As a Functional Medicine M.D., Dr. Peter Kozlowski uses a broad array of tools to find the source of the body’s dysfunction: he takes the time to listen to his patients and plots their history on a timeline, considering what makes them unique and co-creating with them a truly individualized care plan.
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John: Welcome to another edition of The Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian, and I’m so excited to have not only my friend, but also my doctor back with us again. Dr. Peter Kozlowski, welcome back to the Impact Podcast Doc Koz.
Dr. Peter Kozlowski: John, thank you for having me. It’s such an honor to be back.
John: Well, I’m honored to have you back because you’re not only my good friend, but you’re also my great doctor and you’ve helped me tremendously improve my health and wellness, which I’m forever grateful for, and it’s an ongoing journey. But today we’re going to be talking not about only my recovery and everything you’ve helped me with and of course, for our listeners and viewers who remember you, you came on last year and discussed your first book, Unfunc Your Gut, and now you have a wonderful and very important something that I’m working on right now. Get the Func Out and I’m midway through my process working with you on this on. And so we’re going to talk about this, your new book today. And for our listeners and viewers would like to find Doc Koz and work with them like I have, you could go to www.doc-koz.com. Doc, what made you write this great new book? And talk a little bit about the impetus behind that and why this book is so important to our listeners and viewers.
Peter: I would say, put it simply unfinished business.
John: I like that.
Peter: Yeah. So for any of your listeners that haven’t heard of functional medicine, maybe they missed our first podcast together or haven’t heard of functional medicine, that’s what I do. And so I was trained as a family practice doctor. I have an MD, I went through residency and I just got lucky really to be introduced to functional medicine. So for those of our listeners that haven’t heard of it…
John: Tell us what it is.
Peter: The whole point of it is to figure out why, instead of someone coming to me and me making them… giving them something to feel better, I help them figure out why, just like with working with you, we’ve helped you figure out why certain things are happening. It’s not pharmaceutical-based. It is investigation, it’s testing, and it’s using natural ways to heal. So it’s lumped under alternative medicine, but it is all about figuring out why someone’s sick. And so I always describe it for someone that’s new to functional medicine. It does not matter to me if you brought your child with autism to me, or if you brought your parent with dementia to me, or you got diagnosed with lupus or Hashimotos or elevated liver enzymes or blood sugar issues, I want to know why. And the reason someone comes to see me is to figure out why. They go to their regular doctor, they get a diagnosis, they get some pills that will help the symptoms. And then for some people, they want to know why, and so that’s the point of functional medicine. And I always describe those five areas we look regardless of the diagnosis. That’s my opinion of this. It is food, it is gut health, it is hormones, it is toxins, and it is mental, emotional, spiritual health. And for anybody that read my first book or listened to our first pod, they know that out of those five, to me, the most important is mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
So in Unfunc Your Gut, I covered food, gut health and mental, emotional, spiritual health. So when I sat down and had some free time, I was like, well, wait a minute. There’s unfinished business here. I work with so many people that have hormonal imbalances, and for most of my patients that we find a hormonal imbalance, they want to know why. And so what I try to uncover or teach in this new book is the connection to our toxic environment because it’s a major victory for a lot of people who have not felt well to find out, hey, my thyroid’s not working right, or I have adrenal fatigue, or I have low testosterone, like was my own story. Or for a woman, hey, I have estrogen dominance. But most of my patients want to take it even further. That’s fine, I have a hormonal imbalance, but why? And my argument is the toxic environment. And when I say toxins, I mean the most common things that I find in people are heavy metals and the most common heavy metals being lead in mercury. Mold for anybody with exposure to a water-damaged building, I find mold. Glyphosate, which is the main component of Roundup, which many people have heard of. And then there’s all the other stuff, which is what I talk about in the book. So I think a very interesting just chapter for someone to read is the introduction, where I use my wife’s morning routine. Sorry. So it actually starts with her bedtime routine of going to bed, waking up, having breakfast, showering, getting ready for the day using makeup and hair products, and all of that and then playing with our dogs. And just the amount of toxins that she is exposed to before even leaving the house or before even starting her day. And it’s a lot of stuff that people don’t think about. It’s what the almond milk is made of and her smoothie, it’s the pesticides and herbicides that are sprayed on the fruit and vegetables that are in her smoothie. It’s the plastic that our dog toys are made of.
