Dallas Kingsbury, MD, is the medical director for two companies:
- Danford Works is a virtual platform that combines personal data analysis and 1:1 coaching to empower people to live their healthiest and most active lives.
- Fountain Life (Naples Center in Florida) is a company dedicated to proactive and personalized medical care via cutting-edge artificial intelligence-enhanced diagnostic testing.
He has been a teaching assistant professor of Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine in the Rusk Rehabilitation department at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. This is a very special edition because I have not only Dallas Kingsbury, who’s an MD with us, Dr. Dallas Kingsbury, with us today, but he’s also a very good friend. Welcome to the Impact Podcast, Dallas.
Dallas Kingsbury, MD: Thank you, John. Appreciate it.
John: In another podcast on another date, we’re going to talk about some of those things I’m doing with you and also with your wife, Dr. Jane Danford. You’ve seen me and you’ve been my doctor, I think, going back down seven or eight years.
John: I’m a huge fan of your work. So I just wanted to get that out there for our listeners to know that we’re already associated and we already get to work together. But this is very important, what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and we’re going to get into that in a little bit. But before we get there, Dallas, go into a little bit of the background of the Dallas Kingsbury story. Where did you even grow up and what inspired you to become a doctor to start with?
Dallas: Yeah. Thank you, John. So I grew up in New Jersey. My first exposure to caring for patients was actually working with my dad, very early on, my dad, the chiropractor. I was always very interested in health and wellness. I went to Johns Hopkins University and college thinking I was going to do some kind of neuroscience research or some kind of research involving actually maybe either meditation or the effects of holistic medicine on health outcomes. Johns Hopkins was not doing anything like that at the time that I was there. Now actually a lot of big universities are doing that kind of research but not at that time. I actually asked a few friends and family for some thoughts, because I didn’t want to go in to become a neuroscience PhD, I didn’t love writing research papers as a full-time job. And so they said, “Do you have the credits? Can you go to medical school?” And I said, “Yeah, I think I could probably do that. From there I took a few extra courses and the next year applied and went to medical school. The funny thing about medical school is that most of my colleagues… I know you know many, many doctors, John, but a lot of medical students come in knowing… either their family members or doctors or they were heavily inspired by some physician interaction at some point and they kind of know, oh, I want to be a pediatrician. I’m going to be an oncology surgeon. I had none of that. I was doing well in medical school the first two years, and I go, I don’t really know what I want to do. Everyone’s going into their third year, it’s a big year, you’re doing all your clinical rotations, and I’m sitting there saying, I had no idea what kind of a doctor I want to be. So I took a year off. The deans at the medical school – Actually, this is Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey – said, “Sure you could take a year off. But please come back after this year.” I took a year off to do flying trapeze. It’s a whole nother story but I joined the circus.
John: Honestly, I have to tell our listeners, the first time I met you, I came into your office, I was all banged up from a bed slip and fall in Minneapolis or somewhere I’ve been traveling, [crosstalk] and all black and blue, and you took the utmost care to look after me and get me back on my feet again and tell me that everything’s going to be okay.
Dallas: I remember.
John: But at the end of that session, I remember so vividly, you started sharing with me the fact that you were a trapeze artist and you showed me some of the most incredible videos. I have to tell you. I was like, this guy is not only beyond impressive as a doctor, which you were and are, but you also were unbelievably fabulously athletic. You were doing things on the trapeze that I’ve rarely ever seen done before, then, or after. So you are a very talented trapeze artist. Let’s just say that.
Dallas: Thanks, John. Appreciate it. Well, I took that experience, and having done that for a year, and then actually having had friends go off to Cirque du Soleil and perform, I still went back to medical school. Through that time, I continued trapeze training and continued sort of in this acrobatic world and performance world, a little bit dabbling here and there. I really came to appreciate sports medicine, because so many of my friends and performers were getting injured, and they’d say, “Oh, you’re in medical school. Can you help out with my shoulder, my back, or my neck?” And I said, “Wait a minute. I already have a lot of experience seeing musculoskeletal injuries having been with my dad for years, as a chiropractor.” I said, “I think sports medicine might be the right place for me.” That’s what gave me the idea – let me do a sports medicine fellowship after doing a rehabilitation medicine residency, all in New York City. I kept doing flying trapeze, and that’s what got me on my way to at least the initial phase of my career.
John: Got it. And you became a doctor. Where I saw you originally was at NYU Langone. So you’re a doctor at NYU Langone where you are now still an assistant professor, but now [crosstalk] a Medical Director for Danford Works and Fountain Life Naples.
John: For those who want to find Danford Works, you can go to danfordworks.com or fountainlife.com. Go into that a little bit. How did you evolve, being what was a traditional but unbelievably talented and huge reputational doctor at NYU Langone, to the work you’re doing now with Danford Works and Fountain Life?
Dallas: Sure. So I can start off with whichever one you want to start off with first.
John: [inaudible] Here’s the book. By the way, for our listeners out there, this book is a fabulous book. It’s called Life Force. It’s been written by Dr. Peter Diamandis and Robert Hariri, and of course, Tony Robbins is all over it as well, and he’s the chief author of this book with these two great doctors. At the Naples center, you are the medical director. So it must be fascinating to be involved with these gentlemen and this [inaudible] work that you’re doing [crosstalk] as a medical director at Naples.
