellphone on the nightstand right next to their head with lamps that are plugged in and a plugged in alarm clock, and their phone isn't in airplane mode, and the Wi-Fi is still on. And so cleaning up the environment really is where I would start here, but then there's lots of other tools to explore as well.
Meghan Kennedy: Right. That's amazing. Thank you. So let's talk about step four, mental and emotional health. Does that say as many have been told that the problem is all in our head? And you had talked about the psychosomatic component of your initial diagnosis. Talk to us about that.
Scott Forsgren: Yeah, so I would say, many of us certainly, myself included, had emotional traumas or conflicts that may be set the stage for later developing an illness. Other people I think were invalidated by the medical system that their physical illness led to an experience that created an emotional trauma. So I feel like either way, the chances are most people that have been dealing with a chronic illness for any period of time has to really explore the emotional contributors to it in order to maximize their outcomes. So we all have our emotional issues to work through. I think accepting that doesn't mean that we have to accept that the illness is all in our head. But the mental, emotional issues, they do play a role in the development of some of our physical symptoms.
So in the Lyme community, the pattern I've seen is Type A overachiever perfectionist. I've also observed that many people don't feel they deserve to be well. And so cultivating healthy relationships, eliminating toxic people, experiencing joy in many different aspects of our life. I think that that's really key here. We want to do everything we can to also not identify with the illness. So for example, I never said I'm a [Lymi 00:36:40] because I had Lyme disease, but I didn't want to identify with the illness itself. And so it's part of us, but it's not us. It's not who we are. And so in Dr. Klinghardt's Five Levels of Healing model, this work is really the third level. And so when we do work here, there is a downward effect. And so shifts at that level are much more powerful than just continuing to supplement and take things at the physical level.
Tools in this realm that I think could be helpful for people. EMDR is one, APN, which is Applied Psycho-Neurobiology, or PK, which is psychokinesiology. Those are systems that Dr. Klinghardt created. EFT, which people will know of as tapping, emotion code can be great. BrainTap potentially has a role here, but I'll talk more about that later. And for people that don't know where to start, I think the book How to Heal Yourself When No One Else Can by Amy Scher. I think that is a fantastic book and she's come out with, if people have more issues with anxiety, she has some anxiety-focused books. She soon will have a depression-focused book, but there's lots of work that people can do from her book to help clear a lot of these mental, emotional contributors to our energetic field and help release them. And I just find that that book is so incredibly empowering.
Meghan Kennedy: I agree 100%, I love that one. And a big thing for me in this whole process too, and I talk to patients about this, is just allowing feelings and emotions to be sometimes. I think we're always trying to fix and for people who are dealing with chronic illness, and often feel like the world's against them in a sense, you kind of want to push everything away. So just sitting with it, I think is a process I guess, of growing emotionally. And that's been something that's been really tricky for me because I used to just want to push everything away because it meant I had to deal with it. So I've really liked that, that component you talked about, I think it's super helpful for people listening.
The next component that you talk about is rebooting the limbic system and tonifying the PNS. And as you know, and you know about this, obviously I learned through you, I did Annie Hopper's DNRS program, which she obviously talks a lot about the role of the limbic system in rewiring the brain. And that's why I'm so fascinated to hear about your take on this tab. So I think you actually played with Annie Hopper's as well.
Scott Forsgren: I did. I've done DNRS. I did it seven months, an hour a day. I found it helpful. I found the results to large extent lasting. I probably would benefit from going back and doing a little bit more of it, but I do think of all the tools that I've found, DNRS as a single tool is probably the one that makes the most profound shifts for people. So I would say maybe stepping back, the limbic system is the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, the amygdala, or the fear center, the cingulate cortex, it's the feeling and reacting brain. It's involved in determining our level of safety in terms of our environment. So things that we smell, see, hear, taste, feel. I think of it as the alarm center, the anxiety switch. And it is involved in the functioning of the immune system, the endocrine system, the autonomic nervous system, which controls blood pressure, heart rate, breathing digestion, and so on.There are a number of different triggers that can be involved in limbic system impairment. So it could be exposure to mold in a water-damaged building. It could be a chemical or pesticide exposure, bacteria, virus. It could be physical, mental, emotional trauma, so many different things that can play a role here. But if you think of a threat like mold or Lyme disease as a tiger, I would caution people that you may not want to do something like DNRS when your tiger is still a tiger. Meaning, you want to address the issue so that your mold is maybe now resolved. And maybe there's a little bit here and there, it's a kitten in your life essentially, but your limbic system still sees it as a tiger. So then what you do is you use DNRS to reboot the limbic system so that it correctly senses the threat as more equivalent to the actual threat. Meaning, oh, I see now that this is just a kitten, I don't need to release all these stress hormones rather than, oh my gosh, I just walked into a restaurant. There's a small amount of mold here and now I need to process as though when I was living in my moldy house.
