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089: Improve Health and Performance With Omega-3s, with Dr. Evan Lewis

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What are some specific ways you can improve health and performance with omega-3s? Our guest knows the answer and he’s here to explain the science behind this healthy type of fat and how it can actually reverse diabetic nerve damage – something he was the first to do.

Dr. Evan Lewis has a passion for nutrition and health that led him to his graduate studies, including a PhD at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nutritional Sciences. In that program, he studied the effects of pro-nerve omega-3s on nerve-muscle interaction and performance in elite athletes.

His research led to a clinical trial of omega-3 nutritional therapy as a means to regenerating diabetic nerve damage; the positive results were the first of their kind. This research has since been awarded funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research, Banting & Best Diabetes Centre and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

To bring this ground-breaking research out of the lab, Dr. Evan founded Nutarniq Corp and launched Frontline Neuropathy in Canada to help people suffering from neuropathy. Most recently, Evan and the team at Nutarniq released Frontline Blood Sugar & Nerve Support as a preventative nutrition therapy for those with or at risk of diabetes.

To start today’s episode, I asked the question I’m always so curious to know: how did he go into this field? Dr. Evan says it was by accident. When he was training as a collegiate athlete, he was focused on nutrition and improving his performance. He also had a plan to go into research or sports performance after his education so he worked with the men’s Olympic sailing team on improving hydration.

But ultimately, it was through his own experience that he had an “ah ha” moment: towards the end of his own sailing career he got into cycling. He realized everyone was talking about building bigger, stronger muscles. But they were missing a very important piece: nerves. Nerves tell muscles when to fire and how long to fire. From there he got into the area of omega-3s and omega-3 supplementation, and experimenting with improving the contraction of muscles. In a few short weeks, he was able to show to improve athletes’ ability to jump higher and push more.

He didn’t stop with athletes, though. He also wanted to see if the same type of results could be shown in people who were not elite athletes, including people who were in a more diseased state.
Dr. Evan explains what he discovered and also how omega 3 fats actually work within the body.

We also dive into the differences between omega 3s and omega 6s, why we need both and what ratio we need to maintain optimal healthy. Dr. Evan also tells us what we can do to reduce inflammation naturally.

Tune in to hear those topics and find out about Dr. Evan’s latest products and research on today’s Awesome Health Podcast!

Episode Resources:

Read The Episode Transcript:

Wade Lightheart: Good morning, good afternoon and good evening. It's Wade T Lightheart from the Awesome Health Podcast from BiOptimizers and we are delighted because we've got another Canuck on the show. I always love it when we get Canadians on here. And this is a really, really important topic that we're going to talk about today. We're gonna talk about nutrition. We're gonna talk about diabetes, nutritional therapy, some of the things about what's going on in COVID. And we have none other than Evan Lewis, who is joining us today. He's with a company called Frontline Neuropathy in Canada. They help people suffering from neuropathy and we'll talk about neurotic. This is a big issue, particularly among diabetics and their mission is to develop targeted nutritional therapies for chronic diseases and disease complications.

Wade Lightheart: Their company, Frontline blood sugar nerve support is a preventative nutrition therapy for those who are at risk for diabetes. We're going to talk about that. Now, let's talk a little bit about Evan. Of course, what's interesting is he is a PhD at the university of Toronto faculty of medicine, department of nutritional sciences, where he studied the effects of pro nerve Omega-3 on nerve muscle interactions and performance in elite athletes. You have to be an athlete himself as he has competed on the Canadian sailing team, which is really cool. Now what's interesting. He's done a bunch of clinical trials on omega-3 fatty acids, nutritional therapy, and as well as the nerve damage that can come from diabetes. A lot of people don't realize, diabetes is just a blood sugar thing, but there's a lot more going on there. And we're going to talk about nerve regeneration for people with diabetes.

Wade Lightheart: We're also going to talk by the way, just so you know, Evan has been funded awards from the Canadian Institute for health research, Banting and best diabetes. Of course, for those who don't know who those guys are, I learned about them long time ago when I was reading a book about Bobby Clarke, the famous Philadelphia flyer hockey player, who was able to successfully play in the NHL. And he referred to Banting and best discoveries who developed insulin today because diabetes before that was just a death sentence, basically. So the bottom line is, Evan has taken his time out of his busy schedule, being a PhD is not easy, I think a lot of people just do not understand the cognitive demand that requires to really think out complexaspects. And Bioptimizers right now, we're doing an incredible amount of work in addressing blood sugar issues. And so we rely on information and research for people like Evan who make this, their living. So Evan, welcome to the show.

Evan Lewis: Thank you very much. Wawade, it's a pleasure to be here today.

Wade Lightheart: Well, thanks for joining us. I know you're just outside of Toronto and you've got your doctor. I want to know, how did you end up in that? Like, what's the backstory, how do you end up in a lab with a doctorate spending all this time and focusing on diabetes and nerve response and all these sorts of things. How do you get to that spot? I always wonder about these things.

Evan Lewis: I think it was a bit of an accident, and I know that probably sounds super cliche for a lot of your listeners, but honestly, when I got into my education, I was focused on being an athlete. Like diabetes, I didn't know, I didn't care. I was just focused on being training hard, getting better, competing,and really focused on nutrition and physical training. That was the two components, my sport I could control the best. So I was going to be the best in those areas. And, you know, 10 years ago, I saw myself as a guy who would work for a sports nutrition company or somebody doing research and development, new products, helping athletes. And that's what I wanted to do. So I sort of had this in my mind, I was going to be in the world of research.

