Mike Mutzel – Exercise, the belly fat effect, weight loss – Podcast #40


In this interview with Mike Mutzel, we talk about the Belly Fat Effect which is a book he wrote that will help us learn the real secret about how your diet, intestinal health, and gut bacteria help you burn fat. In this podcast we will also talk about incretins, mTOR, and all about leptins.

We also touch upon the issue of exercising and they best time to do it for different kinds of people depending on their health situations and how to make the most of it to aid in weight loss. We also talk about the different meals of the day emphasizing on the importance of eating breakfast. We also touch upon the issue of light and how it affects our cortisol levels and circadian clock system, as well as other important information with regards to supplements and hormones affecting our body functions.

In this episode, we cover:

08:05 The Belly Fat Effect

11:30 Incretins and how they improve satiety and inflammation

18:35 Exercise timing for fat loss

23:35 Why breakfast is important

01:06:06 Inexpensive ways to boost glutathione







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Since 2006, Mike Mutzel has blended his formal education, a degree in biology and graduate work in clinical nutrition, with his competitive athletic background and personal training experience to help others improve their health. He completed his graduate studies in the Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) program through the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and he continually works with healthcare professionals as a functional medicine consultant. He regularly conducts live webinars and workshops to help healthcare professionals keep abreast of the rapid advancements in the fields of nutrition, metabolism, and immunity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, there! This is Dr. Justin Marchegiani and welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. Again, we have a great show in store for you. Before, go to BeyondWellnessRadio.com, click on the Newsletter Signup button and you can sign up for our newsletter and get show updates right in your inbox before anyone else. You can also click on the Questions button and even speak questions live, and we’ll be able to answer it on the air for you.

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Again, we have an awesome show in store. Stay tuned.

Hey, there! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani at Beyond Wellness Radio and I have Mike Mutzel here. Is that pronounced right, Mike?

Mike Mutzel: That’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, awesome! And Mike, again, we met–Mike and I just met last month in Houston at a Functional Medicine conference, and Mike has a book out called the Belly Fat Effect and he’s got a lot of awesome videos on YouTube and Facebook, and a lot of the things that Mike has talked about with fat burning and a lot of things about methylation really resonated with me and I thought it would resonate with the listeners. So we got him on this show and I’m hoping he’s gonna drop some serious brain candy here today.

Mike Mutzel: That’s the plan. Thanks so much for having me on, Dr. Justin. It’s great to be here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, Mike! Well, what’s going on your sphere right now? Like, is there anything you’re working on that’s fresh or new that you wanna share with the audience?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, you know. A bunch of different things. I mean, it’s, you know, spring for us here in the US and so forth and so, I think a lot of people are kind of, you know, wanting to get in shape for summer and so forth and so. I’ve been doing some webinar on some fat loss and trying to kind of reposition our mindset on how we burn fats and try to teach people about that and just in brief, you know. We’re so focused on fat burning and, you know, kind of not so much on the kind of where our fat is burning. It’s burned inside our muscle tissue, so kind of what I’ve been trying to focus, you know, kind of re-frame the thought process is, let’s focus on musculoskeletal health, like the health of our muscle because that’s the site of fat burning, instead of just focusing on burning fat and so, you know, things like adequate protein, resistance training, not just burning calories and you know, knocking it out on the treadmill and the elliptical. Like really getting into the gym and causing the muscles to be fatigued with weights and that’s really kind of the–what I’ve been focusing on and trying to, you know, kind of emphasize, just kind of getting back to basics and you know, just strength training and getting in there and you know, working out the failure and that’s by far the best “fat loss strategy”. You know, a lot of people, we can talk about kind of my back story of competitive bike racing, but I was like a skinny fat guy for a little bit.Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm.

Mike Mutzel: I just trashed testosterone and, you know, my thyroid was off and cortisol was off the roof, and I wasn’t sleeping and all that. And I thought I was being healthy, you know, bike racing and training 20 hours a week, and I was very aerobically fit, but metabolically a mess. So I’m trying to prevent people from going down that path.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. And Mike, do you have a background in chemistry or biochem at all?

Mike Mutzel: Yes. So I did the pre-med undergrad at Western Washington University, so did a lot of, you know, biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology and so forth. I took the MCAT, you know, back in this was 2007 and, you know, was super excited, wanted to go to medical school, and decided that that wasn’t the best approach for me. It was kind of a serendipitous conversation when I was in Boston with–at a bar waiting for my family to come for Thanksgiving because my brother was going to school there at that time. And I was sitting next to this gentleman by himself and he was the chief medical officer of Merck Pharmaceuticals and we started talking.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow!

Mike Mutzel: I was just so jazzed, you know, I’m like, “Oh, my gosh! Yeah, I just took the MCAT. I’m so jazzed.” And he’s like, “You know what, medicine is changing big time. So, you know, if you are into biochemistry, you’re into the biology, you can do a lot of things medically related, but if I were to go back through, I wouldn’t go to medical school anymore.” And it just kind of like, “What?” This is the CMO of Merck, you know, chief medical officer, and, you know, he’s an MD from Harvard and all this weird stuff. And so I just kind of thought, you know. So I started asking some of my MD friends and they said, “You know what? If I was you, I wouldn’t go back. You know, things are changing.” So I’m finishing up my Master’s Degree in Nutrition actually next month in April, fly out to the University of Bridgeport to take the exam. And so, I really just decided, you know what, I’m gonna work in the nutrition industry and get a Master’s Degree and I ended up not doing the medical school route, but yeah, so that’s kinda my back story.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Very cool! So you were this skinny fat cycler a while back and you wrote this book, Belly Fat Effects, that you obviously, you know, learned about leptin and all of the hormones and how you can use exercise and all these different tools to basically shunt more of your energy to the mitochondria or more of your storage calories to the mitochondria to burn and also put on more muscle, and there’s a lot of, you know, technicality of how this works. But can you just talk about like the 20%, the 80% of you know what you can do, or how should I say it? The 20% that will get the 80% and the results. So–

Mike Mutzel: Yeah. Definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Can you touch more on that?

Mike Mutzel: Great, yeah, great point. You know, so the book Belly Fat Effects has actually a lot of information about gut bacteria and so I was, you know, kinda going back just to get a focus kind of the back story. I was working in a medical office with this MD doing nutrition and personal training and so forth, and you know, just getting people on real food, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Turning out the lights at night, just kinda the simple lifestyle stuff that all your listeners practice right now, getting off gluten and allergens and eating paleo and so forth, and was getting good results and then one of the medical assistants who actually never met with me, we’d have like, you know, conversions in the hallway and so forth about tips to help her lose weight. She was morbidly obese, like 350+ lbs. So she had bariatric surgery and within weeks, she was like half the size and then became super skinny, like literally went from 350 to like 115 lbs in a very short period of time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow!

Mike Mutzel: I’m like, “Oh, my, what is up with this bariatric surgery? This is incredible.” So I started doing research on that and it turns out that it’s not just, you know, the way that bariatric surgery causes weight loss. It’s not about restricting how much food people eat. It’s by changing the gut microbiome, and it changes these things called gut hormones, these incretin hormones. So that to me was just so fascinating and I started to look into the research and it turns out that there’s many ways that we can turn on these gut hormones without having to undergo bariatric surgery. Things like whey protein, pea protein, eating fiber, or eating blueberries and raspberries and color rich fruits and vegetables and so forth. So that’s kinda the premise of the book, Belly Fat Effect. It’s just really focusing on gut health, you know, and again kinda the sciences area, you know, the most effective medical weight loss procedure is bariatric surgery and I’m not, you know, a fan of it. I’m not saying anyone should go out there and get the surgery, get the procedure, but if we look at the mechanism of action, we can mimic the hormonal effect naturally. So pea protein, whey protein, fiber, just eating mindfully, chewing your food, very easy way to activate these gut hormones. Eating breakfast, you know, believe it or not, breakfast eaters have suppressions of these gut hormones, have alterations in leptin. So that’s kinda the back story in the book, is really focusing on gut health and that will enable us to become more efficient, better fat burners.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool! And again your book can be purchased on Amazon and also can it also be purchased at bellyfateffect.com, too?

