The Truth About Rheumatoid Arthritis with Dr John McDougall
In this Episode you’ll learn:
- How Dr McDougall began teaching lifestyle medicine
- How Rheumatoid Arthritis is best treated from a dietary point of view
- Why the science supports a plant-based diet
- The danger of major Rheumatoid Arthritis drugs
- The importance of keeping foods simple when treating RA
- Water fasting for the toughest cases
- Much, much more!
Disclaimer – The information on this website is not medical advice. Consult a licensed physician (your doctor for example) before making any changes to your diet or exercise programs.
Clint: Okay, welcome back to the Paddison Podcast. Today, well strap yourselves in, this is going to be absolutely sensational. Very exciting for me because I actually feel like I’ve known our guest today for many years, and I think that happens when you spend a lot of time studying someone’s work and reading their materials. In this case, reading his website thoroughly on particular health topics, and also digesting all of his best-selling books.
His work was probably the most instrumental for me personally in overcoming what we all know is a crippling disease with rheumatoid arthritis. And although it’s our first time meeting face-to-face, Dr. John McDougall, I feel like I’ve known you for a long time. Thank you for all that you do.
Dr. McDougall: Well, yeah .I really never get tired of hearing other people appreciate what Mary and I have done. People come up to me at lectures and they say, “I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this.” And I say, “No I’m not.” There’s nothing better in life than to be able to help other people, and so we had a great fortune about four years ago of learning the truth about food and health, and to share with other people is a great opportunity, and that’s why I appreciate the time with you and your listeners. Go ahead.
Clint: I think that your word there was actually a very key word. I thought about in advance what I would call this podcast episode, and I thought the word “truth” would definitely be in the title. Probably the truth, because that is what you’re all about, and when I think of you, I think of the truth. And I know that you’ve told this story many times. But for those few people who may not have come across your work, who definitely should certainly associate themselves closely with you and what you teach as soon as possible, can you just share how it came about that you went from pushing the pills to more emphasizing the plant-based nutrition?
Dr. McDougall: It’s a story I love to tell, and it’s much more complete than I’ll be able to get into today. But I was a frustrated medical student because I didn’t see my place in the business, I didn’t see people getting well. I figured I just wasn’t learning. That’s what my attitude was. And I met this wonderful person about 45 years ago, and we’ve been best friends for that long, we decided after medical school, which was in Michigan in the U.S., we’d move to Hawaii.
And so we did that and spent a year as an intern practicing general learning medicine, as you do in residency programs. And after the year, we didn’t want to leave Hawaii, so we decided to move to the Big Island of Hawaii, and I got a job as a sugar plantation doctor. And my job was to take care of 5,000 Filipinos, Japanese, Chinese and Koreans, primarily, on the sugar plantation on the Big Island. The first thing that I learned was that I was a terrible doctor, because my patients didn’t get well.
No matter how many drugs and how brutal a surgery I put them through, they just never, never got well. Now that’s with chronic disease. With acute problems, like lacerations, and broken bones, and infections, I certainly served well as a physician, and I appreciated how they improved. But with chronic problems, like arthritis, and heart disease, and cancer, and obesity, they never got well no matter how many pills I gave them. That was the first revelation that I had about myself personally over three years of practicing.
I caught 100 babies, I did brain surgery. I really did a lot as a doctor because I was the only physician available for these people, but they gave back in a big way to me. I got to be involved in their lives, and what I noticed among these people was that there was a drastic difference in health between the first generation, and the third, fourth, and fifth generation. First generation would be people that were born and raised for a short time in their life in the Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, and they learned a diet of rice and vegetables, and very little meat and no dairy.
And they moved from their native lands to start a new life on the Big Island of Hawaii, married, had children, and thus a second-generation. They started to eat richer foods, and by the time you got to the third generation, I had people eating at McDonald’s and they were eating the typical Western diet. And so right before my eyes, I had these generations of people who changed drastically in their appearance and health. There was no change in their genetics in four generations, there was no change to the kind of work they did.
The only thing that changed was their food from a starch-based diet, in other words rice, 90% of their diet was rice, to an animal food and oil-based diet. And they got fat and sick and fat, these days, fatter and sicker than most Americans. And I hear Australia’s keeping up, and New Zealand, so I can’t say that we’re fatter than you guys. But anyway, I saw this right before my eyes, and after three years, I went back into training, became a board-certified internist, and developed a passion for the science of research, which I continue today, which has been, I don’t know, 38 years.
After leaving residency as a board-certified internist, I started practicing medicine toward nutrition, and back in 1986, I stopped all traditional medicine and I started taking care of people by curing their dietary diseases. People have suffered from food poisoning, plain and simple. Just like you’d suffer from lead poisoning, or arsenic poisoning, or salmonella poisoning, they’re suffering from food poisoning, and the food poisons are animal foods, all animal foods, and vegetable oils. And your listeners are thinking out there, “Well that’s everything I eat. What am I going to eat?”
Well, you’re going to have to learn a whole new realm of foods, which is only new to the last couple of generations of people. It was actually the diet of all previous generations, and that is a starch-based diet. You base your diet on starches, like Asians lived on rice and sweet potatoes, and the Aztecs and the Mayans from Central America lived on corn, people in the Middle East, who we still focus our attention on, they live in the breadbasket of the world, potatoes have been the diet of the people in the Andes, in other words, the Incas, for thousands of years.
