Fear is what differentiates a “successful” person from those who are not. A “successful” person simply dares to get results by pushing through their fear. When we move through fear, it removes its power over us.
As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Brian G. Brown.
Dr. Brian G. Brown, the “Gene Fatigue” Doc, is a functional & integrated practitioner, author, and international speaker. He leans into his 23 years of experience to help high-achievers naturally eliminate “gene fatigue” obstacles that lead to unresolved emotional and physical challenges, so they can optimize for higher achievement & live the life of their dreams.
Dr. Brian accomplishes this by focusing first on the genetic causes, which he calls the True Root Causes™. Through this lens, he can facilitate more precise and practical recovery and performance optimization using gene-centered nutrition & supplementation.
After an undiagnosed pediatric heart condition that nearly claimed his life and left him with extreme fatigue and a host of physical and mental health challenges, Dr. Brian developed the Genesis Zone Advantage™, an efficient 4-step formula to naturally resolve emotional and physical health challenges at their True Root Causes™. Powered by his proprietary formula, Dr. Brian has helped thousands overcome emotional and physical difficulties, reclaim energy, and optimize their life for high achievement.
Dr. Brian is the author of the forthcoming books Health Hijackers for Women and Health Hijackers for Men. Dr. Brian is a dynamic presenter whose insights have been featured on podcasts and stages before world audiences. He can be found in Medium, Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, iHeart Radio, and forthcoming in BuzzFeed & Entrepreneur Magazine.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?
I transitioned into wellness-based medicine at a major crossroads in my life.
On the one hand, I was professionally frustrated because, as a new medical professional, I had these preconceived notions that I’d get to spend time with my patients and help them find true healing.
Nothing was further from the truth. Instead, what I found myself doing was writing prescriptions for pills that Big Pharma and their reps were pushing. I recall coming home from work one day and telling my wife, “This is not what I signed up to do. I’m not sure I can keep doing this.”
On the other hand, I was having some health challenges that couldn’t be resolved with mainstream medicine. I’d been diagnosed with night terrors at age five and would wake up each night, sometimes multiple times per night, with shortness of breath, heart racing, and profuse sweating.
One day, while driving on the interstate, I had all the night terror symptoms during my waking day and nearly wrecked my vehicle. I went straight to a cardiologist friend’s office. He ran tests, which came back negative, so he put a wearable heart monitor on me and sent me home.
Two days later, I got a frantic phone call from him. My heart had stopped three times in the middle of the night, he said. After seeing a series of specialists, the determination was that an electrocution injury at age five damaged my heart’s electrical control mechanisms.
At rest, when my heart would slow down, it would not get the message to speed back up; therefore, it would just stop. My body would then dump massive amounts of adrenaline into my system to jumpstart my heart again, which caused the “night terror” symptoms.
I ended up with a pacemaker. Although this stopped the “night terror” symptoms, it did nothing for the years of damage that the high doses of adrenaline had done to my body; weight gains up to 390 pounds, extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety, and sixteen years’ worth of nine different antidepressants.
At this crossroads, I decided to seek wellness & healing for myself that mainstream medicine couldn’t provide. In the process, I not only found wellness & healing for myself but found a way to help others find it as well.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Upon transitioning to wellness-based medicine over a decade ago, I noticed a repetitive response from my clients. After a client’s first visit, which is at least one and a half hours long, I ask everyone the same question, “How are you feeling now?”
I get the same response nearly every time. New clients say, “I feel like I have hope for the first time in a long time.”
When asked to clarify “hope,” they would reference being “listened to,” being “heard,” or something like, “You mean I’m not crazy? You’re not going to try to put me on an antidepressant like all the others have tried to do?”
“Hope” is a powerful word. In it, there is a magnitude of wellness and healing. Sometimes, if I’m feeling cheeky, when someone asks what I do for a living, I reply, “I’m a purveyor of hope.”
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
So there’s a quirky thing about me. I love live plants in the home and the office. When I first purchased my office building, I bought some beautiful live palm trees for the waiting room.