Or if you have kids, the baby bottle or the flame retardants that they sprayed on the couch, so it doesn’t burn. It’s the 80 different chemicals that they’ve put into memory foam mattresses. It’s the mold that she might be breathing in. It’s the stress that’s not helping her detoxify. It’s the chlorine in the water, which is even worse when you heat up the water in the shower. It’s the makeup. And so all these different things are going back to an analogy that I really like that I’m sure we talked about the first time is the bucket. That we’re all born with this bucket and we fell this bucket with sugar and genetically modified food and processed foods and bad oils, and then you throw antibiotics and you get dysbiosis and SIBO. And then you deal with chronic stress, and that damages your adrenal glands. And if you’re under chronic stress and your adrenal glands are damaged, if you’re a man, you’re probably going to be having low testosterone. If you’re a woman, you’re probably going to be having low progesterone or low testosterone, or both. And then you’ve got all these toxins you’re exposed to and your thyroid stops working. And then these things happen, and then you can’t detox as well, and then you’re being exposed to more toxins and it’s just this neverending loop that people get on it.
And that’s what I’m trying to help people do is get out of that loop. And that’s why I didn’t… I wasn’t even really sure if I’d write one book and I definitely didn’t expect to write two and especially not even just one year after the first one. But I felt more confident writing this book. I like it better. I think it’s a better book. I think people are more interested in gut health, but I think that’s because they’re not aware of all these hormonal imbalances or their doctors are doing the proper testing. So they think they don’t have a hormonal issue. And I know that their regular doctors definitely not doing that toxin testing. So in the book, in this new book, Get the Func Out, I really get into lab testing. What’s the proper lab testing for your thyroid? What’s the proper lab testing for testosterone or reproductive hormones for women in estrogen, progesterone? How do you test for heavy metals? How do you test for mold? What do you do about these things? What foods will help? So my guess, my goal with this one is just really to create awareness around a subject that a lot of people aren’t aware of. And with our environment becoming increasingly toxic year after year, it’s just a matter of time before this becomes mainstream because there’s more and more people getting sick and not knowing why and wanting to know why.
John: Well, doc, just from my old personal experience working with you, I’m 60 years old and don’t smoke, don’t drink, been a vegetarian since I’m 17, and lived what is pretty much a clean and healthy lifestyle, but I was having both stomach issues and other issues, and you unraveled the mysteries by doing all the type of testing you said you did. Pee testing and poop testing and blood testing helped me straighten out both my stomach issues and you’re still working with me on the toxic issues, exactly what you cover in this new great book with regards to heavy metals and mercury poisoning. And the burdens that are contained there in are mold and the burdens of mold and your strategies are not that invasive, and nor is the testing.
So I want to share with our listeners and viewers that A, the testing is done mostly in your home and sent to the labs via mail, which is actually very easy. Even the poop and the pee testing and some of the blood testing and the strategy to get well is done through your natural ways of fixing and adjusting both your eating, architecture, vitamin strategies, and supplement strategies, and even something like the red light sauna, which you highly suggested that I use and it’s been very valuable for myself and for my wife, helping us both feel much better and clearer and get better sleep. So your methodology works. What’s the biggest challenge to get people to understand that even if they’ve lived a no smoking, no drinking, not a lot of red meat in every other type of historical, burdensome way of diet and actually exercise, that they could still have, as you said, the environmental burdens that just regular life brings to us that can cause toxicity in their body, in their gut, thyroid, hormonal structures, adrenal structures, et cetera.
Peter: I would say the hardest burden is just lack of awareness. That people don’t know. And that’s an even… it is a burden. What you’re mentioning is that I do work with a lot of people that are like, listen, I’ve been eating organic for seven years or 10 years, and I’ve been exercising and doing all this stuff, so I can’t have a toxic issue. And I have learned through my career that almost the more convinced someone is they have something, the less likely they have it. And the more convinced they don’t have something, the more likely they have it.
