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Podcast Episode # 16: Lasers for Gut Health and Photobiomimics with Dr. Robert Silverman

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In this episode, we interview functional medicine expert Dr. Robert Silverman. Dr. Silverman highlights how he uses low-level laser therapy to help establish healthy gut-brain connections. He teaches his cutting-edge protocols on the national and international speaking circuit and we cover some of his protocols in this episode. Also, connect with Dr. Silverman on Facebook for notifications about his upcoming speaking events and books: https://www.facebook.com/DrRobertSilverman





Dr. Chad Woolnder: This episode of The Laser Light Show is brought to you by Dr. Robert Silverman’s Erchonia continuing education seminars. Erchonia laser is the worldwide leader in low level laser technology and education for physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and veterinarians. Erchonia Education utilizes Dr. Silverman both nationally and internationally in Seminar presentations at the introductory and advanced levels. These laser presentations include cutting edge protocols with hands on applications to learn about Dr. Silverman’s next presentations and to see a seminar listing near your area. Go to Erchonia.com/seminars.

Dr. Chad Woolner: What’s going on everybody, Dr. Chad Woolner here with Dr. Andrew Wells. And this is episode 16 of The Laser Light show on today’s episode, we’re going to kind of do this as an unofficial part two. We’re gonna pick up with Dr. Rob Silverman again and we’re going to be talking…last episode we talked about lasers for musculoskeletal. On this episode we’re gonna be talking about lasers for gut and photobiomimics. So let’s get started.

Dr. Chad Woolner: Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I used to love going to laser light shows at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. They would put on these amazing light shows with incredible designs synced up to some of my favorite music. From the Beatles to Pink Floyd to Jimmy Hendrix and Metallica; they were awesome. Little did I know then that lasers would have such a profound effect on my life decades later. As a chiropractic physician, I have seen first-hand just how powerful laser therapy is in helping patients struggling with a wide range of health problems. As the leader in laser therapy, Erchonia has pioneered the field in obtaining 20 of the 23 total FDA clearances for therapeutic application of lasers. On this podcast, we’ll explore the science and technology and physiology behind what makes these tools so powerful. Join me as we explore low-level laser therapy. I’m Dr. Chad Woolner along with my good friend Dr. Andrew Wells and welcome to The Laser Light Show.

Dr. Chad Woolner: All right, welcome to the show, everybody. This is again, an unofficial part two is what we’ll call it with Dr. Silverman. Dr. Silverman, welcome back again to the show, we had such a blast with you on the last episode, it was a ton of fun getting to chat with you. And I could just tell that you, like so many other brilliant doctors that we chat with, wanted so desperately to go off of the reservation outside the realm of musculoskeletal and start diving into some of these other areas. And so now it’s our opportunity to kind of allow you free rein to just go wherever you want to go and go and talk about some of these other really, really cool topics. And so yeah, we’re going to be talking about gut and photo biometrics. And so I gotta be honest and say in saying that term, I’m just going to be honest and say, I’m not really sure what that means photo, I can kind of break it down, but maybe, maybe you can kind of start there and tell us what you mean by gut and photobiomimics?

Dr. Robert Silverman: Absolutely, thanks for having me back. That was great. And I definitely wanted to go off the reservation without question. 2,500 years ago, Socrates said “all disease begins in the gut.” 20 years ago, Alessio Fasano said, “all disease begins in the leaky gut.” We took that big jump. Some gut factoids. For me, the gut is the epicenter of health. 80% of immune cells are in your gut. It’s where your macro and micro nutrients are absorbed. 90% of the scientific literature describing the microbiome has been published in the last five years. 

Factoid: 100 trillion bacteria cells outnumber human cells in a ratio of 10 to one. So humans; we’re 90% bacteria at a cellular level. Yet, most physicians look at the 10%. For me, they’re extremely myopic. And that poses a major issue, even when you look at genetics. 99% of DNA in human bodies is bacteria. 

Some more factoids, critical things for all of our doctors out there. 72% of the US adults say they have experienced the GI symptoms a few times a month or more. 74% of participants have lived with their GI symptoms more than six months. What does that mean? Ladies and gentlemen, everybody sitting in front of you to the tune of about three quarters of them have a gut problem. If you don’t ask, they’re not gonna let you know. 

So, off the reservation, I pulled myself back into the reservation, I made something I call the Dr. Rob’s Gut Matrix. So if I could vivify it for everybody, again, your gut is the epicenter of your health. It’s your bullseye. When we say our gut, what are we talking about? Our small and our large intestine. Our small intestine is a misnomer. It’s really long. It’s an average of 22 feet, and varies in most humans from 20 to 52 feet. It’s small because it’s diameter is an inch. It’s sole purpose is to allow micronutrients, vitamins, minerals in small digestive food particles to go through. It has been postulated that the outside of the body and the outside world meets the inside world when something gets digested to the small intestine into the bloodstream. That said, what is more important to our overall immune health than to keep a pristine small Intestine or a gut? 

Let’s avoid that proverbial leaky gut. You know, if we did a PubMed search, and you did leaky gut and conditions, it would populate. Interestingly enough, if you did a PubMed search for laser, you would have over 11,140 searches for low level laser and a multitude of articles would populate between laser and gut. 