One morning, I walked into my office, and it was completely flooded. Sometime in the night, a pipe had burst. Naturally, I took appropriate measures to get the leak fixed and the insurance company involved for damages. The insurance company brought in a clean-up crew, and they placed dehydrator machines in the office to get rid of the moisture. Due to the amount of water, these clean-up “experts” said the machines had to run for three to four days.
The leak occurred on a Friday morning, so we closed up the office and returned on Monday morning with the dehydrator machines still running as instructed.
Much to my dismay, my beautiful palm trees were utterly destroyed, shriveled to half their original size, and crispy as burnt toast. I was more upset about the palm trees than the water damage.
I guess the takeaway is this: Sometimes, in moments of crisis, we all have blinders on, even “experts.”
Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?
The way I look at it, I’m blessed to be alive. If my heart only stopped one time each night between age five and 45, then I’d have “died” at least 14,600 times. This stress caused a tremendous amount of damage to my body over forty years.
Bouncing back from these near-death experiences, leaving mainstream medicine, and finding healing through functional & integrated medicine qualifies me as an authority in wellness.
As far as a unique contribution, this journey back to health and wellness inspired me to develop the Genesis Zone Advantage™, an efficient 4-step formula to resolve health challenges at their True Root Causes™ naturally. Powered by this proprietary formula, I’ve been able to help thousands of high achievers overcome exhaustion, reclaim energy, and optimize their life for higher achievement.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Many people have helped me along my journey; however, medical peer and mentor Dr. Neal Rouzier would have to be right at the top. He’s the reason I took the giant leap and changed my career path.
I was at a cardiovascular conference in Boston when I heard his name. I spent the rest of the afternoon investigating this guy. From the sound of it, I knew he had what I needed. I also discovered that he had a conference the next weekend, so I did what any rational human being would do. I called my office, rescheduled my patients for the following week, booked a flight and hotel for Salt Lake City, and paid for the conference. The next week, I was at his seminar in Salt Lake.
All of this occurred at the time of my personal and professional crossroads that I mentioned previously.
I recall the first time I met Dr. Rouzier. His honesty, wit, edginess, and sarcasm were a perfect recipe for waking up the broken and sleepy mainstream medical establishment. And the research-based information he was delivering was mind-blowing.
After returning from the seminar, within 90 days, I announced to my patients that I was closing my practice doors to pursue functional and integrated medicine. I spent the next three years reskilling under Dr. Rouzier’s teaching.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
One block is procrastination. We procrastinate because we’re avoiding a perceived pain. Often, the pain isn’t even based on reality. Nevertheless, we avoid it.
The base emotion involved in procrastination is fear, so I’d have to say that fear is the next block. Fear is a great survival tool. We all need it, but we simply have to learn to harness it.
First, acknowledge the fear. Imagine you’re in a car, and fear is along for the drive, but you give it strict instructions; don’t speak, don’t fiddle with the window controls, and never touch the steering wheel or the radio dial.
Fear is what differentiates a “successful” person from those who are not. A “successful” person simply dares to get results by pushing through their fear. When we move through fear, it removes its power over us.
There are two final blocks; denial and comfort. In many ways, they are inseparably linked.
When it comes to comfort, we naturally gravitate toward the easiest, most comfortable path between where we are right now and where we want to be. And, denial is a familiar bedfellow.
Denial occurs because it’s more comfortable to live with what you know, no matter how dysfunctional it may be, versus admitting there’s a problem and facing the unfamiliar. In this respect, it turns full circle back to fear.
Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)
Getting dramatic improvement in wellbeing takes a non-intuitive approach. In the past few years, advances in nutrigenomic science have exploded. I’m talking about research-grade testing that you can only get through a health professional, not your 23-And-Me variety.
In my experience, nutritionally supporting genes is the foundation for radical and dramatic improvement in one’s wellbeing, which high-achievers deserve.
