The Surprising Truth About A Little-Known Supernutrient For Weight Loss, Mood, Fatigue, Insomnia, and More

by Dr. David Minkoff June 07, 2019 5 min read

The Surprising Truth About A Little-Known Supernutrient For Weight Loss, Mood, Fatigue, Insomnia, and More

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In this podcast episode, Ben Greenfield interviews Dr. David Minkoff about his new book and they unpack all things amino acids…

Five months after beginning the amino acids, I achieved a personal best at Ironman Canada, in Penticton B.C. In my new and improved physical state, I began to wonder if my vegetarian, protein-deficient diet was the reason why the anti-cancer enzymes scorched my stomach. Could it be that the mucous lining in my stomach was inadequate, and that had also held back the healing of my hamstring? I very badly wanted to find out, so I decided to try the enzymes again. I followed the full protocol, twelve tablets, six times per day for three consecutive days. I had no adverse reactions, and my stomach was fine. I learned that because my overall body protein levels had normalized, the mucous layer in my stomach was better able to handle the enzymes. What a revelation!”

Thus begins the new book “The Search For The Perfect Protein,” by 42-time Ironman triathlete Dr. David Minkoff.

Dr. Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a pediatric residency and fellowship in infectious disease at the University of California at San Diego.

He worked at the University of California and Children's Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribavirin, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine.

In 1995, his wife became ill, and her physicians couldn't find what was wrong. Not accepting their “no hope” conclusion, Dr. Minkoff went on a search to help her that led him out of emergency medicine into complementary and alternative medicine to find the answers. In the process, he gained expertise in biological medicine, heavy metal detoxification, anti-aging medicine, hormone replacement therapy, functional medicine, energy medicine, neural and prolotherapy, homeopathy, and optimum nutrition. He studied under the masters in each of these disciplines until he became an expert in his own right.

The answers he found were soon in demand when others learned of his wife’s return to good health. In response to this, he and his wife, Sue Minkoff RN established Lifeworks Wellness Center in 1997 and it quickly became one of the most comprehensive complementary and alternative medicine clinics in the U.S.

In this conversation with Dr. Minkoff, you'll learn…

-Dr. Minkoff's history with amino acids and why he wrote his new book…6:45

  • The science behind amino acids and protein wasn't keeping up with the commercial PR and marketing
  • Strained a hamstring while running an Ironman triathlon in 1982
  • A patient who was familiar with natural cancer treatment recommended a pancreatic enzyme treatment; had very negative results
    • He then supplemented it with essential amino acids and was perfectly fine
    • Saw potential solution for other problems patients may be having
  • ION profile with 40 amino acids – Genova Kit
  • He realized that if it was effective for him, it would be beneficial for others
  • He now sees amino acids as an essential element of a workout and proper recovery
  • Vegans and vegetarians are notoriously deficient in aminos, B12, Iron, and other nutrients
    • Highly recommend an amino supplement

-About CHYMO, the thyroid and its interaction with amino acids…22:20

  • Chymotrypsin: an enzyme made in the pancreas that is necessary to digest food
  • Actin: the main protein in muscle;
    • Contains 5800 different amino acids in one chain of the muscle fiber
    • Must be broken down into individual amino acids in order for the intestine to absorb it
  • Vicious cycle: amino acids not enough to make chymotrypsin; can't digest protein properly; amino acids can't get into the bloodstream
  • Many people are iodine deficient
    • Also low in tyrosine (made from the essential amino acid phenylalanine)
  • These are common issues

-The link between amino acids/proteins and the gut and digestion…31:55

  • The inner lining of the intestine is one cell thick
  • Leaky barrier membranes: your body gets exposed to foreign proteins
  • 70-80% of your immune system is behind the membrane barrier  (Peyer's patches, gut-associated lymphoid tissue)
  • Inner lining of the gut has a high turnover (every 3-5 days) due to the exposure, wear and tear, etc.
    • Leakage occurs when these membranes are not replaced
    • Lack of amino acids slows the turnover rate (10-12 days)
  • Endurance training compromises the immune system due to the pounding on the body

