A Lesson in Holistic Healthcare
Well, this week, we had the pleasure of talking to Dr Sandeep Gupta. And Sandeep is practising in southern Queensland south on the Sunshine Coast. He is a holistic, integrative medical practitioner, and I just so enjoyed talking to him.
We covered so many interesting topics, and I really felt that this week’s Healthy Bite was an opportunity to reflect on that and reinforce some of the things. What I found, because I made it was so many notes and so many great aspects to it. As a holistic practitioner myself for over 40 years now, to hear Sandeep its approach to holistic medicine was a real inspiration to me.
How Dr Sandeep Gupta screens his patients
One of the things that really inspired me was how he screens patients. When people come to see a practitioner, it’s an opportunity for that practitioner to begin a process of education and also to set an agenda. Sandeep actually does this screening test, which I thought was really important, and it’s an important thing to share with you and ask yourself this question next time you go to see your holistic practitioner or even just your doctor.
These are really important questions because there are two ways of approaching health care: One is to manage chronic disease, and the other is to make changes to overcome those diseases, build resilience, and enjoy good health. What a wonderful idea.
Sandeep asks his patients a series of questions before they even start, and that is, “Are you open to the following: Are you open to changing your diet? Are you open to taking supplements if necessary? Are you open to making changes to your lifestyle and exploring how emotions may be impacting your health? Exploring your home or work environment for potential triggers? Incorporating exercise in your life? And are you open to follow-ups to come back and review and check?”.
Because this is not a one-off thing. It’s a journey. It’s called life. And making the most of it, well, in his practise, because he is such a busy practitioner, in fact, he’s closed his books to new patients, although his practise is made up of many of several practitioners, all of which practise in a similar way to him.
Sandeep feels that these are really important questions to ask before embarking on a journey with the patient. Because, you know, so often, we people approach health practitioners to solve problems, and that’s fine in an acute stage. If something is a problem, if you’re suffering from an acute problem that is causing an issue, then that needs to be fixed. We are very, very fortunate to have a Western medical health model that is there, and it does that extremely well.
If you’ve just had a heart attack, this is no time for the ambulance to come and ask you these questions and start talking about lifestyle changes. If you’ve broken a limb or been involved in an accident or some serious illness has confronted you, well, you’d need to bring that under control. Western medicine is a great place. Thank goodness. We have so many brilliant practitioners doing just that.
I have been in quite a bit of pain in recent months with a hip problem that was getting progressively worse, although I’ve done acupuncture massage and changed my diet.
I changed my diet and tried to go on to an even more low inflammatory diet. Avoided alcohol. Da da da da da da da. I did everything, and at the end of the day, I needed a hip replacement. I am incredibly grateful for the skill and knowledge of my orthopaedic surgeon, who did that and turned the pain level of around eight or nine out of ten, which has been going on for several months, to about a zero out of ten.
So that’s what Western medicine is good for. But when we get into the epidemic of chronic diseases which we face in our community. Remember that cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer, killing about 18 million people a year globally. And because we are so used to hearing daily death rates, it may be sobering to know that 50,000 people a year die of cardiovascular disease.
Cancer comes in at number two, which is around 10 million people, which equates to around 27,000 people a day die each day globally from cancer. Diabetes. About 10 million people, oh no, about four and a half million people die from that, which equates to about 10,000 people a day. So anyway, these statistics are quite staggering.
I think the point is that these chronic diseases are at epidemic proportions. They’re preventable, they’re treatable, and they’re reversible in many instances. But you need to be on that journey with your practitioner.
Approach to History
That’s a great screening thing. His whole approach to history taking is another important one and so often question it if you ask your patients the right questions. I’ve always found, and I’ve learnt this from one of my mentors that has meant that mentored me over 35 years ago. She said that if you ask your patients the right questions often, they’ll not only tell you what’s wrong with them, but they’ll tell you how to fix it.
That was another interesting aspect of our conversation with Sandeep because so much of his consultation is, he says his initial consultation is 1 to 2 hours, and the initial part of that is to listen to your patient, to listen to the patient, and that’s a form of validation. So often, people visit their doctor, and because the doctor doesn’t really know what the problem is, they will say to them, either, there’s nothing wrong with you. They’ll have done tests.
Chronic pain is an excellent example of this. People who have suffered from chronic musculoskeletal pain like headaches, neckaches, jaw aches, and backaches will have been to X-rays, MRIs, have neurological tests, and the doctor will say to them, “Well, you know, really, I just don’t think there’s anything wrong with you.” There is a patient in pain. So it is really important to listen to our patients.