Mike Mutzel: You know, good point. I don’t sell it directly there, but what I do you have on that site, bellyfateffect.com is videos, so if people are–yeah, if they’re like, you know, what is he talking about? Gut hormones. What are gut hormones? We did–there’s like 3 or 4 videos on that and then also kind of a key thing in the book is the circadian clock system. So basically, you know, we have little molecular clocks inside our cells and it kinda sounds science fiction, but it’s really true and so we talk about meal timing and why it’s really important to eat a lot of your calories in the morning, eat a lot of calories at night, I mean, I’m sorry, at lunch, and then and, you know, tone down at night because from our biological rhythm standpoint, our gut is really active first thing in the morning and during lunch time. So it’s important that, you know, we kinda, you know, fuel our GI tract in our body with food when the digestive secretions and motility and so forth are at their highest.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm. I think it’s a really good point. I think a lot of people especially even the standard American diet aren’t eating foods that are fueling appetite suppression, right? They are eating all the carbohydrate, glutinous rich foods that aren’t stimulating the adiponectin, Peptide YY, cholecystokinin, you know, all of those, those neurochemical feedbacks that tell the brain, “Hey, we’re full now.”

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Uh-hmm. Well, not only that, Dr. Justin, but folks are not eating mindfully, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: So that’s a big thing. I mean, literally research has shown that if you don’t chew your food, you don’t activate these gut hormones, and so just to kinda provide some context of what these gut hormones do is they instruct insulin to be released from the pancreas and so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Mike Mutzel: Everyone knows about insulin resistance and they hear about, like the postprandial or the post meal rise in insulin, but we don’t really think like, “Well, wait. How does insulin rise?” Well, it’s not just because the blood glucose is going up, it’s also from the release of these hormones. They’re called incretins because they help insulin be released, and when you don’t tell your brain and your gut that food’s coming in, meaning you’re not masticating–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: You’re not chewing. You’re not activating that vagal nerve then that affects the release of insulin then blood sugar goes super high and so forth. And so it’s really important just, you know, obviously you eat real food, you know, it’s gluten-free and healthy fats and, you know, well gotten and so forth. That’s all really important. But you also have to chew your food and be in a mindful state. Because so many people are just, you know, it’s like they’re getting gas at the gas station.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Mike Mutzel: You know, they just want to refill in two minutes and then be done with it, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Go into the motions.

Mike Mutzel: Exactly. So just take, take time for your food, and this is a life-long lesson I think we all need to work on, you know, because we’re all busy. We have deadlines and obligations and so forth. But if we just sit down and the science clearly shows that 42 bites per swallow–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow!

Mike Mutzel: Is where you wanna be.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, you just seriously dropped a major knowledge bomb. I just gotta take a second to back up here and take a breath. Alright so, we’re eating, right? We’re chewing more food, right? We’re activating that vagal nerve, right? That’s activating our parasympathetic nervous system getting the enzymes, getting our HCl going, and you mentioned something about incretin? Can you touch more upon that? I didn’t quite make the connection.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. So that’s the name of these gut hormones.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Mike Mutzel: So if you just Google incretin, which is I-N-C–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Incretin.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, I-N-C-R-E-T-I-N, that’s kind of the, like when we think of sex hormones–we have estrogen–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Testosterone, DHA, and so forth. When we think of the incretins, we have these gut hormones. They are called GLP-1. You mentioned one earlier.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: PYY.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: We have secretin. We have cholecystokinin or CCK. We have a bunch of these hormones and they are called incretins, and kind of a derivative of the word is be–derives from, you know, how they affect or augment or assist insulin in its signaling. That’s kinda where it’s derived from.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, so if we don’t chew our food well, what happens to incretin now?

Mike Mutzel: They’re not released properly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Not released.

Mike Mutzel: That’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, so that’s bottom line. So these gut–so if you chew your food quickly or if you’re under stress or if you skip breakfast, or if you just have long-lasting metabolic issues, then these gut hormones are not released properly and then so insulin–that means–let me just back up. More than 50% of insulin released is contingent upon the activity of these gut hormones. 50%, that’s a really big deal. So, say you’re pre-diabetic, you have elevated fasting glucose. You have a hemoglobin A1c or your red blood cells are being glycated from excess sugar in your blood stream. Okay, you’re trying to improve your metabolic profile, you wanna address the gut first. You know, vanadium and zinc and you know, burbur, all these things are really good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: All that. Right.

Mike Mutzel: It’s all good. It’s great. It’s awesome but you wanna look at the gut first, because more than 50% of insulin’s activity is contingent upon the healthy release of these gut hormones.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, got it. So what you’re saying is, if we don’t chew our food or masticate well enough, we’re not gonna stimulate the incretin and the incretin is what stimulates that glucose so we can suck that blood sugar into the cells. Is that what I’m hearing?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Yeah, it does a lot of that but sorry to interrupt, but it also affects appetite and satiety as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Ahh.

Mike Mutzel: So if you don’t chew your food, you’re not gonna send messages to your gut that the meal is coming. And then so the message will be almost as though, you know, there’s no fuel there. So that’s gonna cause more craving issues and so forth. And to give you an idea, you know, kinda how effective this, it really is. All the new diabetic medications now that are coming out in the pipeline–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Are going after these gut hormones, these incretins. Names like Byetta, Januvia, acarbose was ofthe first ones that came out in 2003.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Mike Mutzel: So, so this is where the industry’s going, you know. Like metformin has been around forever.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Mike Mutzel: There’s sulfonylureas. There’s all these medications for diabetes, but the new trend is to go after these gut hormones. But the problem about the medications is they kinda, they’re challenging. They place extra stress in the pancreas. So it’s better to kinda go after these hormones naturally because we, you know, you don’t wanna mess with the pancreas. I mean, people will tell you that’s the worst, you know, cancer you can get because it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Got it. So we eat this meal. We chew our food up really well. That’s gonna stimulate the incretin which will help us have a healthy insulin response which will help us suck all that nutrients into the cell and will also help signal that cascade of satiety, allowing to feel relatively satiated not awry. Is that correct? Is that what I’m hearing?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Uh-hmm. Yeah, and it goes even–everything that you said, but goes even further. The incretins are anti-inflammatory.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great.

Mike Mutzel: They have targets in the heart, in the brain, and so forth. So, you know, whether or not you have a metabolic issue, you can also benefit from chewing your food. Let’s just say you have an autoimmune inflammatory response.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Mike Mutzel: Because these are very anti-inflammatory. Yeah, there’s like receptors for like GLP-1 all throughout the body, you know, in the immune system and the brain, and so forth. So really critical, you know, foundation, you know. I mean, if you’re eating gluten-free and you’re in paleo and exercising, you gotta chew your food at the bottom line.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah and I think this–I mean, I learned this from Paul Chek a long time ago, he said, “Drink your food and chew your water.” So I always tell my patients usually for the most part, chew your food up to almost an oatmeal-like consistency, so it’s almost liquid where you can slurp it right down and basically, chew your water to meaning just let your water imprint on your saliva before you swallow it.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So that’s kind of a, a really, you know, I think foundational principle for any nutritionist there I’m sure.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, it’s huge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that’s funny, Mike. I wanna just, thank you. I wanna to touch upon one thing. I remember it’s just like twelve years ago, I was in doctorate school or 10 years ago, and my roommate–we were on a plane together. We were flying out to a conference. I remember at that time I was eating a Subway sandwich.

Mike Mutzel: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know terrible grains, processed meat, I get it. I know, it’s terrible. But I remember eating the Subway sandwich, taking a bite out of it, and then I’m looking over to my right and my roommate is staring at me with his mouth dropped open. I go, “What?” He goes, “You ate that? You ate that–you chewed that food 3 bites and then swallowed.” And I went, “Really?” And then like from now, I’ve been like, you know, really trying to go 3 to 35 at–what was the number you said? 35 bites?