Evan Lewis: I wanted to help athletes perform better, function better, recover better. And it was one of those things that it was a bit of an accident. And I did a lot of work,hrough my undergrad and masters with guys on the sailing team and trying to improve hydration performance, getting ready for the Olympics. And it wasn't actually, until I was doing an event of my own towards the end of my sailing career, I got really into cycling and just had a bit of an aha moment in terms of nerve muscle interaction. And what I had seen from my experience and working with others is the industry was just so focused on muscle size, muscle volume, energy metabolism, but nobody was really talking about how do we keep the muscles firing for as long as possible, because if you can't tell the muscle to work, none of the other stuff matters.

Evan Lewis: And that's where I got into this whole area of omega-3 and omega-3 therapy, or its supplementation for our athletes and wanted to go down that pathway because if the muscle doesn't contract, none of it matters. And I started out first study, my PhD, and I was like, let's see if we can just high dose our athletes and see if they can respond better. Can we get more force? Can we jump higher, push more? And that's what we were able to do. We were actually over the course of a fairly short period, three weeks which we picked as sort of the typical taper period. We were able to see higher maximal force contractions in the quad muscles and then also higher,muscle electrical activity. That's like, okay, this is pretty cool. We're on to something, because if we can take a lead athletes and improve their signals, that's going to be awesome, but I also needed to do more work.

Evan Lewis: And part of the lab that I was in, we were really focused on looking at some elite athletes as one side of the bell curve, but also trying to apply back to other individuals who, you know, might be on the other side of the spectrum in various disease States. So that was really where I got my first exposure to two diabetes and the complications that can arise from that. So I said, what if we can help athletes, why can't we help people on the other side of the spectrum? And that's where that whole nutrition therapy components arose from.

Wade Lightheart: It's an interesting component because I mean, like years ago when I was a competitive, we'd follow the old format, which was a high protein, high carbohydrates, low fats, and we'd get into single digit body fat levels and really into compromised States. And those last, that last month or so before contests your strength would bottom out how you feel, even how your brain functioned. And, you know, I'd get so lean that the fat pads on my feet, well I'd have to put extra cushions in my Pads. So it was like, really, really not what's the difference between health and performance. And as I started to learn more about some of these other things about essential fatty acids and why they were important and how they work with the nervous system and kind of all that sort of stuff.

Wade Lightheart: As I went into my health career, we also started to apply it in my holistic health clinic in Vancouver years and years and years ago, when we started seeing things that you would do on performance for high performance athletes also had applications with the general population or people who might be compromised. So it's interesting that we kind of shared some of those integrations. So tell me about how does that work? Like, how does Omega-3 work? Like what's the mechanism that allows it to increase contractal force or perform better. And then how does that extrapolate over to diabetes? I think that's the next, so those two things, it's kind of like, well, , I'm trying to jump higher and, Oh, by the way, this helps diabetics like, that's a big jump. No pun intended.

Evan Lewis: I also remember when I was competing, I was afraid of thoughts. Like I could not eat that. And that was the mentality of, if you eat fat, you get fat. And that's just such a myth right now that all of us are trying to work to help get people more healthy by eating good fats. How does it work? What's our mechanism? Well, basically we're working with very specialized omega-3s that are highly bioavailable, and everybody knows that omega-3 is good for health. It's just varying reasons. When I was looking at how we help nerves, so nerves and athletes, nerves and diabetics, it doesn't really matter. But what we do know is that our diet over the past 200, 250 years has changed a lot in terms of the thoughts that we're consuming.

Evan Lewis: And we can't say it because there's no dietary reference guidelines for it, but essentially our population is deficient in omega-3. We're just not getting the same intake. And historically you go back 200, 250 years, we were getting a much more balanced intake of omega-3 to Omega-6 and that's just completely diverged. We can think about industrial agriculture, a lot of different things have caused that shift. So when we look at different thoughts that are important, omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential, our body can't make them, we have to get them from food sources, but we're just not able to get those omega-3 in the quantity that we need. And that's where we have the athletes and the diabetics sort of the divergent in terms of their health overall. And there, we can see deficient for two different reasons in the visuals on a high-performance level, they're just burning so many calories, their body's adapting and remodeling so much that they need a higher dose than the average individual.

Evan Lewis: Now, going over to the side of individuals with diabetes, because of the disease state that they're in, they're not able to metabolize fats as well. And what we know is they have lower amounts of omega-3 in their blood relative to the general population. So then when you start to get into a situation where the nerves are being damaged and constantly exposed, exposed to blood sugar, which is highly oxidative, they're already behind the eight ball in terms of being able to deal with those damages and adopt that on their own. So how does it work? We're able to provide either group with a very absorbable form of omega-3. So we start to take it in under the tongue. And after that absorbed preferentially through the digestive track, and we're able to provide all of the omega-3 in a very available format. But also the key thing is that the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in the omega-3 we've developed. It's, 10 to 1, we're about 10 times higher in the omega-3 than we are omega-6. So it's a truly high, high dose form of omega-3.

