This podcast interview features integrative health expert Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, CCN, who shares his philosophy about addressing men's health issues in clinical practice. Jaffe discusses hormonal balance, prostate health, gastrointestinal health, cardiovascular health, and inflammation.
Approximate listening time: 35 minutes
About the Expert
Russell M. Jaffe, MD, PhD, is CEO and Chairman of PERQUE Integrative Health (PIH). He is considered one of the pioneers of integrative and regenerative medicine. Since inventing the world’s first single step amplified (ELISA) procedure in 1984, a process for measuring and monitoring all delayed allergies, Jaffe has continually sought new ways to help speed the transition from our current healthcare system’s symptom reactive model to a more functionally integrated, effective, and compassionate system. PIH is the outcome of years of Dr Jaffe’s scientific research. It brings to market 3 decades of rethinking safer, more effective, novel, and proprietary dietary supplements, supplement delivery systems, diagnostic testing, and validation studies.
About the Sponsor
PERQUE Integrative Health (PIH) is dedicated to speeding the transition from sickness care to healthful caring. Delivering novel, personalized health solutions, PIH gives physicians and their patients the tools needed to achieve sustained optimal wellness. Combining the best in functional, evidence-based testing with premium professional supplements and healthful lifestyle guides, PIH solutions deliver successful outcomes in even the toughest cases. If you are interested in delving more deeply into this and other integrative health topics, we invite you to join the PIH Academy.
Karolyn Gazella: Hello, I'm Karolyn Gazella, the publisher of the Natural Medicine Journal. Thank you for joining me today. Our topic is men's health, and my guest is integrative health expert, Dr Russell Jaffe. Before we begin, I'd like to thank the sponsor of this topic, who is Perque Integrative Health. Dr Jaffe, thank you so much for joining me.
Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, CCN: Thanks for the invitation.
Gazella: Well, before we dig into the specific health issues that men face, you believe in a philosophy first approach. I'm sorry, physiology first approach. What do you mean by-
Jaffe: The philosophy is physiology.
Jaffe: So, that was appropriate. Yeah-
Gazella: So, what do you mean by that?
Jaffe: Right. It's a high level, brief, 2 words, physiology first. What we mean is, physiology before pharmacology. We mean physiology first because it seeks an upstream assessment of the causes of risk or symptoms, in contrast to most conventional care today, even holistic or not, that remains rooted in downstream symptom management. Physiology first uses global evidence to reduce risks and prevent people from falling into the river of disease. Physiology first uses nature's nutrients in supplements, with enhanced uptake and chaperone delivery, for safer, more effective, essential replenishments, items we must take in since our body doesn't make them.
Physiology first urges organic or biodynamic or locally grown sources of nutrient-dense whole foods, as minimally contaminated as possible. Physiology first focuses on underlying causes. For example, too little of essential needs being met, which are eating, drinking, thinking, doing—those are the 4 headline categories—rather than working back from symptom-reactive case management.
And finally, physiology first uses predictive biomarkers interpreted to their best outcome goal values. Now, this is a paradigm shift for many colleagues but we now can impersonalize predicted, proactive, primary prevention practices, save individuals probably a million a year just by applying physiology first.
Gazella: Yeah. Well, that's exciting so I'm glad that we went over that. Now in general, what should be on the radar of clinicians when it comes to addressing the special health needs of their male patients?
Jaffe: Yes, and here again, now that we've kind of gotten the hundred thousand–foot level, we start and recommend colleagues start with self assessment. This includes transit time, urine pH after rest, hydration, and a sea-cleans as overall global self assessments, very inexpensive. The individual does much of it themselves, brings it to the expert who interprets it so that we get a snapshot of the metabolic or metabolon/microbiome, the digestion and metabolism. You interpret that to best outcome goal values. You use that to inform and inspire and motivate people to put it in effort for the 6 to 7 weeks that it takes to change a habit of daily living and you can add years to life, years of quality life and life to years.