Mike Mutzel: 42.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 42! I think it’s so important. I mean, I recommend just, for the most part, I think if you chew it up to that oatmeal-like consistency, you’ll probably be right around there so you don’t have to be super anal. But I think that’s super good advice and for anyone that’s, you know, eating or trying to be mindful, kind of just have a good idea what 42 bites feels like and then make sure you’re in that ballpark.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, I think that’s a good point. Just practice, you know, when you have time. Or–and the other thing, too, is just eat with family or eat–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: With your friends and try to eat with people and, I notice for me, when I’m eating by myself that’s when I really, you know, I’m not. I’m just trying to–it’s like a pit stop, you know. And so, I think that for most people just–first of all, be cognizant of it. Don’t beat yourself up over it like you said. I mean if, you know, you just–you’re starving and you wolf down a sandwich or some, whatever it is, gluten-free cookies. Just be mindful of it and just being aware of that is the first step, and then just say, “Okay, man, I really what–” And then evaluate, you know, why was I–why did I just wolf that down? Was I lonely? Was I really hungry? Am I mad? Was it a hard day at work and just kind of, you know, just kind of see what’s going on and then that way, you know, going forward, you can, you know, improve and progress and so forth. And so it’s, you know, progress not perfection is kinda what I like to tell people.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Progress not perfection. That’s great. Really good. So on that note, because you’re just–I mean, I got you on the show here and you’re just such a really good, you know, person for hormones and all the biochems, so I’m gonna dive in a little bit deeper. Is that okay, Mike?

Mike Mutzel: For sure, let’s do it!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright and then if we kinda go a little too deep, I’ll kinda pull you back a little bit and break it down for the listeners just to make sure we get the big picture.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So we eat this food, right? We stimulate some insulin. We have some adiponectin. What do we need to be doing? What kind of stimulation, like what kinda hormone stimulation do we need to be looking for to have fat loss and what does that mean? Like, what do we have to be doing? Is the chewing, certain types of foods, the timing, how long between meals, the type of exercise? What do we have to be doing to push our hormones in the right direction? Can you just talk about that?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know it’s broad.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, I know. That’s fine. But let’s just kinda gonna go through, like the day, starting out in the morning and then we can kinda walk away through that. So basically, you actually burn a lot of fat while you’re sleeping. So it’s something that people don’t really realize, it’s that fat carries with it a big energetic punch, you know. You know, more calories, you know, per gram than say, you know, carbohydrates and proteins. So anyway the way that we stay asleep and our body kinda stays rested is by burning fat for fuel. So it’s very important to go to bed at the same time every single night and make sure that you get 8+ hours of sleep, particularly if you’re training, that’s really important. So folks that are exercising, doing CrossFit, weightlifting, you gotta get your sleep, and then when you wake up, you actually are in–still kind of riding on the coattails of that fat burning. So I suggest to a lot of people do some sort of cardio first thing in the morning if you can. So that would be getting out, doing some walking, doing some aerobics, that could be doing Yoga, just something to get moving first thing in the morning, and then eat breakfast immediately afterwards. And it’s also beneficial to have caffeine first thing in the morning as well because caffeine actually helps to enhance the lipolysis or the burning of fat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Burning of fat. Now if someone has issues with adrenal fatigue, would you recommend at least having a little bit of protein or a little bit of food just before, maybe a shake with collagen? Would you recommend that before or would you always recommend on an empty stomach?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. That’s a really good point, you know. I’m kinda one of those people where I burn through stuff pretty quickly. So I tend to do what you just said, Dr. Justin, and so I’ll just like a whey protein shake or beef protein, you know, first thing in the morning, but–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: You know, if fat loss is really your goal, then if you can make it 25 minutes, like you get up–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: You know, and you just have your cup of coffee or some green tea or something, and just go for a brisk walk then come have breakfast, that’s gonna be ideal and so studies have shown that yeah, empty stomach is best. But you hit on a good point. Protein is huge, too. So a lot of people don’t eat enough protein and I think when it comes to fat loss, you know, the studies have clearly showed that you need at least 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight up to 2.5 grams per kilo of body weight, so again 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So you take your–however many pounds you weigh divided by 2.2, multiply that by 1.6 up to 2.5 and this is–becomes more important as you age, so we tend to become more catabolic as we age and so that’s why you need more protein to maintain that lean muscle mass and also continue to burn fat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I’m gonna break that down for the listeners. If I have my metrics right, 2.2 pounds per–or 2.2 kilograms per pound, if you’re doing 2.5 kilograms per pound, that’s about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight or so for the high end? Is that correct, Mike?

Mike Mutzel: Roughly, yep.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 1 gram, so if you are 200 pounds, 200 grams of protein, 100 pounds, 100 grams protein.

Mike Mutzel: Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Perfect. Perfect, okay. And one of the things I do in the morning. I’ll get up and I’ll do a Tabata. I have a rower in my home gym and I’ll get up and do a 20-second all out burst with a 10-second relaxation period, 8 sets, and I’ll do that first thing. Is that something you’d recommend for people to really boost fat burning?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Oh yeah, intervals are gonna be much better. So everyone’s at yeah, various levels of fitness and so forth, so if you’re at the point where, you know, you can do intervals without hurting yourself, I would say absolutely do that because you’re actually gonna burn a lot more a fat for fuel. So that’s a really great, you know, anything that you can do. For folks that live in a hilly neighborhood, you can just go sprint up a hill or walk briskly up a hill. You know, if you have a treadmill in your home, you can just turn on the elevation. I mean, there’s so many different things. You can do push-ups to failure, jump at me, there’s a million things you can do, but the point is, is that we, you know, kind of, you know, get–do some movement on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, particularly if fat loss if your goal. Now if you’re lean and you like where you are, you actually should probably do exercise in the afternoon because that’s when our neuromuscular connections and energy and so forth, and actually anabolic potential is at its greatest. So there’s–it gets a little confusing, but you know, again fat loss first thing in the morning, empty stomach. Now if you’re already lean, just work out in the afternoon because you’re gonna be able to push more weight, you know, do more activity, your body heat is gonna be at its highest, and neurologically you’re gonna be able to move your muscles better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that’s more just a short duration type of interval type of exercise. We’re not going like an hour or so. We’re going like a maybe a 10-20 or 30-minute bout of exercise in the morning.

Mike Mutzel: That’s right, yeah, exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great, yeah. What’s one of the things I always see with some of my CrossFitters. They’ll just get up, go to CrossFit, and that’s like an hour or hour-and-a-half, they come back, and they’re eating two and a half hours after they wake up.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. You’re killing your metabolism.”

