Guest: Dr. Jyothi Rao
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Jyothi Rao, MD, ABAAHP, FAARFM, has been practicing medicine for the past 16 years. She received her Doctorate of Medicine (MD) from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed her internship and residency at the prestigious New England Medical Center (Tufts) in Boston. Before opening Shakthi Health & Wellness Center, Dr. Rao practiced medicine in New York and Maryland. She is the co-author of Finding Balance: Empower Yourself with Tools to Combat Stress and Illness.
Segment overview: Dr. Jyothi Rao, MD, co-author of the book “Finding Balance: Empower Yourself with Tools to Combat Stress and Illness,” discuss heart disease and stomach bugs, and how the bacteria in your gut affects your health.
Health Professional Radio – Heart Disease and Poor Gut Health
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program, I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you for joining us here on Health Professional Radio today. Our guest is Dr. Jyothi Rao, she’s the co-author of the book “Finding Balance: Empower Yourself with Tools to Combat Stress and Illness.” And she’s been practicing medicine for the past 16 years, received her Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey and completed her Internship and Residency at the very prestigious New England Medical Center in Boston Massachusetts. And she’s here with us to talk about of course her book “Finding Balance: Empower Yourself with Tools to Combat Stress and Illness” which she co-authored and also to discuss heart disease and stomach bugs and how the bacteria in our gut affects our health. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Doctor.
Dr. Jyothi Rao: Thank you very much.
N: Thank you. Now you’ve been here with us before in other segments, and when we are here before we touched a bit on just how the bugs in our stomach greatly affect our health. Now you’re the co-author of the book Finding Balance, tell us about how you found yourself in a position to speak both on Holistic Medicine and the Western Medicine as well.
R: So I began my journey in Medicine about 20 years ago and the evolution of it has been to constantly try to find not just the band aids to fix the symptoms but also to delve deep in what the root of the problem is. And going into learning about functional medicine which is about how the body functions and how it breaks down, a lot of it led me back to the gut which is kind of a center point for all where we perceive that illness began. And that’s mostly because of all the bacteria that’s in the gut and those bacteria that give us about three million genes which when we have twenty-three thousand genes of humans, we’re then 10% of our bugs. So if our bugs are unhappy, we’re not happy.
N: Yes. Now being that we are at least 10% bugs, why do you think in your position as someone who can speak both on traditional western medicine and medicine from a holistic point of view, why do you think that more holistic practices aren’t more wide stream?
R: Why they’re not, is that what you’re saying? So I think the issue is that the data coming out is fairly new and the last 5 years there has been an explosion of information on the gut microbiome, all the genes that it gives us. But it takes about 15-20 years from new research to get in to mainstream medicine. The other issue is that a lot of studies and a lot of treatment for the cause of base and Pharmaceuticals and their drugs. And part of it is that the foundation of how we learn in Medical School is treatments for either surgeries and medications for illnesses. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that it’s actually very beneficial for the right person. The thing that we don’t do enough in Medical School is teach patients on how to stay well and to also do lifestyle changes that are so beneficial for many illnesses and that’s really what we delve out in a book, it’s really lifestyle modification to deal with illness.
N: Is lifestyle, when you say lifestyle modification are you talking about something separate from diet modification or is your diet being changed to part of your overall lifestyle change when it comes to holistic point of view?
R: Yes. So I believe that 80% of lifestyle choice begins what we are put in our mouth as food. But not only is it important that what we’re eating, it’s also important on what we’re not eating – equally important. So if we are eating foods that are high in saturated fats and preservatives and processing and genetic modification and we follow it up with a ton of kale, that doesn’t actually fix the problem. What we want to do is try get rid of the offending agent first and what we have found is that more plant based of the diet is, that they foster better bugs on the gut which then lead to less inflammation causing other illnesses. So our foundational principle is always starting with the diet and getting with us thing s that can cause inflammation to begin in the body.
N: Is your goal 100% of the time to replace pharmaceuticals with holistic modalities? Or do you find yourself, I guess case by case deciding that maybe a person should use these modalities in conjunction with their physician is prescribing them? Or maybe you’re prescribing them something other than a supplement?