DNRS is a fantastic tool. An inappropriate response of the limbic system can continue to negatively impact our immune system, thus microbes, our endocrine system, the autonomic nervous system. So it can play a role in a lot of symptoms. I've seen some miraculous changes in people doing DNRS. Again, if someone's still living in a moldy house, I don't think it probably makes sense to do it until you address that issue. You want to do that once that issue has been addressed. But if you think of DNRS as a mental, emotional tool, I would say it really isn't. It can help with PTSDs and various types of traumas, but it is a physical biochemical response of the limbic system, the amygdala, the hypothalamus, the cingulate cortex. It is not so much to say...
I guess you could say it's in your head because it's part of your brain, but it's a little bit different than saying something is mental or emotional. And again, of all the tools that I've seen, the shifts with DNRS are amazing. Particularly if people start out with food sensitivities or chemical sensitivities, or trouble with the detergent aisle at the store, fragrances, dryer sheets, those kinds of things. It is hard work. It takes an hour a day. And so for those people that maybe are not ready for DNRS, I think BrainTap is a fantastic tool. It's what I think of as a passive way to support calming the system, supporting the parasympathetic nervous system. Frequency specific microcurrent can be very helpful in rebooting the system, working with the limbic system and the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic response.
We really want to support that parasympathetic response for rest, digest and for detox. So critical. Even the ionic foot baths that I talked about earlier, the Ion Cleanse for example, is supporting the parasympathetic nervous system in the frequency that they're putting into the water. So that that then is helping as part of the detoxification process. So if we're in constant fight, flight or freeze, we are not going to be able to detoxify. And there's lots of tools here, DNRS, BrainTap, frequency specific microcurrent. Some people do really great with essential oils. Lots of different tools we potentially could use, but calming the system is really important to moving our healing forward.
Meghan Kennedy: Absolutely. I worked with someone recently, she's sort of a healer. And she said to me, "Meghan, if you are in that place where you go like, that feeling of just like, okay, everything's okay," that's where healing is going to happen. And like you had said, you can take supplements until you turn blue. If you're in a fight or flight response on a continuous basis, you're going to get marginal improvements. So you've given us some fantastic variety of options for people to work on that. So thanks for sharing that. The next step, step six, is stabilizing mast cells, reducing inflammation and modulating the immune response. Why is this so important, Scott?
Scott Forsgren: Yeah, so I think this is a bigger and bigger issue over the last several years, that awareness has definitely grown a lot. So getting healthy is not so much about killing bugs, it's not the bug that makes the disease or the disease presentation, it's our response or the host response to the bug. So if the immune system is hyperactive, overactive, responding in an auto-immune fashion, that's what's like [inaudible 00:44:44] creating a lot of the symptoms and what we experience as disease. Much of the inflammation in these complex chronic conditions is driven by mast cells or mast cell activation syndrome, histamine. A primary trigger for mast cells is mold exposure, but there's a lot of other, so parasites, Lyme disease, environmental toxicants, medications, foods, supplements, even changes in temperature, physical or emotional stress and electromagnetic fields.
So I think we'll find over time that EMFs are a more significant trigger of mast cells. Last year, Dr. Theoharides, he had said that mast cells are 10 times more activated in the presence of a cellphone, which was shocking even to me. And so another reason we need to minimize exposures to really get our health back. I mean, put the cellphone a few feet away, at least. And if that actually is letting the immune system calm down and minimize inflammation in the body, that's big. So I think the first thing is considering a low-histamine diet in terms of diets that have really led people to notable improvements, low histamine is the one that I have seen most commonly do that.