-How amino acids are used by riders in the Tour de France bike race…39:00

  • Podcast: How Tour de France racers make it through the grueling stages w/ Dr. Jeff Spencer
  • Dr. Spencer is a former Olympic biker who worked for the U.S. team during the Lance Armstrong era
  • Minkoff gave Spencer amino acids to give to the riders during one of the races:
    • After 21 days, athletes are broken down, even with optimal nutrition, medical care, etc.
    • Athletes who used amino acids didn't break down; performance improved
  • Athletes and coaches overwork and don't allow adequate recovery time; results in a broken immune system

-Why not derive amino acids from whey protein, spirulina, and other sources?…44:00

  • The amount of protein listed on the package doesn't translate to amounts in other sources (fish, steak, spirulina, etc.)
  • Medication to stop stomach acid stops protein digestion
  • Pepsin enzyme which digests protein requires a very acid stomach
  • Cells have two pathways with which to deal with the amino acids:
    • Anabolic: Turns amino acids into the proteins the cell is responsible for (hair, liver, muscle, etc.)
    • Catabolic: Nitrogen becomes a waste product; chain leftover looks like a carbohydrate
  • Ratio of essential amino acids in PerfectAmino is very specific; the body will use amino acids into making protein
  • Nitrogen utilization study
  • Spirulina is good for some things; amino acids is not one of them
  • Adding non-essential amino acids decreases the efficacy of the product
  • Collagen has 50% non-essential amino acids

-The chemical configurations of amino acids…1:02:40

  • The body can only use the “left-handed” configuration (L form)
  • Most amino acid forms have very low amino acid utilization because they include the R form

-How amino acids work with fasting and/or ketosis…1:05:30

  • You can take amino acids and not spike blood glucose levels
  • Excessive proteins will kick you out of fasting is a myth
  • Amino acids work very well for fasting in an anabolic state
  • 10 g of amino acids is 4 calories (less than a stick of gum)

-How safe amino acids are for children…1:17:00

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

 PerfectAmino Essential Amino Acids

 Dr. Minkoff's new book “The Search for the Perfect Protein”

 Pancreatic enzyme therapy for cancer

 ION Profile with 40 Amino Acids – Genova Kit

 Diagnostechs Stool Panel

 Sanesco Labs HPA Profile

 BioSteel BCAAs

– Podcast: Episode #168: How To Banish Chronic Pain Forever.

– Podcast: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Cancer And What You Can Do About It.

– Podcast: Amino Acids, BCAAs, EAAs, Ketosis, Bonking & More With 41 Time Ironman Triathlete Dr. David Minkoff.

– Podcast: How Tour de France racers make it through the grueling stages w/ Dr. Jeff Spencer

Dr. David Minkoff
Dr. David Minkoff

Dr. Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then worked as an attending physician in infectious disease, co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine until 1995. In 1997, his interest in alternative and complementary medicine led him to open LifeWorks Wellness Center, which has become one of the foremost alternative medicine clinics in the U.S. His search to find a source of the highest quality nutritional supplements led him to establish BodyHealth in 2000, a resource that could provide doctors with the best possible supplementation and education for their patients. Today, the BodyHealth products are used by hundreds of practitioners and individual consumers who seek all-natural wellness and detoxification supplements with a demonstrated high level of quality and effectiveness. In addition to their use by patients looking to heal disease, the BodyHealth products are also used by sports enthusiasts interested in achieving and maintaining optimal performance. As a 42-time Ironman triathlon finisher, (including 8 appearances at the Ironman World Championships) Dr. Minkoff has first-hand experience to help athletes achieve optimum conditioning. His expertise in protein synthesis, detoxification, and nutrition allow them to run, swim, and bike faster and longer. Today, Dr. Minkoff is an alternative healthcare expert, guest lecturer, writer, tv and radio show guest. He also authors two weekly newsletters, the BodyHealth Fitness Newsletter and the Optimum Health Report.


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