So we’re talking about traditional diets. Most people who have walked planet Earth, when I say most, I mean over 95%, have lived on diets based on starch. So what happened is, because of industry, and it’s really all linked to making money, and it’s not a conspiracy, because of industry, people have learned about protein, and calcium, and omega-3 fats. Which by the way, protein deficiency and calcium deficiency never occur in human beings, ever, on any kind of natural diet, and omega-3 fats are not made by fish, they’re made by plants.
So these lies, and they are lies, but they’re just sales pitches, they’re unique positioning of their products, have created a society over the last 50 or to 100 years, that has lost the understanding of starch, and how that’s the way people have always eaten, is a starch-based diet. Your grandmother used to serve starchy vegetables, and soups, and stews, and so on. And maybe if you had chicken, it was on Sunday, and then just a little bit. We’ve lost that truth over the last 50 to 100 years across the Western worlds, and you folks are located near a population that has changed over the last 35 years dramatically, and that’s China.
Thirty-five years ago, in 1980 and before, fewer than 1% of the population had type II diabetes. Now they brag of having the highest rate of type II diabetes, which is not true, it’s only 12% of the population, and 50% are prediabetic. I think the U.S. is still on top with 14% true diabetics in our country. I don’t know, maybe you guys got it higher. But the point being is you can see the change in China in 35 years. Of course you can see that they’re also the wealthiest country in the world, and with that newborn wealth, they’ve bought diseases such as heart disease, and cancer of the breast, colon and prostate, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis.
These are diseases that never existed before 1980. They’re clearly caused by the Western diet. And fortunately they’re cured, in most cases, by stop throwing gasoline on the fire, and people get well. But of course there’s this whole other aspect, and I want to touch on it before I let you go to another question, is that the food industry is just part of the problem. Their activities of selling people meat, dairy and fish, and eggs, their activities really also sponsor a secondary set of businesses, and that’s the pharmaceutical companies, the hospitals, and the medical doctors.
So they get this huge secondary benefit from everybody being sick, and so no one is fighting to help the consumer, even though the truth is absolutely clear, totally consistent, easy to find because the Internet has it all there. The people who feed their children, put shoes on their kids, the doctors, the pharmaceutical people, the people who run your supermarkets and run your cattle farms, they’re in it to keep their families healthy and happy, and it really doesn’t matter that their same efforts are making billions of people fat and sick around the world.
I think, I hope, the Internet catches the liars, cheaters, and polluters. I hope so. With the Internet, we can catch them and bring them out of their hiding, and tell the truth. And then if you want to smoke cigarettes, people all around the world now know that tobacco smoking is dangerous and will kill you. I didn’t know that when I was a teenager, the information wasn’t there. People also understand the risk of alcohol abuse. We didn’t understand that when I was a young man.
It’s the same way with food, as long as everybody understands that they’re being poisoned by animal products and oils, and they get inflammatory arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and obesity, and constipation, and cancer, and Prilosec deficiency called GERD. As long as they know these are all caused by their behaviors and they have a choice, so be it. Right now, people are so lied to that they don’t stand a chance.
Clint: Yeah, well, I agree with everything you’ve said. And that’s another thing I could have added to your introduction, is that you don’t mince your words and you make it very clear about revealing the truth about the situation, and I’m very grateful for that. And I think you’ll find that our audience is very sympathetic to your message, and a lot of them have been following my program or following even parts of my suggestions for many years, if not months, and we have very similar approaches when it comes to treating rheumatoid arthritis.
I’ve come at it from a point of view of the human guinea pig who tried everything, from raw food diets, to fasting, to various online programs that didn’t work, and then picking up chunks of truth and finding the science that you’d published on one of your “Only Hope for Arthritis” blogs many years ago. And I think that they’re very open to being able to embrace whatever changes are necessary to get themselves well. So as we transition into talking about rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory arthritis, we appreciate that these people are in so much pain and it’s just one of the worst diseases, but I know that both you and I have also shared the experience that people improve very quickly when they make changes for the better. And I’d like to hear your comments on observing people who make the changes you recommend.
Dr. McDougall: Oh, very, very quick. Usually within four to seven days they see improvement, but it often takes as long as four months, and sometimes even longer. But it’s within 4 months, most people are 90% to 100% of what benefit they’re going to get, they have to realize that there’s been some damage done, and for a lot of people, a lot of damage that’s not going to be reversible. You’ve got deformed joints and things that happened to your body that plain and simple, are now scar tissue, and that’s not going to go away.
But what you can do is stop the ongoing inflammation almost immediately. And that’s one of the things that’s so much fun about taking care of people with inflammatory…I just call it inflammatory arthritis. People, of course, subcategorize it based upon a bunch of testing and silly notions that don’t change anything. So whatever your doctor calls your problems, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, whatever, it makes no difference, the doctor has no idea of the origin. The doctor uses the exact same drugs for all the disorders, none of their patients ever get better, ever, and so I just call it inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease.
It’s very quick. The improvements are very, very quick, but not for everybody. Sometimes we have to be more patient and give it a few weeks, and as I say, by four months, most of the time all of the ailments are gone. But that’s again, I can bring up exceptions where people have persisted, six months, a year, two years, before they really felt like they fully recovered. In my May 2014 newsletter, I give 10 cases of severe inflammatory arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and it tells stories of these people and how they dramatically improved, and the interesting thing is that was May of 2014.