Wade Lightheart: So let's back the truck up a little bit so that people that might not have a complete understanding of the differences between threes and sixes and then what the optimal ratio might be. Can you explain to people where we would traditionally get omega-3s or Omega-6s and then maybe kind of break down what is the ratio and does that differ with people who may be diabetics or people that had to have a predisposition or a dietary lifestyle that's deficient in omega-3?

Evan Lewis: Like we went pretty deep pretty quickly…

Wade Lightheart: So we just jumped right into the ocean and just start swimming for the bottom right away.

Evan Lewis: So I guess omega-3s most common formsare Marine sources, leafy greens, nuts seeds,-hose are our best forms. Omega-6S, we're really seeing those from cereal grains,various oils,different processed oils. And if we think about how our diet has shifted, we're eating on average, a lot of grainy based products, a lot of oily grainy products in our diet, and that's really resulting in a high amount of Omega-6 in the body. And we can see sort of anything on a ratio basis 10 to 1, 6 to 3 or even higher 20 to 1. And if we generalize how those fats work in our body sixes are generally pro-inflammatory. And that's a good thing, because if you twist your ankle, you want an inflammatory response, your body says, Hey, don't walk on that foot, like, give it a break, but you need the threes to say, okay, we're not going to, we're going to take the day off. We're going to come in, resolve everything and make the situation better. But if you think about that, if your balance is totally out of whack, then any little injury in the body is going to cause an inflammatory response. And then you just get into the situation with prolonged sort of subacute inflammation that we can lead into various disease increases your risk for various chronic diseases.

Wade Lightheart: Well, an inflammation actually throughout the body is kind of quote, unquote, the silent killer. It's happening, not just in our muscle tissues or an inflammatory response from saying injury, but it's happening on a day to day base, which is attacking our organs and unlike an alley with our foot or hand or something like that, this is going on. It's silent killer inside of us, that it's chipping away at virtually every aspect of ourselves. And then also then all of a sudden, 10, 20, 30 years down the road, we end up with these degenerative conditions and we don't know how we got them. And you're saying, if I heard you correctly, a lot of it has, is related to the challenges of the modern diet.

Evan Lewis: Absolutely. And that's why people can see such success by adding whether it's green or just getting more natural food into the body and getting more plant-based, fruit-based products in. And that's one of the challenges even like with fruit. Diabetes asking if is fruit sugar bad for me, can it kill me? And it's, well, you can't get the same calories out of, by eating oranges then going to a process food of the same type. So, you know, if we try and naturalize the diet more, that will really help the balance. And if people can eat more vegetables or even leafy greens, which are very alkalizing, that's one thing that you can do tomorrow or even today too, to help yourself out for sure.

Wade Lightheart: Well, here's a question that I have, and this is something that I'd like to dive in and maybe, you know, about it, maybe you don't, but there's so much chemicalization that's happening in our food supply. Now they're adding herbicides and pesticides and fungicides and they'll rhyme with and suicide. And sometimes you'll go out to your store and you're buying this and it's been washed and chlorinated water, fluorinated water, and then it might've been sprayed with a bunch of chemicals and stuff. Is there a problem with say conventionally grown foods or is there any research that deals with the chemicals possession of food? Like, is that an issue, does that impact the nutritional quality or ability to absorb some of these maybe healthy fats that might be present, quote unquote, with that green salad. But there's all these other chemicals which are maybe co-creating a problem, which if you got any research on that.

Evan Lewis: Yes. And I think it's probably a fair, fair time to acknowledge my bias, but we, my family moved out of Toronto six years ago, and we now have a little hobby farm outside the city. So we're pretty passionate about where our food comes and trying to either grow some stuff here or work with our local farmers to support them, but also get fresh access. But in terms of an empirical clinical research level, yes, there's actually been off the top of my head. We can share this in the show notes, but a meta analysis that was published in the British journal of nutrition that compared the nutrient density or the nutrient quality of various foods, organic versus not organic, and the nutrient density in organic food was higher. And, there can be a lot of different aspects to that soil quality, tender, loving care of the farmer. There's a lot of different things that go into it. I think maybe not everybody has access to that level of food or depending on where you live or where you're at, that might not be possible, but making the best decisions for your situation, ill result in the best health outcomes. As long as you're making those decisions consciously. And I think, if we're talking about greens is organic butter, yes. But greens versus no greens, your greens is the way to go.

Wade Lightheart: Well, you know, there's interesting trend that I started to see happening in cities. And I noticed this first in Asia a little while ago, my name is seeing it happen here, out in California and other places. And that is people who can't get outside of the city. Although there is all of a sudden, if you look at the real estate boom, since COVID, there's a massive real estate boom in rural communities where people have a yard and a garden and all that, like people are getting more into that kind of concept and away from the big cities, but there's an interesting trend that's happening in cities and that's city gardens. And then also vertical gardens. I don't know if you've seen the tech now that you can grow an incredible amount of food at a very low cost in a very confined space with these vertical.

Wade Lightheart: And so I believe what's interesting is we've gotten a trouble from kind of technological advances and the unintended consequences of that. But we're now starting, you know, with people such as yourself that are bringing awareness about the importance of high quality nutrition, to be able to get it at an affordable cost, that you can actually grow this at a much less cost than you would get in the store. And then you have the value of kind of interacting with plants and seeing that cycle grow, which has been traditional for thousands of years in humans, which people are born. They don't know what a carrot looks like in the ground. They don't know what a tomato looks like. They don't know what lettuce looks like, or they've never seen any of these things. And it's a fascinating process that I encourage people to experiment and try. It's really fun. Let's talk about the threes to six ratio. And that's a big factor, I think there's a lot of confusion out there about what's the ratio, and then I will go some general. And what are some specifics that you're noticing maybe in people who are compromised with things like diabetes?