Mike Mutzel: I know and then they wonder why they can’t lose weight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and then get super adrenal fatigue. Yeah, exactly.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, I know. You know, it’s funny I have some friends that are like though, you know, I go to CrossFit first thing in the morning, then I, you know, go to work afterwards. I’m like, “When do you eat breakfast?” “Well, I mean, I have yogurt. Like some raw yogurt in the car on the way to work.” And it’s not and it’s like, “Well, how are your workouts?” “It’s like I kinda feel fatigued afterwards.” Like if those are things that you’re feeling. Like you should not, I mean, unless the workout is very, very intense and very long, you shouldn’t be like totally trashed afterward and so.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: And so that’s something, you know, first thing in the morning, your glycogen stores are gonna be totally depleted, and glycogen is stored sugar inside your muscle tissue and so forth, and so when–that’s why, you know, the word breakfast is breaking the fast. So you know, you are pretty depleted first thing in the morning. So you know, if you’re going to CrossFit and that can be high volume, high intensity, and for a long period of time, you’re definitely gonna wanna eat beforehand and you know, kind of what Dr. Justin and I are talking about, you know, just the fat loss 20-minute thing, you know, no food. But if you’re doing a workout, you definitely wanna eat food and that’s where little protein, little carbs come in. So you can do a smoothie, you know, with berries and fruit and maybe a frozen banana, whey protein, pea protein, something along those lines but really important because, you know, if you work out extensively on an empty stomach and you have no fuel in your muscles, meaning no glycogen, your body is gonna break down muscle tissue and that’s exactly what you don’t want to have happen because again where you burn fat is inside your muscle and you wanna preserve muscle and the way you do that is by eating real food.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great and you like whey protein and collagen combined, is that a good amino acid source?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Yeah, it’s really important and then also since I didn’t mention it, in the post workout window, so some people are not really hungry after they work out. So let’s gonna say that you’re gonna go, you know, do CrossFit or powerlifting or whatever. You go the weight room, you know, in the afternoon and you have lunch at maybe, you know, 1 o’clock and so forth, you definitely wanna eat immediately after you work out in terms of having a protein shake and so studies have shown that around, you know, 3 grams of leucine, which is one of the branched-chain amino acids, it’s very important for turning on this intracellular signaling molecule called mTOR, and mTOR is needed to activate all these transcription factors and growth factors and–to help repair the muscle, you know, so they can be stronger for the next workout. And so this becomes even more important as we age because we get more catabolic as I mentioned earlier meaning our muscle tissue repairs not as good and so forth, and so we can preserve our a lot of our lean muscle mass just by having a protein shake after we work out and, moreover, you’re gonna burn more fat for hours and hours and hours after you work out if you have a protein shake because while the body is kinda repairing the muscle tissue that you damaged during your workout, it spares protein and carbohydrates and it kicks on fat burning. It’s kind of an interesting phenomenon. So when you go to the weight room and you really work out hard and so forth, you’re actually burning mostly carbs for fuel and with the exception of the morning which we can dive into a little bit, but then afterwards, you’re repairing those glycogen stores and those protein stores, so you create this calorie deficit and then the body will start burning fat for fuel. So really important, you know, having a protein shake even if you’re not hungry immediately after you work out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool and then this whole mTOR, I love it. It’s such a cool little word, mammalian target of rapamycin, and can you tell–can you break down what mTOR is is and is and is our goal to inhibit it or to activate it?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Well, I mean just like anything else in the body, there’s kind of a U-shaped curve and so mTOR is activated, you know, in chronic disease states as well. So people get kinda confused like, “Well, wait, I don’t think you want mTOR activated,” and you do in the short-term. So you don’t want chronic activation of mTOR, just like you wouldn’t want chronic activation of say, T regulatory cells which are also anti-inflammatory. Even like our telomeres, you know, they–you know, the protective caps in our chromosomes, those are upregulated in cancer, you know. So anyway, we want this pulsatile effective, mTOR to be increased, and the way that we get that is by eating periodic protein, you know, some breakfast, lunch, dinner, and then after we work out, we definitely want mTOR to be activated because that’s gonna help make us more insulin sensitive. It’s gonna help repair muscle tissue, you know, turn on all these good things that are gonna benefit the mitochondria and so forth.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, right. That totally makes sense and this is really deep stuff. I love it. So mTOR, we’re trying to upregulate that and taking that extra bit of protein and amino acids right after we exercise will really help and that’ll help us put on some muscle, muscles, and also help us become less or more insulin sensitive which is also a good thing as well.

Mike Mutzel: That, too, but muscle is coming back, you know, muscle releases these things called myokines which I’m sure your listeners have heard of cytokines like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Mike Mutzel: Interferon-alpha and interleukin-6. Well, muscle actually releases its own cytokines which are very anti-inflammatory. The amount of lean muscle mass you have means that you’re gonna be less inflamed.

Dr. JustinMarchegiani: Right.

Mike Mutzel: You know, muscle mass independently correlates with longevity and the ability to live independently outside of a nursing home. So, you know, when you hear words like anti-aging and people taking, you know, taking a straggler’s route to turn on their telomeres and so forth, like let’s just focus at the base and the core of this, and you know, muscle is anti-aging. So if you wanna slow process and so forth, you want more muscle and I’m not suggesting that we turn into bodybuilders, you know. But just have a nice lean physique so that’s important and also your–as you mentioned, Dr. Justin, we have insulin sensitivity, but also your resting metabolic rate. So meaning burning fat, burning calories for fuel while you’re sitting around doing nothing. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-huh. Very, very good. Now I also have a lot of patients that come to me and they’re like, “But I’m just not hungry in the morning. I just don’t want breakfast.” With those people, what’s going on? Can you break down what’s happening in the biochemistry and physiology?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Yeah, that’s a really good point. You know, I hear that a lot and when I was doing a lot of nutrition work and I’m not condescending those like the biggest thing I heard in, what I find is you get stuck in this vicious cycle, like people aren’t really hungry for breakfast. They kinda have like a, you know, a muffin and a Diet Coke for lunch and then they get ravenously hungry for dinner and have like a big dinner and then they’re up late on the computer and so forth. So their circadian rhythms totally shot and so what I recommend for people, if you’re not hungry for breakfast, here’s what you do. You skip dinner, okay? And for some people that they’re like, “What do you mean skip dinner? That’s what I–my biggest meal, that’s what I eat with my family?” It’s like, “No.” Just eat dinner–what, you can eat dinner at like 5 o’clock. Just eat really early or skip it entirely, but I’m telling you, you will be hungry for breakfast the next day, and if you’re not, then I don’t know what’s going on with your gut, or if you’re moving enough during the day or something. But get your circadian rhythm back on board and start out by just skipping dinner one night and getting enough sleep. Turn off the iPads, the iPhones, the Kindles and all the lights at night, and try and go to bed before 10, and get your rhythms, biological rhythms back on board, and your gut will be hungry. You know, you’ll get those hunger pangs and so forth once you get your balanced rhythms on board. So I think that’s kind of the biggest thing, is you getting this pattern of just, you know, eating large meals at night and then, I mean, I’m very active. I weight 200+ pounds. If I eat a big dinner late, I’m not hungry either in the morning. So I think it’s important just to kinda get your rhythms back on board.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think so, too, and I just see a lot of patients, they are in this sympathetic type of overload where essentially our autonomic nervous system, we have our sympathetic which is like our fight or flight, and we have this parasympathetic which is when we’re resting, we’re digesting or repairing, and so many people are stuck in this sympathetic state and a lot of the blood is flowing more to the extremities, away from the core, so they wake up, they’re not hungry–

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Because they’re locked in this sympathetic state. And one thing I do with a lot of my patients, I say, “Hey, let’s just negotiate a little bit of a protein shake.”

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Maybe a scoop or something of maybe collagen or, “Hey, give me a scoop of coconut oil or scoop of grass-fed meat,” and what I find happens is after a couple days, they get a little bit more hungrier and then we’ll also throw in some HCl and enzymes, and it’s like their furnace kinda starts to catch and their metabolism starts turning on.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Great point. And then also like we kind of introduced in this call, Dr. Justin, is doing a little bit of activity in the morning. So for folks, you know, maybe they’re new to exercise or something like that. Just getting out and walking–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: And getting natural sunlight, too. That will also help to, what we call, in train or reset their biological clocks. So one of the biggest stimulators of our circadian clock system is light.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Ah!

Mike Mutzel: And that can work either for us or against us, meaning against us if we’re having a lot of light at night. The computers are on, the phones are on–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: The TV is on and so forth. Then you’re telling your body that it’s daytime and so as such, it’s gonna produce daytime molecules, which are incongruent with sleep–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm.

Mike Mutzel: Like cortisol or adrenaline and all these things. And then people wonder why they can’t sleep or why their mind’s racing when they’re lying in bed. So that’s why it’s really important to turn out the lights when you should have them turned off and to get natural daylight first thing in the morning if you can and that’s why this activity, you know, the fat loss is really congruent with resetting your circadian clock because, you know, if you get up and exercise outside and go for a walk, get some fresh air, you know, you’re turning on that PNS system like we just mentioned.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Mike Mutzel: And then you’re also getting your circadian clock system back on track and that’s gonna be great for appetite, fat burning, preventing cancer, heart disease, and so forth.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great and is there any research on maybe doing some grounding or earthing, maybe while you’re outside, maybe you’re barefoot on the back lawn, sipping some coffee while the sun’s coming up so you’re activating this whole circadian rhythm? Is there any other research or data on the other elements I mentioned?