We’re approaching two years of that article has been on my website, clearly saying what the medical establishment physicians are doing. It doesn’t work, the drug companies are not modifying the disease, as they brag about, and yet I’ve not had one single complaint from anybody, ever, that says, “What you say is wrong.” Because either they’ve taken the trouble to look in the science or they can recognize the truth right away. And I just want to say something for my colleagues, it’s no fun being a doctor that doesn’t help people. And unfortunately you’re trapped in the misery of using methotrexate, biologics, steroids and other drugs.
That’s all you got. That’s the only tools in your toolbox, and your patients never get better. For a few doctors that might be listening, just give it a try. Get a couple patients and say, “Look, this is what you need to do, you need to eat a starch-based diet with some fruits and vegetables, mostly cooked, and you stay away strictly as if it was poisonous, if it was penicillin to a patient allergic to penicillin.” Because that’s what it is. These animal proteins act like a shot of penicillin in the dentist’s office, so you have to stay away from these strictly and just do it for a couple weeks and see what happens, and you’ll be amazed.
Finally you’ll say, “Well, that’s why I went to medical school. I just can’t believe what happened to the patient.” And it costs the patient nothing. That’s the problem. As I say, it’s not a conspiracy, it’s all about money. And there’s just so much money. For the biologic agents, you’re talking about $25,000, $50,000 a year for the agents. Similar agents are used for multiple sclerosis, which I have done research on, and we’ve published some stuff on it so far, the Oregon Health and Science University.
And the M.S. agents, the drugs, are $75,000 a year just for the drug. That doesn’t include the alcohol sponges. It’s just crazy.
Clint: All the money’s phenomenal. I saw some statistics, and I don’t want to name specific brands of particular biologics, but the leading ones, in one year, generated more gross revenue than “Avatar” did…Sorry, eight times as much revenue as “Avatar” did in its entire history from the box office. And that being the number selling movie of all time. So the amount of money is phenomenal, and you can see why there’s so much research in the area of drugs. I think it’s the cash cow of the medical community.
Dr. McDougall: But the research also, if you read it carefully, tells the truth. And it tells the truth, again, you have to be a careful reader about the fact that these drugs do not work, and a lot of research has been, most are paid for by the drug companies, has been designed to show what they want to show. Independent research, not paid for by drug companies, so I will tell you the truth about how limited the value are of these medications. Maybe some pain relief. This is important, but it’s not going to change the course of the disease, and you take huge risks with these drugs in terms of infection and cancer and so on.
So yeah, you have a choice, you can stay sick and take drugs that you couldn’t pay for, if the government or your insurance paid for, or you can get well. What do you want to do? It’s just that simple. And it always works, you’ll find, as I say, nobody contesting this, no doctors, no researchers, no scientists because it’s the truth.
Clint: Yeah, so let’s say someone’s listening and they’ve been through a lot of pain for 16 years and they’ve tried making changes, even ones that we’ve suggested, and they are still struggling a lot. They might be in a lot of pain. I’m going to prime your answer a little bit with my suggestions, but what I found is for people who really are struggling after many, many years and are still not making improvements, even with an elimination style diet, that I know both of us have slight variations of a similar approach with an elimination diet.
And my experience is that those folks have often been on drugs that affects negatively their gut wall or their bacteria for long times, whether it be low-dose antibiotics, or whether it be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. And one that doesn’t come up as often in terms of its negative impact on the gut but one that I’ve observed a lot, is prednisone. And I’ve found a lot of studies that show the negative implications on the gut wall of prednisone, and I just fear that those folks who aren’t improving the way that you would expect that they would are because of so much of the damage that’s been done by the drugs. What are your thoughts on that?
Dr. McDougall: Well, all that is true, but the body heals so efficiently and so quickly. And I would expect most damage, as we talked about in the previous timeline, is taken care of within a month, and certainly four months would be reasonable. What I would say to people, I thought you were going another place, what I would say to people who are having trouble, they should eat like Matt Damon ate for a year in the movie “The Martian.”
Just eat potatoes and water. Good grief, that’s how simple. I use an elimination diet of rice and sweet potatoes and cooked [inaudible [00:19:41], all vegetables, and non-citrus fruits. But hey, if you can’t figure this out, you think it’s expensive, just eat what Matt Damon in the movie “The Martian” ate for a year, you’d be in great shape.
Clint: Well, and that’s very true because whether people are really hitting a wall, and what I used to do many, many times, I used to have to, what I call reset, and I would just go back to that baseline or elimination diet, and I would only have to eat it for a couple of days. And that would lower the inflammation. And I used to find that inflammation tended to cascade more inflammation. So if you can just knock it on the head quickly and then reintroduce the foods that were acceptable up until the last few days, then you’ve kind of reset the clock and you get another period of several weeks before things may need another reset.
So that reset for me was similar to the elimination diet that you used. The variations that I use in my program are, I substitute the brown rice for buckwheat and a quinoa mix. For whatever reason, I used to find that that provided me with slightly lower levels of baseline pain. But the sweet potatoes are there, and many a time I used to say that if I just ate sweet potatoes and lots of greens, everything would be just perfect. I think the truth is there.
