Ep. 53 – Using Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) To Optimize Your Diet and Lifestyle – Dr. Casey Means from Levels Health

Ep. 53 – Using Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) To Optimize Your Diet and Lifestyle – Dr. Casey Means from Levels Health

Ever wonder if there’s another option to lowering blood glucose than the ever-popular keto diet? Then you’ll definitely want to stick around to the end of this episode. Dr. Casey Means, co-founder of Levels Health, drops some truth bombs about metabolic health, carbohydrates, and the insulin response and how you can make your own meal program to optimize your metabolic health using continuous glucose monitoring.

Dr. Casey Means completed her medical degree at Stanford Medical School, became a Head and Neck Surgeon, and then transitioned to functional medicine after finding the underlying causes of illness was not being supported in her patients through the use of surgery and medicine only. She is also one of the founders of Levels Health – a company making direct-to-consumer continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices and putting patients back in the driver’s seat of their metabolic health.

Join Dave Korsunsky, founder of Heads Up as he gets nerdy with Dr. Casey Means about Levels Health, continuous glucose monitoring, and all things metabolic health. Even learn some great tips on how to lower glucose spikes, whether you are using continuous glucose monitoring or not!

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“The fact that changing our thoughts, changing the way we perceive stress, the food and molecular information we put in our mouths, the composition of our microbiome, how much sleep we get, exposure to different traumas (low-grade and high-grade). All these things actually change the expression of our genome. This is radically empowering. When you know this information, you realize there are actually levers to change the outcome. Health is not deterministic.”

– Dr. Casey Means

In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • About Dr Casey Mean’s journey to founding Levels Health [2:30]
  • Epigenetics and how even thoughts can affect our genes [3:50]
  • How modern medicine is about pattern matching of signs and symptoms to diagnose and prescribe, and how bio-individuality is much less a part of things [5:45]
  • About her experience as an ENT doc and how she noticed the connection of inflammatory conditions that were being treated with surgery, rather than investigating the underlying contributors [7:00]
  • How Dr. Casey Means shifted her practice from surgery based to a longevity and metabolic practice [10:00]
  • Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) and how it could help course-correct metabolic issues [12:16]
  • How Dr. Casey Means saw symptoms greatly decline after a lot of upfront support in her appointments as her patients began buying into the changes and doing what was suggested [16:44]
  • Blood sugar dysregulation statistics [17:02]
    • 74% of American’s are overweight or obese
    • 128 million American’s pre-diabetic or diabetic
    • 88% of American’s are metabolically unhealthy – recent study out of UNC
    • About the connection between COVID-19 and metabolic health and how it appeared in April 2020 in over 100 publications that obesity, diabetes and metabolic health were the key driving factors in COVID-19 mortality [17:50
  • How Virta Health in 10 weeks, can get a patient from a diabetic HbA1c to a non-diabetic HbA1c in a program that only involves diet and exercise [18:30]
  • Diabetes is a driver in Alzheimer’s dementia which is now being called Type 3 diabetes as the brain becomes insulin resistant [20:10]
  • The effects of hyperglycemia include things such as PCOS, Peripheral Vascular Disease, gout, acne, mental health – depression and anxiety which is twice as high in people with metabolic disease, circadian rhythm disruption, and even NAFLD in children [21:23]
  • Sleep, stress, movement, and food are the four contributors to metabolic disease and about Dr. Casey Means’s shift to make her process scalable for metabolic improvements [22:30]
  • About how people have to close the loop between their actions and what is happening. Nutrition is an open-loop system and if you don’t have any direct 1:1 reaction to what’s happening, it’s really difficult to take ownership of which food(s) caused a problem for you [23:50]
  • How continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) works, what it is. It works by reading the interstitial fluid between cells and taking readings every 15 minutes automatically and sending the information to your phone [25:45]
  • Levels is an FDA approved device for type 1 and type 2 diabetes continuous glucose monitoring [26:45]
  • That insulin has a second action – to block cells from burning fat which signals the body to burn glucose, never allowing the body to dip into the fat stores for energy [29:30]
  • Most weight loss studies show failure at the 2-year mark because they’re not approaching it from a metabolic standpoint and the fact that you cannot burn fat without having a low insulin state [30:00]
  • Glucose spikes can be lowered through reduction of carbs in a meal, timing of carbs (eat them last). Use cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, or berberine as insulin sensitizers. Deep breathing can also affect it, keeping the glucose low by reducing the stress response in the body. Walking for 20 minutes after meals or even 2 minutes every 30 minutes throughout the day can also lower glucose response [31:03]
  • How to get a CGM through Levels Health – about the process and the device [33:50]
  • Dr. Casey Means describes what it’s like to wear the device and how it feels like having a superpower to be able to get immediate feedback on whether she’s feeling a particular way due to blood sugar fluctuations or a food she ate [36:16]
  • How interoception (similar to somatic awareness) helps people connect how they are feeling to what’s happening in their body [36:55]
  • About the hyper-palatability of food products and how the Levels Health CGM can help you make better decisions when the brain is hijacked by food chemicals [38:40]
  • How you can train your body to recognize blood sugar signs and signals to be able to tell what your blood sugar is by utilizing tech while you’re learning the signs from your body [40:20]
  • About the study out of Israel where they gave 800 people CGMs and provided the same meals for them all and found vastly different responses in blood sugar [41:20]
  • With the keto movement we can tap more into the fat burning because the substrates aren’t even there for burning glucose for fuel. But with CGM monitoring, you can monitor how specific carbs affect you personally. You can have a higher carb quantity in your diet and not significantly raise your blood glucose to bring a more balanced way of eating back into your life [43:40]
  • Discussion around food: how combining fats and proteins with carbs can help lower the metabolic response [46:00]
  • How long does it take to reverse metabolic issues? And how to achieve metabolic fitness [47:40]
  • About the importance of metabolic flexibility for athletes [52:15]

