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#05 – Vegan Sex, Ex-Vegans, Bodybuilding, Documentaries and Nutrient Deficiencies with Dr. Joel Kahn

In this episode of the podcast, we sit down with Dr. Joel Kahn, an integrative cardiologist with a practice in both Detroit and Atlanta. Dr. Kahn was in New York attending the Plant World Expo and we convinced him to come to Habitas for a recording session. Dr. Kahn has gained notoriety in the medical and nutrition worlds as an advocate of a plant based diet as a tool for preventing and reversing heart disease. He has appeared in documentaries like What the Health as well as the Joe Rogan podcast and the Doctors, a nationally syndicated television show dedicated to health and wellness topics. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Kahn has become a restauranteur as well, opening plant based restaurants in both Austin and the Detroit area. Dr. Kahn is a rare “famous” doctor who also maintains an active clinical practice and he was one of the highest rated cardiology fellows ever at the University of Michigan Medical School.

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This Episode Covers:

  • Current plant based thinking on oil and fat as well as new studies [4:20];
  • Dr. Kahn’s take on testing for sterol absorption as a proxy for cholesterol absorption [7:00];
  • Defense of Dr. Ansel Keys and elevated LDL-P danger [12:40];
  • Is the vegan movement really low fat? [20:00];
  • Arachidonic acid, omega-3 supplements, industrial meat – an issue to take note of? [25:14];
  • Calcium score and mast cell mediated IL-16 “stable plaque” [30:00];
  • The Widow Maker Movie and gauging heart attack risk [35:00];
  • The next big Vegan documentary Game Changers and Vegan diet impact on sexual health [39:00];
  • Vegan YouTube and Bodybuilders [44:00];
  • Lectin and the Plant Paradox [50:00];
  • Ex-vegans and nutrient deficiency / FADS1 [55:00];

Show Notes and Discussion:

Right off the bat, Dr. Kahn references an NYU study which compared a whole foods plant based diet to the American Heart Association recommended diet. You can view that study here.

I asked Dr. Kahn about sterol absorption and whether he believes sterol absorption is an accurate predictor of cholesterol absorption, as labs like Boston Heart Diagnostics seem to believe. I wrote a post about sterol absorption in the context of the carnivore diet which may be of interest.

Dr. Ansel Keys published the much maligned 7 country study, which can be viewed here. The study has been criticized for cherry picked data and conflict of interest that shifted the blame for heart disease from sugar to fat at the behest of the sugar industry.

Here is a link to the study Dr. Kahn mentions that was performed by Ronald Krauss.

Labs that measure EPA and DHA – Boston Heart and Cleveland Heart. If you want these advanced panels, you can call the labs and ask for a list of doctors they work with in your area.

I bring up IL-16 as a marker associated with mast cell mediated “stable” plaques. Here is one the panels that uses IL-16 as a measure of arterial age. Interestingly, and perhaps a bit ironically based on our conversation on lectins, Dr. Gundry published this abstract discussing the role of elevated IL-16 in autoimmunity and the correlation between lectin sensitivity and IL-16 numbers. I am going to do either a blog or a podcast on this issue.

Dr. Kahn mentions chlorella as a travel hack designed to reduce radiation exposure. I add that chlorella is also effective as a binding agent for mycotoxin.

Here is a link to the Game Changers site.

Valter Longo’s work on amino acids and mTOR is outlined in his book, The Longevity Diet. Here is a link to Derek Simmet’s as well as John Venus’ YouTube channels, both Vegan bodybuilders. Here is a link to a post I wrote on Vegan bodybuilders.

Link to the Cronometer app.

And we close the show with lectin and Dr. Gundry. I wrote a blog post titled “In defense of lectin sensitivity and Dr. Gundry’s the Plant Paradox.” Here is a spoof video Dr. Kahn made poking some fun at lectin sensitivity.

Link to a good conversation on variations in FADS1 and ability to convert ALA to DHA.

John O'Connor

John O'Connor is the founder of Gene Food. He is passionate about nutrition, genetics, and wellness and uses this blog to publish self experiments as well as some of the research that the Gene Food team does internally to highlight stories of bio-individuality.

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