Evan Lewis: On a general level, we want to try and get as balanced as possible as close to where historically we were at a 2 to 1, 6 to 3 ratio. I don't know why they do six to three. So it sounds counterintuitive, but just go with me on that. But really if we can get the lower, we can get the better, and we've even seen some research in terms of, again, back to the training or the performance side of things. If we can get our ratio down to say five to one, give or take…

Wade Lightheart: When you say, 5 to 1 which is which?

Evan Lewis: 6 to 3 5 times the amount of Omega-6 to Omega-3 if you can have a ratio around that, then we can see lower implement inflammatory markers, full stop, but better muscle gain as well, which is important. I guess the study, which looked at this,it was an agricultural study looking at different feeds for pigs and growth, but it's a really good comparative physiology way to look at how can we modify our diet in a super controlled setting,in terms of how does that relate back to our performance and general health overall? So again, trying to get around a five to one ratio or lower of six to three would be ideal. Fortunately I work with some researchers, so I can have a friend pull a blood sample, they run it through with whatever study they're doing, and I can see what's going on for me, but, you know, for anyone listening, you would need to work with either healthcare provider and send a sample and make sure you can get that tested through a lab.

Evan Lewis: You'd have to look at in various different places, have different options. Again, I don't know, in terms of the US system, buthere in Canada, it's a little bit more of a specialized tests that you would have to pay for.
Wade Lightheart: What is the test that you do in Canada? What is for people who want to do that?

Evan Lewis: I'm not on that side, but you would have to look through a PA work with a natural path or functional medicine doctor to get that done and they would send it off. I think one of the labs like would opt to do that. It's a chromatography test that would run. So it's not in a normal lipid panel.

Wade Lightheart: I have a naturopathic doctor, both in Canada and one in the United States because some of the testing parameters are different. I worked with a guy at Toronto or excuse me out of Vancouver, named dr. Paul Maximus. And he runs a lot of my blood work and testing, and sometimes they do it in Canada and sometimes they have to ship it to the States. And then I have another researcher Katrina. She orders a lot of testing for me here in the United States. So it's fun to kind of see the different ratios and see the different testing and availability that's for people. And I think if you want to have optimal health, you need to get, I call it the Jedi council professionals to kind of give you the feedback and direct you the tests, and then be able to interpret the data and offer you specific recommendations, which leads me to the next part. Let's talk about your work with diabetes. What are you noticing with ratio imbalances for people with diabetic conditions and neuropathy and things like that, and how using these kind of supplementation can actually offset some of the corollary conditions that are associated with diabetes.

Evan Lewis: So that's a great question. And we have a paper coming out on this probably in the next couple of months, but what we know, looking at our patient group is that individuals with diabetes and neuropathy have very low amounts of DHA. That's the longest, longest chain of make the Omega-3. So that was one direct link that we saw lower levels than people without neuropathy.

Wade Lightheart: And can you explain what the importance of DHA is for people? Because this is what's interesting is you can't take a DHA supplement in Canada. They won't allow them into Canada, right?

Evan Lewis: Let's specify DHA in terms of the omega-3 and I'll, I'll back out for a second. Omega-3 is for nerve health. We're looking at EPA, DPA and DHA, and a lot ofthe work, you might see an EPA plus DHA ratio for various various things. And that's fine. But what we know is individuals with diabetes have lower amounts of omega-3 in their blood in terms of a percentage level. And the group that we were looking at actually showed they had a very low, I think it was under 3% of their plasma fatty acids were omega-3s. And now North Americans on a whole are generally very low, so reflective of the population, which is reflective of which we'll leave that open for interpretation.

Evan Lewis: But what we were able to do over the course of our trial, we could show that we took our group from very low and took them up to high levels essentially going from just under 3% to 5.9% of their blood fatty acids being omega-3s. And we dropped their 6 to 3 ratio by half. At the beginning of the study, it was about 10 to 1 at the end of the study about 5 to 1. So that was everything really moved in the right direction. So regardless of these individuals, having a condition, which impairs their ability to handle thoughts, if you come out and come at it with a high dose, high quality omega-3 therapy, they respond to therapy, which is fantastic. And we were also able to show that we were able to regenerate nerves over the course of this 12 month trial.

Wade Lightheart: For 12 months. So you did this over 12 months. That's really unusual for studies togo into that kind of like you see a lot of these six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks. And I'm always like, well, what happens after six months or after a year?

Evan Lewis: Yeah. Well, and that's the thing it takes if you think about even in A1C measurement, so that's the measurement of damage to red blood cells from high blood sugar, that that's a marker of every three months, you can get that recheck. And realistically, this was at 12 months, our trial was a short neuropathy trial because most neuropathy trials are two, three, four years because just with the various drugs that have been investigated over the over recent years. So we wanted to at least prove our concept, that we were able to make a change. And we were able to do that. We were, to our knowledge, this is the first human study that was able to show regeneration of damaged nerves in people, or emphasize people with diabetes. So I think it's the first step of a longer sort of discovery period, but you know what we've been able to help people naturally deal with a complication from diabetes. That's traditionally only been able be treated by pain management.

