Dopamine Fasting and Adrenal Fatigue


Dr. Joel Rosen: All right, everyone, and welcome back to another edition of the less stress life where we teach exhausted and burnt-out adults the truth about adrenal fatigue so that they can get their health back quickly. And I’m joined with a repeat guest, part two, we had just had a conversation at the end of June and we will send the link for that interview. But we’re here with Brandon Vermeire, who is the Chief Scientific Officer and CEO of metabolic solutions, Institute for functional health and fitness practitioners.

His goal is to bridge the gap between health coaches and functional medicine practitioners through better education. He’s also a keynote speaker, mental and metabolic researcher, writer, and functional medicine consultant. His background is in fitness and nutrition. And he’s one awesome guy, Grant. Brendan, thank you so much for being here today.


Brendan Vermeire: Thanks for having me. Dr. Joel, the last conversation we had was super fun. My audience loved it. And it was so good. There are so many good nuggets in there, we use some of the recordings and to create like little mini videos, but such a wealth of and I felt like we fed off each other so well. So I’m excited for part two.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I’ve just listened to it again the other day, and I was noticing just all the things that we had in common from personal training and mental health and exercise physiology. But I’m sure you’re not aware of this brand. And where I think the tie that binds us together as we both have experiences in scrubbing toilets for work history in our past.


Brendan Vermeire: Or no, yeah, I mean, he got saved somewhere, right?


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, well, listen, I mean, listen, I guess if you’re getting down and dirty in that aspect, you got to have some kind of camaraderie with someone else who, who knows what it’s like to do that. So yeah, I mean, So ultimately, we had talked about a lot of different things. We talked about specific adaptations upon oppose demands where if you’ve exercised, you know that you have to go a little bit more than your body’s capable of doing if you go less, you don’t stimulate a response.

If you go too much, you create turmoil, or in this case, pain. And you mentioned how much that is, can be applied to everything in the body. We got into this being disconnected, we got into basically facing your fears and facing the tough stuff. And that’s really what we wanted to talk about today in terms of the inner working, have your why and things that are unresolved.

And it may feel good to do other things that aren’t as challenging if you will, but at the same time, you’re not getting as deep as you need to cut loose of those anchors. So maybe, I don’t know, how do we start from here, given that that’s where we want to go down today?


Brendan Vermeire: You know, that’s a really interesting kind of setting the stage and what just clicked in my head was, I just last night had a little bit of a nightmare. That kind of came out of nowhere. And I have had, I guess, you could say recurring nightmares for the past, like seven years of my life. And they all revolve around what was easily the hardest and most traumatic, you know, the season of my life that was you know, riddled by, you know, manipulative narcissism and mold illness and tons of stress and mental illness and psychiatric drugs, this whole dark season in my life that I guess in some ways, still haunts me to this day.

And that’s where, you know, I do a lot of work around the topics of obviously mental illness, one, in particular, being PTSD, right. And I think there’s a lot more, you know, trauma awareness these days. And I’ll just say right now, I think awareness is a double-edged sword where, okay, well, the first step to healing is awareness. But at the same time, you can’t use awareness as a crutch, and you can’t take on that identity. You don’t want to take on the identity of a traumatized or a mentally ill, like don’t allow it to become your identity.

But you also don’t want to be negligent, of a very real psychological, psychosomatic and physiological dysfunction or illness or disease or whatever you want to call it. So I think there’s, you know, large conversation to be had on the kind of untangling you know, where there’s physiological Science and origins of what’s going on in the body when somebody is stressed, or traumatized or depressed or whatever. And then there’s kind of the psychological side of it as well. And how do you untangle that mess? Because even as much as I like to think that I’m fully healed, healing is an ongoing journey.

I don’t think there’s a start and finish it’s you become more resilient. He learned how to manage your health struggles more effectively. So even just that kind of nightmare last night that came out of nowhere that put me right back into that dark season of my life that during the day, No, I’m good. I’m healed. I’m done with all that that’s in the past, but your body remembers, right. And that’s kind of getting into that PTSD spectrum, or how trauma and negative toxic emotions can get trapped in the tissues, right?


