What does immune health have to do with metabolism and weight? It turns out there is a lot to unpack about this. Joining us to flesh this out is Dr. Mike Van Thielen, the Medical Director at ClariGenZ Health and bestselling author of Be Lean – The Healthy Weight Loss Approach, where he talks about topics like toxemia, systemic inflammation, free radical damage, and more. Leveraging his expertise in holistic nutrition, Oriental medicine, homeopathy, and anti-aging Dr. Thielen helps people regain control of their health and become their best in their careers and personal lives. Tune in and find out what we might be doing wrong in our quest for peak health and what steps we can take to remedy that.
I am so happy to have with me Dr. Mike who has a very accomplished background in nutrition. He's a doctor, as well as an author, and so much more. Welcome.
Thanks for having me.
How did you get into health and wellness? What is your journey, focus, and passion?
It's a long journey. I'm originally from Belgium. I grew up in Belgium, a single-mom home. I went to the University of Brussels. I did Physical Education first because I was into sports and it was a lot of fun, but what are you going to do with a PE degree? I decided to get into physical therapy and then started traveling with the Belgium Olympic Swim Team in preparation for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.
At the time, they were short of physical therapists in the United States, so I got recruited to come and work here at age 26. I had to save $400 and back my backpack because we weren't well off at home. I had to save a little bit of money to make that happen. I came here. I started working in physical therapy, but I got exposed to other modalities such as acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, etc. I saw that combining Eastern and Western medicine gave better results.
I went back to school, got my Doctorate of Oriental Medicine, License in Acupuncture, and Board Certified in Chinese Herbs, Homeopathy, etc. I started my own business. After approximately another 1,000 patients, I wasn't happy. Even though these alternative medicine practices, which are basic or regional medicine, were indeed less harmful and invasive than conventional medicine. Meaning drugs, surgeries, and injections.
I feel like I didn't get the lasting results either, so I had to go back to basics. I got my PhD in Holistic Nutrition and I started looking at Mother Nature and animals in the wild because the truths always lie in Mother Nature. By combining those, I started to get confident that I could help people regain control of their health.
Fast forward, I got into anti-aging, and then I got into regenerative medicine, which is all stem cell-based therapies. I became the CEO of a stem cell clinic where we treated top athletes from around the world including NFL players, heavyweight champions, boxers, etc. COVID came, so we had to close the clinic. That's when I had to do a lot of thinking and try to find my own purpose in life a little bit. I always love to teach, speak, and educate people.
After the COVID era, I started to build my speaking business again and wrote another book. Now, I'm a coach and a mentor for other people. Not only to regain control of their health and become superhuman and biohack, but also to help them in their business, I have a corporate impact program, and/or their personal life. That's how we got here.
That's awfully exciting and quite the journey. Thinking back in terms of health and wellness, is there anything that you find monumental in terms of diet or certain modalities that you would use to help people? Maybe some types of people that you would help?
I would say that certain modalities work for certain people and not for others. Everybody's in a different stage of health. I always classify my clients in three stages. Unfortunately, most of them fall in the first stage, which is we need to regain control of your health. In other words, if you're in pain or you're diagnosed with a medical condition, we need to get you back to "normal," eradicate the pain and get rid of those medical conditions. That's unfortunately where most people fall.
When we back to normal, we need to optimize our health. In other words, we need to feel fit, strong, and vital. We need to be in control of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Stage three, once we're in optimal health, would be the ideal foundation to reap the benefits of what we call biohacking or objectively reversing our biological age by upgrading our body and our mind.
Those are usually the three stages. Based on where the person is, they can benefit from certain modalities. When we're talking about health and wellness in general, I like to keep it very simple. It's just conventional medicine. The big pharma made it complicated to make a lot of money. The solutions have been there for centuries basically. To me, there's only one cause of all diseases, and it's called toxemia, which simply means toxins in the blood. To describe that in a little bit more detail, as part of our normal metabolism and daily living, we generate toxins and waste products. Normally, our body excretes those and gets rid of them through the kidneys, bowels, skin, etc. Normally, in a healthy body, no harm is done.