I would say Dr. Raj Patel and Dr. Thalia Farshchian, they've created a version of a low-histamine diet that's available on their website, which is medicaloptionsforwellness.net. So people can see the food lists there that they recommend. And a lot of times people are really surprised, things that we used to think of as healthy, like kombucha or avocados or bone broth or fermented foods or yogurt, all of these things are potentially triggering for those of us that are dealing with mast cell activation syndrome and histamine intolerance. So we want to implement the diet. Then we want to think about things like mast cell stabilizers, histamine reducers. So things like quercetin, luteolin, holy basil. I loved Dr. Theoharides's NeuroProtek product, which is a combination of quercetin, luteolin and rutin.
Dr. Ben Lynch has a probiotic combination called ProBiota HistaminX , which is fantastic. Dr. Chris Shade has Hista-Aid product from Quicksilver. Some people benefit from tools like pharmaceutical Ketotifen or Cromolyn or DAO, for example. So there's a lot of tools in this realm, but I do think when people focus on really treating mast cell activation, they start to feel symptomatic improvements, and then you still have to figure out what was the trigger and address it long-term. But the experience then day to day is definitely improved.If we think about immune modulation, things like low dose naltrexone, low dose immunotherapy from Dr. Ty Vincent, homeopathy. There's products like IMN-CALM from Beyond Balance. Peptides are actually an area that I'm very excited about. So the Thymosins, like Thymosin Alpha-1 or Thymosin beta-4, those can be great immune modulators. And so I think it's important to recognize that getting well is not about boosting the immune system, because that can actually make things worse. So it's about modulating. It's about calming. It's about integrating with our microbes. I definitely think that boosting the immune system can really backfire on us. So if people are interested in this, I've done a few podcasts on mast cell activation. I wrote an article with Dr. Raj Patel and Dr. Thalia Farshchian in the Townsend Letter that goes into a lot of detail for people that want to learn more.
Meghan Kennedy: Okay. Great. That's a big topic right in itself. So I think that's helpful. Let's move on to nutrition, microbiome and gut health. So I actually just the other day listened to your podcast with Dr. Zach Bush. And I was so fascinated by that podcast and his approach to healing the microbiome through the cell activation signaling rather than specifically addressing microbiome health with, say, probiotics or digestive enzymes. And he mentioned this too, in his podcast, as he said, "We hear about gut health all the time. It's on every magazine cover, it's in every conversation, in every naturopathic clinic, but no one really seems to have a consistent view of how we really improve that gut health." Or on the other hand, there's so many different varieties of speculations that it's overwhelming for people. So I'm really interested to hear about this component. What do you find helpful here in terms of microbiome and gut health?
Scott Forsgren: I think it's important to recognize that the immune system largely comes from the gut. So we're focusing on the gut to also improve our systemic immune response. If we do have leaky gut, it may be triggering more immune dysregulation, more mast cell reactions. So that's important to look at. I would say first we want to start with removing triggering foods. I personally think gluten is bad for everyone with a chronic illness and probably for everyone without a chronic illness. But I think gluten is non-negotiable, dairy, cow dairy is bad for some people. Sugar is certainly not helping things. High histamine foods, probably bad for many in this population. We do have to individualize things, but you can't keep triggering inflammation with our food choices and expect to move forward. So lots of diets out there. The diet has to also be individualized, but Paleo, auto-immune Paleo, ketogenic, GAPS, simple carbohydrate diet, low FODMAPs, low histamine, all of those.
Certainly people have benefits from those, but again, low histamine for me, has been the one that's been the most impressive. And then what we do eat should be highly nutrient dense and include healthy fats and healthy proteins. And so I start my morning every day with what I call a power shake with high quality protein, collagen, fiber, phospholipids, healthy fats, chia seed, or a mitochondrial seed mix and some organic nut milk. And for me, that was phenomenally helpful in terms of restoring after I had recovered most of my health and rebuilding muscle. And so I think that the nutrient density is really important. Supporting the microbiome, I personally like MegaSporeBiotic, that's been the tool that I've found the most helpful. It seems to be well tolerated by people with mast cell activation or even SIBO, which is not true of lots of other probiotics.