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I mean, yeah, a springboard from there. So we had talked about neuroplasticity, and how I know the way if I bend my finger like this, and I hold it there long enough, and I do this, it’s going to bend back down. And ultimately, that’s what we had started to talk about in terms of neuroplasticity, how can we read repattern or rewire the brain so that they fire together in positive things that are congruent with health and not necessarily negative, and I would agree with you in terms of, on the one hand, you don’t want to be labeled. That’s a big thing.

Like, okay, you want people are looking for the one diagnosis so that they have confidence that they’re not an anomaly or that doctors have seen this before. And they’re not, there’s, it’s not like a weird one-off thing. So they feel great about that. But then, on the other hand, they become labeled by that. And they don’t realize that maybe this is a good step talking point in terms of the relationship between neural plasticity and not realizing that there’s an addictive tolerance, sort of almost automatic loop going on in people that they’re not even aware of.

So maybe talk about that in terms of Hey, you, and especially with stress, people don’t realize from post-traumatic stressors, when the vets come back from crazy experiences, and the suicide rates are so high, it’s because they have it’s like a crackhead stopping crack overnight and not having that titrating down. After all, they don’t realize the brain has plasticized into a way that is so I get so intense. So maybe kind of talk about that. And we can kind of go from there.


Brendan Vermeire: No, you hit the nail on the head there. One of my favorite sayings is that thoughts become proteins, where, you know, classically we say thought thoughts become things, you know, our thoughts in our envisioning become the manifestation of the story of our lives. And so I like to take that one step further to apply more the epigenetics and physiology to it of thoughts become proteins, right?

Our psychological experiences are the stimuli that create the specific adaptations to impose demand to then create our physiology or giving the stimuli to the physiology of how do we adapt our physiology to be better adapted and suited for that stimuli. And so that’s why you know, the finger thing or the working out thing, it’s, that’s exactly what it is.

And so if you apply that into the context of, you know, a traumatic experience, which now it’s more recognize that trauma, just like autism, it’s a spectrum. It’s, it’s not all or nothing, it’s not one or zero, black and white, it is a spectrum of, you know, very severe trauma, like you alluded to, you know, you’re at war man, Afghanistan, and you see your battle buddy get killed, right, it’s extremely traumatic.

And the way I kind of describe it is like a, it’s like a bruise in a physical injury to your nervous system, you know, to your autonomic nervous system to your central nervous system, you just witnessed something that, you know, ideally, no human should ever witness and if you put it into kind of an evolutionary context, it makes sense, right? Like if you’re a baby monkey, and you’re getting too close to you know, the dad monkey who’s hoarding all the food, as male monkeys do, you know, you get a little too close, you’re gonna get slapped, you know, the big monkey is gonna slap that little monkey.

And that’s, that’s traumatic, in a sense, but that’s also that creates the neural adaptation that that little monkey knows to not do that, right. It’s a safety mechanism. So we don’t put ourselves in the same situation that caused us so much danger and pain. So even though PTSD and trauma Uh, in our, you know, kind of neuroplastic response to that trauma, it’s very unpleasant and it can increase, you know, neuro limbic dysregulation, HPA, dysregulation, inflammation, Gene immunosenescence, chronic inflammation, the list goes on mental illness as a side effect of all that, so on and so forth.

But ultimately, it’s still just your body trying to protect you of like, Hey, remember that one time that you were in a situation that was dangerous, and scary and traumatic, let’s be hyper-vigilant to anything that feels reminiscent of that so that we can selfly Preserve. So it is a survival mechanism. But it comes with all these unwanted, you know, side effects that we get triggered, right? Anything that comes close to our trauma trigger points just sends us into a very real kind of autonomic nervous system reaction that is kind of inappropriate, like it, you know, a very inappropriate response to a mild trigger, because it touches those trigger buttons.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, no, that’s a great explanation. And you look at that as sort of that limbic center wind up and the neocortex and the difference between the primitive reptilian brain and it’s almost like sort of a blessing in disguise. And you know, ignorance is bliss, I always love the story of the watering hole. And the zebras don’t have ulcers, and, you know, they don’t have a meeting after Hey, like, we need to have like, a sit-down. And every Tuesday, let’s meet over the watering hole to discuss how like you were almost killed and how that made you feel. It’s just like they, you know, don’t have that thought process.

