Ep. 374 Understanding Visceral Fat and Its Impact on Health with Dr. Sean O’Mara

Your trusted source for nutrition, wellness, and mindset for thriving health.

Today, I am honored to connect with Dr. Sean O’Mara, the leading global health and performance-optimizing physician. 

Dr. O’Mara is a former ER physician and attorney. He works with business executives, professional performers, and athletes, and he has also had the chance to collaborate with multiple United States presidents, Secretaries of State, senior government officials, and high-level foreign dignitaries. 

In our discussion today, we address the dangers of visceral fat and the general lack of awareness of it, particularly among healthcare professionals. We cover various types of fat, the influence of Big Pharma, and the impact of menopause on disease susceptibility. We dive into health optimization, sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity, frailty, adiponectin, and MRIs for assessing visceral fat, and Dr. O’Mara offers valuable insights on muscle tissue differences, lifestyle factors, epigenetics, and the most effective exercises, discussing his advocacy for intermittent fasting, the importance of clinical labs, and the specific supplements for managing visceral fat. He also shares his thoughts on alcohol and caffeine. 

This engaging and informative episode with Dr. Sean O’Mara features numerous slides and MRI images. So, I recommended viewing it on YouTube.

“Alcohol does not improve human performance. It is clearly associated with degradation and the declining of human performance.”

– Dr. Sean O’Mara

IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Why visceral fat is a significant contributor to chronic disease
  • How visceral fat invades muscles, leading to the loss of spinal erectness
  • Why superficial subcutaneous fat is essential for health
  • The impact of visceral fat on muscle mass and bone density in older adults
  • How lifestyle choices impact metabolic health
  • The benefits of fermented foods and extended fasting for optimal health
  • Why Dr. O’Mara believes that modern humans are less intelligent than our ancestors
  • How fasting helps to cleanse the body and reverse disease
  • How distance running and cycling can impact the body negatively, and the benefits of sprinting
  • Why Dr O’Mara recommends avoiding alcohol

Connect with Cynthia Thurlow  

Connect with Dr. Sean O’Mara

Recommended Podcast

What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health, from Andrew Huberman

Transcript

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:00:02] Welcome to Everyday Wellness podcast. I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner Cynthia Thurlow. This podcast is designed to educate, empower, and inspire you to achieve your health and wellness goals. My goal and intent is to provide you with the best content and conversations from leaders in the health and wellness industry each week and impact over a million lives.

 

[00:00:29] Today, I had the honor of connecting with Dr. Sean O’Mara. He is the world’s leading health and performance optimizing physician. He works with business executives, professional performers, and athletes. He is also a former ER physician as well as an attorney, and he’s had the opportunity to work with multiple US presidents, Secretaries of State and other senior government officials, and high-level foreign dignitaries. He is frank, outspoken, but absolutely delightful, and wants to help educate the public about the impact of visceral fat. Today, we spoke at length about the significance of visceral fat, how it is problematic, and there’s a lack of awareness, especially with healthcare practitioners. The influence of Big Pharma, the different types of fat, including subcutaneous and visceral, the changes that occur in menopause that impact our susceptibility to disease, the role of health optimization.

 

[00:01:28] We spoke at length about sarcopenia, sarcopenic obesity and frailty, the importance of adiponectin, the role of MRIs for evaluating visceral fat, differences in muscle tissue, the role of lifestyle and as he refers to it, meat and microbes, the impact of epigenetics, the role of the right types of exercise including sprinting, his love for intermittent fasting, why he thinks labs are not the most important aspect of clinical care. And lastly, specific supplements that he has spent a great deal of time researching on that can be helpful for visceral adiposity, as well as his opinions on alcohol intake and caffeine. I know you will love this conversation as I stated before during the podcast. This is a podcast you want to watch on YouTube. Dr. O’Mara has an amazing amount of slides and photos that he has shared with our community as well as MRIs. And for anyone that’s curious, when I spoke to Dr. Sean about the cost of outpatient MRIs to evaluate for visceral fat, he indicated they could be as inexpensive as $250 up to $500. This is certainly an option for many individuals. You want to discuss with your internist, primary care providers to help evaluate your own susceptibility to visceral fat concerns. 

 

[00:02:58] Welcome Dr. O’Mara. So good to have you on the podcast. I’ve really been looking forward to this conversation. 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:03:04] Yeah, great. Well, I’m super excited to be here, and I’ve been looking forward to it as well. So, I hope to really help with some cool content to help you followers. And I appreciate your demographics and your audience. I think in social media space and healthcare in general, we don’t do a good enough job addressing female needs. And I do feel like women, in studies, don’t get adequate resourcing and adequate attention. It’s been too long, probably a male-dominated world and a male-dominated research area. So, I’m excited for the opportunities to address more females.

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:03:45] Yeah. And I think that one of the things that really struck me when I came across your work and listened to you on a few of my friends’ podcasts was the fact that you’re really positioning yourself to help educate the community, the lay public about the role of visceral fat. And for my listeners in particular, vis-a-vis women that are in middle age, north of 35, perimenopause and menopause, what is the significance of visceral fat and why do women need to be more concerned about what it does, why it’s so impactful, and what do they need to do in order to make themselves aware of their own risk factors for it?

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:04:24] Sure. So maybe I’ll just spend a little bit on visceral fat so you can get an idea about why it’s so problematic. First, one of the big problems to it is it’s not communicated adequately to patients. The majority of your audience, sadly, will know more about visceral fat than their physicians. And so, it’s kept from medical schools, it’s kept from nurse practitioner programs, mid-level programs, it’s kept from pharmacy school, it’s kept from nursing school. And I don’t know about the curriculum and those other programs in terms of how they’re set, but if there are anything like the curriculum in medical schools, then they will be heavily influenced by Big Pharma. And then I’m going to speculate also the healthcare industry, big health insurance companies, especially like United Health Group, which is the last time I checked, they were like Fortune 5, meaning like the fifth largest company in the world. So, the largest part of our economy is healthcare, and it was oil, energy, the Internet, anything brick-and-mortar commerce, anything else you can point a finger at. More money is spent on healthcare than anything else.

 

[00:05:39] And the sad reality is most of it is just wasted, poured down a drain because it’s all addressing trying to treat what is entirely preventable. And just imagine what we could do better with all that money. So, I lead with that as an entree, because visceral fat is largely responsible. In fact, it is the largest contributor to chronic disease that I am aware of as a physician researcher. And so, I studied it for seven years. I studied it. It’s also helpful, I think, to add some perspective on the circumstances of my studying this, was for seven years of volunteer. I did not take a penny. I did it full time. I left my full-time job to do this. I had five kids, all in school, and I took a job working part time in an urgent care position, because it was that important to me professionally, and I felt to our species, humanity, to have a serious look at this because nobody else was addressing it. So, my research partner and I, Dr. Zheng, who was the first to tell me about visceral fat and invite me to join this research practice, and I were funded by the National Science Foundation based on our results, eliminating and reversing chronic disease when we targeted visceral fat. And so why is visceral fat a problem? It’s because it’s unlike other fat that’s inside your body, and we’ll get into the different types of fat. But visceral fat is almost an organ.

