How to Prevent Brain Degeneration and Keep Your Brain Healthy with Dr. Greg Eckel

Content By: Ari Whitten

In this episode, I am speaking with Dr. Greg Eckel—a naturopathic doctor and an expert on neurological disease—about the best ways to prevent brain degeneration and keep your brain healthy.

In this podcast, Dr. Eckel will cover:

  • The main drivers of neurological disease
  • How oriental medicine can help prevent and treat neurological disease
  • The FAN-C Approach and (And why this approach is crucial for treating brain-related conditions)
  • Breakthrough therapies for Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders
  • The best treatments for neurological diseases (Stem cells, exosomes, special nasal sprays and more)
  • The top strategies to prevent neurological disease

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How to Prevent Brain Degeneration and Keep Your Brain Healthy with Dr. Greg Eckel – Transcript

Ari Whitten:  Hey there, welcome to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I am here today with Dr. Greg Eckel, who is a naturopathic doctor and an expert in treating neurological conditions. And he has got a really fascinating story, a very personal story searching for a cure for his wife’s incurable neurodegenerative condition called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or CJD. And in the process he has uncovered a treasure trove of remedies and approaches that are gaining traction and helping a ton of people in his Portland area practice. Also there is a big emphasis in his practice on Parkinson’s disease which shares a lot of similar features with CJD. So welcome to the show Dr. Eckel. Such a pleasure to have you.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Hey, thank you so much, Ari.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. So, I would love to first start off with this story, the personal story of why you got into this, why you started specializing in neurological conditions specifically and your wife’s condition.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  For sure. You know, so I have been in practice since 2001 and I have grown one of the largest integrative clinics in the country since then. A few years back though, I had my wife in the practice. She is a, Sarieah, certified nurse, midwife, nurse practitioner, radical women’s health care provider. And, you know, we started to, you know, she had been in practice here for five years and, you know, started developing some memory issues. And, you know, we went down the normal, you know, rabbit holes of, you know, maybe, you know, it is perimenopause. Maybe it is a hormone imbalance, perhaps it is mold toxicity, you know, kind of more of the known causes of memory. Maybe it’s PTSD that is triggering memory loss, right? So those are the top three runners. And we went through each of those, but at the same time it was this rapidly progressive…

You know, we started staying later and later at clinic. For five years, you know, we were leaving at 5:00, 5:30. Now it is like seven and she is still charting. It is like, “Hey honey, what’s going on?” And she is like, “I am just, you know, I have got a lot of tough cases I am charting.” You know, she had all kinds of like back up story and you know, it became evident to me like, you know, there is something else going on here. So I started taking her out into conventional land and trying to get her assessed and just wound up with just ridiculous answers, like psychotic break, you know, for a middle aged woman, that it is psychosis. I am like, there is no way. I have been in practice for two decades. I have never seen anything like this. And then, you know, the differential starts to get a little more ominous when you start making your way.

Maybe some of your listeners can relate to that of, “Geez, you know, what is it?” And then you start getting into these end points of, well, you know, of the top three things that this could be, it could be Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which is a very rare neurological condition. It is 300 cases a year in North America, one in a million. So, you know, I started, you know, you get in touch then with the experts. I started talking with some doctors at Case Western University, which is the Preonic Surveillance Center of North America. So, you know, I never knew that existed. Right? A Preonic Surveillance Center. That sounds serious. And you know, I learned, oh, they only have 25 people enrolled in their study. The study is telemedicine, and then they will give us a free brain biopsy at the end of this road. It is like, “Well, wait a minute. What else, you know, I am a loving…”

Ari Whitten:  A free brain biopsy like after she dies.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  At death. Yeah. That is the study. Like she is going to die. This is what we have got. Right? There is no known cure. So, you know, I find myself back against the wall thinking, well, “Geez, this love of my life, what can I do?” And, you know, I am uniquely positioned. I am out of the box thinker, you know, neurology was one of the focus areas that I had over the last two decades. And we do, you know, a ton of IV therapy. You know, you name an alternative therapy, we probably have run it through my clinic here at Nature Cures. And, so we started, I started getting into the research, you know, really presumptively treating her as if she had a preonic condition which is Creutzfeldt-Jakob.

What this disease looked like, it was like rapidly progressing dementia in one month. She was basically gone, nonverbal, just poof. Like what in the world? Like this was a vital being on the planet. You know, tough on the kids, tough on me, tough on her patients, you know. So we started getting in, you know, basically it is presumptive this is what I am going to do. On the differential, you know, the doc back in Cleveland was like, “You know, we are not really sure on the workup. Maybe you should take her back up to the hospital and run those tests.” Same tests, do them again. I was like, “I don’t think so. You don’t understand what this looks like at home. But you know, what would you put in your differential?” So I just kind of, you know, picked their brain.

And it was like, “Well, you know what? I can, you know, if we are thinking it is this other autoimmune encephalitis, it is inflammatory brain disorder, you know, well, there is a couple of things that can treat that – IV IgG or IV stem cells, regenerative therapies, exosomes.” And so I just went for the exosome regenerative medicine front in addition to everything else that I have learned in my training and clinically working with patients. Now unfortunately it did not move the needle for Sarieah but what I uncovered is what I am calling “Sarieah’s gifts.” And, you know, I am hoping to make a difference. That is why I got into medicine, you know, you mentioned, I got into Parkinson’s as well. So, you know, you get into the preonic activity and prions are… You know, a lot of people get scared when you start talking about prions and you may not have even heard of those, right?