When it comes to our genes, we can’t do anything about the cards we were dealt at birth. Fortunately, when we’re born, most of us have nearly perfect genetic expression. Think of genetic “expression” as kind of like a light switch that can be turned on or off. Most of the good light switches are turned on at birth, and most bad light switches are turned off.
Nutritionally supporting genes simply means introducing the exact supplements and lifestyle modifications needed to turn positive light switches on and negative ones off. So what? How does this apply to me? Let me share an example.
Today, “gut health” is all the rage. And, it should be. There’s nothing wrong with optimizing gut health. I highly recommend it to everyone. But, it’s only one facet of a holistic wellness approach. I mean, you’re not just one massive “gut” walking around, right? Absolutely not! You are the sum of your parts; brain, nerves, heart, lungs, muscles, and bones. You get the idea.
Here’s what I found after 23 years in medical practice, twelve of which have been in alternative medicine. Many people, myself included, will find healing and achieve wellness with alternative medicine techniques; however, this can be challenging and take a long time.
First, with the myriad of alternative medicine disciplines available, it’s confusing for clients to decide which one(s) to adopt. Secondly, we end up layering multiple alternative medicine techniques and disciplines into one treatment plan with the body’s complexities. And, lastly, some of the methods peter-out over time.
As an alternative medicine practitioner, I experienced these phenomena first hand, and it led me to ask, “Why?” I concluded that all alternative medicine disciplines would say they begin with the root cause. But, do they? If you want to know the truth, the root cause actually lies in our genetic make-up.
In my professional experience, when we understand the true root causes that make up the foundation of who we are and how we are programmed, what usually takes months or years to resolve can be accomplished in weeks.
Here are five non-intuitive ways to dramatically improve our wellbeing by understanding true root causes at the genetic level.
- Nutritionally Support Your CELLULAR METABOLISM Genes.
- Nutritionally Support Your BRAIN HEALTH Genes.
- Nutritionally Support Your CELLULAR ENERGY Genes.
- Nutritionally Support Your DETOXIFICATION Genes.
- Nutritionally Support Your INFLAMMATION Genes.
Nutritionally Support Your CELLULAR METABOLISM Genes
This area boils down to a complex process called methylation. But, don’t worry, I’ll break it down in simple to understand terms for you (only what you need to know) and tell you why direct-to-consumer gene testing, like 23-and-me, doesn’t cut the cake.
The only part you need to know is that it pretty much regulates everything from DNA replication to energy production, neurotransmitter production (your feel-good brain chemicals), cellular detoxification, and inflammation management.
In other words, without methylation, you don’t survive. It does its work in five phases. Each phase has a different job, and the end result means that a b-vitamin donates a “methyl” group along the way to make the magic happen.
Now that the difficult part is out of the way let me share an example. Over the years, I’ve had countless clients tell me, “Oh, Dr. Brian, I’ve done the 23-and-me test. My methylation was fine.” Here’s the problem with that. 23-and-me doesn’t test the thirteen genes you need to check to understand all five phases.
Recently, I had a client that, according to 23-and-me, only had a 10% deficit in methylation, which is an acceptable deficit. After proper genetic testing, which checked the thirteen genes for all five phases, they had an 86% deficiency. From an energy production standpoint, they were starting their day with 86% of their tank empty. This massive deficit explained the extremely low energy that multiple specialists in mainstream medicine and alternative medicine couldn’t help them resolve.
They also struggled with anxiety and had been told multiple times by various medical professionals that they only needed psychiatric medications to help control it. By nutritionally supporting the methylation deficiency, I was able to help them restore energy to normal levels and remove 70% of the anxiety, more on the residual 30% in a moment.
Nutritionally Support Your BRAIN HEALTH Genes
The focus here is on neurotransmitter health, the chemicals that make you feel good and emotionally balanced. Here, I’ll also share an example of how one of my clients got 100% resolution of their anxiety without prescription medications.
Continuing from the example in the CELLULAR METABOLISM section, this same client had some negative neurotransmitter genes that predisposed them for anxiety, depression, agitation/irritability, and attention/concentration/focus issues. This type of client is what I’d classify as a “worrying warrior.”