In people with chronic symptoms, well. Take a careful family history although family history is highly relevant if you have the same behavior and environmental factors. If you change your behavior, your habits, your environment, then your family history to a very large extent disappears into the midst of history. If there have been prior treatments and treatment failures, it's important to assess that. We use the predictive biomarkers to help people celebrate when they are at their best outcome goal value and take action when their risks increase.
Now, men and women at all ages need activity, at least 45 minutes a day of walking or equivalent. Sitting is the new smoking. Weight-bearing exercise or cardio exercise 2 or 3 days a week and knowing about it or preaching about it is one thing. It's when you actually do it. I'm glad to tell you that I had just enough glimpse of the consequences of not doing that I do what I'm recommending. Now we want to teach men to prepare for sleep, achieve restorative sleep, using physiology before pharmacology, using salt and soda baths, Epsom salts and baking soda, plus or minus aroma oil, essential oil. The baking soda alkalinizes and relaxes muscles in the pores of the skin, and the Epsom salts, which is magnesium sulfate, allows the magnesium to come in and that's often very helpful. We recommend that teaching people, particularly men who have sleep issues, about abdominal breathing and active meditation and green dichromatic light, along with nature's sources of serotonin and melatonin, which is tryptophan.
We ask about changes in urine stream flow and quality after urination. Is there any dribbling? How many times do they get up at night to urinate? And we make lifestyle suggestions tailored to the individual at their phase of life. We want to be proactive with prostate support nutrients, such as micellized soft gel that contains all of active saw palmetto, [inaudible 00:06:03], lycopene. Free lycopene, not just some ketchup. Hygeium, with 14 or 15% beta sitosterols. Urtica dioica, also known as stinging nettles. Zinc, in the picolinate form. And selenomethionine, selenium in the selenomethionine, healthier, safer form. And all of this micellized in pure pumpkin seed oil to enhance uptake in retention, to improve function. And we think people can be pleasantly surprised at how effective and synergistic the above prostate health support is, available in a single, easy-to-swallow soft gel.
Ask about adult beverages. If they consume more than 5 a week, provide comprehensive liver support and recommend a glass of water above the four quarts or four liters a day that humans need to avoid marginal dehydration—1 or 2 or 3 percent dehydrated is a big stress on every organ in your body. So this is, again, at a headline level, how our comprehensive approach actually works.
Gazella: Perfect. Now I'd like to kind of narrow our conversation and I want to stay on the prostate because you mentioned the prostate. So, what are the roles that testosterone plays when it comes to prostate health and men's health in general?
Jaffe: Right. Both men and women need testosterone. They need a balance of free and bound testosterone. They need good and not bad testosterone. Now, what does that mean? Well, you can measure in saliva or in plasma. The free and the bound, free and total testosterone. You can measure the dihydrotestosterone. You don't want much of that, maybe zero. You can measure oxidized testosterone. You want zero of that. And you want to enhance the good T, the good testosterone and reduce the bad T based on testing results because testosterone is needed for brain and muscle and organ and joint and bowel renewal and many other functions beyond just being a male hormone. You want to enhance healthy testosterone production through healthy microbiome and metabolon functions, especially the family of the central antioxidants. Vitamins, minerals, and cofactors that along with good hydration optimize your healthy testosterone, which is one of the vitality factors in the body and minimize the bad testosterone that causes everything from hair loss to loss of erections.
Gazella: Okay, perfect. So before we leave the prostate, remind us what the significance is of the PSA test.
Jaffe: That's a very important question and I think we're finally, after half a century in laboratory medicine and I've been following the issue all of that time. The PSA test is a measure of prostate repair. So, the PSA goes up if you have prostatitis. For example, if you just sit in your car too long and hold your urine in too long. And the PSA goes up in some but not all prostate cancers, and you can fractionate the PSA, free and bound, and that usually but not always helps distinguish the prostatitis from the cancer risk. If you had concern about the prostate and about PSA levels and have a biopsy, after a single biopsy—often there are multiple biopsies—the future PSA has no interpretable value that I know of except for population, but we're talking about 1 man at a time. And so many review articles that I have seen in the last few years say do other tests of prostate health and don't even do the PSA because if you don't need the test, you wouldn't do the test. If it's a question, it's a gray zone, that's exactly what the test is not very sensitive or specific.
