Discoveries from the Ancestral Health Summit 2019, UCSD: Genes are not Destiny, What really causes Cancer?, Is Animal Fat Healthy?, How Plastics and Pesticides are Crushing Testosterone, and More!

What an all star line up of researchers and doctors at the Ancestral Health Summit 2019 at UCSD,  presenting the latest in optimizing health and longevity!  And what a healthy, happy, strong, smart, fun group of people!  Some highlights were lectures by Dr. Tommy Wood, Dr. Ron Rosedale, Dr. Tracy Gapin, Dr. Paul Saladino, Dr. Anne Marie Fine, Dr. Alison Moore, Dr. Nasha Winters, Dr. Martie Haselton, and so many more!  Primal Movement sessions with Dr. Joey Cadena of Primal Flow Therapy,  Darryl Edwards of kept our bodies and minds invigorated between lectures.  The generous people at the Ancestral Health Society make all of these, and past lectures available for free to the public on their website,  Enjoy the wisdom!

Here’s a brief run down of the highlights I was fortunate to attend.

Dr. Tommy Wood, international expert on Functional and Ancestral Health Optimization, particularly Neuroprotection, “Lies, Damn Lies and Genetics”.

Genes are not destiny! Genes are a code, and our lifestyle choices (including food, movement, recovery, stress balance, emotional balance, and toxin exposure) are epigenetic factors which determine how are genes are expressed. The field of epigenetics explains that genetics are just probabilities, while environment and lifestyle choices affect the expression of our genes, and therefore are the determinants of longevity and health. All gene expressions are affected by all other gene expression. Our bodies consist of incredibly complex communication systems between genes, and chemical messengers, all too often oversimplified in genetic testing and prescriptions.

Heath and longevity versus disease risk is determined by environment and lifestyle choices. These lead to methylation (turning off genes) and acetylation (turning on genes). Dr. Wood stresses a focus on phenotype and individual presentation, rather than SNP/genotype detected in lab testing. He states, “In fact, multiple studies now show that simply thinking you have a certain genetic polymorphism has a greater effect on your physiology than the polymorphism itself. This is particularly concerning considering that direct-to-consumer genetic testing is often not accurate”.   

Therefore, buyer beware.  Your genetic test results are not destiny!  Work closely with your medical professional to determine your individual susceptibility and raise yourself to health and wellness through the epignetic factors of intelligent movement, nourishing food, low toxin exposure, quality rest, positive mindset and stress balance.  These are the true determinants of how genes are expressed, and thus the quality of health and vitality.

A valuable pearl of wisdom, Dr. Wood shared, for those of us with genetic predisposition to low MTHFR function:  Check riboflavin, folate, b12 and homocysteine levels and supplement with a few grams of glycine (collagen/gelatin) and creatine, and a few mg of riboflavin (liver, kidney, almonds, eggs). Whole foods are medicine!

Dr. Ron Rosedale, International Expert in Nutritional and Metabolic Medicine. “Was Otto Warburg Wrong?”

What is the true cause of cancer? Dr. Rosedale argues against both the widely promoted genetic and metabolic origins of cancer. Otto Warburg emphasized that cancer primarily uses glycolysis as fuel, even in the presence of oxygen (the “Warburg Effect”), and thus damaged mitochondrial function was the cause of cancer. This “metabolic theory” of cancer was widely sidestepped with the discovery of oncogenes, and the genetic theories of cancer. However, millions of lives and dollars have been lost in an unfruitful battle against the genetic origins of cancer and the “genetic theory” of cancer is now strongly challenged.

Rosedale states the true origin of cancer lies neither in genetics, nor in mitochondrial damage and the metabolic theory.  He challenges the metabolic theory stating that while cancer cells use glycolysis as a primary fuel source, they also use mitochondrial oxidation. They prioritize glycolysis as it generates a higher output of ATP and generates lactate, another fuel source for cancer cells. While mitochondrial damage is present in cancer, Rosedale states this is because cancer cells feed upon neighboring mitochondria as fuel. Thus mitochondrial damage is a result, not a cause, of cancer. He states that cancer is not a disease of glucose or mitochondria, as diabetes is not a disease of glucose, heart disease is not a disease of cholesterol, and osteoporosis is not a disease of calcium. The roots are deeper than the observed correlative imbalances.

The roots are in complex communication systems of growth factors and hormones, such as insulin, growth hormone, IGF, TOR and these deserve close examination and research to determine individual risk.