Probiotics can actually stimulate mast cell activation in the wrong direction. So MegaSporeBiotic really is providing the keystone strains that optimize our microbial diversity, but it can also help with inflammation, with immune modulation, with leaky gut. So that's fantastic. Oral BPC-157 is another tool. So that's in the peptide realm. It's one of the few peptides that can be taken orally, it can be very helpful for gut health, for a leaky gut. I also like what's now called the ION*Gut Health, which was Dr. Zach Bush's previous product, RESTORE, that they recently rebranded. I think that can be helpful for some people. In my observation, it's not an immediate shift, but over the longterm, I do think it's very helpful. Colostrum in some people as well can trigger some inflammation though, but it can also be really helpful for a leaky gut. So I think it's a helpful tool, but one to start slowly with, in my experience.
Meghan Kennedy: That was a fascinating talk. Just his perspective on microbiome. I haven't heard that sort of approach-
Scott Forsgren: Super smart. He's a super, super smart, brilliant doctor, for sure.
Meghan Kennedy : Brilliant guy. You can definitely tell from listening. So that's awesome. Thank you. Because it's a super overwhelming category in itself. And even as like naturopath, I think people say like, "What should I eat?" It's like, "Well, it's not always that simple." But I think you clarified a lot of that for me as well. So we'll keep moving. Step eight is about adding foundational support such as KPU, adrenals and mitochondria. Share your knowledge on that, Scott, please.
Scott Forsgren: Dr. Klinghardt's talked about Kryptopyrroluria for over a decade. He and I have written two articles on it. If someone has Kryptopyrroluria, which is maybe 80% of those with Lyme disease in his estimation, they're peeing out their zinc and B vitamins. So it's really difficult to have a strong immune system. Your white blood cells then are like an army with no bullets, as he phrases it. So supporting those deficiencies can really help support our immune system. You do have to do it slowly. If you start doing KPU too fast, you can trigger a release of metals. You can trigger inflammation. So it's a lot of these things. It's really a marathon and not a sprint and trying to be too aggressive, often ends up creating setbacks that we can avoid by being a little more gentle and methodical. I think supporting the adrenals is important. So adaptogenic herbs can be great. Holy basil can be a good tool. Loving Energy from Bioray can be a fantastic tool as well. Mitochondria is an area that I interest in the last year or two, have gotten more interested in, just did a podcast on that with your colleagues up there in Canada, Dr. Bryan Rade, which was fantastic. So we need more cellular energy, more ATP to detoxify, to function, to repair. And so things like red light therapy, CoQ10, different mitochondrial blends. I'm excited about some of the different applications of NAD, which is great, but at the same time, ATP is also the danger signal in Bob Naviaux Cell Danger Response model. So we have to think about, are there some cases where it's too early to aggressively support the mitochondria that we might actually reinforce that cell danger response? And I think that does happen. So we can also trigger detox reactions with a lot of mitochondrial support that might then trigger mast cell activation. So I think it's an important area to explore, but also not doing it heavy handedly at the onset.
Hydration is important. So figuring out electrolytes, maybe some Himalayan salt in the water, maybe some homeopathic tools to help hydrate us at a cellular level. A lot of people in this community of complex chronic illness drink a lot and pee it out and are still very dehydrated. And then I would say in this foundational realm, coagulation is so important. So if someone's hyper-coagulated has thick blood, which is very common, it's also difficult to make progress. And there's lots of tools like lumbrokinase or nattokinase or serrapeptase or Heparin and Lovenox, all things to be explored with a doctor. I think this is an area where it really needs a lot of monitoring to do it right. But if we're hyper-coagulated, it's another area that we ideally want to address to optimize the microbial focus that's coming next.
Meghan Kennedy: Fascinating. Okay. So then let's go right into that, these pesky critters you talk about. How do we support the body with microbial overgrowths?
Scott Forsgren: So as we've talked about killing bugs really isn't the priority in a balanced health restoration protocol. So I would say, I very intentionally think about this towards the end. It may seem like the place to start, but I don't think that that's the case. I think we need to set the foundation first. So once we start supporting the body with all these pathogens, the order here might shift as well. But generally speaking, I think of starting with viruses and endogenous retroviruses, then the parasites and gut issues, moving on to then fungus, yeast and mold. And then finally, the Lyme and co-infections, and then maybe some biofilm support or broader spectrum support, longer term. So I would say many people have some reactivation of viruses like Epstein-Barr and HHV-6 and zoster and so on.
