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]
About Heads Up
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