However, if we are exposed to or ingest far more toxins than the body possibly can eliminate, then there will be an accumulation of toxins in the blood and the body. That's what we call toxemia. Toxemia does two things. 1) These toxins floating around will start antagonizing healthy atoms. They're still an electron from a healthy atom, which then becomes unstable, which we all know as free radicals. We all know that free radicals cause damage in a cascade type of way, even on a cellular and DNA level.
2) Because those toxins are floating around and accumulating, our body needs to neutralize those and try to manage those. Our bodies are in a constant state of emergency. In conventional medicine, we simply label that as systemic inflammation. Even according to conventional medicine, systemic inflammation now is directly related to 90% or more of all diseases. Even cardiovascular disease is regarded as a result of systemic inflammation versus the big hoax of cholesterol that did exist. That's what toxemia is causing. You can see that toxemia causes all diseases.
What's the solution to all diseases? To me, we don't chase symptoms and diagnosis, we just got to look at the body as a whole. We need to keep toxemia in check. Theoretically, it's pretty easy. We need to reduce the intake and exposure to toxins and mitigate those as much as possible. They can come from our food, drinks, medications, environment, polluted air, polluted water, electromagnetic frequencies, radiation, and the list goes on. We need to reduce and mitigate those while simultaneously increasing the intake of nutrients that fight theoretical damage and systemic inflammation and repair our DNA. If we learn to keep toxemia in check, then we can stay disease-free and heal if we are in a disease state. It doesn't have to be difficult.
Clean living is the goal, but when you're first starting to work with someone, how do you find out what the baseline is in terms of the toxic overload? Do you have any favorite tests or ways of going?
I like to do a neural check, which is a device that I have if people are close to me. It tests many different things like stress mostly, but also hormone levels, biological age, and those types of things. There are other tests that we can do, epigenetic testing, gut biomes to set baselines, and even regular blood tests. I do like to use objective measures to set a baseline and see where we are besides a thorough intake and listening to the patient, which doctors don't do anymore.
Implement certain strategies to improve certain areas where we feel we need to put the attention first, and then reevaluate with the same test to monitor or to see if our measures are effective. I like to keep it general. One of the things that I like to test immediately is your CRP or C-Reactive Protein, which is an indicator of systemic inflammation. Whatever measures we implement, if we can drastically reduce systemic inflammation, then not only we’ll have less pain, but we will drastically reduce the risk of any and all diseases at the same time.
I believe CRP is a blood test, it can't be done through saliva or anything else, is that right?
That's correct. A high-sensitivity, hs-CRP that I order.
You're able to order these. People can do it in their community, get the results, and then you're able to work on them?
Yes, and then we implement the steps that are appropriate for that person in that stage, and then we always can redo the test to see how effective our program is.
What about diet and nutrition? As always, it’s a hot topic with people, whether it's vegan, vegetarian, keto, or high protein, what is your philosophy around it?
It's a hot topic because it's a billion-dollar industry. If one diet doesn't work, then people jump on the next one because the celebrity on TV told you it works for them. We all know that most of those are yo-yo diets. While you're on it, you lose weight. When you stop, you regain weight. It's because they're all low-calorie diets. They're packaged differently. Low calorie means that you're taking in less calories than your body needs. Therefore, you're going to not only shit some toxic fat, but you're going to lose some muscle mass and some water, which is not the healthiest way.
For people that need to lose weight, they need to get on a real program that focuses on regaining control of their health and optimizing their metabolism. The best weight loss program that I recommend now is called H2Thin. These people I met in Dallas have the best weight loss program because, after a thorough intake, they decide what metabolic type you are based on a thorough questionnaire. Based on that metabolic type, they're going to give you a five-week nutrition program.