Dr. Tracy Gapin, Expert in Men’s Health and Personalized Medicine. “How Endocrine Disruptors are Crushing Men.”

Dr. Tracy Gapin presented some startling statistics on declining testosterone levels (both free and total) in the population at large.  Testosterone levels in men are plummeting. Why? The answer includes many variables, including lifestyle traits such as poor sleep, elevated stress, and obesity. Yet, beyond these are environmental toxins causing chemical shifts within our bodies and altering the intricately balanced hormonal pathways. These “endocrine disruptors” include chemicals in plastics, herbicides, personal care products, prescription medications, and more. These effectively block the production or action of testosterone in humans and cause multiple health effects to the cardiovascular system, nervous system and musculoskeletal system including bone density and muscle mass.

Dr. Gapin outlined multiple toxins, often leaking into our ground water systems and resisting filtration. Should you worry about them? You bet. They can turn male frogs to female egg laying frogs, amongst other effects. It’s a big deal.   A few to watch for include;

  1. Atrazine. A pesticide, second only to glyphosate in usage. While banned in Europe, the EPA allows it in the USA.
  2. BPA. Present in most plastics including water bottles, wraps, lining of cans, plastic utensils, receipts.
  3. Birth Control Pills; excreted in the urine, into the water system. Men, you are drinking them too!
  4. Phthalates; in personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, deodorant, vinyl, cleaning products.
  5. Milk. If cattle are not grass fed/organic, they are fed grains and corn, laden with pesticides/herbicides, and are treated with hormones and antibiotics. These are retained in the milk and meat.  Choose grass fed/organic animal products.
  6. Soy; contains phytoestrogens which have estrogenic effects in the body. Most soy in the US is also laden with GMO’s.
  7. DDT; Though its usage has now been banned, after 30 years it is still detectable in some water systems, causing hormone disruption in organisms.

These are just some of the endocrine disruptors causing shifts in the hormone health of men and women in the USA. Some effects include infertility, obesity, heart disease, decreased bone density, exercise performance, sexual function, cognitive function, and more. And what’s more, the problem can be transmitted to future generations.



What are some solutions???

Decrease Exposure!

  1. High quality charcoal water filters.   Reverse osmosis is not enough. Dr. Gapin recommends the Berkey water filter, as does Wellness Mama, and other leaders in functional medicine.  And a fantastic quick, inexpensive option I learned from Wellness Mama: slip these high quality charcoal sticks into a carafe of water to filter many toxins in just three hours.  Upon hearing Dr. Gapin’s talk, I started this easy fix right away.  I love the enhanced taste of my water, and knowing I am greatly decreasing my toxin load.
  2. Stainless steel bottles/cups or glass (avoid plastic or styrofoam) for water, coffee, tea.
  3. Avoid processed foods.
  4. Read ingredients; seek whole food/fresh local/organic
  5. Avoid foods wrapped in plastic.
  6. Avoid fast food; limit eating out. It’s easier to know your foods are toxin free when you are preparing them yourself.
  7. Limit grains, corn and soy (GMO’s and phytoestrogens).
  8. Avoid plastic utensils.
  9. Avoid dryer sheets. Toxins are rapidly absorbed through the skin.
  10. Avoid phthalates in personal care products and household cleaners/candles.
  11. Use APPS “think dirty” and “healthy living” to scan products and determine if they are free of toxins



Another important part of the solution is up-regulating your body’s ability to detoxify  through healthy nutrition, exercise, rest, stress resilience, and supplements if needed. Know your personal susceptibility. Humans have varied abilities to manage toxins in the body, based on genetic predisposition and health habits.   Personalized functional medicine guides an individual to understand their ability to manage toxins. The key is in decreasing exposure and supporting with healthy lifestyle habits and supplements when needed for support.

Dr. Gapin States that at the current rate, within 30 years, our population will be hypogonadal and sterile! Action must be taken now to minimize toxin exposure by being a knowledgeable and actionable consumer, and optimizing detox pathways through healthy living.

Dr. Paul Saladino, expert in Functional Medicine, Psychiatry, and the Carnivore Diet. “The Most Precious Human Food: Animal Fat”. 

For decades, animal fat has been criticized as the cause of modern diseases, especially heart disease. Yet, efforts to reduce animal fat in the diet, have correlated with increases in metabolic disease! What can we learn from our ancestors about the true place for animal fat in the human diet?