Having said all that, leaky gut increased intestinal permeability leads you down a track of failing health, can damage your liver because your liver and your gut are bi directional. Also, you have a higher incidence of blood issues like diabetes, blood sugar, insulin, body composition, auto immunity. It has been shown that people that have a leaky gut have a higher incidence of thyroid problems, and chiropractors and I hope we get to cover this chiropractors. Leaky Gut leads you to an overexpression of cytokines, which can lead you down a path of arthritis and joint pain, and a release of MMPs (it’s matrix metalloproteinases). All that leads to soft tissue injuries. 

Your discs are made out of fibrocartilage, which can be damaged by MMPs matrix metalloproteinases and what I call the superhighway to help the gut to brain access. Whenever you do the gut, you do the brain. Whatever you do to your brain, you do to your gut, and you do it in a millisecond. So if you read a piece of gluten, which we all know is damaging to one’s gut, your brain will respond in a millisecond. So let’s really dig into the idea and let’s answer the question if you did photobiomimics. For me it’s a look to the future combining laser and nutritional therapies. Integrating nutritional protocols and laser therapies, photobiomimics, the effect of the microbiome, is opening up new avenues for effective patient treatment. 

So in addition to widely accepted use between low back pain, low level laser or photobiomodulation, can be a valuable adjunctive treatment for metabolic and inflammatory diseases. When laser modulates the gut microbiome in combination with targeted nutritional therapy, that’s the sync of the laser chiropractic and functional medicine. The word photobiomimics comes to light. Laser therapy for these diseases become even more effective. The value is evident in treating gut issues and those that have and I know we’ll get to a low vagal tone and even autoimmunity. So research strongly suggests that photobiomodulation of the low level laser of the microbiome can help sharply improve the gut’s microbial diversity. We want biodiversity, we don’t want Alpha diversity. Maintaining diversity in the gut microbiota is the key to sustaining healthy production of numerous vital metabolites, such as a short chain fatty acid called butyrate that produce bacteria. It’s critical for keeping pathogens from gaining a foothold in the gut. Diversity actually crowds out those harmful bacteria. Therefore, using laser therapy to rebalance the gut microbiome has a theoretical therapeutic potential that is off the charts for alternative therapies that we offer today. Sorry about the pontification. But when you talk gut you turn Rob on and he just wants to go 

Dr. Chad Woolner: No, that’s evident. And that’s exciting. I was gonna say to perhaps tie this back to the previous episode, I’m gonna get really pragmatic and practical here. Real world. I had a patient literally just yesterday who came in to see us. He has psoriatic arthritis, and he was complaining of lower back pain. And up until now, his rheumatologist that he had seen…the strategy that they are employing with him, if that’s what you want to call it, is ongoing long term NSAIDS. That’s the strategy, “we’re going to put you on non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.” 

And I told him…I asked him like, “so this is like, this is the strategy like, this is their plan?” And he’s like, “yeah, basically like, I’m going to just take this forever.” And I’m like, you know. And so when we talk about something like psoriatic arthritis, there is so much that can be done. No doubt nutritionally and with lasers to assist, and to help in that whole process. And yet, the only solution that patients are hearing apparently, is drugs, medication. Whether it be, you know, over the counter or prescription. You know, and so I think this maybe is a really practical jumping off point because of the fact that here, you’ve got kind of the musculoskeletal world, which we’re talking about in…that which we spoke on in the previous episode. And now all of a sudden, it’s intersecting with kind of the gut world and the, you know, kind of autoimmune world all together. So you see, you know, understandably so…why, why last episode, it was kind of hard to stay in that lane, because it all merges together to some degree. We’re talking about this is a classic example here, you know. So, in a situation like that, you can see how these things kind of literally bleed together, you know, gut health, you know, musculoskeletal health all that together.

Dr. Robert Silverman: Absolutely. So I always say, if people could see me, my left hand is the chiropractic hand. My right hand is a functional nutrition, functional medicine hand. When, as you said, you bleed them together. If you can simplify your functional medicine protocols, your laser protocols, you really got something strong to base your treatment on. Now, what’s most interesting, as you said, NSAIDs; non steroidal anti inflammatory disease, ibuprofen, Advil, they do decrease pain, but they impair healing. 

Lasers therapy, decreases pain and promotes healing. Which do you want? Supplemental lifestyle changes, decrease pain and promote healing. What’s the better option? Now, in addition to that, now you’re talking about the gut level and the laser, you talked about psoriatic arthritis. I too, when people come in with low back pain, I say, “Listen, I can put a BandAid on a bullet wound, and I can help your lower back. But if I don’t look at your gut, I’m not able to help you long term.” And that’s what it is to being a holistic practitioner. It’s looking inside the body, not just on the outside of the body. Incidentally, if you have psoriatic arthritis, and you have a little psoriasis, let’s say on your skin; your skin is the second way your body will tell you something’s going wrong inside your gut. The first is gas and bloating. One B is brain fog and then you’ll have some skin but psoriatic arthritis. Hey guys, autoimmunity, no doubt about it. 

By the way, musculoskeletal conditions, when they start to damage, are typically under the autoimmune like osteoarthritis genre and umbrella. So if you’re a chiropractor, and you don’t look at the gut, I’m going to suggest strongly that we start to look at the gut, because it fits in everybody’s toolbox to analyze gut health. Now, in addition to that, laser therapy is shown…I use it in my office all the time, I’ve created a multitude of laser protocols to help the gut. The combination of violet, and the red laser is the critical element because remember, as Dr. Alessio Fasano once said, “The gut is not Vegas, what happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut.”