I know many celebrities, people, and colleagues that went through that exact program, and not only lost that weight 30 to 35 pounds on average in 5 weeks, but they kept it off and they felt much better. It's because you're not focusing on shedding weight, you're focusing on balancing, optimizing, and modulating that metabolism. When you do that, then the body's going to shed that excess fat as a side effect of you trying to optimize your health. It's the same with systemic inflammation. If you have that systemic inflammation in your body, the body's too busy trying to put out a fire, so now it's going to store fat in fat cells because it doesn't have any time to break it down.
Most people understand that fat cells are releasing mediators such as cytokines that are pro-inflammatory. It's a vicious cycle. If we gain weight, we're going to cost more inflammation in the body which then is going to store more fat. A lot of people have a difficult time breaking that cycle. Instead of focusing on losing that excess weight, what we like to do is focus on reducing again that systemic inflammation, which then the body as a result will have time to naturally reduce or burn that fat. Therefore, you will not regain it. That's the key. Focus on your metabolic type and on that systemic inflammation. That way, it won't be a yo-yo diet either.
Do you find that metabolic type matches the blood type of people?
I don’t correlate that much. I'm not the biggest believer in the blood type thing, but I do believe that not necessarily metabolic type, but most people especially those that need to lose weight, that metabolic system is inhibited for some reason. We need to release and optimize that. Once we can unblock that metabolic system, then it can go back to work. That's what I believe.
That leads to a little bit of the oriental medicine and philosophies there. Do you find any modalities that are particularly helpful in terms of releasing certain energy points or blockers in the body that you like or have used over time?
Many times, a lot of our physical symptoms, as you know, are caused by our emotions and by our stress. There are still too many people out there that think there's no relation. Usually, any physical expression of pain or disease, we can boil it down to that same systemic inflammation. At the same time, when we stress fear and all those negative emotions, they feed disease.
When we're talking about acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, if we want to get to the root cause, we want to do a thorough holistic intake. At the same time, I would use acupuncture points to release stress and open up all the meridians and those types of things. We're talking about Yin-Tang, Du 20, Liver 3, Large Intestine 4, those types of things.
The way I got into this journey was from my son who was misdiagnosed with Tourette, OCD, anxiety, and depression. I was told he was autistic at the age of six and I had to take care of him for the rest of his life. Lo and behold, he's fine now. He's a perfectly healthy teenager. What had happened with him was, he was low in D3 and B12, genetic marker MTHFR, had CMV which is a very common virus, high strep titers in his blood, even though he was negative for strep throat.
All these things together created this perfect storm and his immune system stopped working. The infection crossed the blood-brain barrier and was causing major inflammation issues. I learned very quickly what causes inflammation and how to reduce it as much as you can. It's simply very difficult, but then the doctor also told me about certain plants that help detox and reduce inflammation too. Do you have any favorite things that you like in terms of detox? All of our bodies are overloaded and trying to get as much out as we can so that it can focus on what it needs to. It's hard.
There are so many general detox ones. I don't have a favorite. Again, I think it has to be a customized approach. Generally speaking, the best ways to detox are fundamental things. It's clean water and clean air. The water that I'm drinking here is nitrogen-infused water. It's clean because I got the filter system. It takes all the impurities out, but then it's infused with hydrogen. If you go to HydrogenStudies.com, you can learn all the benefits of hydrogen in your body for your gut and digestive system. It establishes the right electrical voltage or potential for your stomach and your guts.
Anaerobic bacteria, which are your good gut bacteria, can colonize people with digestive symptoms, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel, and intolerances to gluten or dairy. Three weeks on this water and it all dissipates. Our regular doctors would put them on a special diet, but it still doesn't work very well. That's because even if you take probiotics and eat healthier food, if the environment is not set up for the colonization of good bacteria, there's not going to be any change.
Even if you take probiotics and eat healthier food, if the environment is not set up for the colonization of good bacteria, there's not going to be any change.
Sometimes even when it comes to detox, it's fundamentals and creating the right balanced environment. Hydrogen water, healthy air, enough sleep, and so many times when it comes to rest and sleep because that's where the body does detox, repair, and replenish. That's what happens during sleep. We got to be able to get into deep delta sleep because that's where the body does the cleanup process.