These are misfolded proteins and there is so, I think they are an archaic protein structure on the planet, but they were discovered by Stanley Prusiner in 1987. He got the Nobel Prize in medicine for the discovery of these things. But you can’t kill them, quote unquote kill them. And anytime you, you know, you get on PubMed, it was starting to really upset me. It kept saying “infectious preonic activity.” And, you know, when you get infectious, these aren’t, it is not a virus. It is not a bacteria. It is not like I can sneeze on you and you catch them, you know. It is not like they are setting up and replicating that way. And, in fact, we don’t really know how they turn on or off. And I guess that is the scary part about prions. But you know, the second textbook of preonic disorders, it has all of the other neurologic conditions which also happen to have no known cure. Right? We have got Parkinson’s, dementia, Alzheimer’s, some link anxiety states in there. So there is a whole affiliated network of preonic activity, of these misfolded proteins. Something turns them on and then they start signaling other proteins to misfold and currently we don’t have a great remedy for that. So, yeah.

Ari Whitten:  Interesting. So how did this finish playing out with your wife and were you able to develop anything that helped her in any way?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Well, so on, you know, it was such a rapidly progressing dementia. So unfortunately, no. We watched her whither for over a year at home, you know, we surrounded her with love. Our nurse practitioner basically said it was the most beautiful death she ever attended. I feel like a piece of it, become a harbinger or a grief advocate or ambassador. We don’t do grief well in our culture. You know, what do you say? You know, it is painful and, you know, rejuvenating I guess. It is kind of an odd thing, you know. I feel like for me personally it has kind of brought me to a point of, you know, kind of reinstated faith in such an odd way for me in that it lifted the veil of our separateness.

You know, we just pretend to be separate in this illusion we call life. And you know, ultimately I just arrived that, one, I surrendered to life. Two, you know, really we are all one. We are just pretending to be separate right now. And, you know, three, you know, just to spread more love while we have the time on the planet, you know, which are, those are beautiful things and it comes out of some really profound loss for me.

The FAN-C Protocol

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Yeah, I hear you. So after losing your wife, you became deeply interested in exploring neurological treatments more in depth and you developed a whole… First of all I guess is that accurate to say? And then in the process you have developed a whole treatment protocol called FAN-C around treating people with neurological diseases.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Correct. Yeah. So up to that point in time I was treating, you know, neurologic conditions. I am a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist. So I have a master’s of science in Oriental Medicine and, you know, there is research on acupuncture for different neurologic conditions. There is research on IV therapy. There is research on nutritionals and diet, lifestyle, meditation, qigong, you know, all of these facets that I had kind of assembled over 16 years. But really this process solidified and I uncovered some new remedies as well for specific, for preonic activity. So, you know, I made a specific nasal spray that I am going to talk about in that FAN-C approach, but it really codified what I was doing. Like I just had to have some systematic approach to, one, helping my wife. But then, two, you know, I learned about this regenerative component. There is an intra-nasal stem cell procedure that I got trained on. And while I wasn’t able to do it on Sarieah just because of her dementia and just she was not going to have anybody putting a cannula up her nose at that point in time, we did IV therapy, regenerative medicine with her.

But, you know, I had to have a system to really focus because, I mean, it was extreme stress for that 17 month period. And so it helped me really get clear on a process of working people. So, for instance, I learned about this intra-nasal procedure that came out in a neonatal conference on stem cell regenerative therapies down in Miami two years ago. Some research coming out of Europe, they studied babies that were having strokes in utero and these kids were coming out developmentally disabled, short lived lives and just not making it. Researcher Dr. Frey out of University of Minnesota doing research in Italy and Spain said, “Hey, wait, we have these stem cells right here, placenta and amniotic tissue. Let’s use these.” Developed an intra-nasal delivery method to get these into the kids’ brains and they are actually developing normally.

So their brains are, you know, they have a stroke in mom’s belly before they are born and had brain death and now were showing, oh, their brains are coming back with this procedure. So I learned about this, I brought it into my practice. I asked my first patient, I said, “Hey, you might be interested in this.” He has got the Parkinson’s diagnosis. He said, “Oh, that sounds interesting, doc. Have you done it?” I thought, “Hey, that is a fair question. No, it is a new procedure. I haven’t done it.” He said, “Great, you get it done. You go have it done. If it doesn’t kill you, you can do it on me.” It is like, “Okay, fair enough.” That made sense to me and I needed to learn how to do it. So I went and I got trained on it. I brought it back into the practice.

I have been using it with folks with Parkinson’s diagnosis, with multiple sclerosis, dementia, Alzheimer’s. And you know, I am not saying I am curing any of these conditions. However, I will say individual’s quality of life are going up. They are getting an improvement of their symptom pictures. Some of the things like their tremors… So in particular, I focused on Parkinson’s because, you know, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is so rare. Not many people have that diagnosis and it is so rapid. I figured let’s maybe use this on something where we are going to get some traction and movement. And lo and behold, it is like, wow, we are getting, you know, speech is improving for people, their tremors are halting and reversing, their gait, there is stability and walking is becoming more fluid. You know, so it, we are showing clinical significance and evidence in the real world that that is a great therapy that we should be using. It is safe, and we are getting some traction on it.

