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Podcast 336: Chronic Pain and Biological Individuality
The Wellness Show Episode 114
Biological Individuality and the Interaction of Genetics & Nutrition
Martin Pytela is the founder and CEO of Life Enthusiast, an online health store that focuses on helping people with chronic inflammatory health issues that do not respond well to mainstream medical practices. Using functional medicine principles he helps people understand how changing their inputs they can achieve different outcomes and turn disease into health.
Martin Pytela started in this line of work and left his previous career in business management, because he experienced mercury poisoning in 1977 from amalgam fillings.
With this, he experienced different health problems like plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back problems, etc. He sought different types of doctors and alternative medicines but nothing really worked and addressed the root cause of his problems.
According to Martin, there are five signs of inflammation. These are swelling, redness, heat, pain, and loss of function. Inflammation is experienced when the body is fixing or combating something inside the body.
“The body will use inflammation to fix a problem.” – Martin Pytela
Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase is an enzyme that adds a methyl group to folic acid to make it usable by the body. A mutation of this gene will cause a problem with eliminating toxins from the body. MTHFR can be genetically acquired 30% from both parents or 60% from one parent.
“And so if you turn on the fat genes, you’re going to get fat. If you turn on the cancer genes, you’re going to get cancer. If you turn on the heart attack gene, you’re going to have a heart attack.” – Martin Pytela
Genes inherited from parents, like having a history of cancer, can be triggered by the following:
- Toxicity – chemicals from the environment that are harmful
- Malnutrition – lack of proper nutrients
- Stagnation – lack of movement
- Trauma – anxiety or depression
Martin explained that the following problems can be combated by concentrating on those things that can be changed such as:
- Nutrition – getting the right nutrition needed by the body
- Metabolic Typing – an online 120 multiple choice questionnaire, that determines if you are endocrine dominant or metabolic dominant
- Endocrine dominance predetermines how you can lose weight or gain weight
- Metabolic dominance
- pH Balance
- Acidity – people who are quick tempered or easy to anger
- Over Alkalized – people who are procrastinating, anxious, and depressed
Martin also mentioned the foods that logically should be avoided are:
- Refined salts
- Refined sugar
- Fried food
“Once you get beyond that, you need to understand which foods and which minerals and which combinations you should have and this is dictated by how your ancestors lived.” – Martin Pytela
“Once you detoxify at the cellular level, many of your health problems will go away.” – Martin Pytela
INTRO: Welcome to the Wellness Show, a podcast on health and wealth! I’m your host Tyhson Banighan, the founder of the Extraordinary Healing Arts Academy. Join me as we get the latest insight tips and strategies from wellness providers, coaches, and successful heart-centered entrepreneurs, and much, much more!
TYHSON: So, welcome to the Wellness Show! Today I have Martin Pytela with me. He has been in the wellness profession for a long time. We just met recently again, and he had some very interesting things to say about the last 20 pounds I’m trying to get off my body. And it was an interesting perspective because he was talking about the type of body I had, my genetic background, it was an interesting way of looking at things because I’m used to working with professionals that look at wellness and vitality from what do I call a sociological or philosophical point of view, where it has to do a lot with your mental attitude, falling in love with your body, being responsible for your diet and all this, but Martin, you have a much more integrative scientific approach to this, which I find very, very exciting. And I know you’ve been doing this for a long time. So tell us a bit about who you are and how you got into this.
MARTIN: Yes, thank you, Tyhson! Yes, I will probably have to answer about 20 different ways what you just opened up with. I am the CEO and the founder of Life Enthusiast, an online business where we help people with chronic inflammatory conditions. Those are the conditions that Western medicine doesn’t do well with, the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and rheumatoid arthritis, and the long litany of problems, that they just cannot fix. They are really good at fixing emergency room stuff, but they’re terrible at preventing these emergencies from arising. I’m one of the people who needed help. The reason I’m in this business is that I was my own first case when I was starting out. My education really is an MBA with business administration and computer science. And I would have merrily stayed in the data and business management if it weren’t for the fact that I fell apart. I fell apart thanks to mercury poisoning that I picked up in a dentist’s office. Wouldn’t you know, the ignorance runs really deep.