Wade Lightheart: Wow. Wow. So really you're activating what the father of modern medicine said so many thousands of years ago, Hippocrates said, let food be thy medicine and medicine be the food you are actually created and developed and proven that over a 12 week period or a 12 month period. 12 month period, by essentially doubling the levels of Omega-3s into your blood and bringing the ratio of 3 to 6 from 10 to 1 to 5 to 1 you are able to have regeneration of nerves?

Evan Lewis: We say growth, cause they actually grew. And we took some images. We did this through some non-invasive imaging, so we could actually see that happening which is super cool.
Wade Lightheart: This is remarkable. This is really remarkable and what its impact can be when this paper is published, because there's so many people, I think in the medical industry the use of supplementation or the use of these things in regards to serious medical conditions, which are all almost always treated with drugs. And what you're saying here is that you've actually got some definitive proof that's gonna cut the mustard amongst the skeptical medical community that you're able to produce a positive result here.

Evan Lewis: So, and again, we are going to do more research because that's very important in terms of changing clinical practice, but you know, that very positive first step. And that gives us a lot of motivation to keep going. And especially, it was very fun to see the looks of the various MDs on our research team when we looked at the results, because they were skeptical going into this, who's this, who's this kid, who's this kid with the PhD coming at us with this idea that we can use nutrition. And I'm so thankful that we have a great team behind us and we've been able to help people and we're pushing forward. And ultimately our patients want natural options. You know, the biggest thing when we do focus groups to the hospital and whatever, they're like we want natural options before drugs, and I'm not anti-drug by any stretch of the imagination, but if we can do it naturally or do it with food or, you know, which is where we've come to determine nutrition, targeted nutrition therapy, we're using these omega-3s in a very targeted way to help people's nerves. And do they do a lot of other things in the body. But our focus and our target is nutrition for different health conditions.

Wade Lightheart: I got a couple of quick questions because what is the quote unquote, we're talking as I call clinical PhD speak, which is really exciting and cool for me, but for our listeners and for people who are tuning into this, what are some of what they would say is the anecdotal benefits, the benefits that those individuals would be experiencing or feeling related to maybe symptoms they have, or what does this mean for them from a longterm health basis or is there anything that you can extrapolate without violating any code of ethics and all that sort of stuff?

Evan Lewis: I mean, we can take a look at it just, there's been a lot of research around omega-3s for various different health applications. But ultimately what we're seeing is, as people's nerves are starting to recover and obviously less neuropathy symptoms and how might somebody know if they have neuropathy? And a lot of times I'll go to a clinic and I talk to people, I don't have neuropathy, but my feet really hurt. They're like, okay, let's bring it back again. So diabetes will damage the small nerves, which are in the hands and the feet, that's where it starts to happen first. These are small nerves, easily injured by blood sugar symptoms, pain, numbness, loss of sensation. And typically you have to acknowledge that either you have symptoms or get referred for further testing to get a diagnosis of neuropathy.

Evan Lewis: So a lot of people are just walking around in pain or not able to feel their hands or feet properly. And that's their reality. So we can start to address that from a broader perspective. What we've seen since the trial is one of the most common comment is, you know, my feet hurt a little bit less, but boy, my knees are feeling better. So it's an arthritis thing. Cause again, that's another inflammatory aspects or an inflammatory condition and joint swell up and you'll be in pain. And that's probably our number one positive side effects as a result of this therapy. So again, nutrition, it affects all parts of the body.

Wade Lightheart: Wow. This is really exciting. When I started out in this industry many, many, many years ago as a young man and started to use nutritional supplements and an athletic, and then eventually developed a career and worked at virtually every area of the nutritional supplementation. And there's a lot of bogus stuff out there. I'm not going to say that there isn't, but I would slowly but surely discover things within my athletic community and with my coaches and with my trainers that we would start adding these elements. And one of the big things that I noticed when I started to add essential fatty acids into my diets later, rom my competitive career, the last half of my competitive career. And it made an incredible difference in my brain function, in my ability to maintain high performance levels, even leading up into competitive levels at the world championship levels.

Wade Lightheart: And it was revolutionary what I was experiencing. I had to go against the grain for a while. And when Matt and I started our nutritional supplement company, we anticipated that one day that there would be an incredible amount of what I would say, intellectual resources going into this. You do need people that have the cognitive capacity capability, the willingness to do the work, the ability to kind of eliminate the biases that come in from anecdotal evidence and really get some research to kind of change the paradigm. Because I really feel that nutritional science, supplementation science, all that sort of area in kind of holistic health and the general practitioner or medical community, the pharmaceutics, both people have been at odds for so many generations. And the natural health people condemning the medical people in the medical people that can, and the really the real interesting thing is I have friends on both sides of the things, and they're all trying to get people to be healthier and live a better life, and they've dedicated their lives to it.