And hence, they don’t have ulcers, you know, because they don’t have that neuroplastic wind-up. As far as we wanted. I wanted to talk to you about the new craze, or it’s not so much new, but in 2019, Dr. SEPA in Napa, or the Silicon Valley talked about dopamine fasting, and for people that we work with that are overwhelmed and in fight or flight, and it impacts their stress response.

And they don’t have motivation and drive. And I think, to one extent, or another brand, and everyone who’s around and can put a thought together in today’s day and age has some spectrum of that, as you mentioned. And ultimately, I guess, what I see is, is that dopamine along with iron dysregulation along with mold, along with EMF along with histamine along with oxalates, we’re seeing in the research how that creates over activation of the mast cells and this whole inflammatory thing. So I think it’s an important topic to talk about, well, what is this dopamine fasting concept? And how can we apply it to be able to take at least one line out of the water?


Brendan Vermeire: Yeah, you know, it’s, I think you did a good job with the zebras and whatnot, because, you know, where are animals? If they go through a traumatic experience, which, you know, animals in the wild, they go through much more traumatic things. And we typically do in our, you know, at times cozy suburb. Now, some people experience very manosphere trauma, whether it’s a car accident, or whatever. So I’m not trying to invalidate anybody’s traumas by any means.

But the difference between humans and animals, we replay it over and over and in our head, we obsess over it, we relive it. And that just becomes our reality. Animals don’t do that now, why are they just don’t have the cerebral function that we do. But we keep reliving it, we keep replaying it keeping ourselves stuck in that sort of trauma-based fear-based fight or flight response and it just eats away at us internally in so you know, with dopamine fasting and everything, we do live in a culture in society that is very addicted to instant gratification.

So I think the collective needs to start looking at their behaviors and their beliefs a little bit more where we’re all very conditioned to, I don’t feel the way I want to feel so I should go talk to my doctor and take this pharmaceutical or I’m going to self medicate with you know street drugs or I’m going to self medicate, self soothe with you know, caffeine and alcohol and cannabis or sex or gambling or, you know, whatever. Or if that’s more kind of like toxic self-soothing behavior, as opposed to more self constructive, like, I’m gonna do a functional medicine protocol.

I’m gonna take some supplements I’m going to work on my sleep hygiene and my stress management and I’m gonna exercise so there are different ways of trying to, you know, give the meat to give the central nervous system, what it needs so that we can feel the way that we want to feel, but I feel like the big thing that people don’t look at are The behaviors, right, they’re much more apt to reach for a pharmaceutical or a drug or a potentially self-destructive, you know, activity or behavior.

Or even let me do all the lab testing and get that silver bullet, you know, supplement protocol. Whereas if we look at more the behavior in the beliefs in the psychology of, you know, what is dopamine associated, it’s associated with instant gratification, whereas delayed gratification, the research shows is associated with a greater serotonin response.

And so it’s not just about giving ourselves the substrate, the material, or the stimuli to induce that neurochemical sensation that we want to experience. We have to take ownership of we can modify our neurochemical experience through our behaviors. And so what I’m getting at is with dopamine, right, you know, Instagram, like, how many likes did I get? How many comments did I get, like, let me post you know, skin pic? So I can get some external affirmation to feed my empty soul. Right?

Whereas delayed gratification gives us more of a serotonin response. So if we want more serotonin, we want to feel happier and loved and Levine Well, maybe if we practice a little bit of discipline and a little bit of delayed gratification, we can amplify our serotonin response, naturally, behavior-wise, rather than, like, let me go get an SSRI or whatever. So I think that’s the overlooked piece.