 

[00:07:12] It is constantly secreting inflammatory molecules, substances that trickle out of your body and then destroy, degrade, deteriorate all your beautiful cells and your tissue. So more so than anything else, visceral fat is the biggest culprit to why we fall apart. Reality is we should be getting better as we age, because our skill sets improve and we can actually actively impact our body through our lifestyles. But that capacity is undermined and eroded by chronic disease, which is a product of this inflammatory fat that’s inside it. So, if you are listening today and you have any form of chronic disease, jump in Google, jump in ChatGPT, jump in any AI tool that you use and look at visceral fat, comma, whatever chronic disease you have. Or ask ChatGPT, “Does visceral fat have a role in abdominal aortic aneurysm?” Whatever it is you may have, and see the contribution in place and then speculate, “My God, why haven’t I been told this?” So, you have to get your own awareness and insights about the disease process, the problems that you have, and then consider how visceral fat eradication can actually improve it.

 

[00:08:40] So visceral fat is really the single most important thing that anybody can do to improve their health is eliminate visceral fat. In the 30 years of practicing medicine that I’ve seen, so I’m very passionate about bringing awareness to visceral fat. But it’s not enough just to say it’s a problem. We have to also talk about solutions. And so that’s why I studied it for seven years, because it does no good to humanity to point at a problem without coming up solutions. It’s sort of like, I don’t want to get political, but, you know, the climate change thing, okay. If it’s probably everybody’s got different ideas. Well, we have to and it’s a really hard thing. Like, how are you going to test that the earth is going to get colder or hotter by doing this one particular thing get everybody to do it. But when it comes to your body, stop worrying about the planet and worry about your health, okay? The healthy you are, the better you can live and the better contributions you can make to the planet. That’s the kind of thinking I like to do. 

 

[00:09:41] So I empower my clients who come to work with me with an awareness that the studies that they ought to be paying attention to are not the studies that are going on in 7.9 billion other people, but the study of one that’s going on inside of you, and that’s what visceral fat allows you to do. It is a biomarker that you can objectively analyze very, very effectively and persuasively by MRI and allows you to take a look at that visceral fat, see how much you have, and then make a lifestyle change. So, before you decide to go vegan, before you decide to go carnivore, before you decide to try the Mediterranean diet, get an MRI of what your baseline is in your body, and then repeat that in three months and measure and evaluate the impact that that particular lifestyle change had in you. And the same could be employed to maybe before you decide to start running or before you decide to stop running, which is what I advocate people to do, stop jogging and actually start sprinting. 

 

[00:10:51] And so there’s a variety of different things that you could do and should do with an MRI to objectify what’s really going on in you instead of what’s going on in the periphery, because everybody is different. And you got to answer the question for you, “What impact is this having on me?” Instead of just marching down the road, kicking the can down the road, and thinking that, “The way you’re eating, the way you’re living, what you’re doing, is either helping you or hurting you? You really need to know.” So that’s why I love the MRI. And they are expensive to do. They’re not cheap. It’s a lot easier to get a glucose continuous monitor patch. But the capacity, the yield, the impact that is available, the return on your investment of MRI, nothing comes as close to getting that kind of a measurable impact on improving your health than getting a single MRI and using that as a tool in the future to repeat, to see, to ensure that you are improving in your life. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:11:58] Well, I think it’s so– you brought up so many good points, and I look forward to talking about the diagnostic piece. But for the benefit of listeners who may be unfamiliarized with different types of fat in the body, I think women are probably very familiarized with subcutaneous fat. That’s the pesky fat that you can pinch. When we’re talking about visceral fat, this is fat that is deeper, that is much more problematic. And I think your discussion around, the diagnostics around visceral fat are very helpful. But let’s talk about the differentiators, because I think for a lot of people, this may very well be the first time they’re hearing about visceral fat and helping them understand what differentiates this from subcutaneous fat. 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:12:39] Yeah, so the good news, bad news story for women is we’ll get into that. So women, I’ll just to lead into this, by and large, enjoy better health until the age of menopause. And you and I both worked in the realm. It worked in emergency medicine, in ERs and we saw males, including young males, come in and have acute Mis, heart attacks. Women do not have that because they’re conferred the benefit of reduced visceral fat. So, they have reduced visceral adiposity as a result of being female sexed. They have the benefits of the reproductive cycle. Their role is so critical in child rearing presumably, that the species confers upon females’ better health until that menopause, where they no longer are reproducing and child rearing, and then say, “No soup for you anymore, ladies. You’re back with the fellas.”

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:13:39] And us guys, we’re hunters, we work. Women were hunters too, by the way. They went out just like any other female species. But males don’t get that benefit. We don’t seem to have as much of a role we should as much of a role in child rearing. And so, we’re kind of expendable, which is kind of a sad thing for us guys, but as a consequence, we accumulate a lot more visceral fat. And so, let’s take a look at that. The other interesting thing is women get a protective fat more so than men. So, men do not get the same degree of this protective fat. Now, it still is protective to them, but the quantity of that fat they have is less. So, let’s take a look, if you’re seeing an MRI scan for the first time, real quick. Everything you see here that’s white is fat. Okay, so fat shows up as white on an MRI scan. Muscles, organs like colon, small intestine, the stomach, the liver show up as dark and bone shows up as dark. So, this is the vertebral body. This is one of your bones in your back, your spinal column, and these two little round structures, dark structures next to it are called the iliopsoas muscle or psoas muscles, known by lay people as the core. So, when you’re doing a core workout that hurts so bad, those are the bunkers that hurt so bad deep inside of you. They’re incredibly important though to health.

 

[00:15:05] So, we take a look at those when we do MRI scans. And these two muscles down here, dark structure, are called the erector spinae muscles. So, these two muscles should be dark as this one, but they have streaks of fat in because this person is having infiltrating, invading their muscles, replacing their muscles, inflammatory fat. So, the other way you can think about that fat is marbleization. So, a steak can have marbleization. When you go to a steakhouse or a supermarket and I’m just going to flip the world and change the paradigm that is not good. In spite of what you might think that that is a good steak to eat, it’s one you want to run away from, okay. You do not want to eat a diseased animal. You do not want to be a diseased animal. So, these muscles here are called the erector spinae muscles because they keep the spine erect. Well, how good are they going to be when they get replaced with inflammatory fat? And that’s what slowly happens as you accumulate visceral fat, inflammatory fat called myosteatosis, short for muscle fat, starts invading your spinal muscles and your muscles all over your body. 

 

[00:16:31] These are the obliques and your dominus rectus. And then you can start to understand why this happens. So, we lose ability, the muscles can’t even keep the spine erect. And young people, young soldiers, when I lecture to them, they think that these people are just kind of bent over because they’re not used to standing up. No, they have lost ability because those muscles don’t work anymore. If you’re not vigilant to this disease process, it’s going to sneak up on you. So back to visceral fat, that’s a really bad player. We’ve talked a little bit about wine. This is also a really bad player because it’s also secreting those inflammatory molecules that are growing on their body and destroying your beautiful muscles too and your body, your tissue throughout your body, and it’s always in proportion. So, when you see a lot of visceral fat, we see a lot of fat in the muscle.

 

[00:17:26] The third bad player that we see is in subcutaneous fat. There’s a blackline going through here, and that blackline that goes through there, right in the middle of the subcutaneous fat compartment, divides subcutaneous fat into two compartments. So, if you had a membrane right in the middle of fat, it must have a role. And it does have a role, because those two depots, those two areas of fat are like bricks and clouds different, completely different. This one is like visceral fat and myosteatosis, human marbling. It’s called deep subcutaneous fat because it’s deep to that membrane, to the muscles. And this one secretes inflammatory molecules, causes disease highly connected to correlated with chronic disease as well as visceral fat and myosteatosis. But this one does the opposite, the opposite. So, it protects you from disease and it does not secrete the inflammatory molecules. It secretes another molecule that I hope every one of your listeners pays attention to and remembers this word and jumps in Google and jumps in ChatGPT. It’s adiponectin, and it’s spelled just like it sounds, adiponectin. A-D I-P-O-N-E-C-T-I-N. I’m going to write a song about it and sing. [Cynthia laughs] It’s that important. You need to know about adiponectin. 