Wade Lightheart: And people like you are really kind of bringing those two into balance, right? And this is kind of where the future is is. How do we work in tandem in unison to increase the quality of life? I want you to talk about how this is translated into your company and the nutritional supplements that you developed. Because of course getting, I think a lot of people will run out to the store and they'll go to the local Costco and they'll say, Oh, I need omega-3. And they buy whatever bottle off the shelf. They don't know if it's rancid. They don't know the quality. They don't know if it's elements. They don't like, and they take it. They don't feel anything. And they go, I don't know. I listened to Wade and Evan. I think they're full of crap. I didn't notice anything. Right. I'm just wasting all my money. Or why isn't this $5 bottle of product? Why is it saying it's got the same as a 50 or a hundred dollar bottle of product? Can you help shed some light on that and mistakes that people make when they hear something like this and go out and buy a piece of garbage and then throw away everything.

Evan Lewis: It's tough out there. We'll start there and especially trying to break in because we're dealing with a major disease, diabetes, major disease.

Wade Lightheart: Right at the top three killers.

Evan Lewis: Literally, and neuropathy affects 50% of people with diabetes, at least. So not a lot of people that are affected by this condition. And it's interesting talking to various MDs or a specialist. You say this is what we're working on. And it's a challenge that there's so ingrained in the drug culture or not. There's always exceptions to the rule full-stop, but not everybody is as fluent in nutrition as they would like to be. And then, you know, you also get patients coming in saying, the salmon neuropathy patient, what are those deaths? I saw it on late night TV, or, you know, at the bus stop or whatever it might be. And the challenge for the physician who's ultimately responsible for care is they don't know about that one specific supplement. Is there research, what's the quality…

Evan Lewis: So by default they don't recommend it because, you know, if they're being presented by let's say a drug company who has various employees that come and talk to them on a weekly, monthly basis, they know the manufacturing history, all of those things, whether they like the drug or not, they're comfortable with the pathway. And they've been presented research at major conferences, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So that's sort of that, that stacks, the deck against nutrition, and there's a lot of good nutrition companies out there. It's just, it's really hard to compete with some of these larger, larger companies.

Wade Lightheart: The economic component is, is frighteningly different paradigms of how well-resourced pharmaceutical drug companies are relative to nutrition because they've had a hundred years to build up their book of business, their distribution center, their education resources, and the doctors that they have in place. And we're seeing, you know, the natural side scaling up, but we're 20, 30 years away from really being legitimately competitive with these giant conglomerations.

Evan Lewis: So then it comes back to how are we differentiating the $5 versus the $30 and, you know, setting expectations. And I'll always remember. So we came through our trial and I was like, we have to commercialize, this is the only way forward for a number of reasons in Canada. I guess a fair point, we can't ship our product to the US or the EU. So I apologize. There's going to be a lot of angry people, but we have asolution we'll talk to them after. Health Canada, let us come to market and call it a neuropathy supplement. We have zero label claims, but because it's an Omega-3 safe product, we can come to market, which was awesome. And we started doing our market research and you can buy literally a bottle of the omega-3 for $9.99, or like $108 lasting about a month supply.

Evan Lewis: You know, why wouldn't you buy the $9.99, as opposed to the a hundred dollars, like how does the average consumer know what the difference is? And it's very difficult when you're in a shelf space, battle battle, or you're looking at fancy labels. So it's difficult to capture attention, but we're focusing specifically on the health market. We're not trying to be worse. Sorry, we're focusing specifically on the diabetes or neuropathy market. We're not trying to be all and end all in general health and omega-3 and focusing on trying to educate people that there is a natural solution for their condition that is backed by clinical research. And that's the most important. So if your listener looking for a supplement for a specific reason, do a little bit of research who is doing research on your performance condition, your health condition, are there supplements aligned with that? And which supplements were used in research, or if you're looking for something for more general health, what are the certifications here in Canada? We have an NPN system we use GMP manufacturing. There're different things.

Wade Lightheart: Canada is the most difficult market in the world that I'm aware of to actually bring products to market with health, Canada regulations. We manufacture and ship products all over the world. And the Canadian requirements are far in excess of anybody else that I've dealt with. SoNPN stands for a natural product number, which is the equivalent of a drug identification number in Canada. It's kind of like the same thing. If you want to sell a product in Canada, you got to have it.

Evan Lewis: It's a softer, it's a softer version. And I mean, I did all of our regulatory when we first started and it's an accessible system. They want your testing to match up with what you say isn't on the label essentially. So I think it's a good practice. We've recently come into the US with a new product, and it's a whole different ball game and much, much, much easier here to bring a product into the US. But also, it is for better and for worse. There's a lot of people who from our research area had been called in as expert witnesses in lawsuits against nutrition companies. Because, if you're going to claim that your product improves immune health by 900%, or you cure cancer, you probably deserve to be sued. You have no clinical research behind that. So, I think it all, it all comes down to making an informed decision on what you're buying and trying to support, companies which are niching into a specific area, especially if that aligns with the health conditions that you're working to improve on a natural level.

Wade Lightheart: It's very, it's very interesting just to comment about that for America's basically a free for all, which is far more litigious than the Canadian market, and the Canadian is much more regulated and slower to bring the product to market and much more oriented on the product safety and quality of that product inside of that. So it's very interesting that the two different philosophies, and of course your accessibility of nutritional supplements is far greater in the United States than it is in Canada. I find there's a lot of Canadians who produce extraordinary or Canadian companies who produce gold standard type of products. So it's interesting the two different philosophies.