Mike Mutzel: Gosh, I wish there was and there could be.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: But I definitely believe in it in, you know, grounding and EMFs and so forth. But I don’t that grounding has been looked at from a scientific standpoint. That said, I would definitely do that. Sometimes I’ll finish off–we live near a hiking hill Bastyr University in Seattle, and so sometimes I’ll finish off the hike without shoes and people kinda look at me like, “Dude, what’s this hippie guy doing?” It’s like, “No, I’m just grounding, you know?” And so I think it’s really important for people that if you can do that wherever you live, you know, I know in the inner city that might be hard but it’s amazing, it’s subtle–the effects it has on your body. But it’s definitely valid and so, along those lines and we generally unplug a lot of the electronic devices and turn off our WiFi–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Me, too.

Mike Mutzel: And that’s just a simple strategy to everything. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I guess out what’s happening with the grounding is that we’re dispelling a lot of the positive ions that’s been accumulated throughout the day. Is that the mechanism?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, I think so. I believe so.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, alright. Well, we got a lot more brain candy to come here. So we talked about adiponectin. We talked about insulin resistance, mTOR, alright. So what’s our ideal timeframe in between meals? We don’t want to go too far but at the same time we don’t wanna be grazing because then we’ll just be spitting out insulin only burning the food that we’re eating and not our fat. So what’s that time frame between meals you like?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, that’s a good question and I think it varies for everyone and this is where we kinda need to become intuitive and just trust our body and realize like, okay, you’re hungry or you’re not hungry. I mean there are some days when I’m super active and like I can barely go two hours without, you know, something. So I just listen to my body.

Dr. JustinMarchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: And so we all kinda know where that’s at and so I think it depends on, you know, your stress level, your activity level, and kinda what your health goals are, you know? If I was, you know, overweight and trying to lose weight, I would probably extend it out a little bit, you know, in between meals, but you know, the studies–research actually does show that snacking is beneficial so long as folks are snacking on healthy things. So this would be maybe a piece of fruit, nuts, seeds, a protein shake. Yeah, something light, you know, there’s something to be said about bowel rest. You know, giving your gut a little bit of a break, you know, before you just constantly throwing in foods into the chute every two hours, so everyone’s really different and I think, you know, just again listen to your body and kinda what your goals are. But healthy snacks I would think just would just be integration of fats, so raw nuts for example.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: A protein shake. Things of that sort, you know, if and only if, you know, you’re really feeling hungry, your activity level is high, and so forth. But don’t just snack because you heard it was good, you know, and you’re not really hungry and you’re kinda being mindless. You know, because some people get stuck on that rut. They’re like, “Well, I always heard or told you should eat every 2 hours,” and then they’re eating and they’re eating and they’re not even really pretty hungry. They’re just kinda eating because they heard on some TV show where a friend of a friend said they should. So you just wanna kinda can get into your own body and listen and kinda respond appropriately.

Dr. JustinMarchegiani: Got it. Can you just give us a general time frame? Let’s say the average person, you know, they’re relatively healthy. Is 4 or 5 hours a pretty good time frame between meals, would you say, on average?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, I would say at least 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: You know, so if we talk about like transit time. You know, the gut and depending upon the size of the meal and how much fat you have, you know, the gut can kinda process things in about 90 minutes. If it’s just a protein shake were talking like, you know, 60 or even 40 minutes. So I would say for most folks either between 3 and 5 hours, and you wouldn’t really wanna go longer than 5-6 hours unless you’re trying to do some sorta modified fast or cleanse or something along these lines, but I think–yeah, and we can kind talk about this, too, this calorie restriction because there is some good research on restricting calories, you know. Some folks like Mark Houston has recommended–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Skipping dinner 3 nights a week and that will kinda mimic the 25% reduction in calorie intake that is linked with longevity. So that’s another thing, too, for people. And if you–instead of doing this intermittent fasting thing, just skip dinner like Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 3 days a week. But back to your question, I think 3 to 5 hours, you know, between meals would be beneficial. And again listen to your body, I mean, if you’re crashing or you can’t think straight, you don’t wanna be firing your adrenal glands or having these blood sugar crashes either. That’s not good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, got it. So let’s compare and contrast with Mark, Dr. Mark Houston is talking about in basic intermittent fasting. So intermittent fasting for the most part is we’re gonna finish our dinner maybe around 5-6 six o’clock or so the night before. We’re gonna not eat, sleep that whole night, get up, not eat again that morning, and then maybe eat again around 2-3 o’clock so that were having about a 20-hour window or so of fasting. Is that the general gist here?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, well–so, his thing is just go 12 hours, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Mike Mutzel: So basically and this is research, and I haven’t looked at the actual studies on this particular research. I’m just going off kinda word-of-mouth thing here. But based upon his–some studies that were conducted in Italy I believe, it was a 12-hour fast. So individuals were eating dinner at 6 p.m. and then not eating again until 6 or 7 a.m. the next day. And I think that’s the best way to go. I know there’s, you know, you might be a proponent of this intermittent fasting deal where folks are not eating breakfast, but I–I’m not really a fan of that. I personally have like–I’ve experimented that with myself and with other people, and I think you get kinda weak, your blood sugar crashes. So I think it’s better to skip dinner instead and then just have a nice healthy breakfast. But I know there’s a lot of people right now promoting this intermittent fasting thing, even having protein and having fat, you know, like collagen like you mentioned earlier, but I think a better approach and based upon this new research studies, is to really skip, you know, dinner periodically and then continue to eat breakfast and lunch.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I see a lot of patients that come in and have doing intermittent fasting and they’re really screwed up because–

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean a lot of the fasting mechanism runs through gluconeogenesis which is the process of converting protein to glucose but that mechanism involves cortisol. So if we have cortisol dysregulation where we can’t pump out the cortisol at high enough levels in the AM, we’re not gonna be able to produce the energy we need. So what do you think, I mean you’ve already alluded to it already but I find intermittent fasting causing, you know, a lot of damage and creating weakness in some people especially ones that are already aren’t healthy to begin with. So what’s your take on that?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, okay good. We’re on the same page. I wasn’t sure kinda where you stood on that. Yeah, I definitely think that it’s not a good idea. I think there’s value in giving bowel rest. There’s value in calorie restriction. But don’t skip breakfast, don’t skip lunch, you know, skip dinner. That’s the biggest thing and so, like you mentioned, I mean, you know, you’re activating the adrenal glands because your blood sugar is going into this really low state and norepinephrine and cortisol are trying to raise blood sugar and then you get stressed out and then these folks tend to, you know, kinda overconsume food in the evening. And I think some of this researches–or kinda of the thinking process of, you know, validating why this is healthy is, you know, basically evidently I guess this is what, you know, in indigenous people and primal people did. Now I don’t know if we really have that data to show that primal people didn’t eat lunch or didn’t eat breakfast, you know. And so I just kinda come back to basic biology and as we kinda talked about the circadian clock system and how our body has this little cells inside every organ and tissue. Our GI tract is most active, is most receptive to receiving food in the morning, and middle part today. So you know, you can’t argue that. You can’t argue genetic analysis and microarray analysis. And so, also we can absorb the most carbohydrates during the middle part of the day. The pancreas is most receptive to releasing insulin and so forth. So I think we should eat within, you know, our circadian rhythm. And that shows that our GI tract is really active between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. So I think we should have majority of our calories during that time and you know, if you’re gonna give your bowels some rest and do this calorie restriction, then just skip dinner.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That make sense. And what’s your take on a Bulletproof intermittent fasting where you’re may be having some high quality coffee with MCT and grass-fed butter. What’s your take on that where you’re sparing the protein but high fat?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh. You know, I kinda go back, I’m a little bit old school when it comes to this and kinda look at, you know, like so what’s sort of like modern-day people get really lean and preserve muscle mass, and that would be like bodybuilders and fitness models and so forth. And so what do they do? They do a high fat, high protein diet, you know, and a lot of vegetables and so, you know, I think I don’t know what, you know, sort of protein sparing effect occurs when you do a lot of fat. I haven’t done that research when you do it, like for example, Bulletproof coffee and no protein. I would say, you know, my just, you know, kind of understanding of this would be that you can do this bulletproof coffee high fat, but also have protein or at least at the bare minimum, supplement with branched-chain amino acids and glutamines. So getting those amino acids in there because, you know, if you get low on those aminos, that’s when you start breaking down muscle tissue. And you know, as we talked about earlier how anti-inflammatory and how beneficial muscle is, you don’t wanna break that down. So that will be my perspective.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: But isn’t some of the mechanism that’s happening here with intermittent fasting, isn’t that cellular autophagy where we’re trying to recycle some of the muscle that’s already there? So we’re trying to recycle that protein by fasting on protein, so instead of taking in protein we’re trying to then recycle some of the protein that’s already there. Is that what trying to–what with the goal is here with intermittent fasting where the benefits lie?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, you know, I honestly don’t know. I haven’t looked at that research and if that’s kinda what folks are saying like Dave Asprey and so forth.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Then I would believe it, but I just know that basically, you know, if we go back to like mTOR and we go back to muscle protein synthesis and so forth, you know, what research does show is that when bodybuilders are trying to lose weight, you know, and cut for a competition. They invariably burn muscle mass and the way that they offset that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: That loss of muscle mass is by cranking up the protein. So I don’t really know the effects of, you know, protein’s turnover and autophagy. I mean, obviously cells are turning over and recycling and so forth, but you know, I don’t really know how much would grow back and if you don’t have the amino acids. So I would–that’s my perspective, my vantage point, and I could be totally wrong. Let’s say you don’t want to replace protein with just super high fat. You–if you wanna do the high fat and cut out the carbs and turn on this autophagy, that’s cool. But my perspective would be supplement it with protein or at least branched-chain amino acids but I could be wrong.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I know. That makes a lot of sense and I caught my wife this week. She went out 3 days just with Bulletproof coffee and MCT, and like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “Here have some whey protein and some collagen before you, you know, knock down the coffee or have it right after the coffee so you’ll at least get the extra aminos and so you don’t go catabolic. So I’m–we’re definitely on the same page there, Mike.