Dr. Klinghardt talks a lot about endogenous retroviruses. So part of our DNA that we're conceived with that are now expressing in a negative way because of all of the electromagnetic fields in the environment. So once these retroviruses reactivate, we then need to... And even the viruses reactivating, we then need longer term support. So lots of good tools, BioPure has a couple of tools in that realm. One called EN-V, or EN-V. Cistus tea can be great. Beyond Balance has some viral supporting products that I love. Microbe Formulas has a bioactive carbon called Foundation, which I think can be very helpful. And then tools like sulforaphane or pantathine, selenium, lysine or even some of the homeopathic tools can be great.
We need to think about parasites and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and GI dysbiosis. And so I think the parasites are more common than people really think about. I think they're also very easy to acquire. I don't think we have to even have left the U.S. to acquire them or leave Canada to acquire them. Parasite testing really is poor. And so I still think we need to look at it from several different angles. So using energetic testing like Dr. Klinghardt's autonomic response testing, or maybe the ZYTO or Qest4 or other electrodermal screening devices. Or Dr. Simon Yu's acupuncture Meridian Assessment is actually one of my favorites. Testing-wise, Dr. Raphael d'Angelo with ParaWellness Research, does some great work looking for parasites in stool and urine, has a very high percentage of samples that they do find parasites with. There's a lot of stool tests out there as well. I don't find that they're great at picking up parasites, but they definitely are worth exploring.
Then when we're talking about parasites or generally thinking about worms or nematodes or helminths, but then there's also protozoan parasites like Giardia or Cryptosporidium or toxoplasmosis. And so we need to think about those as well. Some of the tools that I like in this realm, I do find the pharmaceutical anti-parasitics helpful. Jernigan Paragen is one that I've found incredibly helpful. Energetix Para-Chord. Again, Microbe Formulas has a number of products. Beyond Balance does as well. But it is really critical to support detox as well while we're killing parasites because killing parasites can release heavy metals into the system. So if we move beyond the parasites and we think about SIBO, it's not so much about a pathogen, but it is about microbes being in the wrong place.
It's also important to recognize that SIBO, maybe is the result, but not the core issue. So usually there's a neurological issue, something related to the migrating motor complex or the vagus nerve that also has to be explored. It's another one of these scenarios where it's not just kill, kill, kill to get over it. And then all kinds of GI dysbiosis. So things like Clostridia, Proteus, Klebsiella, H. pylori, all of those. Lots of great tools, Biocidin is a super tool. MegaSporeBiotic can be helpful here, and lots of companies offer those. So then I think about moving on to fungi and yeast, which are molds. Candida, which is a yeast, but we can have colonizations of these as well. So Aspergillus from a water-damaged building potentially. And I think when we're reducing fungi, they also are releasing metals into the system. So it's so important when we're doing the microbial work, that we're also really staying focused on detox, just because we're on a later step doesn't mean we stop the detox focus.
Then tools like CandiBactin or Beyond Balance Byron White. I mean, there's lots of tools there. There's some pharmaceuticals here, itraconazole, for example, that some people have found helpful. And I would say that it's important to really look at the fungal piece because there are some researchers like Dr. Steve Fry that think that the fungal issues are probably the biggest threat that we have from a health perspective. So once we get through the viruses, the parasites, the dysbiosis, and so on, that's where I think about Lyme, Borrelia, Babesia, Bartonella, and so on. Even the opportunists like mycoplasma and chlamydia and pneumonia, I think it's best with those to start with more targeted approaches. So formulas from Beyond Balance Byron White, Maypa Herbal. They make things that are more specific to Borrelia or Bartonella or Babesia.
I think if we start with a really broad spectrum tool, it can lead to too much die-off and create more inflammation. And so on class, the practitioner gets a lot of insights by observing how people react to more targeted formulas. So if someone gets much better or much worse when they implement something for Bartonella, that might help them then guide treatment. And then I think at some point once we've unlayered these microbes with specifically focused items, then we can use broader spectrum herbs. We can think about biofilms. I think that generally should come after a lot of the microbial burden's been addressed. It can otherwise be too much for the person to handle if you start breaking down a lot of biofilms early. And so I think many tools in that realm that can be helpful. In fact, one of them that is really interesting here is the Cistus tea from BioPure is one that Dr. Klinghardt has popularized where it's more of a selective biofilm breaker. And so just incorporating cistus tea into a protocol later in the protocol journey can definitely be helpful. And so there's probably a lot more we could talk about there.