John: So let’s start there, and then we’ll work into what you’re doing with your brilliant wife, Jane Danford, as well.
Dallas: Perfect. Well, Fountain Life is a preventative health and longevity company committed to transforming global healthcare from reactive to proactive. I’ll get into what that means in a minute. it is proactive, data-driven. The idea is we’re trying to treat illnesses earlier than ever before. There are multiple Fountain Life centers, clinical centers people can come to to get diagnostic testing. There’s one in Naples, there’s one in Westchester, New York, and a new center that has just opened up in Frisco, Texas, and then for a center opening up in Lake Nona just at the end of the year. Lake Nona is right outside of Orlando. I came to Fountain Life basically after moving to Naples with my wife, Jane. It was a perfect fit. As soon as I interviewed for the job, because of my experience in rehabilitation and sports medicine, a lot of the clients coming to Fountain Life have various musculoskeletal orthopedic related injuries and they can’t essentially fulfill their goals in life with being injured, so that was a perfect fit. It’s easy to get caught in a system as a physician, I guess, and as a patient, where you just see so many people with major things missing in their healthcare. Looking at somebody from a comprehensive perspective, all at once. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to take that on. And so our center does a lot of diagnostic testing and comprehensive almost like an executive physical. And with all of that data, we are able to come up with an incredible, essentially, plan for people for improving their health and life.
John: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the more interesting and cutting edge tests that you have new clients, new patients come in and do. Talk about the… I think it’s called the GRAIL test that you’ve told me about, the cancer screening. You want to share that with our listeners?
Dallas: Sure. Yeah, and I’ll give you a little bit of background too, and just why we pick some of these tests to do. Our current healthcare model is essentially predicated on sick care. Somebody comes in with an active disease, active cancer, requiring acute treatment. For example, 70% of people who have a heart attack today never had any symptoms prior to that episode of chest pain, and 70% of people who die from cancer die from a cancer where there’s no current screening for. Everyone knows you can get a colonoscopy, you can get prostate cancer screening if you’re a male, or breast cancer and cervical cancer screening if you’re a woman. But other than that, we’re not screening people for liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer. If you take all of those cancers combined that 70% of people die from, we’re not screening for those. So Fountain Life, one of their missions is to pick a few diagnostic tests that can potentially catch or find and be able to treat those types of cancer that we don’t currently screen for much, much earlier than would have ever presented to a doctor. As you mentioned, there’s an early cancer detection blood test, two vials of blood, and it has about a 65% sensitivity for picking up cancers that are undetected by your general screening. And then we follow that up with a full body MRI. Essentially, the protocols for the MRI are designed to, again, minimize false positives and pick up cancer as well as other things. I’ll give you some more statistics. We’ve scanned about 4000 people so far at Fountain Life, and about 2% of them had some kind of cancer, and 2% of them had a brain aneurysm that they didn’t know about.
Dallas: About 14% of them had some type of fatty liver disease or elevated liver iron, again, that people had no idea about. And then in terms of our other testing, about 40 to 50% of people had some form of pre-diabetes. So it’s a lot of data that we gather on people; like you mentioned, cancer was a big one of them. We’ve been able to intervene and of course refer clients to either surgeons or oncologists, and intervene much earlier than would have been possible, because these are asymptomatic.
John: When you first told me about this a year ago, and you said it takes about two weeks to get your results once you take the test?
Dallas: Two to four weeks. Yeah.
John: Okay. But I thought about wow, how scary. But then when you explained it to me that if you’re going to think of cancer as a forest fire, it’s better to catch it when there’s one tree on fire than when there’s a thousand trees on fire.
John: So, the repetitive nature of finding someone when they’re between 0 and 1 on the cancer scale than when they’re at 4 massively improves their chances of survival and thriving, right?
Dallas: By a huge amount. The statistics are somewhere around, let’s say, if you can catch cancer at stage one, five year survival is about 90% [inaudible] cancer, right? And so that’s extraordinarily good. Whereas if you catch cancer at later stages: stage three, stage four, we’re talking about less than a 25% survival rate. If you just pick lung cancer, we’re talking 5% five year survival rate. So being able to pick up early cancer at stage one or stage two is, I think, paramount for… Again, depending on an individual philosophy. It’s a little challenging to get into the concept of, well, how could we possibly do this for everyone and a full body MRI for everybody, that’s impossible. I think the difference between precision personalized medicine versus population medicine is a wonderful debate. I think at some point, as a society, we will hopefully get there where everybody has access to some kind of life changing technology like this. But we’re really in the earliest phases of this. So it’s really fascinating. But no, unfortunately, it’s a slow process to figure out how to make this accessible to everybody. But at this point, I mean, we’ve had some amazing success stories on the people that have come through.
John: Those tests, as you just said, a full body MRI, the GRAIL… How about the DEXA? You recently had me take the DEXA. We’re not going to go into that today. But I find it’s life changing and fascinating why you had me do the DEXA, and already feeling the benefits from it. Share about what you do with the DEXA scan.
Dallas: DEXA is traditionally a bone density test. DEXA stands for Dual X-ray Absorptiometry, which is essentially a very low radiation, full body X-ray. The radiation is, essentially, like from flying here to LA, half the distance between from Florida to LA. [crosstalk]
John: The minimum [inaudible] radiation.