Sandeep made a really interesting point, and he said that in a very small percentage of cases, and we agreed that that was probably like one or 2%. This is a psychotic episode of psychological whatever. But in 99% of cases, a patient’s problems are real, and they need to be listened to, and they need, and that is a form of validation and a really important part of the healing process.
So often, we do hear that practitioners are saying, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s all good.” And whereas the practitioner really should have said, “You know, I really don’t know what is wrong with you.” Another common statement that so-called health experts make is when someone asks them about nutritional or environmental issues, they will very quickly say, “Oh, there’s no evidence to support that.”
Whereas again, what they should have said, if they were being truly honest, was that they haven’t read the evidence to support it. There’s a world of difference between those two responses. So the next time you hear health experts say, ‘There’s no evidence to support that.’ Take that with a grain of salt.
Interesting. We’re going to do a whole programme on salt, but take that with a grain of salt because to stay up to date on medical research requires something like 600 hours of reading a week. There are only, I think, 128 hours in the week. So that’s just not going to happen, and it needs to be across many disciplines.
This is what a holistic approach is, and yet so often, so-called experts will dismiss any suggestion that there’s something they don’t know as being irrelevant is important.
This is what struck me about my conversation with Sandeep, a guy that is so knowledgeable and yet humble as well, willing to admit that there are things he doesn’t know, and he will say to a patient, “I don’t know that, but I will find out about it.” I thought that was a really interesting aspect of our chat, and I’d really recommend that you go back and listen to it. It was an absolute cracker.
We also covered actually integrative cardiology, something that he is passionate about. I thought that was so interesting again because many of you will have heard, I hope, the visit with integrative cardiologist Dr Ross Walker, who is a good friend of mine, my cardiologist. I love to get Ross on about once a year for us all to have a heart check.
But it was so interesting to hear Sandeep’s approach again reinforcing that family history was an important one and reminding us that when it comes to cardiovascular diseases, like almost every other disease, in fact, there are two drivers which we all need to be really focussed on. One of them is inflammation, and the other one is insulin resistance.
Now insulin resistance, when it goes out of control, leads to type two diabetes. But there are subclinical other aspects of insulin resistance, and you may have heard it before, but insulin is a way of regulating glucose within the body, and carbohydrates get broken down very quickly to glucose. So you don’t just have to eat sugar; carbohydrates also break down quickly to be glucose.
If you are insulin resistant, it means that you have too much glucose floating around in your body. How much glucose should or is there ideally floating around in your body? 4 to 8 grams at any one time. Now, one teaspoon of sugar is four grams of sugar. One teaspoon is four grams. So that gives you an idea that there’s not a lot of glucose floating around in the body. The reason is that glucose is used for energy, but it also fuels inflammation. If you have too much glucose floating around in your body, then you will have you will be fuelling inflammation.
That’s a bit likening it to bushfires. If there is no dry kindling underneath trees to stoke the fire, then you’re unlikely to get a bushfire that goes out of control. But if you have too much glucose floating around in your body, then the fire of inflammation will be burning and predisposing you to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, a whole range of autoimmune conditions and just not being at your best. So that was so interesting.
Endothelial lining dysfunction
The other interesting thing we discussed was endothelial lining dysfunction. Now endothelial cells are lining the inner surface of blood vessels, and they form a single layer of cells called the endothelium, which controls the exchange of materials between blood and tissues. There’s this thin layer of cells called the endothelium, which showed that when these endothelial cells become damaged, this can lead to the development of vessel diseases.
Endothelial diseases are characterised by reduced nitric oxide, and we talk about nitric oxide as well. And this is a subject when we talk about nitric oxide. It is really one of the body’s most important regulators. It’s an important vasodilator, meaning the blood vessels relax. Bronchodilator, meaning the airways dilate and relax. Importantly, it’s also anti-microbial, and that includes antiviral.
Endothelial lining dysfunction is an important driver of cardiovascular disease. The endothelial lining is in respiratory in the respiratory system and the digestive system. There are common denominators that run through the whole body.
The importance of nitric oxide
Sandeep was talking about the importance of nitric oxide. We talked a little bit about how. Well, diet is obviously a driver of nitric oxide. This is why vegetables are often said to be useful in terms of health because of their ability to produce nitric oxide, you know, within meat as well. But also breathing well forms nitric oxide.
To regular listeners, you will know that we champion nasal breathing, not mouth breathing. The reason for that is that it warms humidifiers and filters the air, something we cover in an up and coming podcast with Professor Pete Smith on allergies.
But also, it is where if you breathe through your nose, 60% of the body’s nitric oxide is produced in the nasal and paranasal sinuses only when you breathe through your nose. This is part of the filtration system. Is an anti-microbial filtration system important in this day and age? Always has been, actually. But even more important now.