Mike Mutzel: Yeah and then I’ll just share a personal story, too. So my wife got into all these podcasts and so a couple years ago and Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof, and started doing that and she lost a lot of muscle, lost a lot of strength, and I told her, I’m like, “Deanna, you need at least to have some protein.” And so she was doing this intermittent fasting thing. Bulletproof coffee and we buy Bulletproof coffee, I love it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: But we also supplement with the protein and she realized, we looked at pictures of her like 2 years ago, and she was really like kinda gone, you know, real skinny and lost a lot of the strength that she had and a lot of that occurred during that time when she was doing this protocol. So that’s kinda where, but you know I personally haven’t done it and I don’t know it. But I know that if I don’t eat protein, I feel weak. So that’s my perspective.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah and–there a lot of people doing it and if you’re gonna do it, I’d choose a weekend day. Choose a day where you don’t have so much cortisol or adrenaline stimulation from work or whatever. At least then, there’s not gonna be as much stress on your body mentally and physically.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh. Good point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, let’s talk about branched-chain amino acids. You just brought those up. Can you touch upon what branched-chain amino acids and how can they be used to enhance muscle building and fat loss.

Mike Mutzel: Oh, yeah. Well, so there’s basically 3 types of branched-chain amino acids that fall into the category. You have leucine, isoleucine, and valine. And leucine turns on this mTOR that we talked about earlier and so it’s great for improving blood sugar regulation, improving muscle protein synthesis and resting metabolic rate and so forth. So there’s some really good research, you know, showing that leucine 3 grams several times a day improves workout performance, recovery, resting metabolic rate, and so forth. And so most high-quality protein and so I like to, you know, tell people, it’s like, “Okay, look. If you wanna–whatever proteins you’re kinda fixated one, just look at the amino acid composition of that protein and that’s gonna, you know, kinda let you know how good it is for you.” And so studies have actually shown that whey protein that’s low on leucine doesn’t have the same effect. That’s why vegan proteins tend to be not so beneficial except for pea protein. Pea protein has–is actually really rich in leucine and research have a team–this was I think in February, early February, compare the effects of muscle protein synthesis which we want with whey protein and pea protein and found that pea protein is actually as beneficial for post-workout recovery and resting metabolic rate as whey protein because it’s rich and has branched-chain amino acid leucine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very good and can you talk about the insulinogenic effects of BCAAs? I mean, a lot of people are like, “Whoa! It’s gonna stimulate insulin, you know, you gotta be careful, insulin resistance.” What’s your take on that?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Well, you know, insulin is anabolic, you know, so insulin puts stuff in cells, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Mike Mutzel: I mean, that’s why it’s, you know, it lowers blood sugar. Why? Because–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hopefully, muscle though, right? Not fat.

Mike Mutzel: Right, exactly. Yeah, and so part of its process and part of the whole mTOR signaling does involve insulin but we’re not going to make folks insulin resistant from taking BCAAs. So it’s just a mild kinda anabolic effect localized to muscle tissue, but it actually improves insulin signaling so in diabetics for example or insulin resistant folks, taking BCAAs will actually improve insulin signaling. So I wouldn’t worry about it for the reasons that it does, you know, kinda interfere with or augment or utilize those pathways. It’s not gonna make you insulin resistant.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so essentially is insulin there to also shuttle fat into–excuse me, to sugar into fat cells to make more fat but it will also, again, if we’re excising, we’re automatically gonna be utilizing sugar for fuel but that insulin, that punctuated insulin spike will help shuttle those aminos into our muscle to help hypertrophy and grow that muscle.

Mike Mutzel: Exactly. Well said.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it, got it. Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Alright, so we talked a little bit about insulin. We talked a little bit about some of these appetite suppressing hormones. What’s next on the list for our listeners? Where should we go next?

Mike Mutzel: You know, yeah, I would say leptin. You know, so leptin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Mike Mutzel: A lot of people kinda have pigeon-holed leptin and to adjust this, sort of appetites knowing hormone and that it is, I mean, so basically, leptin is released from fat issue and it tells your hypothalamus how much fuel you have on board. A high leptin would tell your brain that you don’t need to eat. Low leptin would signal you to eat and so we kind of talked about why it’s important to eat breakfast and then eat lunch and eat all your calories throughout the day, because then you’re gonna tell your brain–your fat cells are gonna release a lot of leptin. They’re gonna tell your brain that you don’t need to a big dinner, but what we have happened is a lot of people skip breakfast, they eat this weak lunch, and then they’re starving for dinner then they’re not hungry for breakfast. You get that vicious cycle. So that’s kinda circadian oscillation of leptin, really low in the morning, it starts to rise throughout the day. And the way that we do that, you know, maintain that natural rhythm is getting enough sleep and eating a lot of calories during the day and not eating too much food for dinner. But that’s kinda the metabolic aspect of leptin. Leptin also has this really unique immune role and it actually is pro-inflammatory. So we see a high correlation without autoimmune disease and belly fat. We see, you know, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis and lupus and Hashimoto’s and so forth have elevated levels of leptin as well. And leptin suppresses this really anti-inflammatory signaling molecule in our immune system call the T regulatory cell. So I kinda likened the T regulatory cell, kinda like cops and robbers, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: You have various T helper cells with I’m sure you’ve talked about like TH1 and TH2.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Mike Mutzel: Then you also have this cop, this policeman, the T reg cell that will suppress inflammatory T helper cells. The problem is in the context of high leptin. Our T reg cells are not functional. So leptin by nature, hyperleptinemia, elevated levels of leptin is linked with more inflammation because these T reg cells are basically not around.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm. That make sense. Doesn’t vitamin D also have an effect on these T reg cells as well?