The other thing that I can think of immediately as a foundational detox is your lymph system. Your lymph system is a major part of your immune system because it carries all the white blood cells throughout your body. You can look at a lymph system almost as a circulatory system. It's a plumbing system. We don't want it to be clogged up, so we need to drink a lot of water. We need to move a lot so we can be sedentary. With movements, I mean walking or dancing. Just moving. It doesn't have to be an organized sport or it doesn't have to be going to the gym. We need to constantly move so our lymph system and circulatory system don't get clogged up. We can get the nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in our body.
I know your question was more focused on the specific herbs implants, but everybody can google those, and there are good ones out there. I want to refocus on some fundamentals, which are clean air, clean water, good sleep, good rest, and movements. They are the best detoxes out there still. Grounding your foot on the beach or in your yard. If you're not close to a beach or you don't have time to go barefoot in your yard because you're a busy person. I've been sleeping on a grounding. We call it an anti-aging bed cover because I do have to sleep and it doesn't take me any time. I have a bet cover that I plug in and it puts me in a close loop with Mother Earth.
It protects me from electromagnetic frequencies and radiation, but at the same time, those negative ions are fed to me 30% of my day because I sleep 7 to 8 hours. There are many technologies and strategies out there, even for the common person that don't have to be very expensive that we can use to mitigate the intake of toxins. At the same time, feed our body the things that it needs to stay in optimal health.
There's a grounding cover that you put underneath your sheets, is that how that works?
They have an aging bed too, but I have a good bed so I didn't want to buy their bed. They have a cover for every size, whether it's full, double, queen, or king. I got a king bed. It's a cover you put over your mattress, and then you plug it in. Some people are like, "Does it really work?" It works because all I do when I want to know if something works when it comes to electromagnetic radiation, I have a best-selling book on it in 2022 called EMR, The Invisible Threat. That was a bestseller on Amazon.
The simple way is you buy an MF meter. You can measure the radiation around your body, everything that's coming, the artificial light, your appliances, whatever it is, you can measure it and it gives you a number. As soon as you put a hand on the cover or you lay on it and you close the loop, if Mother Earth, it goes to zero. Now, all that radiation goes back into the ground, back to Mother Earth.
People sometimes say there's not enough research on it and research got to be careful because a lot of it is propaganda. Sometimes if you can measure and see things for yourself, then you don't need to research. The meter is not going to lie because I bought it online and I didn't buy it from the company that sells anti-aging bed covers.
You've done a ton of work in mental health. Talk to us a little bit about what you're experiencing and what your thoughts are about this.
I always had a little bit of experience, but during COVID, I was asked to help out and do a lot of pre-screening calls for medical marijuana. To my surprise, I did hundreds of calls every day almost. It was an amazing amount of people that suffer from anxiety, depression, ADHD, worry, fear, and uncertainty. There are drugs and therapy out there. What I found and what inspired me to write my last book is that a lot of the underlying cause of that is people no longer have a purpose in life.
People are going through life, they're going through their job, they're going to school, or whatever. We are bombarded with 14,000 digital messages on average each and every day. Our brain is not organized enough to organize that chaos, so we always feel overwhelmed. The boss may throw stuff at you. You may have to go home and get your kids to soccer. There's the partner, this and that. We never seem to be able to catch up. There's a financial situation for most people.
If you're not in control of your life and you don't know what tomorrow or next week brings, of course, you're going to worry, you're going to feel uncertain, and you're going to be a little bit fearful consciously. That then translates into anxiety, depression, and those types of things. What I do is I wrote a book, The IZOD Method. IZOD stands for In the Zone On Demand.
It starts with, in order to be successful, we got to stop the rat race and ask ourselves. I help people do that with exercises and questions, "Are you living your purpose? What is your purpose in life? Reconfirm your purpose in life." We need to be passionate and it needs to be fired in our stomach of what we do each and every day. Once we find that purpose, we need to regain control of our life because usually we're not organized.