Gazella: What about enlarged prostate?
Jaffe: The first thing I would do and have recommended for many years for enlarged prostate is to take that combination of prostate vitality factors and we have had men whose prostate was double or triple than usual size come back to that of a 40-year-old by following for about 6 months a program that includes the supplements that I recommended just a few minutes ago, along with eating foods that the man can digest, assimilate, and eliminate without immune burden, and that means the lymphocyte response assay test that measures T and B cell function and that then says eat this and don't eat that, take the supplement and don't take that, follow this mental and physical plan because in the 80,000 cases that we put in our database, we've evolved a very personalized approach to, say, prostate size.
Gazella: Okay, perfect. So, let's move on. What does it mean when a man wakes up with an erection or doesn't have an erection? Is that significant?
Jaffe: Oh, absolutely. The headline is that every healthy man should wake up in the morning with an erection. In essence, it's the quality control check of the distinctive male. Too often and very commonly, when a man does not wake up with an erection, that's a sign that they have pregnenolone steal, that they have high stress cortisol levels and low DHEA, which is the antistress hormone, usually with low free healthy testosterone, often with a sluggish thyroid and an exhausted adrenal gland, due to lack of adequate intake of the essential antioxidants, minerals, cofactors that are necessary. In addition to prostate health nutrients, I would recommend checking the thyroid, TSH, 3T3, 3T4. That can be done on a blood spot or in many different ways. But you must, by my recommendation, get the 3T3, 3T4, TSH all at the same time, and the healthy range for TSH is .5 to 2.5, not above. The usual range has too many unwell people. (Usual lab range.)
You want to check adrenal stress hormones, cortisol and DHEA at four times during one day. And at the same time, in the same saliva or plasma specimen, you can measure male and female hormones and their sources, their precursors to see if the body has learned a distress response that steals the healthy progesterone and pregnenolone and produces too much distress hormone cortisol and too little healthy male and female hormones. They come from the same source. You want to get both and in balance.
Now in regard to male sexual performance, there are natural solutions to erectile dysfunction. The following vitamins, minerals, and amino acids work as a team to improve the quality and duration of erections
- B complex. One phrase is 'B complex is for boners'. Keep the urine sunshine yellow and feel the difference comprehensive B complex means.
- C, it is ascorbate vitamin C, always fully buffered, fully reduced and we recommend based on the C cleanse, taking that amount is associated with healthier and the more robust erections.
- Vitamin D is really a neuro hormone and it does a lot of things, including improving cell function and providing cell energy to sustain the generally sixfold increase in blood retention during an erection.
- Then magnesium choline citrate. Magnesium is essential for a lot of different things, including a healthy sexual function, and choline citrate at the same time, say 220 mg of magnesium solves and a teaspoon of choline citrate. That enhances the uptake dramatically. It enhances the retention because it is an alkalinizing, rather than an acidifying source. Most magnesium solves and magnesium products have very low bioavailability and are in the acid form, which makes the magnesium run out almost as soon as it comes in.
- And then last is L-citrulline and L-arginine, and these are 2 amino acids. They both enhance nitric oxide production inside cells, and when you take about a gram of L-citrulline and 500 mg of L-arginine 30 minutes before adult activities, most men notice the difference, especially men over 40. Foods that are rich in these amino acids include nuts, seeds, chickpeas, and other legumes, also known as garbanzos, and meats. Making an avocado and chickpea hummus with some mustard seeds or black and white sesame seeds added plus or minus some toasted pine nuts with fresh ground black peppers and your favored high-quality salt, that can blend into a nutritious, delicious, amorous and traditional food.
Gazella: That's great and it sounds yummy as well.
Jaffe: It is. It should be nutritious and delicious.
Gazella: Exactly, exactly. Well, let's now move onto the gastrointestinal tract. What should practitioners focus here when it comes to their male patients?