Evan Lewis: And I guess the last point is if you're working with a healthcare provider and you want to take a product, don't just say, oh look at my phone. Or here's this get a little bit of information. If you want your provider doesn't matter, physician naturopath, it doesn't matter. Bring as much information as you have and try and get beyond the first page of Google, if you're, if you're serious about it, because that will then help your professional give you the best opinion based on what they're seeing as opposed to dismissing, dismissing it out, right?

Wade Lightheart: Which leads me to kind of the next question, which is talk to me about this product that you guys have developed and where people can find out about it and then I suspect you have a lot of research on that, if you are suffering from one of these conditions or think this might be of benefit to you, and you're working with a doctor that you can bring this in, or maybe connect it with a naturopathic doctor, is that, like, I always say, what's really hard for a patient or the person going into the doctors. You know, they're an ordinary Joe. They don't have the background, the resources, and they go, well, this is what my doctor told me. No, I heard it, in the health food store I heard on this podcast or heard whatever. And then the doctor, poo-poos it. And then it's dead in the water. Talk about your product, but talk about also, how do you communicate this to your medical doctor? What do you need, what is the successful pathway to having yourself to confident that something like this would be beneficial to you?

Evan Lewis: I think the biggest thing is go prepared. If you get into a situation where you have an idea and somebody starts asking you questions, and you're sort of, maybe you're a little, it's not your area of expertise. You forget a couple of things that you thought you knew where you wanted to ask, make a list of questions. I do it for meetings. I have a list of questions in my notes on my phone. So I remember everything that I wanted to ask, even if the conversation starts to go in a different directions. So I know when I come out to somewhere that I got everything that I wanted to know answered, or I can make some notes and go away with that. So that's one thing. The other aspect would be, you know, print something off or email information ahead of time.

Evan Lewis: Include it, even if you're making an appointment of, I'm coming in for a routine check or whatever the questions or appointment might be. But I also want to discuss this or my option because it's ultimately, you know, your health professional is there to help you improve your health. And you should really be an active participant in that journey. It's, it's not a one-way street. It really needs to be a dialogue. And I think a good, a good practitioner should want to engage the patient as much as possible in terms of the journey. Now, if maybe you're dealing with specialists, it might be a little bit more time restricted. You might not have all the time that you want. So again, you know, I've been in some specialists appointments as well and it can be a little bit more ordered of basic. They need to collect all the information that they want and they're done, but you have to be able to ask a question and they're there for you. So make sure that you feel completely comfortable and that's really a good start to it.

Wade Lightheart: I love the fact though. So let's talk about frontline health and your products that you've developed and what's all about and how people can find out more about what you're doing. This incredible product that you have, the research paper that's going to be published very soon and all of that good stuff, because I think this is very exciting, very cutting edge.

Evan Lewis: So we keep a lot of our clinical information on our websites Depending on where you are in the world, you'll get routed either into our us page,or Canadian international page. That's fine. That has all of our information on our omega-3s. Bu interestingly enough, we launched a new product at the beginning of COVID, which was an interesting experience from a marketing strategy time in the world and it's been received really well. And the second product is our blood sugar and nerve support product. And no, no restrictions goes anywhere in the world, but the gap or the challenge that I had after this great omega-3 research is that we're dealing with people later on in the diabetes spectrum. So individuals already have some symptoms likely,they're dealing with pain while we're able to help their nerves overall, for whatever reason, we're not dealing with the cause.

Evan Lewis: And that's the high blood sugar aspect. So our new product actually, ideally, maybe you want to take them together. That would be awesome, but it helps to deal with that cause of the damage, the high blood sugar. And we're coming out that in a very natural level, in a way that we can help reduce blood sugar on a fasting and after meal period, but also we've added in a key ingredient which is a chromium ingredient that helps people reduce their cravings for sugary foods. And this was something we took a lot of research that has already been done in various trials, by other groups in the more psychology side of things, but this has helped them help people make better choices around food. And so many times we hear it. I really feel for people that they just want to eat better.

Evan Lewis: Like I just want to eat better. I'm trying to eat better this month, I'm to eat better this year, whatever it might be. And ultimately sugar is such an addictive substance and it's really difficult to overcome that. So we're now providing in this product a nutritional way to overcome, or almost almost kicked that craving habit. So people can really get to the goals that they're after and lower their blood sugar. And so we launched in May and we've had really phenomenal response so far, the US, Canada, Australia, it's been, it's been awesome. We've even had a couple of people email us that they're no longer taking their Metformin cause their blood sugar has come down,to that extent. Which is crazy and fantastic.

Wade Lightheart: Speaking about Metformin, which is a common drug use for diabetes and also in the life extension world. But there has been some recent data that's kind of questioning some of the Metformin stuff. Do you know anything about that?

Evan Lewis: So, I mean, I've definitely, I follow in terms of the life extension stuff. I listened to Peter and he talked a lot about that, but I believe that was one of the things that he's changed his thinking in the past couple of years because of how Metformin interacts with the mitochondria. So again, getting super geeked out on this, but how it can affect how your cells produce energy. And I believe I'd have to go back to the podcast on or not, but I believe he used less of a proponent proponent of Metformin at the moment. So, if I'm wrong, I apologize, but that was my thing. Metformin is an interesting one. It's been around a long time,a pretty good safety record. My challenge,my challenge with the drug itself is that it can affect muscle mass.