When we start to organize our agenda, we organize our calendar, we know what tomorrow brings, we know what our dreams and goals are, and we have a plan and a strategy to get there. The more organized we get and the more clear we are about the future, the less stress, worry, fear, and anxiety we have. I've found by taking a step further, talking about the purpose of life with people, redefining that, and helping them with tips and strategies to start regaining control of their life, it gets rid of a lot of those things you just mentioned without drugs, therapy, and medication.
I totally agree. For instance, one of my kids has got ADD. Getting him to stay organized, so then he doesn't feel anxious or distracted is a situation in itself. Do you ever find it more challenging to work with people with ADD in terms of how to help them understand that they can do it?
Of course. All people have similar symptoms. ADHD is affecting their life to the next level. We have different grades for this inability to focus or be productive, procrastination, and fidgeting. Most of my book is about tips and strategies to take that or get control over that. Especially focus now, it's not just people with ADHD, it's most people out there. The average attention span is six seconds, so most of your audience already lost us.
That is because we have this dopamine overload in our society, and you've probably heard about that. We have five intelligence hormones, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. When they are in balance and optimal, that's when we're in the zone. That's when we win. That's when we can get things done. That's when we are productive. Most people don't know how to get into that zone because most of us are in an overload of dopamine. Dopamine is the reward hormone.
When our brain squirts a little dopamine, it feels good. It's like getting a pat on the back. As humans, we like that feeling and so we seek it. Bad and sugary foods, energy drinks, and coffee all give us a dopamine squirt. Now, social media is the number one thing that gives us dopamine. If somebody likes your post, comments on your post, or gives you a heart on Instagram, it's another dopamine squirt. We seek more of it and that's why we spend too much time on social media.
When we have an overload of dopamine, that means we have an imbalance of those five intelligence hormones. The result of that is brain fog, unable to focus, unable to get started, procrastinating, and fidgeting. It's a vicious cycle. The way I help these people is like I'm doing now, making them aware of why they're having brain fog and why they can't focus. It's the dopamine overload.
We need to get rid of those energy drinks and red bulls. We need to maybe upgrade your diet. Most importantly, let's evaluate how much unnecessary time you spend on your social media and your cell phone. Let's free up that valuable time to work on your real goals, dreams, passions, and purpose. Now, we're going to get a handle on it because their social media and phones are controlling them. We got to retake control.
Evaluate how much unnecessary time you spend on social media and your phone. We can free up that valuable time to work on your real goals, dreams, passions, and purpose.
It doesn't mean they can't use it anymore, but we're going to define exactly what we're going to use it for, when we're going to use it, and how long we're going use it. Now, we are in control of it. If that balances the five intelligence hormones with or without the help of some nootropics and just simply with some strategies, then we have the ability again to focus to get some work done, eliminate distractions, etc.
Nootropics, do you find that there are certain types of mushrooms and certain ingredients in the nootropics that you think are most beneficial?
There are many nootropics out there. The reason I look into those is because I've always been against drugs, only emergency medicine is necessary. If I get in a car accident, please save him. Otherwise, I don't even have health insurance even though I can't afford it because it's the third leading cause of death in the United States, so why would I pay to go to the doctor?
Having said that, there were too many people, even in my close environment, that were on Adderall, Wellbutrin, Ritalin, and those types of things. If you look at the inserts and the side effects, they're not just small side effects. We're talking about seizures, psychosis, and increased risk of heart disease. These are serious. In my profession, we got to look for safer alternatives, things that also help you get focused and be more productive but don't have side effects. That's where nootropics come in. Those are natural smart drugs.
There are many out there. We have nicotine and caffeine. Those are the most known ones, but I don't recommend those either because they give you the jittery effects and you'll pay for it later. You have Ginkgo Biloba, Brahma, Bacopa, Ventolin, which is the main ingredient in vanilla, and the list goes on. About two years, I stumbled upon something called Focus Plus made by a company called ClariGenZ Health.