John: That’s interesting.
Peter: Yeah, but it’s sad. Because if you are investing the time that it takes to educate yourself, the money that it takes to spend on eating clean, that you could still have huge levels of glyphosate in your body, for example. Or when I start talking about heavy metals like lead and mercury, most people are like, well, I have no reason to have lead and mercury. Usually, the first response is, well, I never had mercury fillings, because that’s what most people have heard of is like mercury fillings. I’ve never had those. So I don’t have a mercury problem. And one example that I give is, I had a couple in their ’60s, and the woman had grown up here in Chicago, and her husband had grown up in Nigeria, and they wanted to do some preventative testing.
So I said let’s do heavy metal testing. And the three of us all thought that she would come back normal and he would come back with a toxic burden of metals because there’s not like an EPA as far as I know in Nigeria and I guess semi uneducated assumption, but the patient also who grew up there was like, they don’t protect the environment that we do in the United States. That we’re conscious of pollution in these things. And so we said, let’s do the testing and find out. And she tested completely negative. She had no metals in her body. Or excuse me. He tested completely negative. He had no metals in his body from growing up in Nigeria. She tested through the roof from growing up in Chicago. [crosstalk] First world versus, maybe some emerging economy world and you would think the opposite would be the truth. And no, right here in our own country, lots of environmental burdens that we are invisible.
And then another one is, I had a seven year old boy who came to me with the family brought him for OCD and he was developing OCD behaviors. So they said they wanted to figure out why. And so I said, whenever I work with neurologic conditions, I’m always testing for toxins. So I said, let’s test for toxins. We tested this little boy for heavy metals. Now, this family had had their son on an AIP diet since he was born, which is a diet that basically, it’s called the autoimmune protocol. It is an elimination diet, but even more intense. It is totally grain-free. There’s no nightshades, there’s no soy, corn, dairy. It is the cleanest diet you could imagine. And this boy, when he was in my office, I was like, well, what happens if you go to a birthday party and they have burgers or they have cake? And he’s like, “No way. I would ask for broccoli.” And I was like, whoa. I was blown away. so I was like, this boy has very little risk for a toxicity, but let’s test because there’s a neurologic issue going on. Got his test results back and his cesium and thallium were through the roof. And I was like, you are through the roof, the highest levels I’ve ever seen. And so I called the lab that we do testing with and I was like, can you guys help me figure this out? And they said, well, we’re seeing this more and more.
They used cesium and thallium in the oil industry and the oil industry, when they’re getting water… when they’re getting oil out of the ground, they use water and there’s water leftover from that process. And guess who’s buying that water? Farms experiencing droughts. Mostly farms in California, because that’s where a lot of the droughts were in America. And so they’re watering their crops with oil water and that’s full of cesium and thallium. So this little boy, through eating what I would argue is the healthiest diet, a seven-year-old I could have in the history poison himself. And so that’s where it’s like, the worst part about that is a farm can be called organic, even if they’re using oil water to water their crops.
John: That makes sense.
Peter: And so the deeper you dig into this stuff, and it makes me mad, that for my patients, because it’s like, man, some of these people are putting in so much work to be clean, healthy, and yet you don’t even have a chance really. You’re getting screwed over by just our environment. So that’s what taught me when it comes… I don’t run all of my functional medicine tests for every patient. And that’s primarily because of cost and the costs can add up. And so I’m typically trying to focus where I think somebody would have the highest yield, so that’s frequently we’re starting with their gut. But the toxin testing, I have learned that I don’t really need to hear anything in your history. I think everybody should be tested for heavy metals.
I think everybody should be tested for glyphosate. I think anybody who has any question of living in or working in a water-damaged building should test for mold, whether that was 30 years ago or last night. Because the worst part about toxins, I don’t feel it. Let’s say I’m eating a bunch of sushi. I’m eating a bunch of tuna full of mercury. I don’t feel it, I don’t get a stomach ache. I don’t get a headache. I’m drinking water out of the tap that’s full of lead. I don’t feel sick. I’m not showering and getting a rash from the chemicals that are in the water that I’m using to shower. When it comes to mold, someone can be allergic to mold and that’s what traditional medicine believes in, is mold allergies. Traditional medicine does not believe in mold toxicity. When I was writing this book, we have this famous book in medical school called The Pathologic Basis of Disease. It’s a 1700-page textbook with the smallest print you’ve ever seen. And it has everything that could ever go wrong with the body. If you know this book, then you know everything that could go wrong with the body. So I went back to this book and I was like, I didn’t remember, because it was a long time ago, I had to learn that book.