Dr. Saladino, eloquently outlines how animal fats have played an important role in human survival throughout time. Fat and organ meats were a critical part of the ancestral diet and were hailed as valuable resources.


Human brain size expanded on an exponential level with the advent of tools, and the ability to hunt and consume animals. Why? Animal products are far more nutrient dense than plants, per calorie, and have provided human brains with the fuel to evolve and grow.

There are physiological limits to human consumption of protein (levels above 35% daily calories cause problems of elevated urea, ammonia, insulin, nausea and diarrhea). Our ability to consume plants is limited by fiber and plant anti-nutrients such as lectins, phytates, and oxalates, as these can cause nutrient deficiencies, hormone imbalances, inflammation, digestive problems and constipation. There are also limits to human consumption of carbohydrates as high carbohydrate diets are correlated with higher mortality.  Beyond these limitations, healthy fats are available as nutrient dense fuels. They are high in nutrients and are essential for many structures in the human body including cell membranes, the nervous system, and hormones.

Dr. Saladino’s website,, provides links to the dramatic success stories of people with autoimmune disease healing themselves through a carnivore diet, eliminating plant foods and their anti-nutrients.  An important note: the effects of these anti-nutrients can be minimized by cooking, soaking, fermenting, and preparing plant foods appropriately. A favorite of mine, Kate Shanahan’s book, Deep Nutrition, is a fantastic resource for understanding the pillars of human nutrition, and how to prepare foods for optimal nutrient absorption while minimizing toxins.  Sally Fallon’s, Nourishing Traditions is another, and packed with recipes and education on healthful food preparation for highest nutrition and lowest toxin load. One of my favorite healthy habits around this is soaking a bowl of almonds overnight in filtered water to remove anti-nutrients.  In the morning, rinse, drain and enjoy!  Digestion, nutrient absorption enhanced, and inflammatory anti-nutrients reduced.

What is the magic of animal fat? It is a nutrient powerhouse! Grass fed/pastured sources of animal fat are rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K2, Omega 3’s, CoQ10, and conjugated linoleic acid. These are important for longevity, vitality, and keeping inflammation at healthy levels. It is no wonder it has been prized throughout the history of our ancestors. Saladino cited multiple studies and journal articles outlining the health benefits of fats, particularly to the cardiovascular system.

Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! To see a chart provided by functional medicine expert, Chris Kresser, outlining the astounding nutritional profile of liver in comparison to other foods, click here.

And despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the Mayo Clinic, the AHA, and modern media continue to malign saturated fats as detrimental to health.  Tune in to Dr. Saladino’s podcast with Gary Fettke to understand how political agendas and religion are influencing media and education around nutritional guidelines.


The “Take Home” points:

  • Animal Fat has been valued as the most sacred food throughout humanity.
  • Messages condemning animal fat as unhealthy are based on poor science.
  • Fat and organ meats are extremely nutrient dense, compared to muscle meat and plant foods.
  • fat from grass fed animals is a vital component of a well-designed ancestral diet.

If you are curious to learn more, tune in to to find links to Dr. Salandino’s podcasts, blog posts, and his upcoming book, The Carnivore Code.

There were many other fantastic presentations meriting note.  Martie Haselton, UCLA professor, and leading researcher on how ovulatory cycles influence women’s sexuality presented a fascinating lecture, ” The Hidden Intelligence of Hormones—How They Drive Desire, Shape Relationships, Influence Our Choices, and Make Us Wiser.”

Dr. Joey Cadena, PT stirred up the afternoon by inviting us to become Primal Fit with his mace training.  Here I am learning his brilliant work and enjoying functional movement up regulation with the mace.  I was amazed at how great this immediately felt through my shoulders, ribs, and neck and how cognitively activating the beautiful, powerful, fluid movements are.


Darryl Edwards of Animal Moves guided us through a fun morning of Primal Play, learning the moves of Bear, Rabbit, Crocodile, Donkey and more.  Check out his fantastic work and Ted Talk at

Thanks to all who created this inspiring, enriching event.  Enjoy replays of all these lectures and so many more, at

Thanks for stopping by.

Here’s to living with vitality!

Best to all,


Disclaimer; Coaching services and information on this site include education, guidance and tips on primal living and generally healthy movement.  I am not a medical doctor and services are not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription that a physician, licensed dietitian, physical therapist or health care professional might recommend. 





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