 

[00:18:55] Big Pharma, big healthcare, big medicine, big health insurance, all the evil men and women out there making money from your disease that cultivated a system that people fall apart and they exploit the fact that they’re falling apart. Don’t want you to know about adiponectin or visceral fat, but if you’re listening, you’re fortunate to be a follower of Cynthia, you’re getting this content, and I hope you get super excited about it. You know what they want you to talk about cholesterol, and I’m not going to talk about cholesterol. We’re just going to talk about what really matters and what helps you get better, because if you sit and talk about what doesn’t matter, it’s like your kids playing electronic games. They’re not studying, they’re not moving ahead, they’re not doing their chores, they’re not doing their work, they’re not getting better. And so, cholesterol is like electronic games for adult people. They’re adults that play electronic games, and I’m not saying that you can’t play any electronic games, but if you become distracted by something that doesn’t make you better, then it becomes a real problem. So, adiponectin is one of those words you want to know about.

 

[00:20:00]. Now, the more you have of this, the more protective you have. Here’s the interesting thing. The good news for women. See that blackline? That blackline usually is more about this halfway point or maybe more like this. And women mostly get this superficial subcutaneous fat. So that provides that degree of protection because of adiponectin, protecting against heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and ready for this, even obesity. So, to the extent that you have superficial subcutaneous fat, you do not get the real dangerous obesity, invisible obesity. There’s fat accumulating inside you. So, three bad players, one, two, three and one good one. And I use the analogy called the three bad guys, black-hatted horsemen, and the one, white-hatted horseman, the good one had a superficial subcutaneous fat. They all have guns. These three have guns that shoot inflammatory molecules that cause the problem. So, it’s really important to address the fact that visceral fat, in and of itself, is not the problem. It’s the inflammatory molecules it secretes. So, it’s the bad guys’ guns, there’re little tiny mini bullets, and they’re not the kind of gunshots that you would see in Baltimore and I would see in Philadelphia and Washington DC, where penetrating trauma or massive injury, it’s little tiny bullets that accumulate for decades.

 

[00:21:38] So you fall apart over a period of time, and as a consequence of that influence, you have this accumulation of disease. Well, the same thing with this beneficial bullet. It’s like a bulletproof vest that helps protect you from that kind of disease. Adiponectin is something you want and need more of inside your body. So, women have conferred upon them the added benefit of adiponectin because that superficial subcutaneous fat. And I’ll take you to an example in the Renaissance period about art, the masters, when they were painting Mona Lisa’s and all those paintings, they tended to paint cherubic women that were really heavy and sculpted women. They were kind of chubby, and they’d have very effeminate faces and they would be looking like this and porcelain, gorgeous, beautiful faces. And today we’re kind of going backwards, we’re kind of promoting the anorexic model and women when I point out, you get videos and talks on social media about the beneficial role of superficial subcutaneous fat, how you really want to not see a six pack on your body when you pull up shirt and I’ll show you, I don’t have a six pack. I got one. It’s just covered by a layer of subcu fat that I keep in there to protect me. You can see my six pack on [unintelligible 00:23:04] it’s big, but I keep that layer of superficial subcut fat to cover it up.

 

[00:23:10] Now, when people have made a mistake and it’s usually and they do liposuction, thinking that, “Oh, I’m going to get a boyfriend, or oh, my husband will like me more, or whatever reason it is, I’m going to look better with my girlfriends when I go to the beach.” When you get that sucked out, they have private messaged me and said, “It’s the biggest mistake of my life when I did that, I regretted it because my health declined and nobody told me that, and my face got less attractive.” Remember the cherubic faces, the superficial subcutaneous fat? The role it plays is how to make your face look healthy. And so that protects you from the effects of visceral fat, which makes your face less attractive because it’s advertising “I am not healthy.” And we, as humans are looking for people that are healthier who appear to be thriving because we manifest in our appearance messaging, “Pay attention to me. I can help you live better.” So, it’s an important feature to our body. So, three bad ones. There’s a fourth one that’s bad. It’s called organ fat. So that’s ectopic fat, fat around the heart and fat within the organs. So those four fat depots are really bad. I hope your audience understands them. And the role of superficial subcutaneous fat, you do not want to lose that superficial subcutaneous fat. It’s really an important feature, and so it’s something that you want to hold on to, do not have liposuction to get rid of it.

 

[00:24:54] The other interesting thing, when I was researching deep subcutaneous fat, it tends to be predominant right in the area of your love handle. So, this is your belly button, and these are your back muscles. So, this guy laying on his back with his belly going up in the air when he’s going through a scanner, I know it’s a male because it’s predominantly deep subcut fat and not as much superficial subcutaneous fat. So, this deep subcutaneous fat, when I was researching it, I was looking at love handles because deep subcutaneous fat is predominantly males. Guess who had love handles removed? It’s not for women, it’s males. I was fascinated by that. All these plastic surgeons had these ads and there’s all these guys. Women apparently don’t get their love handles removed because it kind of looks voluptuous. And how it lays on the body is more attractive. But a dude’s love handles is like, “Softy. Mister I can’t do anything. I’m a low performer. I am not good at hunting. I can’t produce. I don’t perform well.” So, guys hate those love handles. If they see pictures of themselves, they’re walking down the beach and they see a couple both kind of chunky, they’re looking at the male and going, “Oh, my God. No way do I want to look like that.” And the female’s not so troubled. So they go back to a plastic surgeon, have it removed. Don’t do surgery on your body. You change your lifestyle rather than trying to change appearance, it does nothing to improve your health. Those love handles are just going to come back if you don’t change your lifestyle. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:26:32] You bring up so many important points and I love that you started to talk about sarcopenia. So, this muscle loss with aging, which I remind people, really accelerates after the age of 40 and how protective muscle is. And I’m laughing because I was out to dinner over the weekend with my husband, and I’m the person that gets the filet. I like lean meat. My husband always gets the ribeye. I’m going to make sure he listens to this conversation because-

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:26:58] Yeah.

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:26:59] -that myosteatosis, so really helping people understand it is not just our bodies, but also the muscle meat that we choose to consume from animals, hopefully high quality. You’re then also consuming that highly inflammatory disease state. Do you find when you’re working with your clients, are you advocating for lean-based proteins predominantly over some of those fatty cuts that you were alluding to, like ribeye? 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:27:24] Yeah. So maybe I’ll pull up a picture of this. These steaks use an example. So first of all, you know, there’s good fat and bad fat. This is just bad fat. But the fat here is good. Now this should be good, but it’s not going to be as good as this fat here. Why? Because these two cows have different lifestyles. They didn’t listen to your podcast, okay. [Cynthia laughs] Their ranchers are not following good husbandry or animal, veterinarian principles. Now they are following the right principles to make money. Sort of like what we did and when we, before we saw the light, chased our passions to help other humans really get better, we just gave medicines a prescription. So, these animals got a lot of antibiotics, these animals get a lot of grain. They get corn, soy, molasses, carbohydrates, okay. This is what happens to this mammal when it consumes an abundance of carbohydrates. And so instead of eating grass, it’s getting carbohydrates. And now, sadly, they’re inserting, incorporating into cattle feed, okay. A cattle feed truck tipped over on a highway and spilled out. They’re incorporating into cattle feed skittles. Yeah, the human candy skittles.