Dr. Chad Woolner:  Because of the vagus nerve, largely.

Dr. Robert Silverman: Right, and your j… I love it. I love that. You mentioned the vagus nerve, you’re really trying to get me to start doing some jumping jacks and burpees.

Dr. Andrew Wells: Dr. Silverman, you mentioned something that the gut affects the brain, brain affects the gut. And we have these conversations inside of functional medicine circles and doctors talking about how upstream you’re thinking can you get? Does the problem start in the gut? Or is there something above that that’s the initial cause? Or is it? Is it a nerve related issue? Is it a nervous system problem that affects the gut or vice versa? Is it kind of the chicken or the egg type of discussions? In your opinion, is there anything more upstream than gut health in terms of the cause of a lot of these chronic issues that we’re trying to help patients with? 

Dr. Robert Silverman: You know, I think if we got 10 people to sit down, the kind of experts that you would put on your podcast or in person and I think that would be some people would say the brain and some people would say the gut. And I do believe it is as I said before the superhighway to health, but I think the key component and I think you’re soft balling this for me, I appreciate that. So strap on, let’s go. We’re gonna racecar it,  and I’m ready to go…is without question…not the only thing; but the big player is the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, cranial nerve number 10. The longest cranial nerve in the body goes from the medulla oblongata down to the transverse colon. It is anywhere between 80-90% [inaudible]. So when you think about [inaudible] going from the gut up to the brain. Whereas when it’s about 10 to 20%, instead of going from the brain down. 

The interesting thing is people always ask me anatomically okay, how does it know what’s going on in the gut? And in 2020, they found out that anatomically, there’s something called a neural pod. The neural pod is something that connects to the vagus nerve and senses what’s going on inside the gut. So let’s stop for a moment. Let’s not get too technical. The bacteria in the gut, communicate with the vagus nerve attaching to outside the gut through a neural pod. And that vagus nerve now communicates with the brain. That’s going in reverse the brain now communicates via the efferent with the vagus nerve, to the transverse colon inside the gut. 

So now we’ve just opened up some ideas on how we can communicate. So that neural pod was great vagus nerve that communicates with the heart, with the lung, with the kidneys, with the liver. It has primary functions. It’s parasympathetic, its special sensory. It’s sensory, and its motor. So obviously, you want to have an appropriate tone and vagus nerve, you want to up regulate it. 

We talked about concussions in the last part, if you will. Well, the vagus nerve is referred to the rest and digest; the wine and dine nerve. So when you talk about vagus nerve and talking about the parasympathetic system, the one that calms you down, the one that I’m not utilizing enough right now, the sympathetic is fight or flight. The problem with them is that they’re not. They’re seesaws, they have to be balanced, so they can’t be dominant at the same time. So after injury after any kind of brain injury, you’re actually shut down on your parasympathetic nervous system and most Americans are sympathetic oriented. So you will find a lot of benefits in your chiropractic practice to stimulate the vagus nerve, trance continuously. 

And we’re going to go over in this diatribe if you will, on how to do it appropriately. Also, when the vagus nerve decreases, you also have decreased digestion through something called the migrating motor complex Peristaltic contractions, which move the food bolus from the stomach to the small to the large intestine. Forget all that, when you have low vagal tone, like you would see in IBS or IBD. You have a decreased secretion of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes, parietal cells, and bile. Anybody in the functional medicine world, bile is the hidden gem, we need the appropriate file. So you just start digesting well. So we want to stimulate the vagus nerve. 

And again, I will talk about how to do it with lasers. You want to stimulate the vagus nerve because it reduces inflammation, it improves outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis and actually inhibits those inflammatory cytokine production by 30%. And one little factoid as we know, since this size is a little bit less vagus nerve is vastly different than the right, to left nerve is all about satiety. The right nerve is about morning behavior. And lastly, before I turn it over to my great host. What’s most interesting about the bacteria and vagus nerve in the brain is they did a study with mice and the mice had autism. Never knew mice could have autism. But in this study they did. They gave him a probiotic called El root Tierra. Great probiotic probiotic gave him the probiotic, and the ASD went away. Unfortunately, they did veganotomy, took out the vagus nerve, filled him with El root Tierra and they went back to their ASD normal. So another takeaway is you can give all the supplements in the world you want. If you don’t have the communication of that vagus nerve between the gut and the brain, they’re not going to optimize your nutritional protocols. And there is one great example of the mesh of functional medicine with low level laser therapy.

Dr. Andrew Wells: We talked about in the last episode that it was kind of a no-brainer that laser therapy was used for musculoskeletal problems. And I don’t think most doctors are even aware that you can use light therapy, laser therapy for these chronic conditions. And so, maybe Dr. Silverman, you can speak to the actual practical protocols of how you are using a laser? Are you lasering the vagus nerve? Are you lasering the gut? How does it actually work when you’re stimulating these areas transcutaneously with light?

Dr. Robert Silverman: That’s a great lead in thank you so much. So all the guys that work for Erchonia had the baby step. We all do this very similarly. And I’m not gonna say one is better than the other. I was very early. I was an early adopter to it and what I found out was when I used the Erchonia laser and predominantly the EVRL Erchonia violet red laser. The protocol was based on this robust literature and also on heart rate variability. So when I saw that heart rate variability change, I knew I was in the secret sauce spot, the sweet spot, if you will. So from me, and this is a little different than others, but hear me out. I use the violet light as I go over the medulla oblongata down through the transverse column. And that’s the only time I use the violet light. I then switched both the red and violet on by the way, with the violet light, I just used the acne setting. I then, with the EVRL, switch to violet and red. And I use a setting of the vagus nerve, the perfect 10 10 10 10. I laser in the right quadrant, the migrating motor complex in the ileocecal valve. So pretty like… 

Dr. Chad Woolner: Can I interrupt real quick? Yeah, when you say 10 for Docs, we’re listening. They’re like 1010 10. That’s the frequency, correct? 10 hertz, 10 hertz, 10 hertz, is that correct? 