Once we nutritionally supported their brain health genes, they got an additional 30% improvement in anxiety. Even though they never perceived irritability or agitation, their family commented how they seemed less irritable and more relaxed. Over the proceeding weeks, they noticed that attention and focus also improved. And all of this was done without prescription medication.
Nutritionally Support Your CELLULAR ENERGY Genes
The focus here is on mitochondria health. If you’ve ever had unexplained fatigue, low stamina, or endurance, you’ll want to pay special attention to the case vignette I share here.
If you recall from high school biology, the mitochondria are the powerhouses for the cell. Without these powerhouses, our cells just can’t function.
I recall another client who had extremely low energy, but oddly enough, they had normal methylation pathways; poor methylation is a principal reason why a person can struggle with low energy, stamina, and endurance.
When assessing their five phases of methylation, there was only an 18% deficit, not enough to explain the extremely low energy. However, when I reviewed their mitochondrial genes, 50% of them were severely affected. Once we nutritionally supported these genes, their energy, stamina, and endurance resolved. Later, this client told me, “I don’t remember feeling this great since I was a child.”
Nutritionally Support Your DETOXIFICATION Genes
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Detoxification is the process of getting rid of waste and toxic substances from the body. If we don’t clear waste or toxins well, it causes disease and cellular death. Several fascinating cases come to mind with successfully supporting detoxification genes. The case example I share here will reveal how critical detoxification is and, even more, how life-changing it can be once it is improved.
After working with autoimmune clients for years, I’ve concluded that most of them struggle with poor detoxification pathways. I came to this conclusion before we had genetic testing to prove it.
Now, I’m able to confirm what I suspected for decades through proper genetic testing. As a result of poor detoxification, autoimmune clients also have issues with higher inflammation. Both of these set the client up for unwanted consequences.
One case, in particular, involved an autoimmune client of mine. They had been through the mill for over twenty years and just didn’t feel well. They were hugely successful in business and didn’t have time for feeling bad. Work-life simply wouldn’t allow it.
They came to me, and we completed proper genetic testing first. I expected some issues based on their autoimmune history, but I didn’t anticipate how bad their methylation and detoxification issues were.
You see, if you have poor methylation, you’re already behind the proverbial eight-ball with detoxification. Now, compound this with poor detoxification genes, and you don’t just have double the difficulties; in many cases, you have triple or quadruple the difficulties because they compound over time.
In as little as twelve weeks, via proper nutritional support of their detoxification genes, they had more energy, more mental clarity, more stamina, more endurance, better mood, less anxiety, and their immune system began improving. Little immune challenges that typically would have set them back for months only affected them for days.
They were amazed at how much they’d improved in a few short weeks, considering that they’d dealt with these challenges for decades of their life.
Nutritionally Support Your INFLAMMATION Genes
At the risk of using a colloquialism, inflammation genetics is a deep rabbit hole. It involves neuroinflammation, general inflammation, cellular inflammation, gut inflammation, and allergen response.
Countless scientific studies have shown that inflammation is the root cause of most diseases, illnesses, conditions, and syndromes.
In recent years, we’ve even seen a robust correlation between inflammation and brain health, whether or not we’re talking about traumatic brain injury, depression, or bipolar disorder.
Many case examples come to mind when I consider nutritionally supporting inflammation genes. It’s hard to pick just one. Here are a few examples.
I’ve had clients find joint inflammation resolution after years of suffering. I’ve had clients come off or significantly reduce their dependence on antidepressants. I’ve had clients finally resolve gut issues after decades of struggle. I’ve had traumatic brain injury (TBI) clients regain mental clarity and get rid of anxiety, depression, and irritability. These are just a few examples, all of which were possible due to laser-focused targeting for what the client needed to resolve their specific inflammation.
As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?
Benefit number one is increased energy, sustained energy, and improved focus and concentration. Exercise causes a surge in “feel good” chemicals (neurotransmitters and endorphins) in the body. It also significantly increases blood flow to every part of the body, the brain included. Both of these lead to improved energy, sustained energy, and better concentration and focus.