 

[00:28:44] And so they’re getting cows human candy to get them diseased so that they can make more money off that animal. It’s not like, “Okay, I want to have the most diseased cows in the world. No, they want to have the cows with the highest amount of marbleization because they’ve got us convinced, the consumers that marbleization is good. Now, if they got you convinced this is good, how much easier is it get you convinced to eliminate what your body makes to help you build cell membranes, neuronal sheaths, and every cell in your body needs it. Cholesterol, they have literally convinced you to be terrified of cholesterol rather than what you really, this type of dangerous fat is what you should be aware of. So, this cow is the opposite. It doesn’t eat carbs, it eats grass. It’s grass-fed and grass finished. So it’s, the other half of the equation here is, can’t just be fed grass. It also has to be finished on grass. So, a lot of cows are out in the pasture for a while, then they move them into the warehouse and fatten them up and they get this kind of fat. So you don’t have to, when you eat meat, you don’t have to eat a lean piece of meat. You can eat the fat off a grass-fed cow, which typically kind of has a golden yellow to it because the higher amounts of omega-3s from that grass. And grain fed cow, I mean just stop. Listen, listen, just when you’re shopping in a grocery store, go look at grass-fed milk and a gallon of grass-fed milk, buy one or half a gallon and milk from that’s not grass-fed. Pour it in glasses, one will be white and one will be yellow. 


[00:30:34] And that’s the nutrient difference in the lifestyle from the diet of that animal. And that’s what you need to be paying attention to as a human being, that how you live and how you eat impacts your body. And you do not want to look like a sheet of paper with white fat. You want to be eating cows that have a nice golden yellow to it and cows that are very lean here. And any fat in this animal is going to be way better than fat on this animal. And there’s, you know, I’ll just throw something out there. Because I’m a physician, I refuse to take any money to say what is good. I. You can’t pay me to tell people to sprint and stop running, and you can’t pay me to tell you about a good type of meat or any type of food or a product. So if I like a product, I’m going to talk about it in social media. So, I’m going to talk about these guys, these people. I don’t get any money from them, I don’t get any kickbacks, I don’t get a penny, I don’t get a vacation home, I don’t get a rental car, and I do not get free meat. If they try to give me free meat and they know I won’t take it, I would turn it back, okay. So having said that, I get nothing from these people, but you need to know about good healthy meat. And I, for right, this is my favorite meat, piedmontese.com. You can go to that website, piedmontese.com. It’s right there. And you can buy that meat. And if you’re following Cynthia and you follow me, I’ll give you a code to go in there and get a huge discount. 

 

[00:32:05] Now, most people give you, like, put in code, whatever, and code MICHAEL, code BEN and you get 10% off, 15% off. You put this code in, you’re going to get 25% off because it’s all going to you. So, when you buy off that website, as long as it’s not on sale, they’ll give you an additional 25% off everything you order. So that makes this very nice, very lean. Look at this, a ribeye. Your husband, if he saw that, he’d be like, disappointed. Like, “Where’s the fat.” [Cynthia laughs] Well, this animal just eats grass. So, it has lower marbleization, lower myosteatosis. So, the code is DRSEAN. So, if you’re following Cynthia’s podcast, you get this ability to get this good healthy meat. And so, your husband should be watching this, and he should be ordering this kind of good grass- fed, grass finish beef. And these cows are bred to have lower amounts of marbleization. When I was touring them, say, our purpose here is to give our cows the happiest life possible. These are the happiest cows in the world, except for 1 second, okay, 1 second. The rest of the time, they’re super healthy. And that’s the way we should be. We should be happy, we should be healthy, we should be out in the sunshine, we should be outdoors, eating a species appropriate diet, low in carbohydrates, low in sugars, and predominating in healthy protein and healthy fat.

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:33:38] And for listeners, please be rest assured that we will drop this podcast. Also, the visuals for this are excellent. We’ll do it simultaneously on YouTube because so many of you love to watch and listen at the same time, because Dr. Sean has so many fantastic images that he’s been showing throughout our discussion. One thing that I want touch on as it relates to sarcopenia, so that we can kind of push forward. You showed at the beginning a kyphotic man. So, a patient that was frail, older, and was developing kyphosis, where they start to kind of round their shoulders forward. They position their chin. it’s in a position where it’s exactly right there. This is a great kind of visualization of this. Let’s talk about frailty. I think this is very, very important. It’s very timely, especially with my father’s recent death. But helping people understand that this whole process of this loss of muscle, this loss of strength leads to frailty. This is where you start seeing older family members that will not only have trouble getting off a commode or a toilet, they start having falls, they become weaker, they become less active. It becomes this kind of self-fulfilling prophecy that as they become weaker, they become less active. It worsens the sarcopenia, their frailty increases. And this is something that does not have to be our destiny. And this is why our discussion is so very, very important.

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:35:03] Yeah. So, when it comes to an MRI, if you see a lot of white, you’re going to see very little dark. It’s proportional, It’s like as you build the white, you lose the black. If you never build the white, the black stays. So, both these guys are in their 30s. This guy is mostly dark. He does have an elevated amount of visceral fat. That visceral fat is disappointing. He’s only 30 and he’s accumulating it, but he hasn’t accumulated as much as this 30-year-old. And so, because even though he has an elevated amount of visceral fat starting to surround his organs, they weren’t present long enough to shrink his muscles. So his obliques, his six pack are nice and big. This guy has almost no six pack, no obliques, and his back muscles are hugely infiltrated with that fat. And he walks permanently with the limp. Well, look at this guy’s body, it’s surprising. Look at that, this is a friend of mine from the Army National Guard, Gabe. I mean, he looks ripped. And so, you don’t know what’s inside of you unless you get this MRI. But it’s this stuff that leads to frailty, losing your muscle mass, and you need to be aware of it, and you need to have a protective, superficial subcutaneous fat.

 

[00:36:26] Now, Gabe doesn’t have as much deep subcutaneous fat proportion wise as that other guy did with the really bad MRI there. This is 90% deep subcutaneous fat. Engage closer to probably around two-thirds of deep subcutaneous fat, one-third superficial. So, you want to have that protective, superficial subcutaneous fat. So, you need to track that. It’s really important. And it starts with those three– those particular biometrics. But I like to also show the correlation to how this affects muscles. So, you get this fatty infiltration in visceral fat, causes fatty infiltration in your leg muscles. And you end up having muscles that look like wagyu beef. And instead of filet mignon tenderloin, like this guy’s enormous muscles and very small amounts of this– Look how big his core is, enormous. They’re kissing his six pack. Kissing. Look at this guy’s six pack here and this little tiny core down there. All that visceral fat in there. So, this guy marching head fast towards frailty, sarcopenia, loss of muscle mass, and with it vigor and vitality. That person, Sally, is going to be a grandfather or a grandmother who gets a call from their grandchild that wants to have lunch with them. And terror strikes them in their mind. There’s just no way they can get into that restaurant. They can’t even see themselves getting out of their couch. It’s a big effort. 