Evan Lewis: And that's one of the challenges that I have, especially for even physical activity recommendations for people with diabetes. There's a lot of walking and that doesn't walking in steps while that's great for general health. We really want to help individuals, especially in the aging process, preserve muscle mass as much as possible because we know we're losing it full stop, but you know, and where else are you going to store excess sugar? If you're on a medication and you have high blood sugar, where are you pushing that sugar? If it's not into muscle, then traditionally into sort of this real visceral or central thought store. So that's not the challenge. I know recently here in Canada, we've had some regulatory approvals for different drugs, which help excrete extreme blood sugars through the kidneys. They're called SGLT-2. It's a whole class of drugs which didn't really wanna go into today, but that's something that it doesn't push. It pushes the sugar out downside is you have some kidney issue potential for kidney issues, but you know, if you're getting the sugar out of your body full stop and have good kidney function at the beginning, then that appears to be quite safe.

Wade Lightheart: So, with your blood sugar product, what's a nutritional supplement that you're using. And what specifically does it do?

Evan Lewis: So we first and foremost, it's blood sugar nurse. So Frontline is our consumer brands and blood sugar nurse support. In the US and in Canada we call it a diabetes supplement. Again, it's different regulatory requirements, but so essentially first and foremost, we help to reduce food cravings that is a big issue. And then after that improve insulin sensitivity by using some natural ingredients and plant extracts so that we can get sugar out of the blood and into the various various cells throughout the body. And then after that,we also address a lot of the common nutrient deficiencies that we see in diabetes. Vitamin D3 which is involved in so many different things, but also B12,which is Metformin on average will lower your B12 that can then go on to cause some neuropathy symptoms just because of the deficiency in that ingredients. But even after that, we've gone so far as to add a couple of other antioxidants,which helped to address any damage, which might've been caused by high blood sugar. So we're really helping to prevent complications as much as possible because we want to keep people as healthy as possible.

Wade Lightheart: So I'm going to ask the next question, of course. We're big into stacking over here at BiOptimizers combining, how would the two products maybe work together, the blood sugar, one that you just described as well as the, the EFA one? Like can you kind of talk about what you've been able to notice and you might not be able to publish all that yet, or if you have, you can refer us to it.

Evan Lewis: Right. We don't have any publications on co-administration, but I mean, ultimately again with either product, not known drug interactions,which is always the first part for safety and ideally they work ideally together and omega-3 is again, not just for nerve health, but so many nerve health peripherally, brain health, general health overall. I think that they would work very well together for individuals that way.

Wade Lightheart: How would someone use those on a day-to-day basis? Just a general, of course, it's going to vary individual to individual a little bit, but there must be some general applications.

Evan Lewis: Yeah, I think the challenge coming back to our blood sugar product is one 30% of the population is either at risk of metabolic disease. Pre-Diabetes, it's a big area, but even from the longevity standpoint, trying to keep people's blood sugar stabilized and making better food choices is a big concern all around. That's in terms of dosing, there wouldn't really be a difference. We see a consistent effect throughout in terms of the omega-3 people with neuropathy. We recommend a higher dose, but that's all, it's all on the label. And so it's quite straightforward in that regards.

Wade Lightheart: Super great. So can you tell our listeners of where they can find your website, where they can hear more about it and find out and follow maybe what you're doing as far as a research standpoint. So they can learn and take this information, when you're going in to see your GP, or you're going to talk to your naturopath there, like you said, take your health in your own hand, get this research, present them something to say, Hey, I'd like to try this. Do you think it would be a benefit so that your doctor is not walking into this blind? And just going to say no, because they just don't know what's happening.

Evan Lewis: So the best place to find us is You can just type it in search us that way. We'll also have links in the show notes as well. I'm not the most social media savvy guy I'll admit that, but LinkedIn or the website is a great way to, to get in touch. We also have a great customer support team. So any questions or stuff like that,anything medical typically passes by me. We don't offer medical advice, but we're here to provide the best information on a research level so that you can make decisions or share that with any healthcare providers that you're working with.

Wade Lightheart: Evan Lewis, this has been absolutely super insightful. I am so delighted to have a PhD like yourself that has put in the work and dedicated their lives to helping people live a healthier and a better life and creating products as well as information to kind of change the paradigm that yes, food can be your medicine and medicine can be your food. And supplementation is a fast way to ensure you're getting the right things on top of whatever you're doing from a lifestyle, but to really kind of push you over the top, you can get those benefits. So for everyone listening, please check out Evan's website. All the links are here in the show notes, the research and how you can access it as well as taking his advice and suggesting that, you know, what, if you're going to be in charge of your health, you realize that the professionals in your life are there to help you, but you've got to take ownership of it.

Wade Lightheart: Do the research, get the information and go into those meetings, armed, prepared, and to be able to help your practitioner make a better choice. Thanks so much for joining us today, Evan, I really appreciate you coming on here and taking the time out of your busy schedule. It's a real delight and keep up the great work and keep us posted of any new and latest developments that you're working on because at BiOptimizers, we're not just about sharing what our products do and what our, you know, our company produces, where you're about bringing other to shutting the light on people that are doing stuff like you're doing to make a difference. So thanks so much for joining us today.

Evan Lewis: Thank you very much, Wade. We'll definitely keep you posted.

Wade Lightheart: For all our listeners here at the Awesome Health Podcast. That's another episode on how to take control of your health, leverage the professionals in your life, and most importantly, have an awesome day. Take care, see you on the next episode.

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