Dr. McDougall: Sweet potatoes and water actually would be just fine. They’re such a complete food. The other thing that you didn’t mention that I have to bring out, and I know you see it all the time, is often people are lying to themselves about what they’re eating, and they do it consciously and unconsciously. My patients do. I don’t know, maybe yours never do. But my patients say, “Well, I’m following the diet strictly.” And I go, “Yeah, okay. Shall we discuss it further or just leave it at that?”
Because if you talk to them long enough, they say, “Well, except I do go out with my girlfriends twice a week for vegetarian Chinese food, and sometimes my husband brings home…” and etc., etc. This is a matter of being absolutely strict, this kind of eating, because it’s not a dose level of poison. This is an autoimmune disease where the body reacts to these form animal proteins, and just like penicillin I mentioned before, and so you put little dairy in your diet. That’s what? One hundred million molecules of dairy protein with a little bit…It just devastates the whole immune system.
So you can’t eat a little bit. You just have to strictly stay away from these foods. And this may be for a lifetime, and you will think it’s not fair. And the same thing with oils. I remember one of my first patients, probably 35 years ago that I took care of, she couldn’t take the drugs, didn’t want to take the drugs, did well, cured herself, she was well for several months. And then about four months after her cure, which it was a cure. This is not a remission, this is a cure. She comes into my office, and before I got through the door, I could see her knees were huge and inflamed, and she said, “Well, I’ve been really strict on the diet, except for the night before last I went out with my girlfriends to a vegan Chinese restaurant.”
And I said, “Well, I didn’t make the rules. It’s just the way it is, and you can’t do that. Otherwise you’ll be in trouble and it happens really quickly.” So we have to keep that in mind.
Clint: Most definitely. And the oils seem to be one of the greatest triggers, if not the greatest triggers. I used to perform on cruise ships. Before 10 years ago, when I came unstuck with my rheumatoid arthritis, I was really climbing the ladder as a professional standup comedian and I was working…
Dr. McDougall: Oh, wow.
Clint: Oh yeah, I’ve been doing that for 15 years. That’s still my main job.
Dr. McDougall: Really? Great, oh that’s nice to hear.
Clint: Yeah, and I’m going to give a talk tomorrow morning. Anyway, and I used to perform on the cruise ships. And I’d go on a cruise ship and the first thing I’d do is I would, well, besides unpack my rice cooker, which I would take with me on board and put in my cabin. I would run up to the buffet and I would anxiously run over to the rice container and study the rice, because on some of the cruise ships, they would put oils in the rice. And if I saw oils in the rice, I knew my whole week on the ship, I’d be cooking my own rice in the cabin. That’s the lengths that I had to go to to avoid these triggers.
Dr. McDougall: Yeah, once you get into trouble, you damage the gut and the immune system, it’s just unforgiving. People that we’re talking to, their whole lives are being ruined. They can’t take care of their families, they can’t button their shirts, their whole lives are ruined. And that is all switched around for no cost at all within just a few days. It’s kind of up to you. You hear the truth and it seems too hard to believe, you can read the research, or like you had read the “Diet: The Only Hope for Arthritis,” I wrote probably 20, 25 years ago.
And by the way, we’re trying to get a scientific paper published. I had it written, we’re submitting it now, on the dietary treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and it starts with the basic diet I recommend, without gluten foods, and then we go onto the elimination diet, and then the last set is a water fast. Good friends of mine, the folks at TrueNorth, well, Dr. Klaper, Dr. Goldhamer, and Doug Lisle, we’ve all been friends for more than 30 years. And I run into a tough case, somebody who’s just not having a good time about things, for whatever reason, and I’ll send them over for a water fast, and occasionally it makes a difference.
I think most of the time it’s just because they really realize the importance of following a simple diet. Tell people that they should think of their foods as beans, and rice, and kale, and that’s what you eat all day long, every day. Or sweet potatoes and broccoli. That’s your food, that’s what you eat. The simpler you eat, the better you do. And now, with grains and legumes, you have to add a source of A and C, so you need to add maybe a little orange or a little broccoli. With underground storage organs, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc., they’re complete, they’re loaded with vitamin C and A, and so you have to add nothing.
You could just eat water and potatoes, and water and sweet potatoes, as Matt Damon did in “The Martian,” that should have done more for our cause than anything else. That guy living for a year on Mars on potatoes.
Clint: When we were watching it, my wife Melissa and I, we just started laughing so much because we’re, that’s like…Because I think in one of your presentations one time, you talked about an American potato farmer who actually lived off potatoes for a whole year, right?
Dr. McDougall: Right, he was the Washington State Potato Commission fellow, and he lived on potatoes for, well maybe it was a year, but an awful a long time. He lost 30 pounds, dropped his cholesterol. He actually spoke at one of our advanced study weekends, which by the way, are broadcast all over the world, and likely that talk is on my website, free, under “education videos.” And yes, he lived for a year, and then there’s a case I often referred to from 1928 where they did a metabolic word study on a man and woman, and they lived on potatoes as a sole source of nutrients for six months.
They had to add some oil because potatoes are so low in calories. And then there’s a guy called Mikkel Hindhede. He was a professor in Denmark during World War I, and he became the head of the government’s nutrition policies in World War I in Denmark and actually saved the Danish people from starvation during World War I. And he took and told the people to stop eating animal foods, and so 3 million people became essentially vegan for more than three years in Denmark.