 

[00:38:11] So it just slowly accumulates that visceral fat and the loss of a muscle attached tissue that’s slowly replacing. But look at these images, I see these time and time again coming up, this 74-year-old’s big muscles, nice, cohesive. This 40-year-old’s big muscles, nice and cohesive. They’re about the same size in appearance, and fat is white, so that’s bone marrow. And bone is black, so the bone is black here nice and thick. But look at this 74-year-old’s bones. This 74-year-old’s bones are so thin. And how many times we’ve been working in the ER and we get, you know, somebody comes in with a hip fracture. They’re just walking around. They’re an older person in their kitchen with their slippers on because their feet are cold, because they have declining blood flow and their feet are cold. And nobody’s told them, you have declining blood flow because you got visceral fat and myosteatosis, fatty infiltrates attacking your arteries and your veins. And even the cardiologists don’t know this, crazy. And so, they’re standing there and all of a sudden, that bone is so thin, boom, it just snaps. They fall on the ground. 

 

[00:39:22] Well, the mortality at age 85, when your bone has got that thin and your muscles have shrunk that much and they’ve been infiltrated this much by fat, and you have all that fat, visceral fat, and all the accumulation of decades of trickle, trickle, trickle from those black-hatted horsemen shooting their inflammatory molecules for decades inside your body, you’re gone, done. You’re shot. Too much disease. You’re going to be with 95% certainty from that particular event. So, you do not want to allow that to happen. So, getting an MRI of your admin to see that visceral fat, I get MRIs on my client’s legs to help them see the fatty infiltration. Because the majority, I’m going to tell. I’m going to call you out. You’re listening. The majority of you are like, “Wow, this is kind of interesting.” You know what you’re going to do? Nothing. [Cynthia chuckles] You’ll just keep scrolling, eating your carrot cake and your muffins and your pancakes, and you just drive on. But if you get that MRI of your abdomen and you see that fat going on inside of your abdomen, then you see your legs shrinking up and shriveling like raisins and your bone turn into, like, potato chips. Maybe you’ll change your life and stop eating that way. Get yourself off that couch and start sprinting and reverse the lie that you bought into that. Because you’re 40, 50, 60, and 70 years old or 80. You can’t live a vital, vigorous life. You can. I’m here to tell you can and keep listening to Cynthia. 

 

[00:41:00] So you learn how to do that, and your lifestyle becomes attractive to you. Because we got way too many examples of pouch potatoes, chronically diseased, awful. Of hearing human beings walking around. No judgment, but I’m a scientist and I’m a physician, and I am calling out the disease amongst us. We do not have to have this disease in our society, in our bodies. And it starts with you. Be a part of the solution and be an example of wellness and vigor. Get rid of your visceral fat. I’m 61 years old. I hardly exercise and I live an amazing life that keeps me up at night wondering what I have to do to get a better job to reach more people. Because I want you to have that kind of a life. That’s what keeps me up at night. I got to do a better job trying to reach more people, but it’s real and sarcopenia, I’m so glad that you address it and you’re concerned about it because medical frailty is destroying the quality of lives of our older people who we need around. They’ve got the experience. They got the knowledge. It’s like we transferred. The only value that old people now have is wealth transfer. Give it the money. No. They should be giving you wisdom, influence involved in younger generations. 

 

[00:42:25] But sadly, because they’re so diseased, the younger generations look and go, “I can’t really pay attention to grandma and grandpa or great grandpa and great grandma because they look awful.” It’s not an active thought, but we have imprinting in our brains that say, “Do not pay attention to the diseased woman. Do not pay attention to the diseased man. They have not lived well, and they cannot help me to live well.” So, your own worst enemy. If you’re a grandpa or grandma or a mother or a father and your disease, you’re going to lose your ability to influence and impart wisdom and knowledge to your children. And if you’re a social media influencer and you’re trying to talk to people, sell anything, if you are not healthy, your followers are not going to receive your wisdom and your influence. So, get yourselves healthy. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:43:24] Well, and I think that seeing these visualizations, I’m a very visual learner. It is such a marked difference between the healthy muscle versus the adipose-laden sarcopenic obese muscle. And I think for everyone listening, what Dr. Sean is really saying is that we can change the tide. We have the ability to make lifestyle choices and changes that have an enormous impact on the trajectory of our metabolic health. So, let’s pivot and talk about what are the things that we can do that impact visceral fat and our metabolic health simultaneously. And a lot of the questions that came in, a lot of people were saying, “Well, this is genetics, this is just the way things are. You know, my mother, my sister, my brother all have x, y, and z. It’s an inevitability.” And I think a lot of our messaging is really saying, “This is not your destiny. This does not have to be your destiny. We do have to make some concerted efforts to change lifestyle, because lifestyle is very, very impactful for what we’re discussing today.”

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:44:33] Yeah. So genetic medicine definitely has a role in helping out humanity. But sadly, most people think of genetics as a reason, as a self-fulfilling for prophecy. Why I’m fat, why I’m unhealthy. It has way more to do with lifestyle and the choices you make on a daily basis than your genes. It is absolutely epigenetics, the ability to influence the signals on genes to either turn them off or turn them on. In many cases, people have these great genes that they never turn on because they don’t exercise, or they don’t exercise correctly, or they eat dangerous inflammatory food instead of the correct food. So, when it comes to things you can do, this is a client who came to me. He was a professional NHL player, fantastically healthy. But this is him now, in his 40s, and he’s put on all this visceral fat. So, the good life he formerly lived when he was an NHL player, and when he didn’t have much visceral fat, was slowly replaced with all this visceral fat inside of him while he got a second career and his passion in business. So, this guy is crushing. He’s way better business guy than he was a hockey player. As good of a hockey player as he was in the NHL, he’s a way better business guy. 

 

[00:46:04] But look, in five months, look at the dramatic change in five months. But his muscles, his oblique muscles have gotten bigger. So, when you get rid of that visceral fat, you exercise correctly, you start increasing your muscularity. And so, I’m using this as kind of selling point. This is five months, ladies and gentlemen. If you follow Cynthia, you can do this in a very short period of time. It does not take years to be able to do this. And by the way, it starts very early. This person here has a dad bod. They don’t have an oval shape. They look like they’re filled with visceral fat, and they have all this visceral fat inside, white surrounding the organs. Nine-year-old kid, nine-year-old boy, this is what’s going on, I’d like to show you his face, but I don’t have permission. The dramatic change in this pudgy kid’s face to now a beautiful, healthy, young, vigorous nine-year-old kid. Huge change. So hopefully, I’ll be able to get it released, but I just don’t have a release yet to do a face. So, let’s look at what my recommendations are for people to do. I have this on my Instagram page, so if you can’t see it today, can’t get a good screenshot, just go to my Instagram page. It’s pinned at the top what you can do, and I have all my social media down there, so you can follow me because I do free videos, sharing content, and what you got to do to biologically optimize. 

 

[00:47:37] And these four are all pretty standard when you– These first five, I should say, are all pretty, pretty basic stuff. I get people to cut out processed foods, cut out carbohydrates, especially processed carbs, and to eat animal products, eat meat. And then the other thing I get them to do is eat fermented foods. So, I call it eat meat and microbes. So, I try to de-emphasize the term fermented foods, and now I say eat meat and microbes because you’re really not eating the microbes for the food. You’re eating the microbes in these fermented foods that were fermented to get their microbial value, not their sustenance. So, it’s not like you’re getting a side order of green beans or a baked potato on the side. It’s not really a side dish. Better thought of as a garnish. So, you garnish your meat with microbes to incorporate those microbes into the meat and facilitate this incredible magical interface between your world and your body called digestion. Where you eat this food, bring it into your gut, and to the extent that you incorporate these microbes, you optimize your body’s capacity to better exploit that meat, the nutrition. The healthiest, most nutritiously dense food in the world available to humans is meat. 