People just want that pill for an ill or that silver bullet protocol, because they don’t want to change their behaviours. They like their behaviours, they’re addicted to their behaviours. So dopamine fasting is exactly that. It’s kind of having the discipline and self-control to refrain from that just kind of toxic self-indulgent behaviour, right?


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, no, that’s great. So it could be switched from not so much. I mean, we’re never gonna eliminate dopamine. And I think when he wrote the article, there was a lot of misinterpretation interpretation in terms of, Okay, if I can not release it as much, I could have a higher high when I do finally release it again. And that wasn’t the point. The point was to be able to manage the unhealthy conditioned, short-term gratification responses that ultimately cut inwards, right, and ultimately keep you in overwhelm, and how to change it from more of instant gratification to delayed gratification.

And that’s where we can go in two angles, the first angle, or the first road I’d like to go forth would be in terms of Okay, well, what are some of the suggestions that we can do to delay those gratifications cuz I know, for me, I know when I get anxious, and I do have a lot of anxiety more than I even realized that I have to figure out, okay, what’s triggering this, and it’s a whole sense of overwhelming.

I’m in the middle of writing a chapter for my book, and then I have 25 things that I want to say, and I’m in one thing, and I’m thinking, Oh, I didn’t talk about this, and I want to talk about that. And then I get that analysis by paralysis, and I want to go on the internet and sir is like, okay, like, identify what’s going on here and just chill out, Joel, you know, why are you doing this?

Like, take a deep breath? Where What’s your problem? Like, you know, figure this out, untangle the the the yarn. So I wanted to get into that. But I also specifically wanted to get into what you just talked about in terms of that unresolved, hurt post traumatic child, and how we, how we identify that which I think the two are kind of related. Right. So what are some tools that we do to switch from an instant gratification person to delayed gratification?


Brendan Vermeire: Oh. You know, when you’re describing yourself as like, are you describing me or yourself or, you know, probably a lot of the listeners, I think, I think we can all resonate and relate without a lot. And again, I mean, I blame a lot of society’s problems on big tech and media and everything, because, like our feeble little monkey minds are not evolved or equipped to handle the overwhelming, never-ending stimuli of the matrix world that we plug into all the time.

And so that I mean, talking about tools, right? unplugging from this chaos right here. You know, this, this is a tool. It’s a double-edged sword. It’s seen your hand in your pocket all day, every day. And for one thing, it’s blasting you with EMF, right, which is why I have the safe sleeve on here. So there’s that EMF conversation. That’s probably a different conversation for another day. But you know, this thing like Instagram, you’re scrolling through your newsfeed It never ends.

There’s no such thing as a bottom to your newsfeed. It will keep feeding you the whole point of social media is to steal your time to collect information. To sell it to big Corp, so then they can promote their product to you. That is what the algorithm is designed to do. You know, its goal is to get you online and keep you online for as much time. So it’s a matter of Do you have the discipline to unplug, right.

And so, you know, I mean, we all live and operate in the virtual world anymore, which is fine. But you know, I’m the virtual entrepreneur. But as soon as we’re done with this conversation, I’m going for a nature walk. And I do that almost every single day because that’s my way of unplugging from the matrix and plugging back into reality, the natural world that we did evolve in.

And so that’s like my best recommendation, like when you’re feeling paralysis by analysis, and overwhelmed and stressed and scattered, and all these things, like, unplugged from the virtual world, go outside, go do some earthing get that sunlight, go for a walk in nature, like taking the stillness, nature is so-called instill in soothing, whereas we psychologically, cognitively, just spin ourselves out of control.

And our brains are being pulled in a million directions all day, every day. And that’s not, it’s not healthy, it’s not sustainable. And, you know, that’s why, like, I think, unplugging and plugging back into the natural world is the single best thing you can do.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Sure, for sure. And I mean, just the fragmentation of the mind. And having so many windows open and running at the same time, ultimately, a computer’s going to run slower, so are we going to run slower. And I like the idea of just, I mean, you know, common sense isn’t so common, but you know, turn off your notifications, or have a hard stop, and a hard start and show that discipline.