Dropped the mortality rate the lowest that they’ve ever seen in Denmark, ever, before 1914 to 1919, and after World War II. He did all kinds of diets, this guy did on people back in the 1800s, and probably the early 1900s, and he did an experiment on a guy named Madsen, where he fed him potatoes alone for a year and a half. Again, they had to add oil because you need more calories because it’s hard to eat 10 pounds of potatoes a day. What would that be like? Four kilograms of potatoes a day.
So these experiments have been going on for a long, long time, and plus naturally during times of famine, like in the early 1900s, the turn of the actual 18th and 19th century, rural Russia and Poland, they only had potatoes, so you had millions of people living on potatoes alone. And after World War II in Germany, that’s basically all they had was potatoes. So this has been experimented on here and there, but it’s also been a phenomenon that’s been observed amongst millions of people. Probably tens of millions throughout history.
Clint: What’s even remarkable to me was when I first started seeing my rheumatologist about making changes to my diet, and he fell very much into the good camp, where he was happy for me to make experiments and so forth, and observed with great interest as I told him all the things I was doing and what I was learning. And then observed with both great interest and silence actually when it started to get really good results, because he hadn’t seen anything like it. And I haven’t now seen him in three and a half or four years, and he knows how well I’ve done and how well the people who I help are doing, and he has recommended our program to several people.
But he actually told me a story, and I haven’t told this story for a long time, so I forget the exact details. But there were Australians and New Zealands in a prisoner of war camp in Shanghai, which I believe is in Southeast Asia, and he said that anecdotally within the entire rheumatoid arthritis community, it’s well-known and documented that the people with rheumatoid arthritis in the prisoner of war camp who lived off rice and potatoes, all got rid of their condition.
Dr. McDougall: All. That all is the big word. It’s 100% curable.
Clint: One hundred percent, right? And he gave me the doctor’s name who documented the information, and apparently it was collected and put into a…What do you call it? Where they have old artifacts and stuff like that, a museum in Canberra. But I searched and made a few inquiries, and I couldn’t track down the information, because it’s so valuable.
But he told me, the rheumatologist told me that yes, all of these prisoner of wars on potatoes and rice completely got rid of their arthritis, and that was huge for me to hear my doctor tell me that. But I don’t he told anyone else that and I thought, “Why don’t you tell everyone?”
Dr. McDougall: Yeah, well, that’s unfortunately the way it is. My patient says, your followers, you go into the doc and you go, “Hey, Doc, let’s shake hands and watch me dance.” And the doctor says, “Oh, it seems to be working for you. Whatever you’re doing, just keep doing it. And goodbye. Next.” Their attitude is, they were never trained to do this, that’s not their job. Their job is to put people on drugs, and so they don’t take any personal responsibility.
Even though he took an oath to protect their patients, not the drug companies or the food companies, they just don’t feel responsible for carrying this message. Now I say don’t, I know there are a few exceptions out there. It doesn’t fit into the practice model, that’s not what we were taught in medical school. And doctors are afraid too, I have to tell you, and so are the patients. This is fear-based medicine. They’re afraid of being criticized by their colleagues and they’re afraid of being sued.
At least in our country they are. And the patients are afraid that if they don’t take the drugs the doctor says, that something terrible’s going to happen. So everybody’s afraid, and as a result, terrible harm’s being done.
Clint: I think also just to defend their position as well a little bit, and I’ve said this before on a previous episode. I think that also if people are coming to them each day and some of them are changing their diet and they’re eliminating gluten, they’ve gone gluten-free, and the next one comes and says, “I now have gone with a low-fat diet,” but they’re eating everything but things…I think that the rheumatologist or the doctor has heard thousands of times people changing their diet.
And the issue is, for the people with arthritis face, is that it needs to be so extreme, or it needs to be at least so specific, I should say, so that maybe the doctor hasn’t seen in 15 years someone come in and get those results truly because it’s like sometimes trying to find a needle in a haystack. It took me nearly a year to work out that I should stop putting oils on my salads. You know how many coconut meats I ate before I realized you drink the water and throw away the coconut, because the fat in the coconut meat was giving me great pain? These things changed my life.
Dr. McDougall: Yeah, and the issue about fat, there was a study, and it’s cited in the newsletter article talking about “Diet: Only Hope for Arthritis,” a study where they fasted patients with R.A. for a week on water, then they put them on a vegan, 50% fat diet, and all of them with rheumatoid arthritis, their problems completely returned. Some with psoriatic arthritis, they stayed still well. I don’t know what all the basis was. And there’s also a theory, and I haven’t thought about it in a while and it’s kind of interesting, about how these inflammatory arthritises may be related to microcirculation.
And I show a video, which you’ve probably seen, that was done by Roy Swank, an expert in M.S. at Oregon Health and Science University, he’s dead now, but he was a longtime friend of mine, where they fed fat to animals and showed how it sludged the blood. And this may be part of what’s happening in the joints, is the oils cause the circulation to be severely compromised. You can see a video of this if you want, it’s in my December 2015 newsletter, has effect on the circulation. We’ve done the same experiments on people, but not the dramatic video footage, they’ve been still pictures.