So, yeah, the whole process… So you are right on that question, I will just stick to that question. You know, it really did solidify and really had me tie these loose ends and really put it into this FAN-C approach, the way that I can kind of talk about it now. And, you know, really it is coming, I have got a book coming out this next month and, you know, a neurodegenerative summit upcoming as well. And so, you know, really a couple fold. One, taking Sarieah’s gifts and trying to make, you know, help a lot of people, right? It is like I didn’t go through this for nothing. You know, let’s see what we can do. So turning my personal tragedy into some benefit for a lot of people. That is why I got into medicine is to be in the service for folks. And so I just want to share this stuff, you know, one, from my heart. And, two, can we actually get your life to change? So, that is where that process comes from. Yeah.

How the FAN-C approach

Ari Whitten:  Nice. Yeah. Now let’s assume 98% of people listening to this don’t have diagnosed Parkinson’s, certainly CJD or Alzheimer’s or, you know, any other neurological condition. Does what you have figured out and, you know, your approach to neurological health have relevance to prevention as well? Or just…

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Oh yeah. Yeah. So much. I mean, you know, the three camps that I have kind of put myself in are, one, is this neurodegeneration, two is brain health and three is longevity. So for me personally, I have gone on public television and now on your Podcast and others saying I want to live to be 150. Right? And when you say that in a group of elderly patients, because that is who I am lecturing to in Portland, Oregon, they look at you like, “Doctor, you must be insane. Like, look at us. You don’t want to be this old.” But if we could do it with our brain health, with our braun and with community, like why the hell not, you know. And so when you look at the stats on brain health in the United States, we are exposed to 80,000 chemicals a week. You know, all of us in North America have some level of metal burden in our bodies.

The stats on dementia suck, you know, 50% of people over 65. So, you know, if you are in your 20s, you know, onward, this is really important information, you know, on longevity, keeping your brain health really optimum for performance. Like those things mean a lot to me. You know, I got to stay at a very high level of performance with the clinic here. I have got five kids, you know, community member, like we are up to stuff, right? We have got stuff to do, we got people to help. And so we have got to perform at a very high level. So I have put this in on my own longevity program. So when I, I didn’t talk about when I got the intra-nasal. So, you know, I got challenged by my Parkinson’s patient, “Go get it done. And if it doesn’t kill your doc, you can do it on me.”

So I did it. I was hoping it was going to help with middle-aged vision loss and hearing. I wear hearing aids for a genetic disorder in my family, we have early hearing loss. So I was like, “Okay, I am going to get these into my brain. Maybe it will give me some benefit there.” And, you know, it helped with my vision. I still use readers but it did help with my vision a bit. And, but it did stabilize my hearing loss. So I have had two exams now, two. It has been two years since I did my first treatment of that. And my hearing loss has stabilized, which is very encouraging. You know, I play music, I love music. I love hearing your voice, you know, that aspect. But the biggest thing that it did, it had a systemic benefit on my inflammation and I didn’t even know my hands were swollen.

But the absence, it was the next day, in less than 24 hours, I was going like this, at dinner and my CEO, Brenna was like, “Doc, are you okay? Like, what is going on?” And, you know, and she has seen enough patients with strokes. She is like, “You know, that doesn’t look good.” So like, “No, my hands feel entirely different. Like they are not swollen. I didn’t even know they were swollen.” I also had hip pain for a decade. I was inner tubing in Colorado with my then six year old boy Simon. Went over a waterfall. The inner tube came out and my instincts as Papa is grab the boy. So my right hip hit the rock at the bottom of the river. And I had hip pain for a decade and I had done everything. I had done acupuncture, physical therapy, massage therapy, you know, you name it, I am in the industry.

I have got providers here to give me care. I did everything. And it was like always, like everything would make a little bit of difference and then the pain would come back. Again, that next day my hip pain was gone. It is still gone. And you know, and I am seeing that clinically now. We do a lot of orthopedic, you know, nerves, for nerve pain, cartilage regrowth. We have got over 500 people have not needed their knees replaced. I would never be even talking to you about regenerative stem cell therapies if I didn’t go through this process. It wasn’t even on my radar, you know, but I got in on the research and it was like, “Wait a minute, there is 30 years of data on this stuff. Why aren’t we allowed to use this in the United States?” And it is totally, ’91, it was politics and religion and they put the kibosh on research in the United States and like, wow, it really put us behind 30 years.

The rest of the world, they have been studying this stuff, you know. Now I have got my, you know, Internet bots out there. I get boatloads of research every week on stem cell regenerative therapies and the research coming out in support and I will tell you, clinical data. I have a new patient ambassador, my receptionist up front, Jill. And she asked her husband, you know, started talking about what she was seeing at the clinic and he went online and did a little research and basically he was like, “That doctor sounds like he is selling snake oil.” You know, because when you get on and you only look at conventional topic or conventional outlets, they don’t want you knowing about this information because it is radical. It is a disruptor of the healthcare system. It is your body healing itself, you know, so it is, so that is a fun part. I love being on that level.