Dallas: Correct. It’s an incredibly small amount of radiation. But it’s a full body X-ray, done in a particular way that can, one, tell you your bone density, and two, tell you your body composition, of course, if the scanner is capable of that. It’s incredibly helpful. And this is not new. This is actually not leveraging advanced artificial intelligence enhanced technology like we do have at Fountain Life. This is actually a very underutilized piece of tech that’s been around for a few decades now. I’d have to probably get the opinion of a whole lot of other people out there who’ve been in the fitness and health industry for a long time as to why it’s been so underutilized. You get a lot of data out of it. But knowing a few key metrics is helpful.
We always think about bone density as being a problem for women who are postmenopausal.
Dallas: But knowing that you might be on the lower end of the spectrum for bone density, even for men and for younger women, helps predict how you might carry yourself going into the future. I want to kind of reset the philosophy here. The average physician, again, who knows all the good things about going to medical school and residency would say, “Wait a minute, we’re only doing a DEXA scan in postmenopausal women because those are the people who are at the highest risk for fracture. And then we can’t possibly scan everyone. And so why are we scanning…” So you probably shouldn’t scan men and younger women. Why? Essentially, because what they do is the World Health Organization has a fracture risk score. And then they say, “Oh, well, if your fracture risk in 10 years is above some setpoint, then on a population level, those are the people we should screen.” It’s a completely arbitrary set point. It’s an arbitrary age and an arbitrary cut off. Say, “Oh, well, the fracture risk is above 10%, oh, well, then you’re the people we want to screen.” Well, wait a minute, that’s a 10 year risk of fracture. But what if I have clients like yourself, who say, “I don’t want to live for another 10 years. I want to live, I don’t know, for another 50 years”? Who knows?
Dallas: So if I can detect early changes in bone density that are essentially, on the lower end, let’s say one standard deviation lower than average for your age, that may not mean that you’re at a serious risk for fracture, you’re probably not. That may not mean that you need to go on medication. Of course not. But it might mean that we need to reevaluate, one, maybe what kinds of physical exercise you’re doing. I get a lot of runners or swimmers who are incredibly athletic, and have no clue that their bone density is on the lower end of normal, maybe one or even two standard deviations off from their normal. They would never know that. The other thing is family history. People with a family history of osteoporosis may have lower than they would expect, low bone density. Again, this wouldn’t be to put them on a medication, this wouldn’t be to assess their near-term risk for fracture. This is we’re helping people think 30 to 50 to maybe even longer years down the line.
John: True. Break it down like this, now that you’ve made me think about bone density, because you had me take a DEXA, what’s fascinating is what I heard recently in one of the podcasts I was listening to. By the way, for our listeners out there, not only is this a great book Tony Robbins wrote with these two other great doctors, but on page… Of course, I failed to mention the first time on page 262, 263, Dallas himself was mentioned in this book. So when I say Dallas is one of the great doctors out there and that we’re so lucky to have him today, he’s in this great book. And this book I highly recommend to people. Tony Robbins was actually talking about morbidity rates, that if you’re in your 60s, with a poor bone density, and you have an accident and break a hip, the morbidity rate is… Go, share….
Dallas: Some of the statistics earlier… I don’t know what the updated ones are, but I know the mortality was up to 50% of a hip fracture within a year.
John: That’s what you said, and I almost [crosstalk] fell down when I [inaudible]
Dallas: [inaudible] bone density.
John: So there are huge dangers that associate with being low bone density and having an accident or something happen. Becoming immobile is not what we want to become in our 60s.
Dallas: It’s really data to inspire people to change, as opposed to, again, how the World Health Organization would look at it and say, “This is data used to predict drug treatment and postmenopausal women.” No, no, no. I mean, yes, that’s helpful but I also think it’s helpful for people who are at lower risk of fracture, but to say, “Wow I didn’t realize my bone density was that much lower than average. What can I do to become more fit stronger and healthier?”
John: Well, the whole paradox also is someone like me who is just an average person on the street, when you had me take the DEXA, I was doing it, in my mind, to find out my body fat ratio. I had no bone density on my mind, they were two words that never crossed my vernacular. Now, I’m all bone density… [inaudible] bone density now.
Dallas: Body composition, as you mentioned, is also very helpful. Again, because the amount of adipose tissue that’s around the internal organs – We call that visceral adipose tissue – plays very, very strongly into the risk of cardiovascular disease… It’s a little bit too nuanced to get into. But ultimately, because of certain attributes of that particular fat that’s in the abdominal cavity… It’s not necessarily even fat that you can see from the outside. And so even a relatively small amount of that fat that’s around the internal organs creates a significantly elevated risk for type two diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks, and even Alzheimer’s disease. So it’s wonderful to be able to check these types of metrics, again, way before symptoms ever occur, and say, hey this is a perfect opportunity. I tell people, look, this is wonderful that we found this because now we have so much time to make a change.
John: There was another thing. I was doing it for body fat composition; visceral fat was not a part of my vernacular. Well, now it is, and now it’s something that I’m thinking about because of the DEXA and because of you and because of Jane and all the great work you both are doing. Talk about some success stories of Fountain Life that you’d like to share with our listeners, and also, for our listeners and viewers, how can they sign up for Fountain Life if they’re getting inspired by listening to you or they read Tony’s book and listen to this podcast? Is it hard to sign up? And how does the process even begin?