So as far as the inner child, and or the things that people put on us that we don’t realize that we still carry that impact, our plasticity and our need for positive reinforcement, or the need for the avoiding of the negative reinforcement, which is the double-edged sword of what social media is, it’s so sinister if you think about it, how these I mean, I know there’s the social experiment, or whatever, I don’t remember what it was, I think that’s what it was called, where they basically can, can polarized world and only give you biased information based on your clicks.

And I don’t think it was premeditated. But it was certainly sinister in the sense that if we know how people learn, and how the reward centers work, we can profit on this by making it more addictive for that purpose. Right. So one of the things that I say, and this would be a good segue to you is what if you can look back at anything that’s happened to you as much as it’s been horrific and unfair and unjust? And it’s not right? Because it isn’t, and you can tell whatever story you want would be justified, but does it serve you in getting healthy and ultimately growing from it?

So one of the things that I’m saying in the new course that I’m producing is the if you can look back at whatever event that’s happened in your life, and look at it was a loving parent, and see that child as an innocent, pure child, but also in terms of explaining to that child that even though you don’t see it, now, this has happened for your highest purpose.

And then that way you reframe the event that happened. And then you’re able to look at all of these trials and tribulations is happening from you to be able to achieve where you want to get to, it’s not happening to you or for you, it’s happening from you, because you needed that obstacle to ultimately have that specific impose, you know, adaptation to the demands that you’re having. But it’s not meant to be smooth sailing. So I don’t know maybe where can you kind of piggyback off of that concept?


Brendan Vermeire: Totally. My friend and client, Dr. Nicola para has done a lot of really, really good work around that. And she calls that re-parenting, you know, the wounded inner child and has popularized that concept. Because obviously, it was a Freudian psychology kind of one on one if going back to the childhood and, you know, now we have a little bit more kind of mechanistic understanding of what’s going on in that individual’s neurology that explains what we’ve been observing psychologically and behaviorally for, you know, decades and decades and decades, right.

So, when we’re born into this world, you know, we’re kind of a blank slate. I mean, not Fully because we could talk about genetics and microbiome and, you know, we are kind of programmed to some degree already, but for the most part, you’re a blank slate and your, your mind is just this very, very, very plastic, malleable, you know, gray matter.

And it’s immediately just taking in all the overwhelming stimuli of reality and trying to make sense of it and trying to, you know, build the architecture of a belief system that allows us to survive, ultimately, and kind of Thrive secondarily to that. And so that’s, you know, Darwinism kind of one on one. But that’s why to like, you do have to go back to the origins of your childhood and your, your domestic caters, and I don’t say domesticate her in a bad way.

But whether it was your parents, or you had, you know, step-parents or foster parents, or you’re raised by your big brother, whoever it was, we have to look at your social interaction and the environments that you were in. And you know, how safe or not safe were those emotional environments were those environments that allowed you to feel heard, seen, loved, understood, respected, cared for, or was a tougher environment where, you know, you had to create false belief systems to, you know, blend in or hide or fit the mold to evade, right? Like, we’re all just creatures of adaptation for the sake of survival.

And so, you know, some people may be had that warm, fuzzy childhood, and other people maybe didn’t. But whatever behavioral patterns are continuing to plague you as an adult, they, yeah, you have to get, you have to pull that thread and get to the origin of where did I learn this behavioral pattern. And like, he makes a lot of sense, where you see how, oh, this behavior and this belief, it served me well back then it allowed me to get through that time in my life.

But this pattern is not this pattern, and belief isn’t serving me anymore. So I need to create new neuro-plastic networks and new neural networks that are by a new behavioral pattern and a new belief system. So that’s really what’s going on. But it is a lot harder as an adult because your brain is much more plastic and malleable as a kid. And you get all these belief systems programmed, and it sculpts your minds. So you kind of get spit out into the world as an adult, and you’re like, Wait for a second, I’m living a life, that’s not my own. Because I’m living in a way that’s my beliefs that are not my own.