And so the same thing happens in the circulation of people, when you feed fat, vegetable or animal fat, it compromises the circulation, makes the blood cells stick together, drops the oxygen content of the blood of by about 20%. And so this change in circulation may be part of the serious pathology when it comes to inflammatory arthritis. There are probably lots of other things involved, like molecular mimicry, where the body makes antibodies to animal proteins, and just a whole lot of stuff going on with an unhealthy diet, but it doesn’t matter about the details. You just need to know that if you eat a simple diet of starch and a few vegetables, you’re going to get well real quick.
Clint: Yeah, I like the concept of the blood becoming a little bit more sluggish, I’ve often also wondered about the concept of whether or not the free or additional oils actually cause leaky gut. It’s unclear, isn’t it?
Dr. McDougall: Yeah, it is unclear, and once the public and the professional communities become aware of the power of this medicine, then they’ll start arguing about the detail, and everybody wants to argue about the detail. Who cares? It’s like a guy named Snow in London back in the 1800s, he found people were getting this horrible disease, that they subsequently called cholera. And he was actually the father of epidemiology, this Dr. Snow, and what he did is, he looked around where people were getting sick in London and found that it correlated with where they lived, close to a pump, a well.
It was called the Pub Street well or something like that. They didn’t discover cholera, the cholera vibrio bacteria for another 100 years, so maybe at the end of the day, around the 1800s including 1700s. But it didn’t matter whether they knew it was cholera, this microbe, all he did is, he took the pump handle off the pump, and he cured cholera in London. So it’s the same thing with rheumatoid arthritis. You don’t really have to know whether it’s molecular mimicry, or blood substitute, or circulation, or how much the leaky gut has to do with it versus the impaired immune system.
Just take the handle off the damn pump and get well. And that’s the next stage of what we’ll go into once people realize the truth of this is, everybody wants to know the detail. And maybe we’re going to fix it with a vitamin supplement. Maybe we have some kind of anti-fat clogging circulation drug we can sell people. Don’t go there, just get well. It’s just so simple.
Clint: That’s funny you should say that because look at the next thing I was…Can you see the next thing? Supplements. Now the reason I want to ask you about supplements is because sometimes I feel like I’m not so much for supplements, but certainly with the drugs, I defer those questions obviously to people’s doctors, as I’m not one, and I don’t want that responsibility. But certainly with the supplements, there’s only a couple that I’ve ever recommended.
Dr. Greger published a review of one of the papers that was only in the last few years about how they took a group of people with rheumatoid arthritis and separated them and put one group on high-dose potassium supplements. And there’s a theory that after they did substantially better, the group on the potassium supplements, that the natural cortisone levels in the body are a little low with people with R.A., and that the potassium helps us link to the cortisone levels. I took potassium for a while, it may or may not have helped.
I obviously did everything right with my diet strictly. Sometimes I recommend potassium to people. Can you see any problem with that?
Dr. McDougall: Well, not unless they took a lot. I had one of my heart patients go home and take…actually his wife made a spaghetti sauce with…What was it called? No sodium supplements, which is all potassium chloride, and put him in an arrhythmia. So I can’t see it doing any good. These supplements, I can tell you plain and simple, are dangerous. It’s not that they’re a waste of money, just peeing your money in the toilet is what people used to say, they’re actually very harmful.
Large studies, very large studies, very credible studies have shown that folic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene, etc., increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and death by 20% to 30%. The Cochrane Collaboration came out and told us that for every 1 million one-a-day multivitamin supplement users, there are 9,000 extra deaths. Vitamin D is another one, you and I haven’t discussed what you think about it, but I can tell you clearly vitamin D is toxic. It should never be taken by people.
Well, when I say never, maybe if you’re a disabled, white woman institutionalized and you can’t get out in the sunshine, maybe vitamin D would be helpful, but that’s it. Otherwise, taking vitamin supplements increase the risk of fractures in falls. And there are three major randomized trials that have been published recently, you can find 2 of them in my March 2015 newsletter, which shows that about a 26% increase in fractures when people are supplemented with D. And then another one just came out in the JAMA Internal Medicine about two or three months ago, so I haven’t put that reference in.
So there are three major, controlled, randomized trials showing that taking vitamin D supplements are very harmful and do virtually no good. The only supplement that I do consider, and I think it’s of some value, is to take B12, yeah, but that’s it. Otherwise, not only are you wasting your money and putting your faith on the wrong places, you’re following false gods, but you’re also doing yourself serious harm in terms of taking the supplements.
Clint: That is interesting about the vitamin D, and it is something that I have encouraged people to take if their vitamin D levels are low and it’s the middle of winter and they fall into that I’m a white person in a cage thing.
Dr. McDougall: They need to go out in the sun. The sun is crucial. It is absolutely essential for good health, the sun is, but taking vitamin D causes these nutritional imbalances and may do damage to the nerves and the muscles, and that’s why people have more falls. The data, and I know you’ll make yourself more familiar with it, is very consistent and very compelling to not prescribe vitamin D. I don’t at any vitamin D level, whether it be 1, 2, 10, 20, or whatever level, I will not prescribe D, but I really encourage people to get out in the sun.
You don’t need much sun. Now I don’t know what latitude you’re at, but in the northern latitudes there’s enough sunshine between Vancouver and Alaska to grow the Great Bear Forest. It’s a rainforest. You go to Portland, Portland in the U.S., and they have huge solar companies putting solar panels all over the roofs. Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, there is plenty of sunshine wherever you live unless you’re in the Antarctic and the Arctic. There is quite enough, particularly skin color of course is very important, skin pigmentation, but don’t you be worried with the sun.