Dr. Robert Silverman: That’s right. That is the frequency, the frequency, the amount of time the light hits the skin per second. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: Okay, perfect. Yeah, I just wanted to clarify, continue on, sorry. 

Dr. Robert Silverman: Oh, thank you so much. So then I go back up to the cervical region where the jugular foramen is, and I use the red and violet in that area. So I do three to five sweeps on the right and the left side over the thoracic region. I then laser the migrating motor complex and the ileocecal valve with the red and violet. I go to the cervical region on each side for 30 to 60 seconds, same frequency. Then, and here’s the big takeaway, I go into auricular area, the data is coming out now. That’s pushing everybody that…”you know that we may just be able to stimulate the vagus nerve from the auricular area” certainly stimulating the vagus nerve and auricular area is great for ASD, both sides. And as I said in the last podcast, nobody else is doing this. This is new. You want to also laser, the trigeminal nerve at the origin. And the reason you want to do it is the trigeminal nerve through the nucleus communicates in the brain with the vagus nerve. Some of the trigeminal nerves are stressed or static. The vagus nerve goes down. When you laser the trigeminal nerve, you’ll balance the two systems that are the parasympathetic and the sympathetic system. So that is new data on that. And I have to tell you, we just two years ago, three years ago, we’re just running off the legs up and down the chest region. Now, we’re talking about preciseness, we’re talking about other cranial nerves. We’re talking about a plethora of different things that we can do because the vagus nerve is so important in overall health, in that it’s shown to decrease triglyceride levels and fat. It’s critical for musculoskeletal diseases. To speak to what you were talking about doc, decreases systemic lupus. It shows a decrease in pain and fibromyalgia which incidentally, is an autoimmune condition, because the dorsal root ganglia has good adverse effects backing and helps with hand osteoarthritis. So we’re seeing overwhelming evidence that vagus nerve stimulation is a component for musculoskeletal and helps with an immune response. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: A couple of couple things real quick, left side again, of the vagus nerve is satiety, correct? Right side is mood and behavior. Is that what you said?

Dr. Robert Silverman: That’s correct. Okay. Right. They are different. Okay. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: And then and then ASD, can you define that again for us? 

Dr. Robert Silverman: So, autism, you’re on the spectrum disorder. So they showed that symptomatology has decreased by stimulating the vagus nerve at its auricular branch, inside the ear and slightly behind the ear. As a matter of fact, some interesting things about stimulating the vagus nerve. What I do when I laser and the auricular region, I also apply a little pressure to the ear. And one thing that I forgot to mention, the physiological side. So Dr. Andrew Huberman shared this on some of his podcasts. So the side works really well to stimulate the vagus nerve, I do the side in conjunction with lasering, the vase vagus nerve in the thoracic region, and the physiological side is a double inhale on the way down as I sweep down, and a long exhale to stimulate the vagus nerve and shift towards a parasympathetic state and your times of stress. So we’ve heard you know, you can sing, you can doggerel, they’re great. I just found this to be even more effective to affect the breathing during the laser and you know what, I’m happy to do a video. I know this is a podcast and audio. I’m happy to follow up with a video and everything in that five minute video thing that we talked about, I think that would be critical for our listeners. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: So when you want say- real quick, sorry, when you say sigh like a yawn, is that what you’re saying? Like, you know, so that people can hear it. I know they can’t see it. But like a yawn is what you’re in essence saying? 

Dr. Robert Silverman: You know, it’s not truly a yawn that the sigh is. Um, hopefully you guys can hear me. *blows into mic* And I hold and then *blows into mic* So they call it a physiological sigh. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: Okay. All right, perfect. Sorry. Sorry, Andrew, continue.

Dr. Andrew Wells: No, that’s okay. I want to point out something that as Dr. Silverman is going through these, these, these protocols, you may be trying to scribble them down and write them down. I just want to point out one of the nice things about Erchonia. Not only do they make amazing lasers and technology, but they have an amazing set of resources and support for doctors who buy their lasers and are integrating these things into their practice. If you need to get training on these protocols, they have tons and tons and tons of training so that you can actually feel confident when you pick up a laser for different conditions that you’re using it properly. 

You’re following these protocols that Dr. Silverman has created and is developing and working with other doctors to implement. There’s tons and tons of support for that. So don’t feel like this is your like, this is your one and only opportunity. Like man, I’m working off these notes from this podcast. There’s tons of support there for you. And also, I wanted to mention too, I think it’s interesting that you’re combining these physical actions while the patient’s being lasered. We mentioned in the last episode, we were talking about concussion and TBI protocols, you’re having the patients… as their brains are being lasered, you’re having them read, do crossword puzzles. And you’re saying these functional medicine applications, you’re having them do breathing exercises to stimulate these different different parts of your nervous system that I don’t necessarily understand the physiology of it, but it intuitively makes sense that you sort of activate these parts of your nervous system as you’re doing this, this therapy on them.