There are some pharmaceutical options that I have seen people that have tried lots of natural tools and not made a lot of progress and done really well with pharmaceutical. So I'm open to it. I generally think that natural options are a better place to start, particularly if someone is somewhat functional. I mean, if they're in a wheelchair and they're having seizures every day and whatnot, maybe then they need to do something in the pharmaceutical realm early on. Disulfiram for example, is a pharmaceutical that has a lot of interest right now in the Lyme community, lots of very positive responses to it, but also lots of potential for side effects when it's done incorrectly. So I think there are some new tools in the Lyme realm and Disulfiram, particularly Borrelia and Babesia, that are really giving us some new hope that we can make more significant strides. Otherwise, I would say with some of the natural options for Lyme and co-infections, some of my favorites are BioPure, Vital Plan, Supreme Nutrition, Beyond Balance, DesBio, Maypa Herbals, Researched Nutritionals, and Nutrimetics.
Meghan Kennedy: Wow. Your brain holds so much information, Scott. I'm sitting here at one point, I'm making notes. I'm going, "Why am I making notes? I'm recording this." It's just fascinating. I feel like I'm [inaudible 01:03:43]. Thanks so much. So thank you. I think too, when people talk about like microbial overgrowth as the first thing they want to address, especially in clinic, especially with the parasitic component, if people have had results back and they want to get rid of them immediately, it scares them that they have it. But I think too, it's important, you noted that a lot of people have parasitic components in their gut and it's good to see that that's not something that has to be addressed immediately. That's helpful.
In the next step, you mentioned exploring dental contributors, and I actually did a podcast with a biological dentist, Dr. Michael Schecter in Toronto, and he's fantastic. He's been great for our family. So I've started this process in my own healing. And I'm curious to know what you think about it.
Scott Forsgren: So in my own journey, I have dealt with cavitations. I would say Dr. Klinghardt, Dr. Simon Yu, have probably been my biggest influences in this realm. I do think that there's a number of different things that impact us from a dental perspective. So amalgams, root canals, cavitations. I think that with a lot of the dental work now, Dr. Klinghardt's approach has been to really address the retroviral activation first. I know Dr. Yu also likes to address parasites first in many cases before jumping into the dental work. So that's in part while I put it towards the end, but there are certainly some people where this is going to be more of a dominant focus for them, and they maybe need to do some work earlier on.
I also think it's an area that we don't want to be too aggressive. I mean, I've seen some people that were really already struggling, were too aggressive with dental work and their body just didn't really tolerate that well. So sometimes stabilizing things a bit before diving into the dental work can be helpful as well. But again, amalgams, root canals, cavitations, they can play a role and be major stressors on our system. Amalgams can be mercury and other heavy metal toxicant source for us. And so I think the key here is to make sure they're removed by a biological dentist. I think there are people that their illness started with amalgam removal by someone who was not doing it safely. And so that's always a potential risk. Root canals, we know that they have implications for our meridians, for our organ systems. And so lots of people have found things significantly improved by removing root canals.
I'm not suggesting people should jump in and remove all their root canals, but it's certainly a conversation to have with their doctor. And then cavitations, I mean, for me, I had my wisdom teeth removed when I was in high school, and years and years and years later, Dr. Simon Yu identified that there were some cavitations in two of those sites. And so that had to be addressed. I do think it was helpful, but I was already fairly far along. So I can't say that it was miraculous, at the same time, I suspect that if I had done it much earlier, maybe even before acquiring Lyme disease, maybe the illness itself would not have been so drawn out and so significant. So I think it's just a source of a burden on the body that over many years is certainly not helping us and oftentimes can be helpful to address those. I am glad that I did that.
Tonsils are another issue for some people, especially kids that are maybe dealing with PANDAS type conditions, can be helpful to look at. I've done cryotherapy in Germany, a couple of times, for improving the health of my tonsils. And so I would say, most of these issues will require some biological dentist or oral surgeon, but there's a lot of self-care things we can do to start taking a few steps. So Supreme Nutrition has a product called Oral Defense. Bio-Botanical Research has Dentalcidin toothpaste and Dentalcidin LS, which is a little pump that you can use and swish around. Lots of essential oils. Oil pulling every day can be great, not only for oral health, but as a detoxification strategy. So I would say, my main thought and putting this towards the end really is, that we shouldn't take it lightly. And when we do do this work, it's important to have a really good relationship with a biological dentist. Ideally, one that works regularly with people with complex chronic illnesses.