Mike Mutzel: In a good way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: It will–it will turn like many things. You know, for example, omega 3 fats, exercising, meditation, HeartMath, you mentioned earlier the parasympathetic versus sympathetic state. Folks that are in a parasympathetic state, they’re gonna naturally have higher levels have of these T regulatory cells because basically, you know, the spleen, you know, it’s kind of complex but when you’re in that parasympathetic state, your spleen releases this molecule called choline and that will enable the interleukin-10 cytokine to be turned on and that interleukin-10 cytokine is what amplifies T reg cells. So Lactobacillus plantarum, curcumin, vitamin D, fish oil, all turn on interleukin-10 which will eventually again turn on these T reg cells, but leptin blocks that, you know. So if you have belly fat, you have high leptin. You’re gonna be more inflamed. It’s just how it works.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So leptin essentially–or a lot of what we’re doing here, reducing the inflammation and to turn off the interleukin-10. Is that–is that what I’m hearing?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, so leptin doesn’t necessarily have a direct effect on the interleukin-10 but it suppresses the production of these beneficial T reg cells and the factor that interleukin-10 turns on the T reg cells. So we kinda have this kinda antagonistic relationship going on. So the more fat you have, the more leptin you have; the more leptin you have, the less T regulatory cells you’re gonna have. So and the reason why you wanna lose weight is not only because it may not look that good, for example, but you’re creating an inflammatory milieu in your body. So heart disease, neurologic disorders, Alzheimer’s, memory loss, autoimmunity, and so forth. So that’s kinda the whole point that, you know, why I wrote the book, Belly Fat Effect, is, you know, you have to lose this weight to prevent chronic disease because your fat cells are releasing all this leptin and their driving inflammation pretty much every disease you can think of is linked with inflammation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, just wanna make sure I heard you. So lower levels of leptin, right? Lep–being more leptin sensitive will help suppress or decrease interleukin-10. Is that correct?

Mike Mutzel: It will increase it. So yeah, high leptin–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Means low T reg cells, which is bad.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Mike Mutzel: Low leptin means there’s high levels of T reg cells which is good. So basically leptin puts the breaks on the production of your T reg cells which we don’t want. So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Mike Mutzel: So it means any autoimmune mess that we have in our thyroid, which we all have. We’re all probably on the verge of autoimmunity or not, it just kinda depends on our environment, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Mike Mutzel: So we’re all chronically–have some low-grade inflammation and our bodies are managing, but you know, just you know, having high leptin levels, we’re gonna prevent these policemen from breaking up these little fights that are going on inside our joint tissue and our thyroid gland and so forth, hence, we don’t want that. So then we’re gonna have more inflammation. Maybe antibodies will start being produced and so forth.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So what can we do to start making ourselves more sensitive to leptin or decrease leptin production? What can we do?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Basically everything we’ve been talking about. So the more muscle tissue you have–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Mike Mutzel: There’s actually leptin receptors on muscle tissue. So what’s really cool is the more muscle you have, the more leptin sensitive you’re gonna be because you actually have more receptors there, so you can like soak more of it up. But just you know, like we said earlier, Dr. Justin, eating breakfast. We keep getting back to it to getting a good night sleep. You know, when you interfere with your sleep production, your leptin levels get off. You know, just exercises, you know, vitamin D, fish oil, all these different things. I mean basically everything we’ve been talking about will also beneficially improve leptin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, I got it, and isn’t there an insulin-leptin connection as well? Aren’t insulin and leptin tied together?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, there is. So they are. Yes, yes. So another aspect I forgot to mention about leptin is, gut health is really important. So I think you’ve talked about in some of your videos like H. pylori is an endotoxin-containing bacteria. So the endotoxin is like a bacterial appendage, very pro-inflammatory that actually causes leptin and insulin resistance. It’s a complex mechanism, but gut health is a huge part of this, too. It’s really important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, got it. And would you recommend patients or people testing their leptin like via blood?

Mike Mutzel: You know, you can. That’s what all the research studies are based on, but I will just tell you, if you have a body fat percentage above 20 in men and above 25 in women, you’re leptin levels are gonna be high. You don’t even need to waste your money on doing testing and so forth. I mean, this is based on Eric Braverman.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: A medical doctor in New York did a basically a study in his office of 1200 patients over the course of 10 years and they tracked body fat percentage and tracked leptin, tracked insulin, and so forth. And body fat percentage and leptin correlate 1 to 1. Yeah, sure if you want to prove it to yourself that that you do or don’t have high leptin levels. Sure, test it. But when you re-test, you wanna make sure that you test it at the same time because leptin just like cortisol oscillates on a 24-hour basis and so you wanna test it first thing in the morning.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. So essentially all the things we can do to help become more insulin sensitive, will also help us become more leptin sensitive.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. That’s great. So alright, so the big take home is sleep, the right kinds of exercise, eating in the morning, high-quality protein, and anti-inflammatory food. Avoiding the refined grains and gluten and things like that. Is there anything else you want to add into the mix here?

Mike Mutzel: Hmm. You know, I would add in supplementing with protein.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: And like we kinda talked about, you know, research now is showing that pea protein is pretty decent and I know some paleo folks are or FODMAP folks are like, “No, don’t, you know, pea proteins and grain and so forth and/or legume,” and it is derived from legumes and so forth but it’s really low in lectins and so we don’t want those anti-nutrients, so for people that have a, you know, dairy sensitivity you can supplement with pea protein. Yeah, chewing your food and then, you know, obviously the environmental toxin thing. I mean, we could talk about that. I’m sure you talked about that many times but, you know, there are toxins, basically I’m working on a blog post and just doing some research, I didn’t realize this but you’ve kinda heard it that, “Oh, fat cells congregate toxins and they really do.” So it’s important that we understand, that you know, we want to minimize exposure to parabens and thalates and plastics and preservatives and pesticides and all these compounds because they’re affecting adipogenesis or the formation of new fat cells. They’re affecting our, you know, metabolic systems in a negative way. So live a cleaner, simpler life. You know, if you’re gonna go out and have coffee, take the lid off so you’re not just melting this plastic into your coffee and so forth. But yeah, those will be some of the basics that you summarized.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you familiar with Jack Kruse’s take on leptin?

Mike Mutzel: I’ve heard his name but not necessarily. No.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, alright, got it. I just did not know if you had some more information on his aspect of it. His is a little unique but just–it’s okay, no problem. I just didn’t know if you had any more info on that.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh. Well, maybe why don’t you tell me what it is. I’m curious now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I mean, he talks a lot about light and different UV and then different glasses and a whole bunch of other things. I’m diving into it right now.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I’m gonna have–I’m probably gonna have him on the podcast soon to break it down. So I’ll keep you posted and I’ll shoot you over that as soon as I get it done.

Mike Mutzel: Fore sure, yeah, I mean along those lines. So the circadian clock system is huge for regulating leptin processing and so a lot of people that have the lights on, yeah, at night and computer and all that certain stuff.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Their leptin levels will be altered so I think you know, just like we talked about earlier. Like for folks that are not hungry when they wake up and so on and you had some nice strategies there, but getting natural light for, you know, affecting the hormone hunger pathways are great, but it will also reset your leptin release. And so a lot of people have this inverse rhythm where, you know, leptin starts to–it’s really low at night, and then high in the day, and so the message in the brain is that you’re hungry at night and not hungry during the day. So, you know, maybe there’s some value there with the different glasses but I think, just so you know, timely strategy, getting natural sunlight, no sunglasses during the day, for a period of time so you can activate your circadian clock.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, very good. Excellent. I like what you said about fat as a lot of these toxins are fat soluble and eating high quality fat will trigger our gallbladder to release bile which is again conjugating and helping to remove potentially these fat soluble toxins so it’s like every time you eat some good quality fat, it’s like changing the sludgy oil in your car and helping your gallbladder release a lot of these, you know, potentially toxic bile that will help, you know, get excreted in your stool.

Mike Mutzel: For sure and then moreover, I mean, bile is really metabolically active. There’s bile receptors all throughout our body and our brain and so forth. And also bile helps to soak up some of these bad bacterial particulate.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: Like endotoxin that make us leptin and insulin resistant. So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Mike Mutzel: Really bile is so important. I’m so glad you mentioned that because we tend to forget about it. We’re like you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Mike Mutzel: Focus on the hydrochloric acid and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Mike Mutzel: Enzymes. And then bile is kinda like, “Oh yeah, that stuff farther down the gut.” But it’s really important and again the way that bile is released by chewing your food and getting that acidic chyme in the upper portion of the small intestine so that you activate all these downstream. It’s so important to again like we talked about, just chew your food.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, very cool. And can you talk about–can you talk about methylation. I know you have a video on Facebook that really goes into methylation, homocysteine and you know, the whole MTHFR thing with Ben Lynch and a lot people. You know, what folate do we use? MTHFR snips, can you–can you break that topic down?

