Cell Health: Interview with Greg Barston Part 1

Greg Barston DC MS is a chiropractor who is one of our professions top nutritionists in my humble opinion. He earned his degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic West and a Master’s Degree (MS) in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport. He has board certifications in clinical nutrition, sports medicine, Emergency Medicine (EMT) and is a Registered Herbalist (RH) through the American Herbalists Guild. He has taught has taught numerous clinical nutrition and functional medicine seminars for various organizations since 1993. In addition to his general chiropractic and nutrition practice he was he chief nutrition consultant for the Cancer Support and Education Center for over 12 years. He just wrote an E-Book on nutrition entitled Supercharge Your Cell Vitality. It is a short and concise summary on how the general population can improve their health and vitality by reducing cellular inflammation and maximizing nutrition for modern times.

GDA: Before we get into specifics in your book, what sets it apart from the hundreds of other diet/nutrition books on the market?

GB: It's a bottom-line oriented, informative guide that summarizes key concepts and corrective strategies of nutrition and diet that are lost on the general public. I wrote it mainly for patients and educated consumers who are tired of wading through endless books, internet opinions, newsletters, infomercials, etc. Most people wind up more confused than when they started. Plus, there's a tendency to get caught up in the 'magic pill or potion', instead of focusing on fundamentals. Most of the content is really timeless principles; however what I really wanted to drive home was the fact that people are sicker today than ever before with chronic conditions. The root of these is based in cellular inflammation. Get rid of the chronic cellular inflammatory cascade that's perpetuated by diet, and many conditions will heal on their own.

GDA: We are in what I call the anti-carb era with carbs getting the same ‘root of all evil’ treatment fats & protein previously went through. Do you think carbs will enjoy the same rehabilitation protein & fat eventually received?

GB: Great question. First, I don't think the fat re-education is done yet. Ask the average person about fat, and most still think it's the devil. Most nutrition savvy docs know better, but it's still an uphill education battle to reprogram the damage that Madison Avenue and the food industry created over the last 30 years or more, in terms of consumer awareness and truth. The low fat experiment was a bust by most accounts, and now emerging studies are proving it. A great cover article was published on June 18, 2014 in TIME magazine by Bryan Walsh titled: EAT BUTTER. It tells a lot about the whole saga. Fat can be our best friend or worst enemy, depending on the source, how it's processed, how we use it, and how much we ingest. My book covers this in a summarized manner. Carbs are the same. I think carb education is the next frontier of nutrition education. In my book, I discuss the real villain isn't 'carbs', but the types and amounts. The average modern diet still involves excessive refined or processed carb consumption. This drives inflammatory signaling which decimate health on nearly every level. Insulin resistance is just one example. We now face escalating epidemics of diabetes, autoimmune conditions, cancer, and other conditions. A common denominator here is cell inflammation. Excessive or wrong carbs contribute to this, so it's imperative to reduce cell inflammation where we can and eat a less processed, whole food-based diet.

GDA: Do you think the public is better informed or more confused about nutrition compared to the 4 food group days when you started your practice?

GB: It’s a mix. Today people and health professionals understand more academic info about foods than years ago, but they still can't seem to connect the dots. For example, many people understand 'trans fats' and 'white bread' may not be ideal foods anymore, and that olive oil is a 'healthy fat'. Then there's a qualitative drop off in terms of what we actually eat, simply because mainstream education is often behind the curve of new evidence and common sense, especially if there's little financial gain from the giant food industry, which unfortunately drives public awareness.

GDA: In chiropractic school I was taught that mainstream medicine had an anti-supplement bias. After practicing for many years I would grade that generalization as fair. Conversely, an equally fair generalization I was not taught but have observed is a pro-supplement bias by alternative medicine. Care to comment?

GB: I agree. Part of this is simple: follow the money. The nutrition supplement industry is exploding, and numerous companies are fighting for a piece of the pie. We're also a lazy society. It's easier for most to take a pill, whether it's a nutrient or a drug, to help what ails us, instead of doing the real work of diet. The responsibility of diet change is not an easy shoe to wear for many, because it's inconvenient, and messes with our 'comfort zone'. Add the fact that diet changes often take time to see the benefits, and most people drop the ball or never enter the game.

GDA: You recommend products from a number of brands that you’ve had success with over the years. I was taught when supplements fail it’s probably the wrong brand. Your nutrition practice is like mine in that the referrals you get are what I call the ‘last resort’ types who are already using supplements but not getting satisfactory results. What I have observed is that when supplements fail, it’s usually the wrong dosing followed by the wrong product.

GB: I often find dosing a problem too. Some just aren't taking enough to accomplish much of anything. Are there quality differences in the supplement market? Absolutely. However many docs are quick to divert patients to their products. This is often due to false marketing by suppliers, manipulated science/data, or profit. But I think the biggest reason supplements don’t help is that the products are not specific for their problem. An example is a patient came to me with 10-year history of progressively worsening arthritis. She had negative autoimmune blood markers, and her rheumatologist told her it was mild osteoarthritis. She refused any RX meds. Her general pain level was a '7-8' out of 10 on most days. After a thorough history, exam and review of lab, she pulls out a bag full of glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM caps, fish oil, vitamin D, calcium/magnesium, a generic once daily multi, Astaxanthin, and turmeric. She was taking one cap a day of everything. She wanted to know which products she should throw away or buy different ones. I ran a few tests and found she had serious food allergies and increased intestinal permeability. I placed her on a hypoallergenic diet and an intestinal repair formulation for 1 month. I told her to continue what she was taking. In 1 month her pain was reported to now be a '2-3' only on her worst days. She was also dancing and doing senior aerobics because she felt so good. I told her to increase her joint nutrients by 2 caps a day. Last week she emailed to tell us her pain was now virtually gone.

In part 2 we will discuss hot-button issues that help and harm our cells.

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Copyright 2014, G. Douglas Andersen, DC, DACBSP, CCN, 916 E. Imperial Hwy, Brea, CA 92821, (714) 990-0824
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