The second benefit is a natural increase in growth hormone output. When we exercise, especially short bursts of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), growth hormone naturally increases. Science can’t quite explain the exact process, but many believe that our brain senses the flood of chemicals that result from muscle strain and tissue breakdown, and, in response, it releases growth hormone to help with the repair. The bilateral benefits of growth hormone release with exercise are thought by many to result in youthfulness.
Lastly, when we exercise, sleep improves, more specifically, restorative delta wave sleep. Delta wave sleep is the stage of sleep that allows you to wake feeling refreshed. It’s also the stage where healing occurs. As we age, delta wave sleep lessens; however, exercise can ensure that this stays at a very healthy level for a long time.
For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?
You know, I like to keep it simple on this one because we are talking about three “daily” exercises.
If someone is just starting, putting on a pair of sneakers and going for a walk is the best way to start. If you are “exercise-averse” or feel like you don’t have time for it, try a little Jedi mind trick that I use successfully with clients.
Look at your watch when you leave your home and walk away from your home for ten minutes. Tell yourself, “I’m only walking for ten minutes.” Guess what? By the time you return home, you’ve walked twenty minutes, but you’ve tricked your mind into doing a “ten-minute walk.” I also recommend walking as a “filler exercise” regularly. When you have a quick break, just go for a walk. It can be a one-minute walk or a 15-minute walk or more. You decide.
If someone wants an excellent workout, I highly recommend making rowing the foundation of your total fitness program. Rowing is my personal favorite. It works almost every muscle in the body, and it’s especially great for core strengthening. Work your way up to at least 20 minutes four to five days per week, and you’ll have yourself an excellent foundational routine. If you’d like to know my recommendations for the best rowing machine, message me on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. You can find my links below. I’ll be glad to share my experiences.
The last exercise is stretching. Though some may argue that it’s not a form of exercise, I disagree. Having practiced martial arts, and most recently Tai Chi, the first twenty minutes of any martial arts session is spent doing yoga stretches. Research shows that those who stretch regularly have improved quality of life and significantly better long-term health outcomes.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
I’ve always had a fascination with longevity, especially among populations with higher rates of citizens who live to be over 100 years old. Allow me to clarify because it’s not a fascination with longevity for the sake of longevity. Instead, it’s quality of life within longevity that I’m most interested in.
The first book I read on the topic continues to impact me significantly, and it’s one I reference repeatedly. It’s based on landmark Nobel Prize-winning Scandinavian research that dates back to 1982. Additionally, this research is ongoing, and the book about that research is still in print! And, it’s the reason I became a pescatarian and order my salmon directly from Iceland. The book is Dr. Garry Gordon’s The Omega-3 Miracle: The Icelandic Longevity Secret.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
With the science of nutrigenomics advancing, we can support genes in a very targeted way. I’d love to see a day when we didn’t wait until mid-life to test genetics and start targeted nutritional interventions. I believe beginning genetic interventions earlier could help prevent people from unnecessarily suffering from depression, anxiety, and a host of other common health challenges.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but
you can start where you are and change the ending.
~ C.S. Lewis
I certainly can’t change the fact that I was electrocuted as a child, which resulted in undiagnosed heart damage that repeatedly nearly killed me over forty years. Still, I could make changes that would impact the ending. That’s what I did.
It’s easy to navel-gaze and say that this quote is about my life story, but it’s about the countless stories of clients I’ve worked with throughout my career who’ve overcome tremendous obstacles and lived to tell about it.
This simple quote is the story of all the overcomers in the world.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Sir Richard Branson. Being a kid of the ’80s, I’ve always been fascinated with him. As I’ve matured in business, I love how down-to-earth and practical Richard seems to be. I would love to meet him in person and share a meal.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Here’s how people can get in touch with me:
On the web: www.drbriangbrown.com
On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drbriangbrown/
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brian.griffin.brown
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drbriangbrown
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On Twitter: https://twitter.com/drbriangbrown
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!