R: Absolutely. I feel like the issue is that, we need to be very holistic and integrative basically. I don’t think one modality is right or wrong, I believe that each patient should be individualized but lifestyle changes have allowed employing those, implementing those my patients have allowed both Dr. Aggarwal and I to reduce their burden of needing prescription medication. So usually what I do to is I start with a set of medications and we use lifestyle to change it, for example with heart disease and hyperlipidemia or high cholesterol. Changing the diet to go on more plant based has reduced my patients … by 80 points. Therefore, their need for the cholesterol medicines go down dramatically seeing as their need for their blood pressure decrease dramatically. We’re often times we’re just weaning people of a certain doses as they continue to employ more and more lifestyle changes. The other things we talk about in a books has a lot to do with sleep and rest and mind body balance and as people get healthier with that connection, there’s a lot of benefit that happens with the body where you’re not needing as many prescription.
N: Talk about the reception that you get from practitioners of traditional western medicine once they read you’re your book and give you some feedback. What are you finding? What are you hearing?
R: It’s been very exciting and encouraging. We’ve done some rounds and we’ve talked to physicians in different settings and most of the time they’re very excited by the information. I think a lot of physicians are actually looking for ways to offer patients some healing tools. Not just the band aid and I think most 9 out of 10 times, most physicians embrace us and want to learn more and are looking into fellowship programs and ‘Where can I learn more’ type of questions come up and ‘How do I get more information on this?’ and all of these things that we want. We want and say broken excitement for physicians and it’s happening. Dr. Aggarwal is now teaching and practicing Cardiology at University of Florida where she’s interacting with medical students and residents and fellows and she’s had an overwhelming positive response by the excitement about introducing these concepts and since it’s not taught in med school or they’re just beginning to get taught.
N: As a co-author of this book, how do you talk to the patient about letting down their guard or trusting in another modality that one day many of us have been raised with well into our 50’s or 60’s, and now offering a new modality in the holistic realm. We maybe a bit skeptical, was the one thing that you could say to the skeptical patient in order to help them along the path to get maximum as far as health is concerned?
R: So I will ask someone to start with the elimination diet and I’d say “Give me four weeks, just give me four weeks to see if you feel anything has change in about 4 – 6 weeks.” Now it doesn’t mean dramatic change, it means slight and less tired. People say subtle things happen like they are not falling asleep say, 7 or 8, they’re staying up until 10. They’re not as bloated, they’re not as distended, their gut is starting to get better, their brain fog is improving. Slight, slight thing start to change and we get fine very quickly because of the fact that they do actually feel better in a short period of time. It’s not perfect but it’s enough to keep them asking questions like “what else can I do?” So usually what we do is we ask people to make one change. Do one thing for the next 4 weeks and see if anything has gotten better, most times and that’s usually a 100% at a time. They are always coming back and saying ‘It absolutely did. I was shocked how much better I feel, my joints pains went away.’ Also of unusual responses in their mind but for us it makes complete sense because once you do change your diet, your inflammation goes down. All the … start resolving so we start with diet, we start with sleep – those are the two things that we tried to focus on in the beginning so that your body has good nutrients coming in and you’re allowing rest to help you heal. We usually have people try a couple of things to either foster a change in diet or sleep first.
N: Now as a holistic practitioner, you’ve mentioned sleep, rest, supplement I’m sure you’re versed in acupuncture as well. But how does the spirituality play into your view of a medical practitioner?
R: That’s a great question. I believe that it plays a huge role and we do speak to mind-body connections. We talk about yoga, we talk about community, we talk about meditation, and we talk about trying to achieve a comment theme with our community as well as religious community, as well as our home community. But it is a huge part and I think that playing on that mind-body connection and kind of talking to that is very under discussed in medicine and we definitely are not doing good enough job in terms promoting that. I have to say that’s probably the next frontier for us, right we’re trying to build on more of the meditation, yoga practice just to get people started but I would definitely try to encourage people to have a spiritual practice as well. Just to think about more of a universal good as opposed to just what’s happening for them. Because it does change the game so much in terms of the way the body starts to react. Our happiness is linked to it or our ability to function as well is linked to it.
N: Where can our listeners get a copy of your book “Finding Balance: Empower Yourself with Tools to Combat Stress and Illness?”
R: They can to go my website which is raowellness.com or Dr. Monica Aggarwal’s website which is drmonicaaggarwal.com as well as on Amazon.
N: Well I sure thank you for coming in and be with us again Doctor.
R: Thank you very much.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.