So that was back in 1977, and for the next 10 years after 1977, I was declining. I was just going downhill, I had dental problems, back problems, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, allergies, weight gain, obesity, it all just started going. Like I was going to pieces, gradually, worse and worse. And I was trying to go see professionals. First, the orthopedic surgeon, then the chiropractor, then the naturopath, and I was not getting better. So I started seeing esoteric therapies, Bowen therapy, Feldenkreis, I tried all kinds of weird things, I have a long list on my website of all the things I’ve tried. What really is going on here is that so long as you treat symptoms, rather than the causes, you are not going to get ahead with anything that is chronic and inflammatory in origin. As long as you are staying with the symptom, you are ignoring what is causing the symptom. Einstein said it beautifully: “You cannot fix the problem you are creating with the mindset with which you created it.”
TYHSON: So what is inflammation, how does it come about?
MARTIN: Inflammation has five symptoms: redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function. The body will use inflammation to fix a problem. If I smack myself on my thumb with a hammer, I will feel the pain and it will swell and it will throb, and the body will send the repair guys, that is an acute problem. A chronic problem is when you have micro-injuries, visualize million tiny little hammers pecking at you throughout the whole system. So you are causing micro-injuries every day, all the time, and the body sends the repair mechanism to all those locations. So now you have body parts that are swelling and hurting, and depending on which body part is falling apart, the doctors will name it.
They will name it rheumatoid arthritis if your joints are going to heck. They will call it vitiligo if your pigment is disappearing. They will call it multiple sclerosis if the myelinization of your nerves is going wrong. They will call it autism if it is affecting your brain. I could name 200 named conditions, each of which they classify by the body part that is falling apart. The inflammation itself is histamine-mediated. Histamine is the signaling molecule of this inflammation. It can affect the female reproductive organs, it can be obesity, it can affect your circulatory system and give you high blood pressure. That is inflammation, chronic inflammation. Almost everything other than an acute injury caused by physical harm or an infectious illness caused by invading microorganisms is caused by underlying inflammation somewhere in the body.
TYHSON: Wow. So this is a huge widespread problem. So then what is the source of this? Is it because of our diets, our lack of vitamins? Give us some clue about why this is happening?
MARTIN: Well, we are living in an interesting experiment. The industrial lifestyle, industrial agriculture, is producing industrial foods that are causing industrial medical problems that the industrial medical system is trying to fix. And there are four major inputs that we can control, and some others that we cannot control. So we could start with genetics. There is definitely a genetic issue. I myself, for instance, have the MTHFR mutation, which many people do have, 60% of the population have one parent with it, 30% have two parents with it. It basically diminishes your ability to convert food into energy, and also the ability to detoxify. So I tire easily, and I don’t make a good long-distance runner, I can make a sprint and then I have to sit down and recover. There are some good things coming with it! It makes highly productive people, musical talent, linguistic talent, and all kinds of things. Just about everything that we encounter in life has its sunny side and shadow side, there are the yin and the yang of it. So the yang is that I don’t detoxify well, so if you end up with the mercury toxicity as I did, you are not able to get rid of it on your own, you will fall apart instead. And many people, as I just gave you the statistics, will have that problem.
TYHSON: Wow, that is huge,! If obesity is now in 50% of the American population, then a large part of that would be attributed to this genetic mutation you are talking about, right?
MARTIN: Right. Let’s talk about the contributing factors, right? So genetics is definitely a part of it, but epigenetics trumps genetics, which is directly linked to the environment. What happens at the cellular level is triggered by what is coming at the cell from the outside. Gene can be activated or inactivated. It can be turned on or turned off. So if you turn on the get-fat gene, then you are going to get fat. If you turn on the cancer gene, you are going to get cancer. If you are going to turn on the get a heart attack gene, you are going to get a heart attack. And how do you keep these genes turned off? The inputs are toxicity, malnutrition, stagnation, and trauma. The trauma would be the invisible stuff, emotional trauma from childhood, abuse, PTSD in war veterans. You can get damaged in two ways, either a large impactful event or a whole lot of small things accumulating. In your subconscious, you will have a program. This is where the “I love myself” versus “I hate myself,” or “I hold a grudge against someone,” will affect how I express myself through my reality.
TYHSON: That is certainly the area that I’m used to working in, and I know that has a lot of value, but that is only one of the four problems. What are the other ones you listed?
MARTIN: So the stagnation, that is essentially a lack of movement. We are originally designed for walking about 20 kilometers or 15 miles a day, to carry water, or to hunt something, put it on our backs, and bring it back to the cave, or something of the sort. We are supposed to move, we are supposed to exercise. The main issue is the lymphatic system. The lymph doesn’t have its own pump, it only moves when you move your body against gravity. It is like the proverbial shaker in a bartender’s hand, you shake it against gravity, the fluid moves up and down. So a sedentary person doesn’t move, therefore stagnates. And the difference between a running stream and a swamp is that the swamp is putrefying.