Dallas: Thank you. I guess I’ll answer that last question first. There are two ways; going straight to the Fountain Life website, there’s easy access to… Clicking to Learn More About Fountain Life, you’ll get connected to an advisor. That would be the probably easiest and most streamlined way because you go through our advisors, and we have a whole tech team that was involved in that. Maybe at some point we’ll talk… If people are having trouble, I guess, getting an appointment, maybe we’ll have some way that people can get into contact with your [inaudible] team and then they’ll put them directly in touch with me. You mentioned success stories. I mean, at Fountain Life now, I’ve been here doing essentially these very advanced executive physicals for more than a year. I think I’m on my fourth totally asymptomatic diagnosis of kidney cancer. It’s an isolated tumor of the kidney that we pick up on the full body MRI. I mean, we are down to, I think, our fourth person who we found it. It was early, it had not spread past the kidney, it did not, quote unquote, “metastasize.” And for every single person, they bring that… I call them immediately. I say, “You know what, we found something, this is why you came in.” And I say, “This is the next step, is we’re going to get you to see a urologist or urology surgeon, and we’re going to probably get this thing out.” And sure enough, it’s our fourth person who’s taken the scan to the surgeon, and the surgeon says, “Wait a minute, why did you get this again? You have no symptoms.” And the person says, “Nope, no symptoms. I got the scan at Fountain Life.” And sure enough, they take the thing out and they do an analysis of it, an histological pathology analysis, and say, “Yeah, this was kidney cancer. They saved your life.” There’s no way anybody would have picked this up until it would have spread; it spread to the bone, it spread to the brain, it spread to the lung.” So this would have spread somewhere and been definitely inoperable, and maybe untreatable. Now it takes a while. Kidney cancer actually takes a while to spread. It’s just amazing to hear these stories. And of course, our clients are incredibly grateful. But again it’s not, of course, just us, it’s us creating this system whereby people can come in and get this full, comprehensive health evaluation.
John: I’m 60 years old, Dallas. When you’re 60 years old or even 55 or 65 or whatever age people come in… You’re much younger. When people start coming into Fountain Life, is it a yearly checkup that they come for you with as their ongoing care? How does the cadence of care really work?
Dallas: You know, it’s very individualized, we have some people that become members. That’s another set of details. But ultimately, I mean, some people come in, and it’s a one and done. They’ve been very concerned about their risk, and maybe they come in, and they have a few things that we talk to them about. And then they say, “That’s amazing. I’m really happy. I think I’m good for now.” But a lot of our clients are sort of, I think, in the mindset of, I either found something and treated it or thankfully found nothing on this first go round. They actually choose to come in either yearly or every other yearly as essentially a full health upload. That’s kind of the term coined by Peter Diamandis, who is, again, a very futuristic thinker and tech entrepreneur. And so thinking that you’re almost digitizing as much of your body as possible and having it in the cloud, that sort of tech cloud, so to speak. Being able to track and measure things on a yearly basis. I think there can be more traditional physicians out there that would push back against that and say, “Wait a minute, you’re getting way too much. You’re doing way too much testing. You’re creating anxiety in people. It doesn’t have to be done yearly.” And I’d say, “Hold on, I don’t want this to become a political or strongly emotional kind of discussion.” I’ve done, now, hundreds of these evaluations on people, and I don’t even know if I can count a single person who… Maybe I don’t know about it again. So maybe there are people who had a bad experience and I don’t know about it. But most of my clients follow up with me. Almost everyone follows up with me. At no point has somebody said, “This scan gave me so much anxiety. I’m never doing this again.” No, because we will find asymptomatic things. When we do your MRI, John, we’re going to find probably a cyst in the kidney, a cyst in the liver, a benign thing here and there. The idea is not to catastrophize those things and say, oh, we found something, we’re going to… We don’t biopsy things unnecessarily. This comprehensive testing is ultimately kind of designed and woven together to give reassurance. And we only really follow up on things that are high risk. So it’s ultimately a mindset change. It’s let’s get the full body upload, let’s find out what your baseline is, and then just kind of, I guess, inpassionately or dispassionately check this on a relatively ongoing basis. Some people choose a yearly cadence. Again, a year is pretty simple; you do a yearly physical, and just every year it comes up. There is a little bit of science behind it too. So, if for example, we did your full scan and we found nothing, and this is great. Okay, no tumors, no masses, nothing urgent. If the next day, there was some little mass there that suddenly became detectable just the day after you got the scan, the most unfortunate… If we waited a whole year and rescanned you, theoretically, most things would still be very small in stage one on that next year. So a year is a pretty good opportunity to repeat a lot of scanning on people. Early cancer detection blood test, as well as an MRI.
John: I’ll push back on, like you said, the anxiety argument. The other argument is, once we start working with you with Fountain Life or at Danford Works, the peace of mind you have on the other side, once you start getting these tests, is worth all the minor anxiety going into what are these tests going to show? I’d rather know than have everything opaque.
Dallas: Right. Look, it’s people’s bodies. I get it. I mean, people are anxious. And this is it, one life. So I get the anxiety. But if I can somehow coach people that are listening that would say, “I would never want this because…” I’m not trying to convince anybody to get [inaudible].
John: Right. No.
Dallas: Oh, I guess I forgot to do the caveat, like I’m not your doctor.
John: Say that. I want you to say it.