You don’t need much, and it’s very efficient, and it causes many, many more benefits than any supposed benefit on the bones, so it’s crucial for good health.
Clint: Okay, fabulous. I’m not defending it, and I won’t recommend it anymore, but I must say that it’s amazing how quickly you can raise your vitamin D levels with the vitamin D supplements.
Dr. McDougall: Amazing.
Clint: Yeah, it’s amazing. My wife was taking vitamin D supplements before she got pregnant, and she something like tripled her vitamin D levels within about a month or something, and we were, “This is the best supplement ever.” I’ve got the message, and I hear it loud and clear.
Dr. McDougall: It’s like statins. I can lower your cholesterol to 60, which would be, in your terms, maybe 2 international units. I could drop your cholesterol hugely, I’m a doctor. I could drop your blood pressure to 40 over 20 millimeters of mercury, I’m a doctor. I can change numbers so fast you won’t believe it. But I also will do you terrible harm. So you need to be careful about, again, false gods, which are following numbers, but we’ve been educated to follow numbers because we can change numbers, and we do it with very expensive pharmaceuticals.
We’re not taught to cure our diseases with simple diets and a little walk and a little sunshine, because there’s no money there. And the same thing with heart surgery. Why do people do heart surgery, when we know clearly it does not save lives with chronic coronary artery disease? It’s because that’s what we train to do, rather than simply change the diet and cure the disease. It’s all about the money. It’s not about mean people, or devilish people, or some conspiracy.
It’s nothing more than whatever you folks, whatever your listeners do in their business. It’s whatever you do, it’s run by the buck, the dollar.
Clint: Absolutely. Well, business by definition, isn’t it? It’s what’s the process of turning money into a profit or something? That’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to improve the position of that business and grow it through money.
Dr. McDougall: Whatever the consequence. That’s the problem, is there is a level at which people need to be honest, I think. As you said, this honesty thing, which you liked about my work, is unfortunately or fortunately well I was raised by parents who said that I was a devilish kid, “Johnny, whatever you do, always tell the truth.” There are other people that are raised that way too, but I run across many professionals, book writers and so on, that are just blatantly dishonest. And that’s how I deal with them, I just tell them, “You’re dishonest.”
This new guy, Mark Hyman, that’s becoming the big shot eat oil, sugar guy, all over the U.S. He’ll probably get to your country in terms of popularity. Mark Hyman is the same. The man’s dishonest. Plain and simple dishonest. And so I can’t go any further with people like that. If you can say whatever you want to say, and you know such folks, and not have any moral standing on it, there’s no way I can deal with you. So that’s the way I have to deal with a lot of my colleagues, so to speak, and I really find very little contesting from them, because they know that I’m coming from a position of honesty, and they know I’ll just out them.
I’ll say plain and simply, “You’re liars. And here’s the reason you’re lying, and the public can see it. And where do you want to go from here? Do you want to keep lying?” That’s just like politicians. We’re going through this great political struggle here in the U.S., and everybody’s looking at their favorite candidate and saying the other one is just lying. Well, that’s what politicians do. But people who deal with health shouldn’t do that. I think that we have a special honor, especially a position as trusted as us, as doctors and dietitians and health gurus, and that’s the total truth.
Because we’re not talking about your television set or your computer, we’re talking about your children, and your wife, and your husband, and your mother and dad. So I think these issues really deserve a higher standard than, say, campaign candidates or manufacturers of cell phones. But that’s what I believe.
Clint: And one thing that really endeared me to you, along exactly what you’re saying there is, and a lot of people may not know this, and I just read this in some fine print somewhere, but you took Harvard University to court or you were going to because they published some information that said that certain food groups were not complete proteins.
Dr. McDougall: Oh yeah, that was the American Heart Association back in 2001. I did and I won. I didn’t have to take them to court, but I got a retraction in the journal “Circulation,” and if you read in the journal “Circulation,” you’ll see my two writings showing that proteins have all the complete amino acids. Plus the American Heart Association before 2011, if you look on their dietary guidelines, you’ll see that under vegetarian diets, they say that vegetable foods are all complete proteins, and you don’t have to combine.
So the struggle I went through in 2001 paid off before 2011 in new dietary recommendations. What we’re going through now is we have the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for America, which is the most corrupt document you can imagine. It just came out January 7, and today I finished a newsletter on the guidelines. This level of dishonesty is amongst the greatest that has ever occurred from any official organization in our country that I’ve seen. Their publication is supported by the Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology and one of the big dietetic groups, but the American Cancer Society stood up and said what the Dietary Guidelines of America did was to harm people in terms of cancer and cause great suffering.
So yeah, I enjoy standing up to the people. The publication that I sent out today, actually I’ve gotten several emails that have said to me, “Aren’t you worried about the attorneys from the dairy and meat industry?” And no, I’m not. Please give me a stage. Please give me a platform to talk to you and the rest of the public from. They won’t do it, they never have. So I’ve never hesitated to take on the big groups. I’ve got a law in California requiring medical schools and physicians to teach nutrition to medical students.