 

[00:49:05] And with the addition of microbes into it, you just gave yourself an advantage. It’s like a tax hack. It’s like one of those financial things where you will make a lot of money, like multi-level marketing that you get in on real early before it starts petering out, tapering out. Get in on this one, ladies and gentlemen. Start eating fermented foods that have been fermented for the microbial value, and you’ll have a huge advantage. And then extended fasting. I’m huge on fasting. I’m big on ancestral lifestyle. Why? Because when we scan those people, MRIs and CTs on remains of people during the paleolithic time period. During that– and that’s where the paleo diet got started, was they saw the absence of chronic disease radiographically. Why did those people not have the disease that we see today? And it’s lifestyle? So, we’re able to discern to a great extent through anthropology, what the lifestyles were of humans, our ancestors are old, and we know their diets and what they did. And when you mimic them, you start to adopt those principles. 

 

[00:50:22] Chronic disease leads the body, and that was our approach. That is it. How we did it for the National Science Foundation, we studied what happened ancestrally and what happens in the wild, because there’s only one species on the planet that has chronic disease, and that’s Homo sapiens, and it’s all lifestyle drip. Every other animal, if you follow their lifestyle, they don’t have chronic disease unless, and to the extent they interact with humans, like in national parks or suburbs, where they’re eating human trash, and they get into that, then they start getting chronic disease from the bad food that we think is good to be eating. So extended fasting is just something our ancestors would have done. It’s not like they woke up one day and said, “Oh, ugh.” You know, I don’t want to make a funny noise, because they’re probably did it– I’ll put it this way. They were more intelligent than you and I are today. They were. They were more intelligent. We’re so diseased. We have accumulated a lot of knowledge. Yeah, we know how to build the SpaceX plane, do the Internet and stuff like that. But the intelligence factor, bar none, my money was on our ancestors, both during the paleolithic time period, because all their cells were way more healthier, and their neural connections were just much better at farming. 

 

[00:51:41] So if they knew what we knew today, they would be unstoppable so they would get up. They didn’t purpose to go on to an extended fasting. It’s just the hunting go out, okay. The animals weren’t there, whatever. And so, they would have basically a forced fasting, and it would go extended periods of time, famine, whatever, and they wouldn’t be able to access that food. And when you study what happens to humans and a physician, I hesitate to call him a colleague, but he’s sort of a colleague. He’s on social media. I hope to meet him one day, Jason Fung. Brilliant, brilliant physician. Jason’s way smarter than me. He advocates fasting, and he could [unintelligible 00:52:20] eloquently about all the biochemical nuances that happen to Homo sapiens that gets involved in fasting. But I’ll just say, it cleans up disease, reverses disease, makes you more awesome. And when we put it in with our clients and studied it for the National Science Foundation, visceral fat left the body way better, and fat left the muscle, fat left around the heart, and fat left in the deep subcutaneous regions of the subcutaneous fat way faster when people did fasting, so fasting is a wonderful thing.

 

[00:52:59] The last thing I’ll say about it is start very slow, because if you just think, “Oh, my God, this guy Sean O’Mara got me so fired up. I’m going to do a five-day fast.” It’s likely that you’ll be so discouraged that you’ll quit and you’ll say, “Well, if that didn’t work out for me, I guess I’ll go back to my carrot cake.” Don’t let that happen. Start out really slow and work your way up to slow fast. Just you slowly increase the amount of time you’re fasting until you get acclimated to it or anything else. Sprinting, a sauna, going out in the sun, fermented foods, all these things you want to introduce and slowly get acclimated to it so you don’t overwhelm yourself too much at once. And then sprinting, we talked about lifting weights. Maximum intensity exercise works through myokines, these messaging molecules that tell your body to do two important things. Really important things. Listen, heads up. Build muscle and burn bad fat. Build muscle and burn bad fat. It doesn’t burn the good fat, it burns the bad fat. 

 

[00:54:09] So, let’s take a look at an example real fast of that to make you believers why that’s the case, and you have to do those particular things, not [unintelligible 00:54:19]. This guy was filled with visceral fat. He had a lot of deep subcutaneous fat. He had some superficial subcutaneous fat, but then he just started sprinting. He gave up distance running. He was a distance runner. He ran 10 miles a day for five days a week. He gave that up for sprinting. All his visceral fat left. He lost his deep subcutaneous fat, but kept his superficial subcutaneous fat. So that’s what you want to do. Maximum intensity exercise helps to preserve, get rid of the bad fat and helps to preserve good fat. If you do other things like feasting and fasting. And a big, big contributor to protecting you for superficial subcutaneous fat, adiponectin, in my opinion, is fasting. I see people that don’t do fasting and do a lot of exercise, they lose their superficial subcutaneous fat. And a brilliant colleague, smarter than me, Paul Saladino. Hey, Paul. He’s smarter than me, but I think he’s wrong about fasting. He’s losing his superficial subcutaneous fat. He doesn’t have as much of that superficial subcutaneous fat, and you want that. So that’s an important distinction that I think makes me a little bit different from a lot of other social media influencers out there. 

 

[00:55:40] The last ones are a bit complicated. You probably need to go into my YouTube channel. So, subscribe to my YouTube channel, get into these a little bit more. But that’s also why I make a pitch to come work with me or one of my coaches. I have visceral fat specialists and biological optimization specialists that work for me, that I’ve trained, and other physicians that work in my practice. You come and work one-on-one. You can work one-on-one online with us to learn how to optimize these things, because I could give you this list, how to play basketball. The seven things, how to play basketball, and it will help you. But what you need is a really passionate coach that works one-on-one with you, gets you out in that court with a basketball, and helps you do these things. So that’s why I make a pitch to consider working one-on-one within our practice to get that kind of help. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [00:56:39] Now, when we’re talking about different types of exercise, help the listeners understand what is happening physiologically with chronic cardio versus sprints that is so beneficial for the visceral fat, because I still see a lot of women, they want to run 5 to 10 miles every day. They want to do that Ironman competition, and we become a little less stress resilient as we are getting older. And so, I think this is an important point to kind of bring home or the women that don’t do enough recovery with all their intense exercise. 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [00:57:13] Yeah. So, I went into researching visceral fat and health optimization as a runner. And the more I researched it, I abandoned my running. And I wasn’t a casual runner. I was running 90 minutes a day. I just couldn’t stop the endorphins, the feeling, I just felt like it just feels so good, you got to run. And this where this feeling thing can be really problematic. You could also feel good taking care, you got to be careful about how you feel. So running, I just did too much. And I think running is a problem because it generates reactive oxygen species. So, this is a marathoner guy, he did 10 marathons a year. He’s very thin. He has like, no superficial subcutaneous fat. This dude had no adiponectin. He was only 34 years old. And look at this, this is his right lung, his left lung, and in the middle of as long as your heart, a big chunk of inflammatory fat around his heart. And this is a powerful visual. So when this guy was 34, he saw this. I should also say, he wasn’t like the soft-spoken man. I’m going to go out and run for humanity and to help the cheese and animals. This guy was a senior vice president in a national corporation in charge of sales. He was very ambitious. 