Dallas: This is not medical advice. Any questions you have, you should see your doctor and ask your doctor about them. This is blanketly just talking about [crosstalk] it in general.
John: Having a discussion.
Dallas: But that being said, again, the philosophy of this would be like, okay, again, thinking more dispassionately about how these things… Think about it this way. Would you want to get into a car or an airplane that doesn’t undergo regular checkups? Right? No, you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t want to go to an airplane. [inaudible] like, well, why would you want to know? I’m going to get on the airplane anyway. It’s like, no, you want to get that thing checked out before you take off. And if you find something, well, thankfully, you found something now and you could fix it before you take off. Again, obviously, there’s maybe some flaws in that comparison, but I think people get the idea. There’s a way to go about this without getting wrapped up in the anxiety. Again, if people have anxiety then that’s something that we counsel people on.
John: We’re going to switch hats now from your great work at Fountain Life. For people that want to find Dallas and Fountain Life and all the great work Dallas and his colleagues are doing there or to sign up for some of these tests and to meet Dallas in person at the Naples facility where he’s the Medical Director, please go to www.fountainlife.com. Now we’re going to switch hats now where you’re the medical director for Danford Works with your wonderful wife, Dr. Jane Danford, who I’ve known now 10 or 11 years, and she’s been also my physical therapist and now working with her on other issues with you. Talk a little bit about Danford Works, why Danford Works was created, and what you and Jane do there together.
Dallas: Sure. Denver works is a personalized wellness platform that combines some health data analysis and one-on-one coaching to empower people to achieve better lifelong health. So it’s essentially a team of expert clinicians and it’s also a physician but physical therapists, dieticians, wellness and nutrition coaches, certified strength and conditioning specialists, that essentially guide, educate, and inspire you on a wellness journey from the comfort of your own home. Their mission, of course, is just to make health optimization more manageable, enjoyable, and accessible for people.
Jane created Danford Works. She started it as a physical therapy practice based out of New York City. As you know, that’s [inaudible] Jane.
Dallas: She quickly realized though, seeing patients for almost 10 years before starting this more comprehensive platform… She really recognized early on that in order to get people to recover as fast as possible, she really had to address their whole body health. And she started focusing on the the quote unquote, “big picture” pretty early on. And she noticed that her patients were recovering more quickly and looking better, feeling better, performing better. It just took her time to gather together the right colleagues and the right partners to put together this comprehensive program. So it just was no surprise because even before Jane started this current iteration of Danford Works back when it was just called Danford Physical therapy, her clients go to, essentially, a health consultant. I mean, maybe you have stories. Actually, I’ll let you tell it. But the reason why you even met me was because you asked her, “What doctor should I see?” Right?
John: That’s right. That’s exactly right. I was seeing one of your colleagues who was traveling at the time when I got injured, and he was my doctor because of Jane. Dr. Kirschner out of NYU Langone back then. And then you were available, and I came to see you and you are amazing as well. Not only did I learn about the trapeze but it was literally in that room…. I just remember sitting in that room, I remember which side of the table I was on, where your desk was, on the right hand side, where the examination table was, on the left hand side. And I said to myself, “These two should be together. Jane and [inaudible] should be together. These two are both geniuses. They know more than any other doctors I’ve ever met in my life.” And they got that worked out. But yeah, you’re right, Jane was a great facilitator in terms of making sure that her clients were always being taken care of for their needs. And everyone she ever sent me to was amazing. So I mean, it just made sense for her to put together Danford Works. [inaudible]
Dallas: She has tons and tons of examples of amazing success stories. This iteration of her company was really born out of, again, so many of her clients asking her, “Who do I go to for this? What does this mean? Should I be taking this thing? Should I be going to this thing? Is this surgeon good? Is this guy…” She realized that in the world of whatever our current world of social media and where people are getting their information from… I mean, as difficult as it was to find a good physician, I don’t know, 10, 20 years ago, you think, okay, with the internet, Google, Yelp, it’s going to be so much easier to get good information. How untrue, is that? Right?
John: You bring up a brilliant point. It’s the paradox of the internet. The paradox of the internet is because you think then the best would rise to the top, but the truth is so many of the frauds and charlatans have a chance to rise to the top. So you have a democratization the fake ones, the ones that really don’t know how to get it done. So it creates more confusion than before we had the intranet, frankly, speaking.
Dallas: Right. So seeing that and constantly having her clients asking her, “Is this legit? Is that legit? Is this treatment… Should I be doing this or that?” She said, “Wait a minute, this is an opportunity to gather together a team, a multidisciplinary team, to coach people one-on-one from everything, from injuries to body composition, weight loss, and way more than that.”
John: The beauty of it is you and Jane get to do this, and your clients get to do this, and it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in Fresno, or in Paris, [crosstalk] or New York, or in Hawaii or in Shanghai, you can see that this can be done all remotely now.
John: That’s amazing.
Dallas: We have so many great stories. Like we had an elite runner basically told by multiple physical therapists, multiple orthopedic surgeons that… She basically ruptured her hamstring and had surgery and was told, “You might really never run again.” Elite runner, almost a professional runner. And she worked with the Danford Works team, including, at one point, Jane, and then our other executive team member, Auren Manalo. They assessed every angle from her kind of top to bottom… nutritional assessments, body composition, bone density, along with a very in-depth physical therapy assessment, and they they got her back to running, essentially, completely against what many, many physical therapist orthopedic surgeons said. “You’ll never get back to your prior pace and speed, competition, fitness.” She’s now one of the top female ultra runners in the country.