TYHSON: 15 kilometers is a lot! I mean, I do 4.5 kilometers every second day, and I thought that I was doing fine…
MARTIN: (laughing) I’m not saying you are doing badly, it is just that we are built for doing much more.
TYHSON: I get the point that you are making, that we have changed our lifestyle from 15 kilometers a day to zero, that is pretty dramatic, right?
MARTIN: I mean, I’m not perfect either. I’m using a mini trampoline, I have a rebounder in my office, and I do a 12-15 minute routine on it every day, which seems to hold me in reasonable shape.
TYHSON: I have a vibrating machine too, which I love, these things can really help us. But I guess the best thing is probably just being able to go for a walk every day.
MARTIN: The walking works really well. The vibration machine is a really interesting tool, as long as you are using it in the slow mode, five cycles per second. If you use it at the high settings, 20 cycles per second, it moves faster than the flaps in the lymphatic pathways can open and close. So make sure that you are on the slow vibration mode. Anyway, that was stagnation. Then we have malnutrition. You are supposed to be getting certain nutrients into your body, and it can get complex. The number one issue is the fact that industrial agriculture is depleting our soils, they are using NPK (nitrogen phosphorus and potassium) fertilizer to grow the plants faster, so they grow bigger, they look pretty, but on the inside they’re hollow. They are hollow in the sense that the mineralization is deficient, and the pigmentation is deficient, and so on. It looks good, but the nutrients are missing.
TYHSON: And of course we end up maybe looking good, but being nutrient deficient as well.
MARTIN: Right, I mean, look at me, I’m totally nutrient deficient, and I’m working hard on it. I shouldn’t be looking like this, I should be looking 20 years younger. I’m already a cracked pot, I’ve had all this damage done to me, so it is harder to work against it, plus of course the genetic issue. I now understand it better, but if I knew then what I know now, I would for sure be doing better than this.
TYHSON: I find that fascinating, there is evidence certainly in my experience of taking some trace minerals and actually seeing the actual physical changes in the body. That is pretty amazing, that you can attribute it to one particular thing that you are taking.
MARTIN: Yeah, malnutrition shows up, you can see these ridges on the fingernails or the glow on the skin. Malnutrition as such has many aspects: the food itself, the quality of the food, but also the selection of the food. This is the topic that you highlighted, where I was talking about biological individuality, how genetics predetermine what is right or not right for you. I’ll come back to this in just a moment. I just want to finish on the other point, which was toxicity. Toxicity is a problem of the industrial age, especially in urban settings. My particular toxicity was the mercury load, I picked up 12 amalgam fillings, mercury amalgam fillings. I used to be a very healthy, strong young fellow, but several years after that I was falling apart in a major way.
Mercury is terribly damaging, so is lead, cadmium you pick up from cigarette smoke, mercury is in the air from coal-burning, from vaccines, or from the dental installation like I’ve had. Heavy metals are really strong disruptors, but you could have other things, the VOCs (volatile organic compounds), the metal dust from brake pads of the automobiles, so if you are living in the city and you commute in and out in traffic, you are inhaling the brake pads dust, and the tire dust, and whatever else is going on around. So as time goes on, you are becoming more and more toxic. And our original design is not built for urban living. So we need to find some ways to get rid of all of this toxic load. And there are two aspects – cleansing and detoxifying.
The cleansing is the general sweep of the digestive system, the colon, the lungs, and so on. Detox is deeper, you need to actually find things that have been sequestered. Your body actually hides things. And this is an interesting thing, heavy metals are being hidden in places of low circulation, which starts with fat, fat on your belly, on hips, but also, your brain is made of fat, and then cartilage and bones. So your physical structure will get challenged by heavy metals big time. I had to learn all of this, because I was my own case, and then I figured out that I wasn’t at all untypical, there are millions of people in as much trouble as I was, and more, so hence the business, I had to learn it so now I get to share it. I get to help people do the reversal, reverse the toxicity, learn about stagnation and undo it with exercise, figure out about trauma and undo it with practices like EFT, or meditation, and last but not least, the nutrition.
TYHSON: Wow, that is a lot, and that is a really good overview of what to do. I think it would really help to give an idea of what you offer your clients when they come to you because you really can do a full-scale analysis to help them get from where they are, to where they want to go.