Jaffe: Well, in the 21st century it is a pretty fair assumption that the person sitting across a professional has mild digestion dysbiosis, some degree of atrophy known as enteropathy, a long transit time. Transit time should be 12 to 18 hours. We recommend doing that with charcoal. We have an online instruction if folks are interested because you want to assess what's called the microbiome, which is the digestive tract in its fullness, or the GNS, known as the gut nervous system, which is in constant conversation and communion with the reigning central nervous system.
And so we recommend focusing on a full complement of personalized native antioxidant, minerals, and cofactors in their safer higher uptake forms based on the assessments and the predictive biomarker tests that we recommend. We want to pay attention to hydration because even a little bit 1, 2, 3% dehydrated puts a stress on every part of the body. We want to have prebiotics. That is unprocessed fiber from diet or supplements, 40 to 100 grams a day. That's what Dennis Burkitt taught me and the most knowledgeable nutritionists that I know recommend that much fiber a day. Probiotics, 40 to 100 billion healthy by a mixed bacteria, bugs. Then synbiotics, which is really recycled glutamine to energize and repair the lining of the digestive tract. Then you want to eat what you can digest, assimilate, and eliminate without immune burden.
So, you've done some functional immunology testing like LRA, lymphocyte response assay. Take in no empty calories. You are sweet enough as you are. If you feed parasites and pathogens, fungi and yeast, they will grow. Improve the digestion, the microbiome and metabolon, the innate biological detoxification competencies and enhance your digestion by eating what you can digest, assimilate, and eliminate without activating your immune responses. We teach people to stop feeding the pathogens and they disappear as digestion improves, repairs improve, resilience is restored, and habits of daily living are improved.
Then you want to look at the secretory IgA if you're concerned about the interface between digestion and the body. It's called SIgA, secretory IgA. You can measure that in saliva. There should be protected mucins so that if partially digestive materials get near the wall of the body, they don't become foreign invaders if you have healthy mucins and healthy secretory IgA. And there are other elected protected digestive functions that healthy people have that are lost when people lack the essential nutrients or the essential minerals when their cellular metabolism becomes acidic, when their body is reaching out, calling out, actually crying out for repair enhancement essentials, things you have to take in that you can't make in the body.
So, we wanna taper or possibly discontinue medications that impair digestion. We want to use prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics, especially in people who have had antibiotics and other digestive-interfering medicines. We want to check transit time, should be 12 to 18 hours. When I have roast beets as a main part of my dinner, I expect to see red in the commode in the morning. But I can tell you after all these years when I see that red, my first thought is never, "Oh, I had beets last night" so that's why we use charcoal. Now, avoid fat-binding medications and supplements that reduce essential fat-soluble vitamin uptake. That's vitamins A, D, E and K. And you need bile from the liver to do that and for that you need phosphatidylcholine-rich foods and/or supplements, and we happen to micellize all of our soft gels with this PC, with this—not politically correct—phosphatidylcholine.
Now, many men have atrophy of their intestinal lining because of stress and toxin exposure and it's the 21st century, and maybe less than perfect eating, breathing, and drinking. So, getting the essential needed nutrients restored may mean intensive supplementation for a few months, followed by maintenance supplementation for a long, healthy life, and I personally plan to be dancing at 120 and I would like you to join me.
Gazella: That sounds perfect. So, you mentioned tests to assess the microbiome and you also mentioned secretory IgA. Are there other tests that you recommend in terms of assessing the microbiome?
Jaffe: Right. So, the transit time we talked about, it's one of the self-assessments, 1 of the 4. Then this SIgA, the secretory IgA, in saliva or serum, with the comprehensive lymphocyte response assay, if there's any indication that the person has shifted from elected protected mode into survival mode, which means all the protective and repair functions are down regulated, that's called chronic illness to happen, or hormone tests that include cortisol and DHEA at 4 different time points, male and female hormones can be measured in their precursors on the same saliva specimen. You can use plasma if you wish.