It’s passed, on September 11 it was passed. Excuse me, September, 2011. And even though they have overall beat me by some very dishonest means, there’s a law in the state of California that requires medical schools, and hospitals, and other institutions to teach doctors what human beings are supposed to eat. And someday, someday, even though I lost, and I continue to lose and lose and lose, someday someone will take the efforts. I.F. Stone said this, I.F. Stone said this, I’ll try to give you the quote I’m giving, he said, “You lose and lose and lose, so that someday somebody can win.”
Clint: Yeah, there you go. Yeah, well I’ll tell you who’s winning, is everyone who follows your work. See, look what we got here.
Dr. McDougall: Oh, they sell that in your country?
Clint: No, they don’t. This has come all the way from Florida. So listen as I’m holding up a McDougall Vegan Black Bean Soup. So what we do is, it’s tricky to travel when you’ve got dietary restrictions, as I’m sure a lot of people are aware, and so sometimes we just bring one of your soups on a plane, because it’s a quick way to get some hot water on a plane.
Dr. McDougall: We’re in 6,000 stores across the U.S. and probably some other countries, and so it’s been a big success, the food company. Again, I can tell you about my war stories and my losses when it comes to that company too, but that is a message that hundreds of thousands of people get every week, was when they buy Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods.
Clint: Yeah, well, we’re about to wrap this up. Your time’s very precious and I know you’re extremely busy at the moment. Just a last question I have before we wrap up, do you think that the situation will change? You published a journal paper, I think it was 2006, around there, about how you took a group of people with R.A. through your McDougall program and their psoriatic [SP] protein and disease symptoms all reduced in a period of three or four weeks. Did that get much attention from the medical…
Dr. McDougall: No.
Dr. McDougall: There are 28 papers, which you can find referenced in “Diet: The Only Hope for Arthritis,” that show that this kind of diet virtually cures or dramatically improves between 40% and 100% of people, and these are published in major journals. I don’t really think things are going to change until there’s a public uprising, a revolution, that has to take place from the bottom up. And as I say, with the Internet, with these handheld devices, I give lectures these days, and I’m sitting there watching the audience fact check me all the way through.
So I think the liars, cheaters and polluters, they can’t hide anymore because we have this kind of free communication. Maybe they’ll take that away from us, too. They took talk radio in our country away from people, business did. I never thought that was happening, I used to be a big, big talk radio host all over the country. But they took that away, and that was about 15 years ago. So the big businesses may take the Internet away from us too, I don’t know.
But we’ve got the Internet now, and people like yourself and other people around the world who know the truth, are sharing it with others and anybody who listens, so clearly sees it’s the truth. You don’t have to believe. The evidence is just absolutely right there in your face within three or four days, that this is absolutely true. It’s not like it’s as easy as taking a pill. But I think it’s as easy as taking a pill. It’s certainly easier than ordering a seat but extender when you get on an airplane or having your chest cracked open by a heart surgeon.
It ain’t that hard. They were just talking about beans and rice and potatoes, saying okay, and they can’t be that hard.
Clint: Right, that’s right. Well, completely agree, and we’ve nearly hit the hour mark, and I didn’t want to take up that much of your time.
Dr. McDougall: Oh, it’s good to talk to you, and I appreciate the chance to talk to your listeners and followers. Obviously they have a good reason for following you. Not only are you personable and a great host, but you have the truth on your side, and anybody who listens to you will get well. And if any doctor, you say you’re not a doctor, you’re enthused and well-informed, but anybody who gives a challenge, I’m right here. I’m very easy to reach. And as I say, just give me the platform. I’d rather be challenged.
Clint: We’ve got Dr. Klaper, I’m giving a talk with Dr. Klaper here in Sydney on the 12th of April, and we’re going to have a great time, man. We’ve sold half the event so far and it’s still a month away, so it’s selling really well. And he’s excited, we’re at the university here. So I know that you do your adventures around the world. If everyone would do an adventure in Australia, then I’m sure you’d sell that out real quick, even with Aussies. Aussies would just come on the adventure and stay in their own city to be with you.
Dr. McDougall: I’ve been to your country 3 times, and it’s one of the dreams that my father had, was to go to Australia, and I had a chance him there maybe 20 years ago. So I have very, very, very fond memories of Australia. I spent a week on the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea, which by the way, is a whole other disaster we could talk about. It just goes everyplace, the importance of food, environment, everyplace, so let’s keep after them, we’re going to beat them. We’re going to beat them.
And you ask whether I’m optimistic or not, every day I get up and I say to Mary, I say, “How are we beat them today?” And Mary, “We have 330 million people to change.” I have never lost my optimism and never get discouraged. We’re going to beat them.
Clint: Awesome. Well thank you very much, Dr. McDougall, it’s been an absolute pleasure. And I will direct everyone to your website with a link in the show notes, I’ll also encourage everyone right now to join Dr. McDougall’s newsletter. He has absolutely sensational, no fluff, all facts, and all up-to-date information on the latest thing that’s happening in the world of nutrition and plant-based nutrition.
And so jump on his website, subscribe to the newsletter, and go and read those links that we mentioned, as I said, I’ll put them in the show notes of this episode, and you can learn a tremendous amount about all of the science that’s being done in the area of rheumatoid arthritis and diet. And also how to follow his elimination and McDougall program for rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. So there’s a ton of information there. And stay in contact with Dr. McDougall, because no one tells the truth better and more eloquently. So thank you very much, Dr. McDougall.
Dr. McDougall: My pleasure, thank you. Bye-bye.