MARTIN: Right. I try to focus on things that we can do something about. We could discuss genetics and do genetic testing, but it doesn’t really do us any good, because you can’t do anything about the genes. So we focus on things you can actually change. Nutrition is one of those things that you can change. We have a system called Metabolic Typing, there is an online quiz, about 120 multiple choice questions, and when you answer all of that, it will show us your endocrine dominance and your metabolic dominance. Endocrine dominance predetermines how you are going to lose weight or gain weight. There are some people who gain weight with fats, and there are some people who gain weight with starches, and you need to know which you are because if you are going to put yourself on a low-carb/high-fat diet, it works for the thyroid dominant, but it is completely counterproductive for the adrenal dominant, and to slim down somebody who is pituitary dominant, you have to put them on really strong red meats, organ meat diets, which is so counterintuitive for most of the spiritual practices.
So once we determine what the person is, we also understand how to manage their pH balance. The interesting thing with the pH is that when you drift into acidity, you become short-tempered and quick to anger, road-rage on the extreme. Whereas when you over alkalize, you first become procrastinating, and then despondent, and finally anxious and depressed. And so these divergences can be corrected with how you balance your meals, whether it is more fats and protein, or more carbohydrates. Of course, you need to go for non-refined foods, there are these five things that we shouldn’t eat. Nobody should eat refined salt, sugar, flour, oil, and food fried in vegetable oils. Those are common sense things.
But once you get beyond that, you need to understand which foods and which minerals and which combinations you should have. And this is dictated by how your ancestors lived. If they lived in Norway, they ate a lot of salmon and reindeer, as opposed to if they lived somewhere in Northern Italy, where they have access to vegetables and bread and so on, or if they lived in North Africa where they lived on dates, figs, pomegranates, and camel milk. So one group ate high starch, high sugar diets, the other sort of medium, and the third one is quite high in protein, high in fat. Whatever genetics pop through as the dominant, you need to support that. If you eat against it, it is not going to work. So I tell people: “well, yoga was invented in India, where there was year-round access to tropical fruit, so it is really easy, to be a vegetarian when you live in tropics, not so easy if you are living in Eskimo climate.” So at Life Enthusiast, we try and help people who are willing to make the change. We also offer superfood supplements. The sort of products we offer are a cut above average, it is not found in a common health store, we focus on the basics, structured water, filtered air, healthiest foods, and especially knowing what to do with them.
TYHSON: Well. It sounds very exciting! What are the average costs for doing this basic baseline inventory that you would want the client to go through before you get in the prescription?
MARTIN: Well, I’m a nutritionist and a health coach, I am not a doctor, so I don’t prescribe, I don’t do medicine. I just help people understand what will make them healthier, as opposed to what will make them sicker, which is of course readily applicable to all of these chronic inflammatory diseases. I work with people at whatever level they are able, if they are able to put a hundred dollars into their get-well budget, then we work with that. I can accommodate almost anything. The deeper the hole that you are in, the more intensity you need to apply to it, to get out of it.
TYHSON: Right. So it is really up to you. But the point that you are making is that you can start at any level with whatever money you have and start the process, right?
MARTIN: Right. There are some really important high leverage things you can do. I mentioned the MTHFR, methylation. A universal methyl donor food, like bioavailable sulfur, also known as MSM, costs you only $10 a month, and it will make a gigantic difference in energy levels. Fulvic acid, for people who are toxic, that is 10 bucks a month and will make a huge difference as well. And of course, we have better, stronger, fancier, more expensive options, but the basics still work.
TYHSON: I don’t know a lot about sulfur, I do know about the other aspect you were talking about. If I understand it correctly, the sulfur is really increasing your energy, is it not?
MARTIN: Sulfur specifically is helping the oxygen to cross the cellular membrane. That means oxygen in, and toxins out. So it empowers the energy exchanges in the body.
TYHSON: Right. So you are going to get more energy as a result, because your whole respiratory system is working more effectively. Is that correct?
MARTIN: Yeah, by that we mean cellular respiration as opposed to lungs. It improves your ability to absorb and to release oxygen, conversion of food into energy, and detoxification. Once you detoxify at the cellular level, many health problems go away.
TYHSON: Yes. How do people get a hold of you, so they can start this journey with you?
TYHSON: Well, thank you very much for being on the show, Martin! I know there’s lots to talk about, I have 150,000 questions that I’d like to ask you just from the short conversation we have, so we will probably have to have you back soon! I know you have your own podcast, which has some deep analysis, so I encourage people to go take a look at that as well. So thank you, Martin, for being on the show and starting us on this journey!
MARTIN: Thank you, Tyhson. I’m so grateful that you reached out and invited me to talk to you and your listeners! Thank you everyone for listening!
Note: this interview and the information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your medical professional(s) if you are dealing with a specific medical issue.