Did they talk about mold toxicity? In the 1700 pages, there’s two pages about mold, and the two pages are about allergies to mold and that is not what I deal with. I deal with mold toxicity, which is the buildup of mycotoxins in your body. When mold is present in a building or anywhere, it releases spores and that’s how it replicates. That’s what someone becomes allergic to. But mold also releases mycotoxins, which is how it defends itself. It’s how it kills things around it so it can survive. And that is what gets into our body and causes mitochondrial damage, which leads to cell death, which leads to disease. But somebody who’s allergic to mold, if they walk into a moldy building, they’re going to note, their nose is going to start running, they’re going to start getting allergic symptoms. Somebody who’s developing a toxicity to mold won’t know it. They’re just going to be living and breathing it, and then one day they’re going to get diagnosed with Hashimotos or lupus or another autoimmune disease. And that fact of toxins makes it… there’s so many things that makes it difficult.
One, another one being that the traditional medical world just doesn’t really accept this, but they’re silent. You don’t feel symptoms from it. And we would all be better off if every time we ate a vegetable that was loaded with glyphosate or another herbicide, we felt it. We’re like our bodies were telling us, hey, don’t eat this. But no, we don’t feel this stuff until it’s too late. And that’s where my argument and my hope for our society one day is that toxin testing is routine testing that starts in pediatrics, that that starts when we’re kids, because I do toxin testing on adults like you. And it’s like, well, when did this get here? I don’t know. I can tell you whether it’s coming in now and I can tell you that it’s there, but I can’t tell you if you got this from the dorm you lived in college or if it was your parents’ house that had water in the basement or if it’s… most people want to know.
And I agree, I would want to know where I got the lead in my body, but I didn’t test myself till I already had low testosterone. And then it’s like, well, I don’t know when it got there because nobody’s doing this testing. So the time to get toxin testing done is right now if you’re feeling good. Because this should be preventative medicine. Unfortunately, what I do is, their disease has started and my patients have been to university clinics around the country and their neighborhoods. They’ve been to Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, and it’s like, screw it, I’m out of options. Let’s try this alternative functional medicine. Maybe they’ll help me figure it out. Well, if we started this testing for our kids, then maybe you wouldn’t be getting diagnosed with these crazy conditions that are on the rise. So it’s something that I’m very passionate about as you can tell that this stuff should be tested for everybody because there… I work with very few people that have an exposure history. Most people that I’m diagnosing are like, they’re basically out of options. So they’re like, I’ll try it, but I have no reason to have a ton of mercury in my body. And they’ll do it and we find it and then they start healing.
John: Like you said, it should become part of regular practice and protocol instead of the Hail Mary [inaudible] For our listeners and viewers who just joined us today, we’ve got back with us today, Dr. Peter Kozlowski. He’s known as Doc Koz. You can find him at www.doc-koz.com. Here’s his new book, Get the Func Out. It’s a really important and great read. I’m living through this right now myself, Dr. Peter is my doctor as well, and helping me with these exact issues and helping me. I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt. You can find this book not only on his website, but of course at amazon.com and other great bookstores. Doc, what is the key takeaways that you want people to have from your new and great book?
Peter: I think the biggest key takeaway is detox doesn’t have to be that complicated. And one of the things that I really hate in the whole functional medicine world is there’s a lot of people out there selling products. And specifically when it comes to detox, and they have great social media sites that will convince you that you’re toxic and buy their detox plan for three months and then buy it for another three months, and then you’ll be able to detox. Toxins are fat-soluble. So what that means is when we breathe them, eat them, drink them, absorb them through our skin, they will get stored in our fat tissue. Every cell in your body is surrounded by a cell membrane that has fat in. So these toxins can get stored in any part of your body, from your brain to your toes. What detox is, is a two, some people say three, to keep it simple, I’d say a two-phase process in the liver.