Dr. Robert Silverman: Correct. So that physiological side is new. Some people will have them gargle things. You want to use in a multitude of ways to activate that vagus nerve because the vagus nerve does get stimulated by the laser. But, it works better in synergy with the laser and these other type of activations. And, you know, again, I do want to reiterate, we were in rudimentary stage three years ago when we were lasering, the vagus nerve, and I saw the HRV. 

Now look what we’re talking about auricular in the neck, migrating motor complex. We’re talking about a physiological side, we’re talking about gargling, we’re talking about during the year, we’re talking about trigeminal nerve. I mean, and the data is growing daily, because vagus nerve stimulation is a critical element because it activates the inflammatory reflex. Do you know this study in 2021 to speak about a 50% decrease in Crohn’s disease, a 43% decrease in ulcerative colitis, and when they say a decrease, they achieved clinical remission. 

Vagus nerve has also been used in stroke rehab now. Vagus nerve stimulation is also targeting that inflammatory reflex which modulates the TNF alpha production, reducing inflammation in humans and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. Here’s one for you. In those functional medicine, let’s keep it simple. Human Vagus Nerve Stimulation produces specialized pro-resolving mediators. Specialized pro-resolving mediators allow for the resolution of inflammation. It is converting Omega-3 pathways to allow them to respond in the resolution of inflammation. Now again, I use the term…my mantra is to manage and modulate inflammation. I always want to supplement with SPMs. Now, I can create the conversion by using laser therapy to Vagus Nerve Stimulation. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m stoked. I wanna go grab some patients. 

Dr. Andrew Wells: That’s, that’s incredible. I hope docs are picking up on something. There’s a shift happening in functional medicine, a big shift happening, where we’re elevating what we’ve done over the last 20-30 years in supplementation and lab testing. So the biochemical aspect of functional medicine or functional nutrition and we’re getting now into bioenergetics. And I think this is where the puck is heading in functional medicine, is some very fundamental applications, or very fundamental therapies that are being used for a lot of these chronic conditions, gut health being one of them that I think most docs and even a lot of functional medicine docs, very smart docs aren’t aware of, you know, they, I think we realized that there’s a major shift happening towards bioenergetics and I think this is one of those things that is, it’s a no brainer for most functional medicine docs but I think it’s one that often gets overlooked or even isn’t isn’t- most docs aren’t even aware of this, which is surprising. I wasn’t aware of this a year ago. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: Quick quick question for you, Dr. Silverman. For some docs who are listening, because for me, I’m listening to this and I’m like, okay, this is awesome. Obviously, in order to do this, you need a laser. So the doctor, like, okay, I gotta get an Erchonia laser. But the other thing you’d mentioned, too, is measuring heart rate variability. What do you use for that in terms of measuring pre and post heart rate variability and or any other tools that you use for pre and post measurement? What do you typically- what does that look like?

Dr. Robert Silverman:  Excellent query. You have a couple of options. I happen to use a company called “The League.” It’s inexpensive. A little device that goes on one of the fingers. Goes into your cell phone. Some people use our point. I’m sending it to you guys to see if we’re talking better or rain (?), I’m fine if you use that. But you do want to use something that documents the heart rate variability because, One: if you want to talk to a medical doctor, and you say heart rate variability, then they’re going to give you a thumbs up. Two: it is standard in what we refer to to know that the Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation is working. 

And I know that I gave a lot to unpack. So let me make it easy and tangible for everybody. You know, it sounded like a lot was going on in my vagus nerve protocol. So let’s take it, dial it back one step. You can simply point and shoot the laser at the gut area to get the photobiomimics, you can even leave the room. So you don’t have to worry, like standing up tall and doing the back step. That’s number one. Number two, running it up and down the thoracic region is pretty easy. You’re able to do that with a handheld, just point it in the neck region, you’re gonna get it, point it in the ear region. I don’t want everybody to get intimidated by the explanation and the amount of steps. There’s really only three or four very easy steps. So again, I teach it at seminars, everybody’s able to adapt to it. Again, laser is very easy to implement in your practice, because you start with what I call the point and shoot.

Dr. Andrew Wells: That’s great. And that’s- that’s one of the points I was hoping docs would get. Like, if you- we were hoping that this podcast is educational but also a catalyst to get you guys to look into using this therapy for your patients. And I want to I want to shift. We seem to be going- we’re talking about the concept of gut health and we seem to be going up the body, right? We’re talking about gut, we’re talking about fibers going up to the brain to the vagus nerve. But I want to talk about something that’s kind of a very much emerging topic in functional medicine, which is brain health. Most functional medicine docs have their ears open to brain health. Most docs have heard of leaky gut. Most docs haven’t heard of leaky brain or the blood brain barrier and how this affects health, maybe we can start talking about functional medicine applications with laser on the blood brain barrier.

Dr. Robert Silverman:  No doubt, you know, it’s great you said upstream and downstream. So the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier protects the brain. It actually filters 400 miles of blood vessels into the brain. When you think about it, I never realized we had that many vessels. The blood brain barrier encapsulates the bulk of the brain material and just doesn’t encapsulate the pituitary, because the pituitary needs to communicate with the blood directly. The blood brain barrier, there’s a lot of examples. I call it the doorway or the bouncer to the brain. Unfortunately, once you’re able to get or a pathogen can get past the blood brain barrier, and into the brain, it’s a bad day. So breakage or damage to the blood brain barrier can portend 16 years in advance, neurodegenerative disease, so I purport to everybody, if you want to treat the brain, you have to understand the blood brain barrier. You also have to test for the blood brain barrier and new treatment protocols for that blood brain barrier.