References

Levels Health Website
Levels Blog 
Levels – Twitter 
Levels – Instagram
Dr. Casey Means Instagram 
Dr. Casey Means Twitter
Virta Health Clinic
Israel CGM Study
Wired to Eat – Robb Wolf

About Heads Up 

Heads Up is a website designed to empower individuals who want to take a self-directed approach to managing their health. Instantly centralize your medical records, connect your favorite devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use your data to optimize your health.

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial now!

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Episode 27 – 10 Longevity Lessons to Extend Your Health Span | Peter Bowes

Episode 27 – 10 Longevity Lessons to Extend Your Health Span | Peter Bowes

Peter Bowes is a reporter for the BBC and the host of the podcast LLAMA (Live Long And Master Aging). Through his podcast, he has interviewed both professionals studying human longevity as well as everyday people, including centenarians, to find out what drives them and keeps them living to a ripe old age.

What does your health span have to do with your quality of life? What’s the difference between health span and life span when it comes to human longevity?  What is a long life worth if you’re riddled with disease by the time you achieve it? These are the questions Peter asks.

In this podcast, you’ll hear Peter Bowes share with Dave Korsunsky the top 10 longevity lessons he has compiled through his research and podcast interviews so that you, too, can get to live your best and healthiest life — and master aging!

Listen in iTunes!

This podcast is brought to you by Heads Up Health, a web app designed to help you centrally track all of your vital health data. Instantly synchronize your medical records, connect your favorite health devices and apps and use your data to optimize your health!

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial. Or, read on for more information about our latest podcast episode!

START TRACKING!

In this podcast you’ll learn:

  • How metrics tracked over time allow you to see trends for longevity [5:11]
  • Peter discusses ten items that are important to track for longevity [6:25]
  • Lesson One – Simplicity is Good. What you feel from clutter surrounding you physically to how you organize your life alters how you make other decisions. Chaos in your life can lead you to overeat or distract yourself with other things. (Think twice before clicking buy online: “Do I really need it?”)  [7:05]
  • Lesson Two – Be Precise. Precision in the things that we’re doing such as keeping focus with Intermittent Fasting – ex. do you do it daily, weekly, monthly? [13:00]
  • Lesson Three – Fasting is Good for Us. (Disclaimer: you should check with your provider to see if it’s right for you right now.) [15:45]
  • How the different types of fasting affect you and how only through tracking your data can you see which way is best for you right now. [17:13]
  • Lesson Four – Stop Eating at 6 pm. Peter talks about Satchin Panda’s work regarding the circadian rhythm. [20:00]
  • How rising with the sun and winding down with the sun setting, and eating your last meal at 6 pm can help you get to sleep and stay asleep better. [21:00]
  • About how the Oura ring can track when you reach your lowest resting heart rate in the night to help you figure out what is working for you regarding the last meal of the day and more [22:00]
  • About N=1 Experiments and how they are really beneficial; as you share with your friends who are doing the same things, you’ll start to see patterns that are more universal [23:20]
  • Lesson Five – Never Stop Having a Project. Keep doing what you love whether you get paid for it or not. (Ex. Megastar Herb Albert is still working well into his early 80’s as a sculptor, artist, painter, and musician.)[24:25]
  • Lesson Six – Keep Moving Every Day, Every Hour. There is no reason why you can’t do that in any job. Just get up every hour and walk around for a few minutes [27:57]
  • To get moving, park further away from the place you’re going and take the stairs if you’re able to. Walk around the building before going into it and you’ll get your steps in every day. Take the long way there! [31:45]
  • How Dave noticed that being in a metropolitan area he got more exercise when everything was within a 6 block radius, versus living somewhere where things were further apart and more driving was required [33:15]
  • That being active isn’t about weight loss per se, but about the movement that benefits your muscles, cardiovascular system, mood and more.  You don’t need a device to achieve that, but tracking it can motivate you to keep consistent [34:00]
  • Lesson Seven – Moderation is Not Everything. But what does moderation actually mean? “Moderation is that word you use when you don’t want to push yourself to the limit” – Joe De Sena. It doesn’t really mean anything. Do it precisely, not wishy-washy. Go all in! [35:40]
  • Play the game of life full out. Some days are good, some days aren’t. [37:00]
  • Lesson Eight – Enduring Discomfort is Good for You. Take a cold shower instead of a hot shower, and you’ll feel great coming out of it. Everything is appreciated more when it’s infrequent [37:45]
  • The good will feel so much better after you’ve endured some discomfort regularly like a cold shower vs hot or really healthy food vs. a very occasional treat. It will be so much better than if you had access to that treat every day [40:30]
  • Lesson Nine – Eat Clean, Eat Simply. Choose clean vegetables; homegrown is great! The appreciation of freshly harvested food is so beneficial. Appreciate food and eat simply. You don’t need gourmet food to lead a good life. [41:45]
  • Lesson Ten – Simplicity is Good. – How you run your life/day/mind and environment (decluttering).
  • About the reward circuits of hyper-palatable foods of modern culture [44:00]
  • The number one reason that people want to be able to live to a long age? They want to do it for their children and their grandchildren. Family and connectivity and sharing wisdom is the main reason for wanting to live to an old age with a high quality of life. What’s yours? [46:09]
  • Extending life is important to share the wisdom that is gained in a life well lived [49:45]

References

Valter Longo 

The Circadian Code by Satchin Panda

Dr. Felice Gersh on fasting

Joe De Sena

Cold water immersion video of Dr. Limansky and Dave Korsunsky

Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf

Our Partners:

Learn more about LEVL, a clinical-grade ketone breath meter, which measures your level of fat-burning and ketosis through a simple breath. Find out more at HeadsUpHealth.com/LEVL.

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Learn more about Keto-Mojo, a highly accurate and affordable device for testing blood sugar and blood ketones. Check it out at HeadsUpHealth.com/Ketomojo.

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They all allow you to quantify your health in novel and powerful ways.

Thank you to our partners!

About Heads Up Health

Heads Up Health is a website designed to empower individuals who want to take a self-directed approach to managing their health. Instantly centralize your medical records, connect your favorite devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use your data to optimize your health.

Click on the button below to start your free 30-day trial now!

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Low-carb Lab Testing — Part 8: The CAC Test – A Better Way to Evaluate Cardiovascular Health

Low-carb Lab Testing — Part 8: The CAC Test – A Better Way to Evaluate Cardiovascular Health

What is the CAC test and why should you care?

If you’ve been following a low-carb or ketogenic diet for a while, there’s a chance your cholesterol has gone up.  And not just your HDL, but also your LDL—the so-called “bad cholesterol” (even though that’s a total misnomer).  Maybe your cholesterol has actually gone sky-high, and your doctor not only wants you to start taking medication immediately, but she’s also ordered you to quit your “crazy” high fat diet.  Even if you follow some other kind of diet—Paleo, vegetarian, low fat, or no special plan at all—maybe your cholesterol is high, and you’ve been told you need medication, or that you should exercise more.

Your doctor is only looking out for your best interest, but if they’re not up on the latest research, they might not know that your cholesterol level tells you very little about your risk for cardiovascular disease or a heart attack:

There’s “a growing volume of knowledge that challenges the validity of the cholesterol hypothesis and the utility of cholesterol as a surrogate end point.” (DuBroff, 2017)

It’s possible to have low cholesterol but massive heart disease, or to have very high cholesterol but be in great cardiovascular shape.

If you don’t want to start a war with your doctor, but you also don’t want to abandon a way of eating that’s helped you lose weight, have more energy, and maybe even reduce or eliminate diabetes medications, you can experiment with lowering your cholesterol by using the Feldman Protocol, which we featured here at Heads Up Health.  But there’s a much better way to evaluate your cardiovascular health than just looking at cholesterol.  It’s called the coronary artery calcium test (CAC).  We’ll explore it in detail in a bit.  First, let’s look a little closer at the problems with using cholesterol as an indicator of heart health.

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