John: What’s next for Danford Works? What are the plans?
Dallas: That’s a good question. What’s next? In the evolution of a small startup company, I think the next thing is probably going to be figuring out how we’re going to hire a few more coaches and hire potentially some few other physicians to round out our virtual platform, and then probably some upgrades to some backend technical things, make things a little bit easier for people to access data. So mostly those kinds of things. It’s very open. I think the nice thing about the platform is it’s predicated on Jane’s kind of prior concierge practice where it was exceedingly high value information from one-on-one coaching from a very selective group of experts. So again, it started with Jane’s expertise, and it’s just expanded. The only people she brings on… For example, her wellness and nutrition coach, Tracy Friedman, was heavily involved in this other case which I’ll tell you about. We had a client who her doctor told her, “You have osteoporosis,” put her on, basically, some medication, and said, “Look, this is just a slow… your decline. You’re going to decline. Your bone density is going to get worse. This is just trying to help prevent a fracture.” But again, she came through Danford Works, she worked with Tracy Freedman, and developed a strength program. worked with Jane, as well as this whole nutrition program, upped her protein, dialed in all of her nutrition. At six months, she got another DEXA scan. Her endocrinologist basically couldn’t believe it. They said, “Your bone density actually improved.” Again, to some people that don’t know that very well, unfamiliar with it, it’s very uncommon for bone density to improve. A lot of the treatments are meant to slow the decline. I guess it’s an anecdote, but it’s a wonderful anecdote saying that we can make a huge amount of change. But again, it’s a lot of one-on-one talking. It’s a lot of phone conversations and video messaging and really getting into the details. What’s going on in your life and how can we help you make meaningful changes to your habits and your fitness?
John: Well, Dallas, as our listeners and viewers have gotten to know you, they’re getting to know that you get to work with cool people like Tony Robbins and Dr. Peter Diamandis and all the colleagues you have at Fountain Life. But then everyone’s dream is… You have a day jo, and then you’re a side hustle. I only say that with love and admiration as you get to work with your wife, who’s another brilliant practitioner, and build the entrepreneurship side of your creativity and DNA, which is fascinating unto itself. So because you get to live in that… you’re surrounded with all these experts and wonderfully successful practitioners. We’ve talked about testing. Well, let’s talk about practical, actionable things our listeners and viewers can use that you’ve seen in both your own life and Jane’s life, but also in your clients’ lives that can be put to use when it comes to nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Share some of your thoughts on nutrition, exercise, and sleep for best practices.
Dallas: Okay. That’s broad. I like it though.
John: Well break it down to each segment, like general good thoughts on how should people who want to improve their health and wellness nutritionally… What’s some good guidelines? Is it Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen of things that we should be… I mean, what [inaudible] that are truisms, that are some good guidelines that people could be doing better?
Dallas: Let’s see. For nutrition, easier, actually, to start with debunking some myths before we get to… There’s a lot of myths about nutrition and diet, and these are woven into the current fads right. Fad diets have been around for a very long time, and they just morphed suddenly, some have gotten popularity and then research… Currently, we seem to be in this keto, paleo kind of carnivore thing right now, as well as this intermittent fasting, kind of like, when should I eat? And so what ends up happening with dietary recommendations is, typically, it’s creating, essentially, some sort of like a fear mongering, that this particular macronutrient, this particular thing is bad for you. And so we basically need to do everything else that’s not that thing. Or the problem of health in society is that people are eating too often, so we just need to eat less often, and that’ll fix everything.
John: So, zero-sum game, either do it our way or you’re doing it wrong.
Dallas: Right. And so there’s been a ton of research lately that’s come out. There was a big explosion about intermittent fasting. I tried intermittent fasting, just as an example, and it was like this big thing because they thought, “Well, you only eat in a certain time window, and that’s going to upregulate these special chemicals in your body. They’re going to fight cancer and help you lose weight,” and all this stuff, as long as you’re just not eating for whatever… They said 18 hours or 16 hours at a time. There are some huge studies that came out of both the US and China and elsewhere, so multicenter trials that show that, in general, people weren’t all that much healthier at all, really no statistically significant changes in many metrics of health for almost a year of intermittent fasting. Some of the studies were less than a year. So, what it truly came down to was the following, no matter how you did it, if you ate less calories, if you started off overweight and had metabolic issues, either prediabetes, or high cholesterol, or whatever it was, if you ended up eating less calories, you were healthier; it didn’t matter exactly how you got it. Okay, so that’s sort of an example of how you can take this new fad and then actually have to kind of break some of it down and wait for some new research to come out. It’s funny, the single diet that tends to have the most amount of evidence behind it… I mean, it’s pretty boring for me to say it. It’s the Mediterranean diet. Over and over again, it’s the kind of Michael Pollan thing, like try to eat mostly plants and eat just enough to satiate yourself. Whether or not you throw in some lean animal protein or you get most of it from plant protein seems like it doesn’t matter all that much as long as you’re getting enough protein. But that Mediterranean style diet where it’s relatively low in saturated fat with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and then the beans, legumes, nuts, etc… Over and over again, it’s been shown to improve brain health and blood vessel health, so it reduces cardiovascular events. But over and over again, it tends to be, if you are at risk, the main thing is to find out… Here’s the other thing. Diets are different for everybody. So whatever diet tends to help people be the most satiated and tend to overeat less, tends to be the best for their metabolic health. So if they can get their intermittent fasting, great, if they’re on a high carb vegan diet, great. So I guess what I’d follow that up with is we won’t really know until we get a sense of your metabolic health. So unless you get your blood work done regularly, you get your body composition done… We know how much visceral fat you have, those are the kinds of things that we want to… I’d recommend people to be checking to make sure their diet is right for them.