Adrenal and thyroid adaptogenic supplementation is recommended either based on clinical history or these test results. By all means include some way of determining how much ascorbate that person needs because ascorbate is the maternal antioxidant that sacrifices yourself that all others may be presode.
And then the magnesium with enhanced uptake choline citrate. The choline helps build acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter and neurochemical. It also helps build the choline-rich biosalts that are more soluble and help get the thicker bile out of the gallbladder and into the digestive tract, where that helps emulsify fat to be taken up into the body. And then based on the urine pH, we would adjust how many doses of the magnesium choline citrate you take. Do a regular hydration assessment and when in doubt, what I recommend is that you have a carafe of water in front of you and a glass. If the glass is full you drink it and if it's empty you fill it, and you just keep doing that. And personally my goal is to go to the bathroom at least every couple of hours and then I cut down the amount of liquid I take in after 7 or 8 PM so then I'm not overhydrated when I go to bed. But underhydration is a much more common and unappreciated problem.
Monitor the breadth of our little chemicals, and this can give very interesting insights that are both diagnosis-specific of mild digestion dysbiosis enteropathies and so forth. But in addition that information often makes it very clear to the individual that this is true for them and not in general.
And the last is a zinc taste test. Developed by Harry Henken, you drop a zinc solution on the tongue. The people who need zinc can't taste it. The people who say the zinc tastes strong have enough. And it's a pretty good one-dollar type assessment of a critical mineral and specifically for men, men need lots of minerals but especially zinc. You lose about 25 mg per every ejaculation.
Gazella: Yeah, that's good. That makes a lot of sense. So, now it's time to discuss inflammation. Is inflammation really repair deficit and how does that change clinical practice? Remind us why that's such a big deal.
Jaffe: Right. Well, we started with the physiology-first concept. Now I'm a doubly board-certified pathologist. I know the 5 aspects of inflammation. I know it's taught as a fire to be fought, something that has to be suppressed with anti-inflammatories. And now I pause and say: Anything that starts with 'anti' is using pharmacology before physiology. Inflammation is repair deficit. What my pathology colleagues see as inflammation is the cumulative lack of repair when your immune defense and repair system is doing too much defensive work because of foreign invaders from the breath or the skin or the gut, and if you enhance the innate immune system's ability to repair, your infrastructure is reborn, your bones get rebuilt, your joints are renewed, your mood is better. Your ability to get restorative sleep and meaningful relationships all are improved when you recognize that repair deficit is an opportunity.
You use the hsCRP test as a predictive and validated biomarker. It's also an all-cause mortality, morbidity marker. The healthy goal value—and this is, again, where we have the reframing. I don't even look at the lab range because that includes too many unwell people. You know the goal value for this test, hsCRP, and it's less than 0.5. Ignore statistical lab ranges unless you're treating statistics, and knowing the best outcome goal value we add ascorbate based on the [inaudible 26:350, magnesium choline citrate based on the urine pH, and other similar kinds of monitoring so that the person gets more safely the forms that are more effective because of their enhanced uptake and retention and therefore the deficits get corrected more quickly.
I mentioned hydration. I keep mentioning it only because every part of your body is healthier and more resilient and more able to repair when you take in healthy water, 4 liters a day or more of either mineral-rich, I happen to have well water but some mineral-rich water that's not contaminated and/or sparkling water. I happen to like Pellegrino but there's also Gerolsteiner and Apollinaris and actually every culture has a mineral-rich water known as a therapeutic or beneficial or health-promoting mineral water. So, you want to drink hard water, so water softeners are not recommended, at least not total home water softeners. If you want to soften the water in the pipes, I don't care, but your blood vessels are not pipes and now I care about the quality of the water that you take in.
Gazella: Perfect. So, I love your perspective about looking at repair deficit as an opportunity. Are there other ways to kind of take advantage of that opportunity to reduce oxidative stress and reign in inflammation?