We touched on methylation. Now, many of you may have heard the word methylation, but basically, it’s a way of making compounds more available for your body to use. It’s a really important process that goes on in the biochemistry of the body called methylation.
Some of us, including myself, have a gene that predisposes me to poor methylation, which means I probably should never be drinking alcohol, and which means that even though I’m out in the sun, my vitamin D levels have never been as high as they should be, and that’s partly because of methylation.
Now, you may recall an episode we did with our Dr Carolyn Dean on magnesium. And magnesium is also a very important part of vitamin D production. He (Sandeep) talked about it again. We’re talking about integrative cardiology here, remember? Sleep comes back again as being an important factor which consistently good night’s sleep is so important to absolutely every part of your physical and mental well-being.
We talked about vitamin D, K2 and E. Now, these are fat-soluble supplements. Sandeep said something, which was just so. Aha! I’ve heard this before, but it just bears repeating, and this is why it doesn’t matter that we may repeat things cause revision is a good thing in health care.
Reminding us of how it all ties together is so important. Fat-soluble vitamins are so important. A, D, E and K. Why? Because fat is such an important component of every cell and hormone in our body and endothelial cells. Remember we said endothelial lining dysfunction? Well, fat-soluble vitamins ensure that that dysfunction is minimal.
It’s interesting also to discuss vitamin D for a moment because I just had a blood test done, and my reference the reference range for optimal vitamin D level is 50 to 140 nanomoles per millilitre or whatever the measure is. But it’s the figure is more important than the unit, and that is a 50 to 140. So if you’ve got a vitamin D level of 52, your doctor will look at that and go, “Ahh, you’re fine. Vitamin D levels.
You’re still within the normal range.” Well, the normal range may not be the healthy range, particularly when you consider that at least 50% of the population has one co-morbidity. So if that is the normal average range, then perhaps we could be saying that the population that has 50% co-morbidities have low vitamin D levels.
His optimal level is 125 155, and I’ve often heard it said that if you have cancer, that is definitely the optimal range that you should be in. That’s something I am still working towards. So that’s important.
The importance of CO Q10
He also mentioned the importance of CO Q10. Ubiquinol and now there are two forms of Q10. Ubiquinone, and there’s an enzyme in our body that converts ubiquinone to ubiquinol. However, as we get older, that doesn’t happen as well. So taking a supplement of ubiquinol is important. We did a terrific programme just on that with Gerald Quigley, Integrative Pharmacist.
So we also talked about lipoprotein(a), which we went into with Ross Walker as well. So I’d recommend you go back and have a listen to not just Sandeep’s podcast but Ross Walkers as well.
Then we touched on something which he is possibly well unquestionably, I think, one of Australia’s leading experts on, and that is mould, and that is if you’re in Australia, M-O-U-L-D. But if you’re an American, M-O-L-D. But anyway, mould. As we watched houses in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland recently being inundated, I’m not just talking about the carpet getting wet.
I am talking about two-storey buildings being covered with water almost up to the tip of the roof. People have to scurry onto their roofs to be saved. Now, that is just such a nightmare. I feel for those people hugely. Just the whole destruction to the house. But then it raises issues about the effect of dampness.
We had a programme recently with the legendary Nicole Bijlsma, whose book is over, I think, on my left shoulder. Now, you might notice the room’s been rearranged. Healthy Home, Healthy Family. She’s a building biologist. She talked to us about the effect of dampness in houses. That comes from even just the simple blocking off of air vents and sealing off of doors to be energy efficient.
The effect of dampness on houses
The problem is we as humans produce a lot of moisture through our breath, through our cooking, through our just our living, and it gets locked into our houses and dries out. So whether you’ve been inundated with a flood to catastrophic flood or not damp in the house or any water damage that gets under the carpets or into chip rock is a serious problem that could be affecting your health.
It often goes completely ignored is often is completely ignored, or undiagnosed. This is a huge and growing problem, and the potentially debilitating effects of these are so surprising, so often ignored, and so often undiagnosed.
We also did a great programme with Amie Skilton, who is a naturopath and a great educator, and she, a woman in her, I think Amie’s at the time, was in her thirties. You know, Amie is a vibrant, healthy-looking woman, I can tell you.
This reduced her to barely being able, well, not even being able to get out of bed, and it wasn’t until she discovered that there was a minor leak in her bathroom that got under the carpet and then caused mould, which wiped her out for almost a whole year of her life until she got on top of it.