I mean, it is, you know, one of the gifts I guess for me is I get to be, you know, a bell bellwether tower about like, “This stuff works.” I am seeing, you know, 76-year-olds don’t need to get their knees replaced anymore, you know. And so now as a preventative we can really, I am putting it in on an annual basis. I am doing these therapies. You know, I did a TeloYears to check my telomerase age. And it has got me 17 years younger. I love that. I am 49, my cells think they are 32. That is pretty remarkable.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Now, did you ever end up trying it on the patient with Parkinson’s?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yes. Yeah. And I have got his YouTube video up on my station and he is doing really well. Yeah.

Ari Whitten:  Nice. Did he see a big improvement and some of your other patients with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions….

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yes. It does take some time because we are talking about regrowing the brain in this brain regenerative protocol. It is not just the stem cell regenerative therapies that I am using, you know. We have got hyperbarics and kind of this FAN-C approach that we can put in here in a sec. But yeah…

Ari Whitten:  FAN-C, just for people who didn’t catch that, FAN-C is f-a-n-c. You didn’t mean fancy like the word “fancy.” I guess it is a play on words depending on…

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah. That is why I did it…

Ari Whitten:  I don’t know if that was intended, but…

Dr. Greg Eckel:  That is what I did it for. Yeah, it is very fancy because it is so cutting edge. Right? So that is such a good segue into what are we talking about with the FAN-C program?

What FAN-C is

Ari Whitten:  So let’s define this FAN-C. What does this acronym stand for and what is, I guess, on a practical level, what does this actually look like?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Sure. So it is on, the “F” stands for “functional medicine.” So it is an integrative, naturopathic approach treating… I like to say I don’t treat disease processes, you know. One component with these neurodegenerative conditions is everybody is looking at the very end stage and that was your question of like, “Can you use this stuff preventatively because, you know, 95% of the folks listening don’t have this condition doc.?” And so, but they definitely, all of them have a brain, right? Because they are listening to your show. And so it is very important to…

Ari Whitten:  Let’s hope so. Except anyone who writes a negative comment on this show. They do not have a brain.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  There you go. That’s it. That’s it. Right? Those people. You know who you are.

Ari Whitten:  There will be three of them. There is always two or three. But everybody else, all of the other 20,000, they have a brain.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Awesome. Awesome. Yeah, that is a good distinction. So it is treating heart centered, dynamic beings moving through time and space. So that is the “F” approach. Because what happens now with these neurodegenerative conditions is people go to the neurologist, they are looking at endpoint symptoms, they are placating with just pharmacopeia that doesn’t do anything to correct imbalances. And then they are serially monitored every year. Like, you know, I got to asking my patients, “Well, what did your neurologist say?” “Well, they didn’t say anything until I asked them, ‘Well, what did the test tell me, or tell you?’ And they said, ‘Well, you are getting worse.'” The patient says, “Well, I could have told you that, doc. Like I didn’t have to come in here to tell you I am getting worse.” But that is the state of care right now. Yeah.

Ari Whitten:  I would also say the state of care is palliative. They are not able to do anything unless they have diagnosed you as having a neurological disease. Then they can start talking to you about whatever treatments they have for that neurological disease. Probably drug treatments. But, in the absence of that diagnosis of a neurological disease, they can’t really tell you much of anything about how to improve your brain health and…

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Totally. Yeah. And they are not even looking at that, right? You are not even a candidate to really talk to them until you have symptoms which could have been developing for two decades before. Right? So constipation and loss of smell are two biggies, right? And they are ubiquitous and are out there, right? Constipation. I mean, it is like, huge issue. Now I am not saying if you have constipation you have got, you are developing Parkinson’s disease, but it is something to be aware of. Like that is a first sign, right? So that is that gut-brain continuum and that connection that we are now seeing. It is coming out in the research and it is showing more and more on the vagus nerve and other toxicities of the gut, possibly glyphosate toxicity killing certain bacteria in the gut that’s not able to manufacture your dopamine. So, the “A,” that leads into the “A” of the FAN-C. “A” is for “assessment.”

You know, you are only seeing, in neurologic realms, you know, it is way too late. They are looking at end stage disease and then just placating with some medications that don’t last long term. So the “A” is on assessment and I really found, you know, I have been doing this for awhile so I just put it in on the “A,” you know, looking at chronic viral panels, gut health, heavy metal toxicity and hormone balance as ways of addressing the whole person and being. You know, you look at brain disorders, well, we could call each other fatheads, Ari, right? Because of all of the fat up there, right? It is good fat. Okay. It is good fat. That is a compliment. And so on that…

Ari Whitten:  Thanks you. Everyone is a fathead except for those two people.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  There you go. So you look at where we store toxins, we store toxins in our fat. So you have got to rule out the heavy metal component. And I came to that…David Perlmutter put a YouTube video out maybe 10, 12 years ago of a glutathione push on a Parkinson’s patient and you know, showed this guy with the classic stutter step of cog wheel rigidity and pill rolling behavior of Parkinson’s, gave him a glutathione push, I believe two grams of glutathione via IV. And then it was like miracle cure, right? The guy started like almost running down the hallway and I was like, “Hey, you know, I do IV therapy. I do glutathione. I am going to put this in on my practice.” I had been using it with patients but maybe not at that dose. Nothing, it was like crickets. I used it on five patients. I remember them all. And I thought, “Did he hire an actor on this thing or what? Like what is up with this? Like that was clear response. Why is this not working in my practice?” And a component is, you know, I definitely have specialized in difficult and recalcitrant conditions through time. So, you know, I am seeing the people that went to Mayo, Cleveland, you know, kind of undiagnosed, you know, peculiar symptoms, not knowing what’s going on. So, one, the patient load, my patient base has been a little bit on the, you know, bell shaped curve, tougher conditions. But then, two, I started testing them for heavy metals, right? We learned this in naturopathic medical school about the metal burden in the body. We store toxins in our fat and the four main metals that I found for folks with neurodegenerative disease, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and lead off the chart in a lot of people. Not everybody, but it is something that needs to get assessed.