Mike Mutzel: Sure. Yeah, you know, I’ll just preface that, you know, I’m not a methylation expert, but Ben and I are pretty close friends. He lives down the street from me and we actually go out and hike together all the time and stuff like that. But you know, basically the thing about methylation is that you know, that I would love your listeners to kinda understand is the link between homocysteine and SAMe or S-Adenosyl-L-homocysteine. So if we kinda envision a circle and at the top of the circle, would be methionine and then kind of in the middle we’d have S-Adenosyl-L-homocysteine which is the body’s universal methyl donor. And you know, as Dr. Ben will tell you, you know, some of the metabolites inside our cells like it, or metabolic function, ATP is one of the number one in terms of like activity, the most cells are making ATP all day long, and the number two metabolic activity is a SAMe so it’s cellular constantly, you know, adding and subtracting methyl groups and that’s what turns on our DNA and so forth. But homocysteine would be kind of at the bottom of the cycle and when a homocysteine is high, it’s an equilibrium with the compound called S-Adenosyl-L-homocysteine which blocks SAMe. And so basically, we know homocysteine is linked with heart disease and so forth. But when it’s high, that means that your methylation is blocked. So your ability to make creatinine, make phospholipids, hormones, neurotransmitters, activate DNA, turn off DNA, and so forth is altered when your homocysteine is stuck and even more so of a problem is that cysteine part of homocysteine goes on to make gluthathione. Below the cycle, below that circle, we kind of envision, so what that also means is if our homocysteine is high that you’re not making glutathione which is the body’s, you know, primary antioxidant. So it’s a really big deal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So if we have some the–if we have one of these pathways off, you know, let’s say we have high homocysteine, what can we do? Like what does that mean to the average person and what can they do?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, great point. So first of all, I mean, if you don’t have enough protein in your diet like we talked about earlier, a lot of, I mean, amino acids, or I mean, one of the main amino acids in meat is methionine. So we can drive this pathway down. It’s kind of a, I know you know this, Le Chatelier’s Principle back in like chemistry and stuff. So if you have this equation, like on one side we have high homocysteine. Well, the way that we equalize this equation is by giving components of the other side of the equation which would be methionine, which would be 5-MTHF, a form of activated folate, or methyl-B12. And so that’s kind of a way that we can do this but also we can pull on the cycle by giving glutathione, by giving NAC, and by kinda sucking homocysteine through. So it’s kinda, you know, an oversimplified, there’s various snips and, you know, caveats to this rule. But for the average person, you know, who may not be getting enough vegetables, who’s been eating a, you know, standard American diet for quite some time, could really benefit from some activated B12 and activated 5-MTHF.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. We have this whole cycle where B6 and B12, folate, they kinda all work together but at the same time I think a lot of people ignore the protein part of it.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And protein is so important at pushing that pathway along, correct?

Mike Mutzel: Exactly. Yeah, so that’s where the methionine comes in. Protein is very important but it can also get stuck, too. I mean, you know, as Dr. Ben will tell you and other folks that are really into this research which I’m just gonna giving you a cursory overview. You know, more than 50% of the population has some sort of a snip in the folate metabolic pathway. And so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Mike Mutzel: You can create various metabolites, for example, so if you consume folic acid, you know, that can create end products that inhibit other receptors and so on. So it gets really kinda complicated. So the bottom line is look at your multivitamin. You know, make sure that it does not contain folic acid. That you’re having–that it has either calcium folinate or 5-MTHF and that’s the active form. And also like your multivitamin or your protein whatever it is, and if it has cyanocobalamin, throw it out, get a new one. You want methylcobalamin.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Ah! Got it, that’s great. Really, really good and also the part about protein I think is really good, the L-methionine. So once you have the B16, the B12, the L-MTHF there. Then if we have some good protein especially the L-methionine, that’s gonna help run that cycle, correct?

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Yeah, great point. I mean, it’s at the top of the–top of the cycle there, too. So and then also digestion, too. You know, so if–you know, so you’re supplementing with these things and you might still be anxious or have sleep issues or whatever, you also want to make sure your digestion is important because if we’re not breaking down proteins, we’re not absorbing these amino acids, you know. And kind of the third link there that I would like people to understand is this is all linked to detoxification, you know. So we have methylation cycle and then we have homocysteine and again below that is glutathione, so really important that we are minimizing toxins in endocrine and chemicals and all these pollutants in our food and so forth, because those can interfere with methylation and the glutathione aspect of it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, very good and also people–I see a lot of people taking glutathione which is a great detoxifier but again, glutatathione is behind, it’s at the bottom of that whole entire–

Mike Mutzel: Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cycle. So it’s not gonna be a replacement for either the SAMe or the L-methionine or those amino acids above the chain. Is that correct, Mike?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Yeah, so I think, you know, anyone that’s taking glutathione, they should also be adding in the 5-MTHF and B12, and kinda looking at it from the outside because methylation and detox, they go hand in hand. That they’re, you know, kind of this different sides of the same coin. So glutathione is important. I mean, there’s no question about that and I think there’s value in supplementing with it. But you wanna support both sides of that equation. And also, glutathione is very expensive. Maybe folks would get the same benefit from just supporting kind of the upstream metabolites and not having to pay whatever it is, $70 a month for some these liposomal compounds or whatever. I mean, you know, activated B12 and folate are–you can get away with that with $18 a month retail. So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Mike Mutzel: There are different ways to kind of improve your cellular biochemistry without having to, you know, spend extra money.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah and one of the things I see because I do a lot of organic acid testing on my patients and we’ll see these organic acids that are indicative of neurotransmitter imbalance like, you know, 5-hydroxyindoacetic, homovanillate, and vanilmandelate. These are just organic acids that mean our serotonin or dopamine is off in the brain. One of the things that we always have to do is we have to give the B6, folate–

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And B12 but we also have to make sure those sulfur amino acids are there because they are also some important for dopamine metabolism. So sulfur is so important not even just for detoxification but for also for healthy brain chemistry.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Yeah, it’s a really great point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And I’m gonna–you inspired me to do a video on this because I saw your video and I’m like, “Oh, this is, you know, a really important topic that many people need more elaboration on.” So that’s great.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm. Yeah, and the other compound, too. You probably would see off the beat at a–that 80HDG, the marker of DNA damage.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Mike Mutzel: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, exactly. Yup, that’s the 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine?

Mike Mutzel: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I love that one. It’s a bit of fun one to say.

Mike Mutzel: Right, right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And there was a conference here, just in New York the other day and one of the presenters, he was mentioning that you want that marker 4 or below. You want a want a below 4 ideally. So if you ran an organic acid test make sure that marker is below 4.

Mike Mutzel: Interesting.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Good starting point. Yeah. Well, Mike, is there anything else you wanna touch upon today? Or I mean–

Mike Mutzel: You know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We went over a lot of stuff so our listeners have probably like at capacity so rewind it. Listen to it again. Anything else you wanna touch upon here?

Mike Mutzel: You know, I think that’s pretty much it, Dr. Justin. Yeah, we covered a whole lot there and yeah, if anyone wants to again learn more information about, you know, kind of the gut hormones and leptin and that circadian clock system, there’s some free videos over at BellyFatEffect.com.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great! And where can our listeners find more about you outside of that site.

Mike Mutzel: Sure, yeah, thanks. My primarily blog is highintensityhealth.com. And so, I have a podcast like yourself and interview experts, and do blog posts that are really pertinent with, you know, How Tos. For example, how to avoid toxins or you know, different ways that you can increase your gut hormones, you know, nutritionally and so forth. So.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s excellent.

Mike Mutzel: Highintensityhealth.com would be the website.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You have a podcast? Great. You also have a YouTube channel, too?

Mike Mutzel: Yeah, so that’s just High Intensity Health in YouTube where if you type in Mike Mutzel, you will pull that up as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great, awesome, Mike! Thanks so much. It was a pleasure to have you on the show.

Mike Mutzel: Thanks for having me on. This was great.



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