Meghan Kennedy : Absolutely. You nailed it on the head. And the doctor that I've been working with, we were doing seven amalgam removals, and that took over a year for me. So it is something you go in cautiously, but I think if you have a good relationship with your dentist and you trust them, that's key to the whole journey. So you've given us so much information, Scott, so many great things to explore and think about. Any final words for our listeners that you can add?
Scott Forsgren: I'll cover a couple of closing comments, but I want to jump in. So there was one more step, which was regeneration and restoration. So I think once we've gone through Lyme and mold illness, it does take a toll on our body. So some of the tools in this realm, we might be able to introduce earlier as well, but for the most part, once we've recovered, I think then we really can incorporate things to regenerate and restore. So phospholipids like phosphatidylcholine can be great. I mentioned using some of those in my morning power shake. There's also IED therapies, or what people call the PK protocol, which is the Patricia Kane protocol. Peptides are really emerging as a great tool for repairing, restoring, regenerating the body. I'm exploring some of those personally now. Photobiomodulation, so red light therapy, lots of different tools in that realm that can support the mitochondria, help rebuild collagen, give our body more photons or vital force to really regenerate and repair.
At some point there may be a place for more conversation around stem cells or exosomes. It's kind of the latest thing. I haven't found stem cells personally, particularly helpful. And I did do stem cells about 10 years ago in Panama. I don't think it was particularly helpful, but I am always interested in seeing, I mean, if there's some significant advances in this realm, then that could be a tool to explore as well. And then getting back to some form of regular exercise. So for me, something called Vasper, which is a cold compression exercise bike. So you have what's almost like blood pressure cuffs on your arms and legs that are pumping 45 degree water through them, kind of tricks the body into thinking there's an injury and releasing growth factors and growth hormone and repair factors and so on. I've been doing it twice a week for a year, and it's been absolutely remarkable for me.
I have very healthy levels of testosterone now, which I never had during my healing journey. I'm able to get off of thyroid medication completely once I started Vasper and I had been on thyroid medication for 20 years and I need absolutely no thyroid medication today and I have very, very healthy thyroid [inaudible 01:10:47]. So it's something that is not readily available to everyone, but there are lots of locations throughout North America that people can hopefully find them. And I do highly recommend Vasper. Then kind of circling back to a few closing thoughts, I would say for practitioners, I am involved in putting on an annual event. So that's what the Forum for Integrative Medicine, we'd love to have more practitioners join in that conversation. If they're interested, forumforintegrativemedicine.org is the website, and then I'm also a board member of the LymeLight Foundation. So we work on providing treatment grounds to children and young adults, 25, and under that are dealing with Lyme disease. We've given out now over $5 million to grant recipients in 49 of the 50 U.S. states. And so if someone's listening and needs that kind of support or in a position to support the foundation in some way, they can learn more at lymelightfoundation.org.
And then lastly, I would say, it's so important not to lose hope. I urge people not to give up. So much has changed in our understanding of these conditions in the last several years. There are new tools, new solutions emerging. There is a lot of hope. People do get better. When I was at the ILADS conference this past November, I felt a sense, an energy of hope that I have not felt at that event in the prior, maybe 15 years. So I think things are really shifting and changing. I think we're understanding these conditions a lot more and really there are lots of opportunities for people to recover their health. So I think my last thought would be just not to lose hope and to [inaudible 01:12:37] and lots of things that can really help us move our journey forward.
Meghan Kennedy :Thank you. That's imperative for people who are on this journey because it's exhausting and it can be a bit hopeless. So we appreciate all of that. Thank you, Scott. It was a pleasure to chat today. If you want to check out more on Scott's incredible healing journey and have access to these incredible valuable tools and resources that he recommends, you can go to the betterhealthguy.com and get started. Thank you again, Scott, for the plethora of knowledge you share with us. I feel like I just got a new education, to be totally honest.
Scott Forsgen: Thank you so much. It was an honor to be here.
Meghan Kennedy: Thank you to our listeners for being here and taking an active role in your health. Please don't forget to share our episodes with friends and family and leave a review on Apple Podcasts.