Dr. Andrew Wells: Are there some simple things that you can assemble, nuggets you can give to docs on what you’re doing to, to assess these, this potential. 

Dr. Robert Silverman:  There’s multiple labs that have markers that will let you know that the blood brain barrier may be compromised. Whatever you do, your gut again, you do your brain, whatever you do to your brain, you do your gut. And typically what will damage the prime, which will damage the brain and the blood brain barrier is typically concussion, believe it or not, so you get a primary injury mechanism. Then you stimulate these things called micro grids, they become prime, they’re overactivated following mechanical injury. 

Now, as you said, ether communicates on the way down. So you get structural and functional damage to gut tissue. That neural trauma induces increased intestinal permeability and now you have a change in the gut microbiota, you get something called dysbiosis. And a leveling of the good and bad bacteria, you get the gut to communicate backup eighths currently in the superhighway to help this systemic immune response to intestinal dysfunction, leading to pro-inflammatory cytokines influencing the central nervous system. And you get an ongoing secondary injury mechanism, microglial mediated persistent neuroinflammation. 

So let’s break that down, there was a lot there. You hit your head, you damage your brain, it communicates with your gut, it damages your gut, and you get a secondary attack from your gut to your brain, and you have this circle going on. So the real question is, that a lot of docs ask me and patients- do I treat the brain or do I treat the gut? Because that’s what you asked me. My answer is, you gotta treat both because you can’t get optimum outcomes without treating both because they’re a highway. You can’t complete the highway unless you pave both roads.

Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s a fascinating concept, you know, this whole idea of, of this kind of like negative feedback loop that happens. We see that so often, in various ways, in terms of these, and this is something we teach a lot of our doctors is this whole idea of various types of like, chronic stress loops, that tend to happen. And in essence, that’s what you’re talking about, right? It is a type of chronic stress loop, right? You know, being in a sympathetic dominant state doesn’t help that, the fact that people are also dealing with other forms of stress. So we talked about a head injury is obviously a very obvious type of stressor on the body, but in essence, what you’re talking about the strategy from, you know, 10 miles up is, is in essence trying to break some of these negative feedback loops, right, by treating the gut and treating the brain you know, and then that’s, it’s an interesting idea that you bring up there because I think many doctors would not even connect those dots, you know. 

A head injury is a head injury, you know? Very much like different…and we tend to do that. I think some doctors tend to do that where they look at the body as different parts in a vacuum. You know, your finger isn’t connected to your shoulder or you know what I mean? Your foot isn’t connected really to your low back or you know, those sorts of things and what you’re in essence saying, you know, is that if we’re really going to help patients with these outcomes, number one, we gotta break those loops, those negative feedback…same goes with pain, like we were talking about this in a pain episode, right? Where if pain persists long enough, it creates this, in essence, this permanent new loop where the brain will literally change its structure. And so you got the same sort of idea, right? The lasers can kind of help break up some of those negative loops, and reprogram, so to speak, some of those areas. So maybe talk about that for a second too, in terms of how that’s used to break up that loop, treating the gut and the brain.

Dr. Robert Silverman:  I mean, you’re speaking my language. I mean, I’m, wow. I’m at a loss of words, I’m so excited. 

So those loops. You know, you’re talking about traumatic brain injury. Let’s use that example in intestinal dysfunction. Brown University found out that in six hours after trauma, there is damage to brain cells. They also found out that tight junctions into the gut wall and the brain will also open in six hours. LPS Lipopolysaccharide endotoxin, which holds gram negative bacteria inside of the gut, you do not want this guy released into your bloodstream. It’s released in three hours. And when LPS is released, it decreases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, the Miracle Gro for the brain, which actually comes from the gut to the brain. 

So, what do you do? What’s one of your options? Again, we’re getting right back, stimulating the vagus nerve to prevent intestinal dysfunction after a traumatic brain injury. If you can stimulate the vagus nerve, get that laser in there, within 90 minutes, there is no damage to the gut. There’s not going to be any damage to the brain. Data indicates that from 2010 and 2011. They also did studies with mice, they did sheets of mice, and in that they had a sham and added TBI. And man if you could see the sham, obviously, everything’s perfect. If you could see the TBI. It looks like a nuclear bomb was dropped on somebody’s intestinal track. 

However, they also did vagus nerve on some of these mice, stimulation, and TBI. And the epithelial cells look like they’re in pristine untouched condition. So the takeaway there is vagus nerve decreases brand edema, it decreases specific interleukins. And the data truly suggests that Vagus Nerve Stimulation exerts a neuroprotective effect against any kind of brain explosive injury. So the vagus nerve is a critical element for the treatment of TBI, and vagus nerve was shown to reduce the blood brain barrier disruption. So breaking that negative feedback loop, stimulate that vagus nerve as that communicator, and then get to the gut, and then get to the brain. So in essence, we talked about lasering the brain last podcast, we talked about lasering in the gut, we want to laser them both, and they want out of communication. You know, the circuitry of the vagus nerve, and I can tell you, that’s what I do in my office. 