John: That’s so great. How about exercise? Obviously you and Jane are extraordinarily fit. You’re built like an athlete. Jane’s an athlete. What do you think people can do in terms of fitness, actionable… They don’t have to go out and buy a peloton bike right away and other things to prove that they’re going to really get there. What can people do to be more fit in terms of activity?
Dallas: I hate to answer this question again with a hey, we have to do more testing kind of answer. There’s a lot of situations where… If you’re starting off with, I love playing X sport, should I not play that sport for some reason? I generally say, look, if you can find something that you love doing, that’s primacy, that’s number one. If anything’s going to get you up off the couch to do that thing, amazing. That’s got to be number one. So you have a huge hobby that you love, great, we’ll use that. That’s number one. But based on the data, if we’re talking about just maximizing healthspan and lifespan… Let’s take cardiovascular fitness; there’s a measurement of cardiovascular fitness called a VO2 Max. That’s essentially how good your lungs are at extracting oxygen out of the air. Maybe I explained that slightly poorly, but that’s the idea. So how good your lungs are extracting oxygen is essentially almost a linear curve for lifespan or inversely correlated with mortality. So some type of cardiovascular training… Again, if you hate cardio and you’ll never do cardio, strict cardio, but you’ll get out on the tennis court, amazing. That’s great. That’s what you got to do. But all things being considered, some type of cardiovascular training three to four times a week, that’s activating that system that will help you increase your cardiovascular fitness, there’s no question that that’s correlated with longevity. Now, that is one. The other is resistance training. Some people, you can’t get them out of the gym, and they just love weightlifting. And then there’s other people who can’t stand it and never want to step foot in a gym. Again, it depends. In people who are relatively, I guess, under muscled or have too little muscle mass… We can define that. There’s a term in medicine called sarcopenia. We can determine that by testing. If people are on the lower end of muscle mass, it would be tough for me as a health consultant to say, oh, you’re okay with that low muscle mass. No, I mean, if I see somebody at, let’s say, the 10th percentile for their muscle for their age and muscle mass, I gotta say we’ve got to hit the gym a little bit, we’ve got to find some way to get some resistance training to put muscle on you. Now, in a world of, as you said, peloton and group fitness classes, as well as swimming, running, yoga, pilates, and all of these other kinds of fitness crazes… I look at some things and say, look… Here’s an example. Much, much easier, as opposed to giving blanket advice, it’d be here’s the specific example. Let’s say I see a woman who’s in her, let’s say mid 50s, incredibly fit, super low body fat, and we find that her bone density is a little on the low side, and she is very fit and thin, petite, but actually is maybe in the 15th or 10th percentile of her age in terms of muscle, that kind of stereotypical archetype is also the type of person, at least in the United States, who tends to focus on peloton and pilates. It’s super high cardio. I said, “Do you do any strength training?” And they say, “Yeah, yeah, I do lots of pilates,” or like a ballet barre class or something like that. Maybe that shows New York kind of like… But whatever. LA too. But here’s the problem. I said, “Look, you can do pilates all day long and ballet bar all day long, but 100 leg lifts and hip thrusters against no resistance, you’re not going to gain muscle.” If we take your body composition now, here’s the raw data: maybe at 55, you look great, you fit into your dresses and whatever, but at 65, 75, 85, the ability to maintain that muscle goes down and down and down. So if you’re in the 10th percentile now, it’s going to be the lower and lower and lower… So the 10th percentile when you’re 55 is starting to look like what we call sarcopenia by the time you’re in your 70s or 80s. Once once you hit sarcopenia, your risk for dementia, cancer, falls, head injuries, and hip fractures are all elevated at that point. So I have to say, look, at this point, you’re in the top shape of your life, but we have to think about putting muscle mass on you. I hope that was helpful for exercise?
John: Very helpful. Talk a little bit about sleep. What’s your thoughts on sleep? More is better? And is sleep [inaudible] dead? Mantra… when I was in my 20s, is also now dead and behind us?
Dallas: Yeah. We could have tackled sleep first, honestly, because of the pillars of health, I mean, there’s nothing that makes it more difficult to stick to a good diet, a healthy diet, than getting adequate sleep. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had the worst dietary choices than being sleep deprived at the airport, right? It’s the worst.
John: [inaudible] exercise program that I could sleep through if sleep deprived, you know?
Dallas: Right. So that’s kind of the obvious one. I’m going to almost plagiarize essentially from a lot of my mentors and my reading on the topic, because the importance of sleep is woefully under-trained in medical school. Not to mention how poorly under-slept medical students and residents are, personally, but the training is terrible. The statistics just go on and on and on. I mean, the risk of cardiovascular disease, the risk of cancer, the risk of dementia all go up in populations of people that are sleep deprived. Scary enough, I think the World Health Organization, actually classified night shift work as a carcinogen.