And so we started, I put that in and then actually once you get the proverbial lead out the glutathione pushes work really well for these folks. So that is one, the heavy metal burden. The second one, chronic viral panels. So there is this concept called “molecular mimicry” which different viruses can mimic symptoms in the body. And so the three that come up, and this is a great one for your listeners to know. If you go on PubMed and do any research, do your whatever condition you are looking at, molecular mimicry, and it comes up with a whole load of data. It is fascinating stuff. And so the three that really come up for this, Epstein Barr, herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus. So those three you got to rule in or rule out. Now this isn’t like viral titers to make you sick.

It is just a low grade viral aspect that can distract your innate healing ability. Then the third one is on hormone balance. There are on PubMed, there are research, you know, case studies so not huge databases. But you can actually call Parkinsonism hypothyroidism of the brain. So if you have any thyroid issues, there is an impact on your thinking and brain activity and neurogenesis. But then also you look at the other hormones as well because we know they are all interrelated. So we look at that, hormone panel. And then the fourth realm of looking is in the gut. So that gut health piece that I was talking about. The constipation can be an early, early sign of that, you know, up to two decades before of a development of a neurodegenerative condition. You know, so that’s 65, 50% of people are showing dementia. So that is at least 45 year olds should be tuned into this. And I would say even the 30 year olds really, you know, this, if you get this basically into your brain now you are way ahead of the curve, you know?

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Now, so did that cover all of your FAN-C approach or was that…

Dr. Greg Eckel:  That was the “A.” I know I am long winded.

Ari Whitten:  By all means. I mean, this is your whole approach.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah. Thank you.

Ari Whitten:  If you can explain your entire approach in less than an hour I would say you are not long winded.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. Or at least, you know, we try to make it simple to explain that means we understand it very well. So on nerve, ‘N” is for “nerve.” So for nerve health we really look at specifics to feed the nerve, you know, of course that is your B vitamins. But little known components here are CBD, cannabidiols, right? I lectured three years ago, two years ago at the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, talking about cannabidiol and the treatment for anxiety. That was 2017 up in Park City. And, you know, at that point it was like… Now, you know, it is like everybody and their brother has a CBD product. But the cannabidiols, you know, Professor Mechoulam is one of my heroes on the planet. He Is the Israeli physician that discovered the endocannabinoid system which is a mouthful, but wasn’t even taught when I went to medical school in the late ’90s.

So, just fascinating stuff. But feeding the underlying platform of the endocannabinoid system. There are some anecdotes of people taking CBD oil and their tremors going away. I haven’t seen, you know, one thing to be the wonder kid cure for all. But, definitely you want to assess that as far as a nutrient. You know, we are looking at the B12, the B complex. So the Bs for your nerves are really important. You know, there are some specifics like glutathione, liposomal glutathione. Other aspects, I have got a brain health smoothie. If people are interested in that, they can, you know, check out our website for the download on that. So it is, so “N” is for nerve health. And then you got the “-C ” for, C is for cellular regeneration and the regenerative therapies. So that is the exosome therapy, stem cell therapy, along that line. So that is the FAN-C approach. It is really, you know, we do a lot of hyperbarics with folks and get them in an oxygen rich environment. We get the stem cells into their body. We do acupuncture to help with circulation and blood flow, specific Chinese herbs to those people. And you know, people are flying in from around the globe at this point. I call it camp Nature Cures here in Portland, Oregon. We have got a great food scene. But then, too, we have got this really innovative treatment here.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Now you also have a background in oriental medicine as you said. I read in your book that you spent some time in Tibet practicing qigong.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  I did, yes.

Ari Whitten:  It was the way you depicted that whole story with these guys riding horses, carrying sabers. This was I think 25 years ago or something.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah, ’98. Yeah, it was like the wild west up there. We went in, it was a piece, I was studying with my herbal teachers at University of Chengdu and then we do a trip up into western Tibet, the region called Kham, K-H-A-M. And it is these fierce Kham rebels. It was the last part of Tibet to fall to Chinese rule. And, it was seriously like the wild west. So thanks for reading that, “Shake It Off.” And in there, you know, I talked to the, you know, these just gorgeous beings, long black hair down past their waist. They have got these, you know, sabers and silver, you know, embroidered with gems and then there are shot guns over the other shoulder. Pretty wild. But you know, doing qigong at that altitude as well, we were going across passes that were 14,000 feet up.