 

[00:58:47] So when he saw this, in like one second, he gets super mad that all this disease inside of him, walks up to me, and I thought he was going to hit me and yells at me, “Ugh. You’re going to be your most motivated client.” [Cynthia laughs] I was glad he didn’t hit me, but he saw the disease inside of him and he realized, “Yeah, I’ve got to stop doing this running that I think is so good.” And he left it. And to this day, it’s now nine years later, he– we walked to that room. He left. And that’s hard to do when you do 8 to 10 marathons a year and you just walk from there. Yeah, that was a big lifestyle change. But what helped him was the disease process. He became a sprinter to this day. He has never jogged again. He’s only a sprinter. And the guy looks fantastic. Living a much better life, thriving, improved his lifestyle, everything. So really people, if you’re doing running, get this checked out. And you were in cardiology you know about AFib, Google, if you’re listening today and you have AFib. Google the connection between distance running and distance cycling with AFib. I had a prominent attorney call me up yesterday from out east. I won’t say exactly where. He’s got AFib and he’s terrified of it. And he cycled for 10 years. He would go like a cycling maniac. And so, you end up getting, generating so much reactive oxygen species that I think it ends up causing harm, particularly with your neuro conductive system between your brain and your heart to help regulate your automaticity, not just in how your heart works, but all your autonomic nervous system.

 

[01:00:31] So, you end up basically wearing yourself out from all that excessive running. And I’ll just cut to the chase. Let’s just be practical. I find this remarkable, how many people I have driven by that are out there jogging down the street, and I’m driving in my car, and I’m looking at their faces, and their faces aren’t like this. Their faces are like that. They look like they’re dying. But then when you see a man or a woman sprinting, it’s a game face. It’s inviting. It says, “Come do this.” But there’s something about these distance endurance exercise people that just reek and project chronic inflammation. Wake up, look at the studies and see the connection between distance running and cycling and atrial fibrillation. And let’s face it, what does an Olympic, not an Olympic, but a world champion marathoner look like? Emaciated. They have no muscle in their body, but a world champion sprinter. I can show you a picture of a world champion sprinter because I have them as a client. Look at that body. It builds muscle, burns fat, burns bad fat.

 

[01:01:50] So you want to have preserved a nice, intact muscle body to carry with you. And if you continue to jog and run, you’ll be accumulating that visceral fat, losing your muscle. And you should be sprinting to eradicate that visceral fat and build your muscles. So do not believe the lie that you shouldn’t be sprinting anymore. You sprinted when you were a child. You can just get back very, very, very slowly. Make sure you do a lot of warm ups. And I recommend getting rid of your visceral fat because it’s going to set you up for an injury. So just like lifting weights can set you up for injury, you got to be cautious and careful about incorporating exercise. But the lifestyle is available to you to be– I got clients in their 80s that are sprinting really good. I see 80-year-olds, 90-year-olds, 100-year-olds sprinting on the Internet all the time. You’re only 50 or 60. What’s your excuse?

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:02:48] So tell me, what is the quantification? Because inevitably this will be the question, how much sprinting for how long a duration of time are we talking? Two to three days a week for 10 minutes? I mean, what are we doing? Sprint intervals, I’m presuming. 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:03:02] Yeah. So, my recommendation is, first, if you look ancestrally at sprints, they were always different. No sprint was always the same. The time and the distance were always different. And so, you want to mix it up. But I generally try to get my clients that are able to, on average, to be sprinting about six times every other day for about 15 to 20 seconds. Six times every other day for about 15 to 20 seconds. And that’s a good, decent workout to work up to. And it produces enormous amount of human growth hormone besides myokines. Lots of benefit there to help human growth hormone, helps you protect against sarcopenia. Okay, so we fall apart because we stop doing these kind of exercises. And the other thing, I’ll just warn you about, you know what, if you go to a gym, you don’t see hardly any old people and they’re working out. You see them for a little bit, but the old people stop going because they stop building muscle and they stop building muscle because they have visceral fat. So visceral fat, the influence that visceral fat has degraded their physiology. 

 

[01:04:12] So now when they lift weights, instead of getting a benefit from lifting weights, they get no benefit, and they get this sad, this big, enormous rip off. So, I like to give this example. This was like, this was me last year 10:45 AM, me at 11:00 AM. So, 15 minutes. I did a short little workout, and look how pumped my muscles got. So, this is like what happens to 20-year-olds, but it doesn’t happen to other 60-year-olds because they’ve lost that ability because of visceral fat, they’ve lost the ability to pump up their muscles. And young people go and they flex in front of the mirror. It’s not vanity. Stop thinking. It’s vanity. It’s good, it’s healthy. I got three boys. I want them flexing because I want them to see the fruits of their labor. That’s why they go back and work out the next day, because they see that pump and that pump biologically impressions upon their brain. This is good. Do it again. If you’re older and you’re working out in the gym, you don’t see that, that’s why you fall away and you stop going. But get rid of your visceral fat and you’ll get it back. I lost it and I got it back. And I love that I did. I love my new vigorous healthy life. It’s a fantastic lifestyle. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:05:39] Well, and certainly those photos, it’s evident you take really conscientious care of yourself. I love to touch on a couple more things. When you’re working with your clients directly, are there labs that you are routinely drawing to get a sense of their metabolic health? Are you looking at things like HOMA-IR, fasting insulin, high-sensitivity CRP. Those things that are part of the work that you’re doing with your current clients? 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:06:05] Yeah. So, I get that question a lot. And when I was in the army, I was the outstanding physician of the year for the whole army. There’s thousands of doctors. So, then I got selected to provide medical care to the President and Vice President and Secretaries of State. So, you don’t get to do that unless you’re really a good physician and I can order any blood test I wanted. And then I set up a business with some other White House doctors after I got out of the army, a little break in the service. I’m still actually back in the army. Went back in, I’m still active military with the Army National Guard. But I set up a concierge medical practice where I order millions of dollars’ worth of bloodwork, royal families, members and very wealthy billionaires, managing directors of hedge funds, and it didn’t seem to matter. It didn’t really influence their lifestyle. And so, the only thing that really makes a big difference are measuring these biomarkers, visceral fat, fat around the heart. And I’ve had people, besides the guy that I thought was going to hit me, people yell and had other people drop the f-bomb so much, screamed at our facility, that I thought we’re going to have to call the police, honestly.

 

[01:07:19] I really thought, “We’re going to call the police on this one guy. He was such a hothead. He’s dropping the f-bomb like, every third word. He was so upset about all this visceral fat.” I’m like, “It’s not my fault, dude. That’s how you think, [chuckles] don’t shoot the messenger,” right? It’s emotionally engaging. And another guy I showed him his visceral fat, he passed out, literally standing up and went unconscious. I had to go and check for a pulse, and I was like, “God, I’m going to have to thump on his chest. It’s like we’re a research facility. We don’t have a crash cart. We don’t even have an AED here. Good God.”

 

[laughter]

 

[01:07:53] So the visceral fat, when you see it, is far more engaging than looking at numbers from a study on laboratories. So, I just tell people, just forget the labs. Spend the money on good grass-fed beef and ferments. Get kimchi, kvass, fermented carrots, fermented milk, kefir, fermented blue cheese, gorgonzola cheeses, aged cheeses, things like that rather than going out and buy labs, save your money and use it towards getting an MRI and a follow-up MRI is way better. The other aspect to labs is they’re so dynamic. I mean, everything changes that. And so, you end up chasing your tail instead of dealing with the head. The head is the first expression of disease gone wrong, which is visceral fat. We see it in four-year-olds when we study it for the National Science Foundation. Four-year-olds would have visceral fat. And we check with the parents. Pancakes, sugary cereals, waffles with syrup, and then kids with no visceral fat, omelets, bacon, a steak in the morning, meat, whatever, those kind of diets. And they didn’t have visceral fat. So, it’s all lifestyle driven. And the sooner you see that, it’s more actionable than dealing with labs, which you end up chasing so many different things and the dynamic nature of labs.