Dallas: Yeah. So people that engage in night shift work had such a higher increased risk of cancer that the World Health Organization reclassified it. It’s pretty amazing. So, how to sleep better. There have been books and entire podcasts, audio series devoted to getting better sleep and the importance of sleep. I typically have my clients say, look, if you’re having poor sleep, let’s break some things down. One, is it some kind of a medical problem that needs an accurate diagnosis. For example, if somebody has obstructive sleep apnea, where they’re just suddenly waking up, maybe they notice it, maybe they don’t, maybe they’re snoring so much their partner knows it, whatever the thing is, if that’s a medical… it doesn’t matter how much melatonin, or setting the temperature down, or whatever sleep ring you’re wearing is not going to help somebody with a medical issue. Again, as I said, through the whole podcast, I can’t be your doctor, and don’t take this as medical advice. But for sure, if you’re having a significant type of insomnia, you should get an evaluation from someone that’s qualified. So cutting out the actual medical reasons why you might not be sleeping well. You want to classify insomnia. There’s ultimately three types. I may be not getting this perfect, but the idea is that there’s the, “I’m having trouble getting to sleep,” the sleep onset, then there’s the, “I’m waking up in the middle of the night,” so it’s the sleep maintenance. “I can’t maintain my… I got to sleep perfectly fine. My head hits the pillow, I’m asleep, but then at 2am, boom, I’m up.” That’s sleep maintenance insomnia. And then there’s a whole other type of insomnia where it seems like you get to sleep okay, and maybe you’re not waking up too much, but I wake up every night every morning and I just don’t feel well rested. Once you get categorized properly and of course rule out serious medical issues affecting your sleep, then there’s a whole algorithm for trying to help people figure out what those issues are. I mean, at this point, it’s almost like… So many of the people I talked to, even people that aren’t super into health… I’ve heard of all the sleep hygiene recommendations, the not eating three hours before sleep and not over exercising three hours before sleep shutting off your screens an hour before getting to sleep. All of those things are very, very helpful but…
John: Sugar is a no no. Alcohol is a no, no.
Dallas: Alcohol, of course. So I would point people toward, definitely, my favorite book on the topic, it’s called Why We sleep by Matthew Walker… John are you [crosstalk] familiar with…
John: Yeah, that’s really become the genesis book on this whole issue, the compelling information.
Dallas: But I’d say that if those basic guidelines in those kinds of books… And Matthew Walker also has a great podcast, where he kind of breaks down a lot of his recommendations. If people are finding that they’re just not getting… That’s like the basics, right? The sleep hygiene stuff. At some point, it is very helpful to then say, okay, I should get a health coach and get a physician who knows what they’re doing and delve into my individual issues, because addressing each one of those things, it’s very individualized. I guess, some very practical things… Again, that’s been mentioned, but I can just take some of my experiences as something to jump off of. So, for example, if you hear the whole, okay, you have to sleep at a lower temperature, an ambient temperature, it’s a great recommendation, and Matt Walker talks on and on about the data, where they measure people’s body temperature, and they drop it down, and they get to sleep better when the body temperature drops, and all these things, well, that’s great. Specifically, how these people wear full body suits of cooling tubes, and they can cool down different parts of… Okay. But here’s the problem, in the real world, and he also acknowledges this too, but in the real world, I have to sleep next to my wife, who likes an ambient temperature much higher than mine. So, the practical solution there is something like, for example, a sleep mattress, or a cooling mattress, or a cooling topper, that has two different settings. So I cool my side of the bed down way lower than hers. It allows for me to optimize my temperature, and she gets to optimize her temperature. And there you go. So that’s an example of a little bit of a hack that… Again, so we leave the thermostat higher than I would want it, but I get to cool my side of the bed better. So that’s kind of an example of how you have to merge science with practicality.
John: We’ve covered a lot today. Any final thoughts before we say goodbye just for today? Because we’re going to have you back on, because I know you and Jane are going to grow Danford Works, I know Fountain Life is going to explode in the years to come, and that practice is also going to grow for you. Any final thoughts on health, wellness, and longevity before we sign off for this episode?
Dallas: You know what? We’ve covered so much. I think the one thing I would say is, the big overarching theme of this is that you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
John: I love it.
Dallas: So, the proper testing, getting to know what you want, and then that will help you focus on your goals, and then find an expert to work one-on-one with. As you mentioned, again, in the world that we’re living in with almost so much information where, unfortunately, almost like the worst information rises to the top, the social media algorithms are not designed to raise to the top the most accurate information; it’s the information that gets the most likes or comments or paid promotion. So finding the right expert and working one-on-one with that expert would be my recommendation.
John: If what rose to the top was… all that we saw was the best, we’d be all the visiting Dr. Kim Kardashian, I guess. But anyway, Dallas, thanks again. For our listeners out there, this book is one great example. Dallas is actually talked about in this book. This is a great book. And his practice at Fountain Life is amazing. Please go to www.fountainlife.com to find Dallas and his colleagues and all the important work that they’re doing there. To find Dallas and Jane and all the great work they’re doing at Danford Works, please go to www.danfordworks.com.
Dallas Kingsbury, you’re making a great impact on people’s life, longevity, health and wellness. Thank you for joining us on this episode. We’re going to have you back one day to talk about the continued journey that you’re on at both these great institutions. Thanks for spending time with us today.
Dallas: You got it, John. Thank you.
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