So, you know, like in that mountain chain… You know, highest peaks in the US, continental US are 14,000 feet. So that, at the highest point of the US was the pass in Tibet. And our goal, we were going to the Mt. Chenresig which is the fabled, the spirit of the Dalai Lama comes from this mountain range. And the Chinese took it off the map because the Tibetans as part of their annual tradition would go to Mt. Chenresig and circumambulate, which was a totally new word for me at that point, which is circle and prostate to the mountain to the spirit of the Dalai Lama. It was a pretty epic journey for sure.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Now have you found that qigong has been beneficial for people with, I mean, have you gotten people to practice it first of all? And have you found that it is beneficial for people with some of these brain conditions?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Oh, yeah, it is an awesome adjunct. So even if their balance is off, just them visualizing it will help create the neuronal connections in the brain. So, you know, my teacher, Master Wong over in Tibet, he is one of three known lineage holders of, it is called Jinjiang School, it is Muscle Tendon School, Muscle Tendon Changing School of Qigong. You know, it is kind of walking around with a celebrity who is the physician for the Olympic diving team back in the ’90s, ’80s and ’90s. And so, you know, it is like Master Wong, you know. But he gave stories of going into hospitals treating, you know, folks with significant paraplegia, not able to walk and getting them walking again by just them visualizing him doing the movement. But in my book, I describe a cloud hands technique and I will have videos as attached to that book on how to do it properly. But I do prescribe that to my patients because it integrates right left hemisphere across the corpus callosum and it really helps with balance. So I got a lot of feedback from my patients when they put this in. It really helps them maintain their gait and their walking and their coordination. And that is really the, one of the biggest pieces of this style of qigong is to help with that integration and keeping people mobile with their physical selves. Yeah.

Ari Whitten:  Now have you also had experience with Alzheimer’s? You haven’t mentioned that a whole lot. I am just curious.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  No, I didn’t, you know, and yes, I have. So, you know, we have got Dale Bredesen to thank for, you know, “The Alzheimer’s Solution.” And you know, really I like to say that Dr. Bredesen really used naturopathic principles and treatment. You know, he had a 15 case study that got published on PubMed and then he came out with the Bredesen Protocol which is basically the five different varieties of diabesity of the brain, sugar metabolism. But then also you look at, you know, regenerating the brain because there are some neurofibril tanglelations in Alzheimer’s that happen. So this is misfolded proteins back to that preonic activity. So, you know, it is a good point I can bring up on that “N” of the FAN-C, the nerve health. I developed a nasal spray that there is research on both ingredients, DMSO, and anhydrous chloride, HOCl.

We go on the olfactory nerve and get it right into the brain to help. So I have got folks, their speech comes back for multiple hours. They are noticing their memory improves as well. And that is not them saying their memory improved. It is their loved ones around them saying, “Yeah, I noticed dad’s memory came back there for a bit after using that.”

Ari Whitten:  It is DMSO and what was the other ingredient?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Oh, HOCl, anhydrous chloride. Yeah.

Ari Whitten:  Okay. And what is the mechanism of that?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  So the DMSO in and of itself is anti-inflammatory for the brain. So DMSO is a really interesting molecule that is a chaperone. So anything that comes in contact with it will get carried into the cells so you can use it topically. It was developed in the ’70s for race horses with arthritis of all things. Stanley Jacobs was a physician here in Portland up at Oregon Health Sciences University, wrote the book on DMSO and most of the research papers came out of his lab up here.

And thankfully, you know, I have been in practice long enough so he’s since passed off the planet, but I had the pleasure of sharing a couple patients with him. So that was kind of a highlight in my young career there. So I got a really great understanding of topical use of DMSO. But this is IV use of DMSO and they are using DMSO as just an IV for brain health, just as a sole agent. And that is a component that I put in the IVs for folks as we are doing this brain regenerative protocol. We do DMSO IVs and that is shown to clear protein buildups from the central nervous system. So it is pretty cool. So I put it in a nasal spray to carry this HOCl through the cribriform process to get it into the brain. It is a great carrying agent.

And so then there’s $2 million of research with the NIH on anhydrous chloride, this HOCl, on deactivating prions. Now you would think somebody would notice. It took me three weeks and a lot of patience like just talking about what was going on for me to even find this stuff. And it is, they have got it… You know, who uses this mainly are crematoriums for when they are burning dead bodies, you know, on incineration. And then also surgery centers because you know, if somebody else has prions on their body and they open you up and now there’s prions on the medical equipment. General autoclaving does not get rid of prions. And so there have been some cases of preonic infection. I don’t like using that word, but let’s say spread from using tainted surgical equipment. So it is something to know about if you have to get a surgery, maybe ask them how they are dealing with prions.

The main drivers of neurological disease

Ari Whitten:  Wow. That is a lot to think about. Let me just ask you to speak directly to everybody who doesn’t have a neurological disease and who is interested in preventing neurological disease and optimizing their brain health for longevity and great brain function, well, until ideally let’s say 150 like you. What are the key causes? And you don’t have to go in depth on what these are, but just like a high-level overview of the, let’s say three or five or 10 or however many key causes you think are the main drivers of neurological disease.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Sure. Yeah. So main drivers, and these are like the non-sexy things, right? So, you know, one, not getting adequate rest, right? Our sleep matters. Now everybody is talking about sleep these days, but it is that important, right? You know, when you look at when your brain detoxifies, it is deep sleep, right? So everybody is focused on REM sleep, but deep sleep is where, you know, again, was not taught in medical school. The glymphatics which is the lymphatics drainage system for the brain gets emptied in deep sleep. So if you are not achieving deep sleep or not getting deep sleep, that is an issue. So sleep quality matters. So, you know, measure it. That is one. I love measuring it. I love the Oura ring. I would say don’t, if you have one, don’t wear it all the time, though, because it turns off your large muscle groups. I found that out the hard way.