They have four ingredients, BioCitroid, which is a patent terpene from blood orange or citrus fruit from the Southeast region of Asia. Thirty milligrams of higher death terpene are able to enter the blood-brain barrier, so it has a fast effect. Versus other supplements that usually take weeks to build up in the system and possibly have a positive effect. It works pretty fast within 30 to 60 minutes.
The company added three other neuro agents to it, L-tyrosine, phenylalanine, and phosphatidyl. They're amino acids and neuro agents that also help with memory focus. Also, even increase signaling neurotransmission in the brain and stimulate the formation of new brain cells. There's also a long-term benefit, not just a short-term benefit. There are no jittery effects. There are no side effects. It's 100% safe. I always tell people to try it. You can get a free sample at TrySmartPill.com.
For some people, it does wonders. For other people, they say, "I didn't feel anything at all." That's okay. It worked for some. It doesn't work for others. That's the reality of most modalities and most supplements, but it can't harm you. For those people who feel a benefit, it's very helpful, especially if we can get them off drugs like Adderall.
For people like my son, we've had a lot of success with things like sunflower phosphatidylserine and different types of mushrooms like Turkey tail. Anything else that I may have forgotten to ask or anything else you want to bring up?
Just a little bit about the new book. It's getting very popular. IZOD stands for In the Zone On Demand. When people think about "in the zone," they usually think about athletes or maybe musicians. Being in the zone on demand is something that everybody can master. Whether you're John Doe, an entrepreneur, an artist, or a performer, it doesn't matter. If you master my IZOD methods, meaning being in the zone on demand, you can turn on and off your focus and productivity. You'll learn how to optimize those and balance those five intelligence hormones.
There are three steps. First is the purpose of life, which we talked about in creating that control. The second step is we need to create a plan and strategy based on your goals and dreams. Most likely, you will need to build a team of experts around you because we can only reach our highest potential, not by ourselves, but with people that we need. Usually, those are people that are strong where we are weak because we've been told in the past, we need to work on our weaknesses. I 110% disagree with that. You need to keep working on your strengths. You need to know your weaknesses, so you can surround yourself with people that are strong where you are weak.
We need to build a team of experts around us because we can only reach our highest potential, not by ourselves, but with people that we need.
The third step is where health comes in because that's where we're going to upgrade the body and the mind, but mostly the mind. Everybody understands how we need to upgrade the body just to become healthier, more vital, strong, etc. The mind is what most people forget because the mind is not only in control of the body, but the mind also sets the blueprint for your success. A lot of people have many false core beliefs. We need to work on the belief system with people. The belief that they can unleash their superpower, be successful, be a millionaire, be happy, and find the right partner in life.
Whatever it is their goals and dreams are, we need to work on their belief system that it's not only possible but that we can make that happen through visualization and manifesting that belief system. There are so many technologies and strategies available such as BrainTap, breathwork, and visualization that help ordinary people like myself get into those different brainwaves and stages much easier than 1 or 2 decades ago.
Meditation and getting into breath work are some of those things I'm still working on a daily basis.
Check out my retreat in Costa Rica coming up Labor Day weekend. The retreat is called Biohacking with Breathwork. Check it out because it's going to be great. We got one of the top masters in the world doing the breathwork with us.
Thank you, Dr. Mike. We appreciate you being on. If anybody wants to find more information about you, how do they do that?
One great spot is the website, BiohackingUnlimited.com. I got my books there. I got my mentorship programs there. The Costa Rica trip is there. You can schedule a free 20-minute Zoom call with me at no cost where we can talk a little bit more about your personal health or personal business. We can see how I can possibly help. The Biohacking Unlimited app can be downloaded from there on your smart devices. Anything you need is on BiohackingUnlimited.com. Don't hesitate to reach out. I'm here to help.
Thank you so much and thank you for everything you're doing for everyone.
You're welcome. Thank you.