 

[01:09:19]. And the other thing is that just grab anything, testosterone, how my testosterone behaves on my body is going to be different than if you took out my testosterone and put it in your body. And then receptors, it’s the receptors on these channels are all different. So, there’s enormous complexity. It’s very dynamic, and it’s all downstream to your lifestyle that’s best reflected in the earliest expression of chronic disease and muscle fat, myosteatosis, deep subcutaneous fat that we see in kids. Even that nine-year-old boy that I showed earlier, he had muscle fat going on in his little nine-year-old body. So, you really want to catch this early, and I’ll just cut the chase. If your family that is affluent, why in the world don’t you go out and get MRIs done everybody in your family? I mean, one family that was affluent that way they’re a very large family. They all came, 11 of them at one time. They all got scanned. Very stressful day for me.

 

[laughter]

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:10:24] Eleven people scanning all those people including the nine-year-old. But they all purpose to get healthy together as a family. They’re all just extraordinarily changing. And they’ve sent, like, six other couples to us, and they’re very generous. They’re like, “You’ve seen us change. We’re going to pay you to go see Sean O’Mara’s, go to his practice and do the scans.” They pay for all the MRIs. They pay for their airline tickets, their hotel fees, their food. They just want them to experience what this family, what they themselves have experienced. So, if you have that kind of money, there’s nothing better you can do than get rid of this visceral fat and getting rid of this hinder fat within your muscles. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:11:07] Two last things that I just wanted touch on. Number one, obviously, supplements are a huge business, but I did run across a randomized, double-blind study talking about the role of NAC in obese adults. So, I don’t know if you have thoughts on utilizing NAC, if you have determined that someone has some degree of visceral adiposity.

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:11:29] Yeah, that’s a great question, Cynthia. So, yeah, I love NAC, I think, we use it a lot in the ER, but we use it for toxicity, acetaminophen toxicity. But NAC has been shown to help facilitate the elimination of visceral fat, and probably because of its role, largely through eliminating visceral fat, it’s been associated with many other improvements in health as well. And here’s the other interesting thing. Do you know the FDA tried to ban NAC? There was an active effort to ban NAC, and they came up with this crazy legal theory to try to argue why they should ban lab because they thought it may have infringed on a proprietary patent of some sort, some kind. And so, I went out and bought a ton of NAC because it was so strong. Amazon pulled it and many other venues weren’t selling NAC anymore as a consequence of the FDA stated objective to eliminate it from a permitted supplement.

 

[01:12:35] So, yeah. I think with the fingerprints of the FDA’s action there, and largely probably inspired by the fact, here’s I’m going to call you out, Big Pharma, do you listen to Cynthia? Are you listening? Did you guys go and look and see people that use NAC don’t need your medicine? Is that what you did? I think that’s what they did. So, yeah, I’m a believer in NAC and that’s why they don’t want you to know about visceral fat, because people that don’t have visceral fat don’t need medicines, and people that have a lot of visceral fat and fat in their muscles need a lot of medicines. So, it’s that simple. Follow the money. That’s what’s going on. Pursue health, make informed choices. NAC is great. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:13:22] Yeah. No, it’s definitely one that I use with some frequency. And then just lastly, what are your thoughts on caffeine or alcohol? Those questions came in quite a bit. I know they can be a little bit controversial, but given your scope of practice and what you’re interested in talking about, what are your thoughts on alcohol and caffeine? 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:13:40] Okay, so first I’ll go right to alcohol. I recommend listening to Andrew Huberman’s podcast on alcohol. It’s an excellent resource. He goes into it and I had clients and patients, people I know just walk from alcohol after they listen to it. But I will say that I work very hard to get every one of my clients off alcohol. Probably not as effective as Andrew is, but he could spend more time than I have to address alcohol on my short consultations with clients. But alcohol is a toxin. Nobody, no Olympic coach, no prominent coaching figure of any team goes, “Okay, now we’re going to add some alcohol in this team and we’re just going to take off.” It doesn’t happen. It does not improve human performance. It’s clearly associated with degradation and declining of human performance. It has no beneficial role whatsoever in your lifestyle. So just get rid of it. And especially if you’re inclined to drink too much, the last thing I’ll say is if you’re going to drink and you absolutely don’t want to leave, drink Cabernet Sauvignon, it has less carbs and it has more healthy attributes. I should put it this way. It’s less evil and less problematic than the other forms, either liquor or sweet or wines and beer. The other three are just ridiculous. So get yourself off of alcohol together. Use Cabernet Sauvignon to wean yourself off. Drink less and less till you’re off it altogether and get off alcohol. So, I’m not a fan of alcohol. I do not drink a drop and I’m super happy about it.

 

[01:15:19] And then the last thing about caffeine is I’ll address caffeine. So, caffeine is a methylxanthine. It has probably been the drug that’s been studied the most right up there creatine. And it’s generally associated with improvement in performance. Now, even though it has that one attribute, the question I will, and I’m a proponent of it. I use it. I drink coffee. I will say, “I wish we knew all the harm it may do.” I do believe it has a potential negative role when it comes to maybe hypertension. It can increase blood pressure, and it may affect, therefore, our autonomic nervous system in an unhealthy way. I think it also exacerbates tremors and other neurodegenerative conditions that people have. It can be problematic. But that being said, it’s also aligned very significantly with reversal of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, particularly coffee. So coffee, caffeine in coffee and also, polyphenols and the other methylxanthine called theobromine, which is kind of like a caffeine, the form of caffeine, and cacao, which is the fruit of the cocoa plant that cacao has a lot of phenols like coffee has. And so, they’re fermented though.

 

[01:16:37] So, chocolate and coffee are fermented as part of the processing that goes on with it. But they’re not probiotics, so they get roasted. And so, the living microbes that were formerly present in the fermentation process are killed off, but the polyphenols are present. So, I drink coffee and I consume it. And I generally think, for the time being, has more benefit than harm, but I reserve the right to change my opinion on coffee and caffeine down the road once I learn more. But for my anecdotal experience and studies, it tended to contribute to the reduction of visceral fat and the securing of better health and the elimination of chronic disease and the people we studied. So for the time being, I’m saying, “Yes to caffeine and no to alcohol.” 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:17:33] Well, thank you so much. This has been a really enjoyable conversation. Please let listeners know how to connect with you if they’re interested in working with you directly, how to connect to your social media channels. 

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:17:43] Yeah, so I’m on Instagram, I’m on YouTube. I’m on TikTok. I’m on LinkedIn. And these are my links that you can get to. I use all the same name, D-R-S-E-A-N-O-M-A-R-A on all of those. And also, my website drseanomara.com, and I have a community that you can get to. Just go on drseanomara.podia.com, where you can join my online community of followers. If you are unable to come and work with me directly to be a client, consider being in my online community of subscribers that great content and can be a part of my Ask Me Anything programs and then do I do great podcasts? I’m selective about my podcast and love what you’re doing, Cynthia. I’m super thrilled that you invited me to come and share with your audience. Thank you so much. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:18:43] We’ll have to do number two later in the year or next year for sure.

 

Dr. Sean O’Mara: [01:18:46] Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Cynthia Thurlow: [01:18:50] If you love this podcast episode, please leave a rating and review, subscribe and tell a friend.