Now, I suffered from a concussion. I know everybody says it’s no surprise by the way I act and all that. But I had a concussion in high school- excuse me, a college basketball game, I got knocked out cold. My teammates said it was the only time they ever saw me quiet. As they say you’ve been talking basically. I was out. And I had some gastrointestinal problems. The moment I lasered them, within a week or two, my gastrointestinal problems went away, I was able to start to put some muscle on. So here’s a beaming symptom. If you hit your head, did you follow with any gastrointestinal problems after? If you did, you got to look at it when you hit your head. So let me make it a little clearer. Those people who suffer from concussion usually have gastrointestinal issues. So I just served up for you guys to chew on a little bit now. 

Dr. Chad Woolner:  Well, the first thought that I couldn’t help but think is, and this is more so for patients than for doctors- if your doctor is recommending after a concussion to watch and wait or just to rest and just chill out and just kind of hope that things get better on their own, I would think that that’s probably a telltale sign that you need to find a different doctor. That is what I would suggest you know, if we’re talking about this based on what you’re saying really time is of the essence. But that next follow up question for me that I’m thinking is okay, for those patients who are listening to this who are like well crap, you know, I had a concussion a week ago or two weeks ago or a year ago or five years ago, is all lost? You know what, what, what to do for those people who didn’t have the advantage of knowing this information that you’re now sharing in terms of time being of the essence? What do they do?

Dr. Robert Silverman:  All is not lost, we’ve got the answer. We’ve got functional medicine, nutritional protocols. We’ve got laser therapy. We’ve got Functional Neurology protocols. We’re sitting in the catbird seat to help people, they just need to seek us out. They need to listen to more of your podcasts where you’re putting experts on, and I’m not considering myself an expert, but all these other people that are experts, the data is robust. You know. That being discussed, let’s really talk about it, you know, you can help the gut let’s start with the gut let’s use that. Let’s say bottoms up today. Talk about bottoms up. Let’s talk about the gut. I have a seven hour action plan. That seven hour action plan is real simple. 

We’re going to reset your lifestyle, we’re going to put you on a good quality diet, we’re probably gonna take your dairy out, we’re probably going to tell you to decrease your added sugars and food allergies and food sensitivities. We’re going to replace, excuse me, we’re going to remove- we’re going to remove pathogens, we’re going to remove the bad bacteria, we’re going to move the viruses, we use specific nutrients like serum bovine immunoglobulin, Berberine, oregano, we’re going to replace we’re going to replace digestive enzymes, stomach acid and bile. We’re going to regenerate where we’re using a litany of nutrients needed to help do two things inside the gut- create anti-inflammation and also heal and feel the gut lining. We’re also going to reinoculate with pre- when I say prebiotics.  they’re probably more important now than probiotics to create a postbiotic. Then we’re going to reintroduce things that we took away. Because you guys practice like I do. If you take something away from a patient, you don’t give it back to them, they leave. 

And lastly, you’re going to retain- you’re gonna retain health with a great lifestyle. You add laser therapy to that, now you’ve got a very synergistic approach. You do your vagus nerve stimulation. And then your vagus nerve stimulation, you also have the opportunity to use certain nutrients. The vagus nerve- specific probiotics like a reuteri, β-lactam, B. longum, short chain fatty acids, fiber, increased bile acids, omega three fatty acids. 

Intermittent fasting to work with circadian rhythm will get your Vagus Nerve Stimulation to go. Then you can adhere to a brain protocol, which we talked about in the last podcast, and use some specific nutrients that have pointed at blood brain barrier health, like L carnitine, magnesium L-threonate, omega three fatty acids, pro resolving mediators, vitamin D. So you take this composite and you start piece by piece, putting them all together, you now got a real strong protocol that is gonna  change people’s lives. I can tell you when people come in and they can start chatting, remembering, not having to go to the bathroom six or eight times, you made an indelible mark on their everyday life.

Dr. Chad Woolner: That’s incredible.

Dr. Andrew Wells: I think this, you know, this might be a good place to start tying some things together. Dr. Silverman, this has been amazing. I always like functional medicine discussions that don’t just revolve around testing and supplements. And I think you’ve given some, a lot of docs and things to chew on and some things to think about. Where would you direct doctors who want to learn more about implementing some of these protocols into a functional medicine type program? Or if you’re new to functional medicine and want to start, where would you direct them? 

Dr. Robert Silverman:  Well, don’t we have an XFM? Can we talk about that a little bit? Just fill in the blank. 

Dr. Andrew Wells: This by the way, this was not a softball plug for our program. 

Dr. Silverman: Oh, no, no. You guys were great. And we were talking about this off air, if you will. And, you know, I’m excited about getting involved. And I think everybody needs to know about it. So go for it.

Dr. Andrew Wells: : Go ahead. If any of you know, Dr. Woolner and I are functional medicine flunkies from back in the day. We, we understand the idea of functional medicine to the benefits of the patient and the benefit to your practice. And, Chad and I both went through functional medicine training programs. And at the end of those programs were at a loss for how to actually implement the things that we learned to implement the protocols to implement the science, and we got really frustrated with it and scrapped the idea of adding functional medicine. 

And I always, you know, I was always upset about that, that we didn’t have, you know, some really streamlined protocols and really a good jumping off point and starting point to get into the world of functional medicine. So one day, Chad called me. And this was a handful of years ago, he said, “Hey, Andrew, I’ve got this great idea for a functional medicine program.” Like, thanks, man. But if you forgot we failed at functional medicine, what other great ideas do you have. And he goes, he said, No, no, no, he’s goes, “I think I figured it out. What if we designed some streamlined, streamlined protocols, just around the common conditions that we see in our practice?” Things like gut dysbiosis, things like weight loss resistance, anxiety, depression, fatigue, brain fog, a lot of these really common symptoms that Americans have, but don’t have very good solutions for. 