Ari Whitten:  It does what? Say that again.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  It turns off your large muscle groups. So I would not exercise with it on.

Ari Whitten:  Wait, wait, wait. What do you mean by that?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  So I, yeah, this was, I was getting acupuncture for a shoulder injury. My acupuncturist, he was actually the founder of Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, said, “Hey, you said that thing has got a Bluetooth on it.” I said, “Well, I don’t have it on right now.” He said, “Let me just check something.” And he tested my, so it was applied kinesiology, so it was muscle testing. However, I am very competitive and I was trying my hardest to keep my quads, you know, basically legs extended and rotated and he is pushing on them. I couldn’t keep it up there. I took the ring off, I am able to keep my leg up there. He said, “Yeah, I am finding that these low emitters, these low frequencies are turning off large motor functioning units in our bodies.” So it was enough for me. I don’t wear it every day. I know I get like two hours of deep sleep at night. I love that, which is top end as far as, you know, competitive nature when we are sitting around these dinner conversations with friends and colleagues that are into biometrics.

Ari Whitten:  We all compare how many hours of deep sleep we get each night. [crosstalk] biometrics.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah, I know. Don’t you? I mean, we do. Yeah.

Ari Whitten:  I actually, I don’t wear one for mainly, well, a couple of reasons. One, I hate wearing any kind of jewelry. I don’t wear a watch or ring or a necklace or anything just because I find it annoying. I always have. But I just in general try to avoid electronic devices on my body for long periods of time.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Wise man. Yeah. So, and, but a lot of folks are now are, you know, kind of getting entranced by the tech and they are cool. However, so that is one, so sleep is the first answer. Deep sleep, REM sleep, that is important. And you know, sugar imbalances. You know, looking at your diabetes risk and what your food is, right? Food matters. Your folks know that implicitly. And you know, you want to balance, you don’t want any spikes of sugar, because then insulin follows that and then you get these dives. And so that takes, that is like you are creating damage for your brain, right? We call Alzeimer’s dementia, basically diabesity of the brain for good reason, because those sugar imbalances kill brain cells. Levels of toxicity. Of course, if you are a smoker, I am guessing folks that are listening to your show are not smokers, but you never know. And there could be those three people that write those comments, right?

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. They are smokers for sure, those three people. They are smokers without a brain.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  There you go. And you know, and they are just doing it to themselves. So, you know, levels of toxicity would be the third category. Big, broad thing. We know this is an issue for longevity. You know, you have got to change the filter of your liver. Whole cytochrome p450 cycle in there is phase I, II and III of detoxification. You have got to make sure those doors are open. So, you know, we look at those. Those are the big categories. If we are really, you know, if you want the big levers there.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Got you. Okay, so a lot of the strategies you have mentioned to talk about treatment are things like stem cells, hyperbaric, chelation therapies, some other things. So there’s somewhat of a, you know, it is like the factors that are driving the disease in the first place are there. And then the things that we are doing to fix the disease are over here and there is somewhat of a gap there. Now, what is the cutoff? So like, you know, is it after somebody has been diagnosed with a disease and we are assuming they have undergone a certain degree of cellular and metabolic dysfunction and destruction of brain cells and accumulation of damage in the brain, that now, just to focus on addressing the root causes is not enough and we sort of need to break out the big guns of trying to undo this.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah. You know, basically it is like the teeter totter effect is like how big is that gorilla? How far did we go and how much weight do we need to put over here to get somebody balanced out. So obviously, you know, the sooner we can get to somebody or you know, if it runs in the family, that is one thing. But there is not really a genetic link with a lot of these neurologic conditions. You know, we are playing odds and when you look at dementia in and of itself, half the population at 65, you know, the odds are not really in our favor. So we got to just maybe on a preventative thing, it is like, that is maybe one way to light a little bit of a fire under each of our asses is like, look, this is going to happen if you don’t do anything about it today.

So like, let’s just get on board and start the work now and really prevent that. Because once it gets to that point where you are showing the symptoms, it is almost like, wow, we got to go to heroics to bring that back. Because when you look at like we are talking about that central nervous system, there are proteins misfolded and entanglements that have occurred in the brain tissue. So to unravel that, it could be a seven year process. So you know, of really intensive therapies. Like you are saying, you know, we are talking about, this is IV therapy, we are doing regenerative therapy, we are oxidative, you know, oxygen with the hyperbarics, acupuncture, herbs, etc. Versus now it is, let’s exercise, let’s eat well, let’s get our sleep. Right? I would throw in more love and joy as well, but, as preventative.

Dr. Eckel’s top tips for preventing neurological disease

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Okay. Well that is a nice segue. Let’s delve a little bit more in depth on that. For everybody listening who doesn’t have a diagnosed neurological disease, what would be your top four or five tips for people to prevent getting a neurological disease?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Sure. Well, you know, looking at, you know, number one, I would say really looking at life purpose and passion and listening to your heart’s desire and doing that. Right? On that motivation front and listening, you know, getting out of the head and into the heart. I just really, you know, I kind of led with that. This process has lifted the veil for me. So, you know, the more that we are all living out of here, that benefits you, it benefits your family, your loved ones, your community and the world. That is the world that I want to live in. So thank you for doing number one. So getting into that component, you know, looking at, just start with your home environment, like lowering your toxic burden. What are you bringing in? Are you using plastics still? Are you, you know, what are you cooking with?