Jaffe: Yes. And again, in a physiology-first point-of-view in regard to, say, blood fats. Cholesterol and triglycerides and blood fats and [inaudible 00:28:14]. If you keep the oxidation of those fats, if you keep oxidized cholesterol to zero, if you keep oxidized LDL to zero, because you're taking enough antioxidants and especially ascorbate. Now, the fat-related cardiovascular risks just went away. What remains is understanding your hemoglobin A1C, your hsCRP, your homocysteine, your LRA (lymphocyte response assay immune responses), your vitamin D, your first morning urine pH, your omega-3 index, and [inaudible 00:28:51]. Those are the eight predictive biomarker tests and we have online for folks to peruse and/or download or watch on YouTube discussions of why these eight predictive biomarkers cover all of that genetics, which is 92% of your lifetime quality of life and health. And yes, you can blame mom and dad for the other 8%, and yes transgenerational influences on RNA are a big scientific field but not yet ready to measure clinically. Live in the moment, do one thing at a time, practice gratitude and random acts of kindness, breathe abdominally for at least 5 minutes a day, and make enhance repair your practice and banish inflammation.
Gazella: That's perfect. It's a very integrative approach that includes lifestyle as well. I'd like to end with heart disease because heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men in the United States. So, what do you recommend when it comes to protecting heart health for male patients?
Jaffe: Yes, and as I think you know part of my primary research when I was in government service at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center was collaborating with the Heart Institute on animal models of heart disease. Now, Paul Dudley White in the 1930s was a famous cardiologist. He helped invent the electrocardiogram. He taught when I was a young student that in the 1930s at Mass General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts if they had 1 heart attack a year, they published the case. And yet 40 years after that, cardiovascular disease was the major killer of Western civilization. That's not a genetic change. It's too quick for genetics. A lot has to do with smoking and sitting, sedentary lifestyle, processing of foods, and all that goes with that.
Jaffe: So, cardiovascular disease. If your heart attacks you, if you have a clog in a blood vessel, an artery, if you have a stroke, you didn't pay attention to the upstream warnings that you would know about if you did the self-assessment, if you did the predictive biomarker tests because these change. Your risk goes up dramatically decades before catastrophe. And if you change your consumption and attitude, if you change the environmental toxin exposures and by the way 80% of the toxins that people have in their body are of recent exposure, and you can dramatically reduce that by certain simple lifestyle changes. Include 1 to 300 mg a day of micellized CoQ10 in 100% rice-brand oil, and no glycose. No antifreeze in your CoQ10. Keep the 8 predictive biomarkers at their best outcome goal value and when they are, when those 8 tests are at their best outcome goal value, you have a 99% chance of living 10+ years, even if you're 100 at that point, and my main teacher Buntey was 110 when he passed and as I mentioned before I plan to be dancing at 120 by following this lifestyle, and I urge anyone who is willing and interested to join me.
Gazella: That's perfect. Well, Dr Jaffe, we covered a lot today. Before I let you go, I'm just wondering if there's any final thoughts or anything else that you'd like to share with our listeners today.
Jaffe: Yes. In essence, the physiology-first, the epigenetics is 92% of your life quality has to do with consumption, which you eat and drink and how you think and what you do. Now whatever season of your life is as a man, that may be different. When you're young and immortal, that's one thing. As soon as you're beyond young and immortal, be prudent. Cardiovascular disease starts in teenage years. Cancer risks goes up dramatically when your innate anti-cancer mechanism is turned down because you're eating foods that are causing too much defense burden in your immune defense and repair system. So, just follow through on this physiology-first approach looking at your individual needs for personalized health promotion and put pay to chronic ill health.
Gazella: Perfect. Well, once again I'd like to thank today's sponsor, Perque Integrative Health, and Dr Jaffe I'd like to thank you for taking the time and sharing so much information with us today.
Jaffe: Well, thanks for inviting me and for making it such an enjoyable time. I hope the listeners will take away much that will be of value, and it's my pleasure.
Gazella: Well, thank you and I hope you have a great day.
Jaffe: You the same, Karolyn. Always a pleasure.
Gazella: Yes, it is. Bye-bye.