So it’s worth mentioning again that Sandeep and Nicole Bijlsma run a wonderful course for patients, which I was a practitioner, which is on my list of so many courses to do called mouldillnessmadesimple.com and that’s mould spelled M-O-U-L-D. mouldillnessmadesimple – all one-word lowercase dot com.
Now then we also, on that episode, and this is an… I’m going to do a separate Healthy Bite on this one. COVID. Yes, we tucked a discussion of COVID in there at the end of an episode. God forbid we should be seen as terribly subversive talking about early treatment and prevention.
Now to any regular listener, you will know my view on how we have approached COVID and, I think, come up to the 10 Ps of COVID. They are Profit, Politics, Power, Patents (very important words that patents we’re going to do a whole programme on that soon), Peer pressure, and Psychosis. You could argue about in which order you put those, but there is no arguing, in my opinion, what the last P on that list is, and that is, sadly, Public health.
Now, interestingly, Sandeep and I discussed Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is a state in India that had a COVID response in 2020. Now Uttar Pradesh has a population of 240 or 50 million people, which means it is in total about half the size of Europe and about two thirds the size of the United States.
Many of you may remember that the Delta variant initially appeared in India. To anybody that has seen a photo of any Indian street scene, you will know that social distancing is not something that occurs in India.
Here we have the Delta variant in a place where social distancing was well near impossible. And you would have expected that this and this came about in, you know, this is where the Delta variant emerged. You would have thought that millions, literally millions of people would have died.
In the same way that we saw scenes in our news of China, Wuhan in the early days, where literally there were images on the screen of people dropping dead in the street. Dropping down in the street and being covered and dying. we saw parks set up as hospitals and morgues in America and Italy. Right.
It’s not hard if there is a disaster for Western media to be there, photograph it and report it. If there was the potential for a marketing exercise for Big Pharma to promote vaccinations, you would have thought that a human catastrophe in a place like India would have been very easy to go and photograph and to scare the hell out of Western civilisation. We never saw that. And why did we never see that?
Well, because Uttar Pradesh issued kits to their population. What were those kits? They were a pulse oximeter, a digital thermometer, vitamin C tablets, and multivitamin tablets including zinc, vitamin D3, Ivermectin, and doxycycline, which is a very cheap antibiotic that has been used for 30 or 40 years for respiratory infections.
They were the kits that were provided. Now I’m going to be doing a whole programme on the Australian Government COVID Treatment Forum, which occurred just recently, in April 2022. It was a two-hour summit, a forum. I forced myself to sit through it, and we will be doing a whole programme on it. Stay tuned for that.
But suffice to say, and I’ll give you a little bit of a clue about what I discussed in that. There was a recent article in the British Medical Journal called The Illusion of Evidence-based Medicine. In that article, the British Medical Journal, one of the most respected, the oldest and most respected medical journals globally, identified two terms that we should all be very familiar with.
They are key opinion leaders and product champions. I’m going to give you a hint. The Australian COVID Treatment Forum, which said this is 26 months after the beginning of the pandemic in Australia, said it is now time to protect those at risk and to implement strategies for early treatment.
I sat through the head of the department health department, Australia’s chief medical officer, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, the Director of the Therapeutic Goods Association, and the Secretary of the Australian Health Department. These are all people and names that you will be familiar with if you were in Australia.
They spent 2 hours talking about not one of these things, Uttar Pradesh or Goa. Goa is another state in India that provides kits for its population. Not one mention of any of those things. No. It was a two-hour forum for key opinion leaders and product champions to discuss the newly patented drugs, which instead of…
Let me give you an example, a five-day course on Ivermectin. If you came down with COVID, a five-day course of Ivermectin would cost you something like 2.50, a five-day course. A five-day course of Molnupiravir, which is the newly patented drug by the same manufacturer as Ivermectin, by the way.
Remember, Ivermectin was awarded a Nobel Prise in medicine in 2015. Merck was the producer. But you might you may have. Well, my regular listeners will definitely know it not as horse medicine, but the media globally reduced the Nobel Prise winning medicine to nothing more than horse medicine.
Espoused by right-wing nutters or anti-vaxxers. 2.50, of course. Molnupiravir $700 for the five-day course. Paxlovid, which is a Pfizer product. That’s around $600 for a five-day course. And we and another drug that they talked about was Remdesivir in the key opinion leaders product champion forum from the Australian government. That’s $3,000 a course.
There was no mention of any of these. Look, it was such a great episode. I really learned so much, and I really wanted to share. I thought it was worth reviewing just that episode and alerting your attention to it. Have a listen to it. Have a listen to it more than once. It is well worth it. I hope this finds you well. Until next time.
This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.