What is the food that you are feeding yourself because that is your best medicine. So looking at, you know, Environmental Working Group has their dirty dozen list. At least choose the organics of the most toxic, you know, foods on the planet. Get them out of your diet now because we know those things are not good for us and once we stop buying them they stop making them. So that is another big change. Clean water is essential, right? You got to have clean water coming in. The time of Flint, Michigan, right, with their lead toxicity. I am originally from Pennsylvania. Four communities in Pennsylvania at the time of Flint, Michigan had worse lead in their water than they did in Flint, Michigan. So that is pandemic in our water sources. So you have got to know what is in your water, get clean water. Movement is crucial, right?

I mean, again, non-sexy stuff, but you got to move your body and I would say put weights on it. You got to at least, you know, don’t turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger, but definitely get tone. It is going to help so many things to help you age well. Because I am treating the 80 and 90 year olds and we can get an 80 year old to feel younger at 90. So over that decade they can improve there. So imagine you start now, you can prevent so much stuff down the road. So that is four. The fifth one I already talked about, the sleep aspect. Right? That is very important. I think we will leave it at five.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah, it sounds good. Now what do you think, so let’s say somebody now does have a neurological disease, has Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or something else. What are your top four or five treatments that you would layer on top of those foundational, you know, strategies to address the root causes. I assume you are going to do that, of course. On top of that you are going to break out some of these other more advanced therapies and protocols. What would you say are your top four or five because I know in your book you list off a ton. I mean there is a million different options of things that could be contributing factors, whether it is chronic infections or toxins and lots of different tests to do and lots of different protocols. And you have compiled a huge list of potential strategies that one can use. What would you say are your top four or five?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yeah, so top four or five when in development of those symptoms. I would say definitely hyperbaric oxygen, right? The data is in, the research is there. If you want to heal your brain you got to get that oxygen in there. I love, obviously, I am an acupuncturist, a little bit biased in that the acupuncture, but we also have some great research on circulation to the brain. So, you know, acupuncture actually does move the needle for folks. Just spoke to a patient from Connecticut today, day two of the brain regenerative protocol. She said, “I already have, I was able to balance on my leg with tai chi and I had stability.” Like she has got a pretty bad tremor happening right now. And, she had, you know, on second day, third acupuncture after doing some regenerative therapy and hyperbarics she has got better, you know, stability and less tremor. That is just day two. So acupuncture helps on circulation. Third one I would say, you know, I would say maybe assessment, like, because if we assess properly, that would then dictate which one of these to do. So maybe put that at the beginning. So, two, we have got the hyperbarics. You know, the IV therapy. Once you get into showing symptoms, I like to get adequate levels at the dose needed to actually move, to create change in the body. And so doing IV therapy…

Ari Whitten:  You are talking about IV glutathione and other vitamins and minerals.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  NAD can be awesome. Multivitamin mineral drips, glutathione, you know, I will rotate through a couple of different protocols that I wrote up in the book there. You know, you have got to really match where somebody is. So it is not just like, you know, for X condition you do Y, but these are all in the criterium of consider these. And you know why I listed so many therapies is that I wanted to provide folks with this, these kind of constellation of diagnosis with some hope. Like there are options that they are just not hearing about right now. You know, fourth item on that list, I would say the regenerative medicine, stem cell, growth hormone, anti-inflammatory cytokines, exosomes. It is such an exciting time to be alive to be able to access that type of medicine and that information. And those things really, they are coming in and giving your body the ability to heal itself. And that really is the crucial component is our bodies can heal given the right information.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah. Beautiful. Well, Dr. Eckel, I have really, really enjoyed this. If people want to get a hold of you or they are interested in working with you in your clinic, where should they reach out to you?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Naturecuresclinic with, naturecures (with an s)

Ari Whitten:  Naturecuresclinic, an “s” at the end of cures.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Yes.

Ari Whitten:  Okay, One more thing before we go. I know you have a book that is about to come out called “Shaking It Off” for people with Parkinson’s and this whole constellation of symptoms that we have been talking about. When is this book coming out?

Dr. Greg Eckel:  This book is coming out October, next month, 2019 and it will be available. You know, you can find out information on my website as well,

Ari Whitten:  We will have a link to that on the page for this website, which will, if you are watching this on YouTube, which will be linked down below the Eckel. So, we will link to the book there. Again, it is called “Shaking It Off.” You can also get it directly from Amazon or from Dr. Eckel’s website, Awesome. Well, Dr. Eckel, thank you so much for coming on the Podcast. Really, really enjoyed this and have a wonderful rest of your evening.

Dr. Greg Eckel:  Hey, thank you so much, Ari. It was a pleasure and thank you.

Ari Whitten:  Yeah.

How to Prevent Brain Degeneration and Keep Your Brain Healthy with Dr. Greg Eckel – Show Notes

The FAN-C Protocol (09:10)
What FAN-C is (21.12)
The main drivers of neurological disease (39:13)
Dr. Eckel’s top tips for preventing neurological disease (46:28)


Learn more about Dr. Eckel’s work here

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