And I get through this in the book with all the pictures to help make it make sense. But when we absorb this stuff through our lungs, through our gut, through our skin, our blood sends them to the liver. And most people know the liver as your detox organ. And what your liver does is go through phase one and phase two of detox. When it does that, it makes the toxins water-soluble. Once they are water soluble, you can then pee, poop and sweat them up. That’s what detox is. So for some people, they don’t have access to this testing, and it can get nervous like, what am I going to do? Do the basics. And so if peeing, pooping, and sweating the toxins out is how we get rid of them. Drink enough water, drink half your body weight in water. And so I use pounds to ounces. If you’re 180 pounds, 90 ounces of water a day. Make sure you’re pooping every day. If you’re not moving your bowels every day, you’re not ready to detox.
Because imagine your liver goes through this whole detox process. You’ve got all this lead and mold and glyphosate that’s been detoxified on its way out through your stool, but you haven’t pooped in three days. Then those toxins are just sitting there and they get reabsorbed right back into your body. So that’s where unfuncing your gut comes into play. And that’s the first book is, if you’re not moving your bowels every day, you’re not ready for the next steps and you got to get your gut right. And then sweaty, so you mentioned one of my favorite tools, infrared sauna, but then there’s also exercise, and making sure that you’re exercising every day and sweat it. So there’s water, pooping, sweating, those are things that everybody can do. And then I would say the last one is sleep.
If you picture all day long, we’re under this barrage. From the moment we wake up and the wifi router’s too close to our bed or we start putting our laptop on our stomach and the toxic onslaught starts. And all day long you know, driving to the office or playing with your kids or your dogs or making breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s this constant bombardment of toxins. We’re filtering them. But sleep is when your body restores. That’s when you restore your immune system. That’s when your immune system makes its memory against the things it’s encountered. And that is when our ability to detox is restored. And so peeing, pooping, sweating, sleeping. And then the last thing is nutrition. And I could talk about in Unfunc Your Gut, it’s the nine to 12 servings of vegetables and fruited it. And in the new book I get into all the different foods that support detox. So that two-phase process that functions in your liver, phase one and phase two of detox is totally dependent on vitamins and minerals. How do you get vitamins and minerals through your diet? And then the most vitamins and minerals we’re getting is from fruits and vegetables. So that’s where I go with the nine to 12 servings a day.
So these are steps that will take you a lot farther than getting suckered into some kind of social media marketing of buying the new and trendiest detox protocol. And I have never… there’s a lot of people making money off this stuff and their intentions are good, but at the end of the day it’s also about their profits. And so that’s never been my attitude and you can detox… you can support your body through basic steps that are going to keep you healthy regardless in order for you to detox. Now a lot of these things like heavy metals, lead, and mercury can get really stuck in your body and you do need assistance to get them out, but don’t assume that. And so if you do want to go down the detox road, invest the money in the proper testing, which I go through in each chapter of the book of how to get the right testing and make sure. Because like I said, the more convinced someone comes to me that they have a mold problem, they’ll end up testing positive for lead or something else. And so don’t assume just because you’ve watched some promo video on YouTube that you have mold or lead, get the testing done. And if you do have it, as you know, there’s a way to get this stuff out and so…
John: You’re going to feel so much better. My life is improved, my digestion’s improved, my sleep is improved, my clarity is improved. Just my overall well-being since I’ve started working with you and nothing, both the testing and the protocol for me specifically in terms of mold and some of the metals, it’s not invasive. Either way, it’s not invasive. And also I don’t live in the Chicago land area. So for our listeners and viewers who live in Chicago land area, who want to see Doc Koz in person, up front, have one-on-one, which is wonderful, they could come see you in person, but you and I have done it all over Zoom. So wherever you are in the world, you could be doing this stuff with you just over Zoom. [inaudible]. Since you and I are talking in January, 2023 and people are living with their new year’s resolutions, which some of the people’s new year’s resolutions include not only more exercise, but also losing weight. Since as you say, toxins are stored in fat cells in many ways, or part of the fat molecule, are people that are losing weight more at risk because now they’re releasing more toxins than ever before. And is there a strategy for them to help their body rid themselves? Is it along the same lines as you said, when if you’re going to start a new protocol as a new year’s resolution? Make sure you’re drinking the right water and enough water, make sure you’re getting enough good nutrition and your sleep architecture’s good because you’re going to need it because now you’re going to have an extra burden while you lose the weight to rid yourself of extra toxins than ever before.