Chad said, “I developed a protocol to help that specific person.” And so what we did was we developed these protocols that doctors can very easily implement in their practice that doesn’t require years of training diplomate, diplomate-level training programs and expertise to launch and so it’s a very much a functional medicine program where it’s rubber hits the road, we always ask the question what not what’s possible with patients, but what’s probable. And if you start from a position of what’s probable in terms of causing these problems, then we can very easily and confidently move forward and address and help solve those issues. And so if functional medicine seems confusing to you, if it makes you feel stupid, it’s not that you’re stupid, it’s just the you don’t have a good starting point. And so if you’re interested in integrating some of these protocols, we’ve done all it for you, a simple place to go is to go to simplifiedfunctionalmedicine.com. And we just kind of, we have training there, and some really simple steps you can follow to learn more about our approach to functional medicine. 

Dr. Chad Woolner: And I would just simply add to that what’s been really cool, especially as of late is the program has evolved in such a way that we have incorporated a lot of expertise outside of ourselves. People like Dr. Silverman, Dr. Trevor Berry, Erchonia as a whole, have, have really been influential in helping us evolve a lot of these protocols to ensure that really, our doctors that are coming into this program know that it’s not just….the point that I would simply point out is that the protocols that we’ve developed are not because of my genius, or Andrew’s genius or anything like that. 

I don’t think we’re dummies by any means. But we recognize that there are a lot of really intelligent, incredible doctors out there. And so we want to, we want our docs to know that the protocols we’re using are extremely sound. And these are based on, you know, the best available evidence. And that’s one of the reasons why we’ve really woven into a lot of our protocols, things like Erchonia lasers, because it really ensures that we can really get incredible results. And from a mile up, the thing that I would say is this- if you’re going to make an impact on patients’ lives, which is really what this is all about, three things have to be in place, in order for that to happen. 

Number one, you have to drive good clinical outcomes, you have to get a result for the patients, because obviously, it doesn’t matter how good your marketing is, or anything else, if you’re not actually delivering a tangible real result, it doesn’t really matter. So that’s the first thing, ensuring there’s good clinical results. The second thing is that you do have to have good marketing and business systems in place for this to move forward and progress and be successful. You can be the best doctor in the world and drive the best results in the world, but if you can’t get people to come into your clinic, it really doesn’t matter, right? So business and marketing systems need to be in place, which is what we provide as well. And then the third is effective and proper patient communication for education and enrollment. And so the whole idea is this look, even if you have incredible, great marketing, and business systems, and even if you can get a good result for the patient, if you can’t effectively convey that value to them to the point that they’re going to sign up and enroll, it doesn’t matter. 

And so really from a mile up, that’s what Simplified Functional Medicine has been designed to do is really address all three of those core competencies or areas and we do that in a really simple way so that doctors can literally plug it right in. And this is based off of, you know, proven systems that we use in our own practice. I’m a full time practicing doc. These are the same systems and tools that I use with my patients, doctors all across the country. At this point of time, we’ve had nearly over 100 doctors in nearly all 50 states who have gone through this program and so yeah, so that’s that and, and moving forward, what we see is ongoing continuing education through Erchonia. So like the other thing that I would say is Dr. Silverman, you’re speaking how frequently with Erchonia? How often are you there with them?

Dr. Robert Silverman:  Oh, every month, both nationally, internationally. You know, the international speaking has grown. And I have been in the UK, Amsterdam and going to Switzerland. To see the growth amongst the practitioners throughout the world, you know, guys I just like to share a little, you know, when you stand up there, and you see it, it is a surreal feeling to know that we’re making that kind of mark on the practitioners, which are exponentially touching the world’s population. 

Dr. Chad Woolner:  That’s amazing. Absolutely amazing. So, docs to kind of tie this all together, I would say, look, if you’re if you’re interested in learning more about these things, definitely check us out. And that’s awesome. But if you’re like, hey, you know what, I just want to kind of maybe dip, dabble my feet in the water, so to speak, I would say the best place to start would be looking at the next upcoming event with Erchonia, whether that be in person or virtual, guaranteed, you’re going to find Dr. Silverman there at one of those events and or they even have archives on their site of previous ones too. 

So even at the very least, if you’re like, I’m just going to kind of dabble a little bit deeper, those are all great starting points for you to really kind of take some of the next steps there. But Dr. Silverman, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule. We appreciate it again. You did a great job, really over delivering in terms of sharing with docs in a very transparent way exactly what it is that you’re doing there. And we appreciate all the great things you’re doing not only for practitioners but also for patients alike, and really looking forward to future conversations for sure with you. It’s been an absolute pleasure. And docs, we hope that this has been valuable for you as well, and we’re excited to share more with you on upcoming episodes. Have an amazing day, and we’ll talk to you guys later.

Thanks for listening to The Laser Light Show. Be sure to subscribe and give us a review. If you’re interested in learning more about Erchnoia lasers, just head on over to erchonia.com. There you’ll find a ton of useful resources including research news and links to upcoming live events, as well as Erchonia’s e-community where you can access for free additional resources including advanced training and business tools. Again, thanks for listening and we will catch you on the next episode.