Peter: Totally. I’ve heard that from many patients, the people that go through rap… it’s more when you go through the rapid weight loss than the more gradual weight loss. But absolutely, if you talk to people that have lost weight quickly, they feel sick a lot of times. And I do think that that’s a lot of the toxins coming out and that is a thing. The keto flu, that keto flu. Is really that part of that ridding yourself of toxins. And so that, that’s a very real thing. And the hard part is, I don’t like to just throw a general detox protocol out there, but my favorite… So for somebody like that, my favorite detox supplement is glutathione, and it’s a light Bazalmo glutathione. And so what that means is, is a fat soluble glutathione because if you do a little research on glutathione, it’s very hard to absorb.
And then, unfortunately, there’s a lot of these supplement companies that make Apsol forms in powder forms of glutathione and it’s just a waste of money. The liposomal forms are typically a liquid and you drink it and it’s absorbed. And so if somebody goes in and looks at Get the Func Out and looks at the liver diagram when you look at phase one and phase two of detox, there are very different nutrients that are involved in phase one and phase two except for glutathione. Glutathione is the only thing that works on phase one and phase two of detox. Now a lot of people, and if you buy some of these products that are designed properly, they really target phase one of detox. Well, if you only target phase one of detox, you create a lot of what are called reactive oxygen species that are intermediary metabolites that are actually more toxic. And so if you don’t ramp up phase two equally enough, you can actually make yourself worse. And so that’s where people just really have to be careful with this stuff and work with someone who has some experience with it.
But if I could just give one nutrient that I would give someone for detox, it’s liposomal glutathione. Now, there’s a lot of detox products out there that are targeted at phase one and phase two. So what somebody can do is sit down with my new book and open up that chapter on detox and I get into all the nutrients. And if you are deciding on a detox supplement, look at it and does it contain things that are needed for phase one? Does it contain things that are needed for phase two? And if it looks like a nice balance, then you probably have yourself a good supplement. And that’s all right there in the book in a beautiful picture of the liver with what you need.
John: And you’ve had me on that glutathione and it’s helped me tremendously as my blood tests have proven out and as my health and energy have massively improved because of that. So again, I know what you’re saying to be true because I’m living it and I’ve been living it with your help for over the course of the last year. For our listeners and viewers out there, I highly recommend Doc Koz’s first book Unfunc Your Gut, his new book, Get The Func Out. You could find Dr. Koz and you could find his books at www.doc-koz.com. You could also find them of course, on amazon.com and other fine bookstores. Doc Koz, you’re always welcome back on the Impact podcast. You not only a wonderful friend, but a great guest because as we know there’s no finish line to having good health and wellness. It’s just a journey and having you to help people on that journey, which you’ve been helping me, has just been a wonderful joy and has made my life so much more improved and better. Thank you again for helping others as well, get their life better and making them more feel, feel well. You’re always welcome back here, Doc. Can’t wait to see you again. And thanks for all the great work that you’ve done.
Peter: And it’s such an honor. Thank you for trusting me with your health and having me on your podcast and getting to share a little bit more about functional medicine.
John: This edition of The Impact Podcast is brought to you by ERI. ERI has a mission to protect people, the planet, and your privacy, and is the largest fully integrated IT and electronics asset disposition provider and cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company in the United States and maybe even the world. For more information on how ERI can help your business properly dispose of outdated electronic hardware devices, please visit eridirect.com. This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Engage. Engage is a digital booking platform, revolutionizing the talent booking industry with thousands of athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, Engage is the go-to spot for booking talent, for speeches, custom experiences, live streams, and much more. For more information on Engage or to book talent today, visit letsengage.com.