They were programmed into me. And I have to deconstruct that programming and create new programming that’s in alignment with who I want to be how I want to show up in the world. How do I want to experience this reality? And it is, it’s harder to break down some of those past behaviors and past neural networks through neuroplasticity, and synaptic trimming, and pruning, which are what microglial cells do, and then build these new neural networks. And that’s, you know, ultimately, this is why with, you know, functional medicine and coaching, when we’re working with patients and clients, ultimately, we’re trying to behavior, change their behaviors, which means we have to change their habits, we have to change their belief system.

And that’s ultimately what we’re doing is trying to coach them through the process of building these new neural networks and your body kind of follows where your mind goes. So that’s why this type of integrative, you know, the psychology and behavior side of it, but also the neuroplastic physiology side of it, you kind of have to put their hand in hand to be able to, you know, what do I need to do to support my brain as it’s changing the way it’s wired, as far as what I nourish it with, but also you still have to take control of your mind.

And that’s where, you know, catching yourself of like, you catch yourself spiraling, spiraling down those toxic belief systems, and you’re just replaying it, reliving it, which just further solidifies that outdated neural network and no, catch yourself, cut yourself off and choose like, No, I’m not going to let myself replay that again. And again, I’m going to choose a new way of looking at this situation, a new response, that’s where in between stimulus and reaction, there’s that moment in between and that’s really where all the power is.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I mean, there are lots of lots of power in what you said there. You know, I think the first thing I think of if someone’s watching this, like Well, hey, I don’t have the money to go for years of therapy because it sounds like I need to go for years of therapy and be like I don’t want to so I think it’s really important for people even if they don’t want to at some point you know, universal law, which we talked about last time as a problem does become a crisis.

And you can continue the impossible what they call insanity In a way of doing the same things over and over again and thinking you’re going to get a different result. But what I think is a good segue, though, is what you talked about last time, too, is when you were training clients, and you weren’t so focused and fixated on the the the milestone of what is your new weight you’re more fixated on Okay, is your vo two max improving?

Is your strength improving, because these will be not only new behaviors to get to the new outcome, but these are the things that work that physiologically need to happen? So what are some of the physiological things that need to happen without going through years of therapy to be able to address some of these plastic changes that weren’t healthy and almost forced upon us without our permission?


Brendan Vermeire: Yeah, it’s you know, that, in its essence, is essentially like the story of my career at this point where everything that we’re talking about, it probably does sound maybe a little bit intimidating or daunting of like, Wait, you’re telling me to like reprogram my brain, like, you know, 30 4050 years in where it’s gotten very stuck in that form, right, and you do lose plasticity, as you age, it becomes harder to write, it’s kind of like, if you apply the fitness analogy, if you’ve never been an athlete, you’ve never been physically active, and you’re just becoming physically active for the first time in your life. At the age of 30 4050, it is so much harder to train your body that way.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’ll still respond, you know, you can’t use that as a crutch of why just better not even try. But it’s a lot harder, your body has become a little bit more rigid and less adaptable. You know, and so that’s where individuals that were athletes growing up, they do have big advantages. They’ve trained their nervous system and their musculoskeletal system, they have those neural networks, right? It’s kind of like learning to ride a bike as a kid is probably a lot easier than trying to learn how to ride a bike as an adult or something. But ultimately, this is why I’m just so passionate about these types of conversations.

Because when you look at you know, the standard American diet and lifestyle and all these kinds of standard American factors that promote chronic disease, comorbidities, mental illness, the list can susceptible to infectious disease, you know, the list goes on and on and on. I think we’re at a point where we have so much toxic psychological stimuli with social media, mainstream media, the polarization, the fear-based propaganda that’s being, you know, forced into our psyches by the government. And, you know, our I feel society is becoming increasingly volatile and toxic at times. So we have this, overwhelming psychological stimuli that, you know, conditions us towards more mental illness. But then the physiological side, right, where we look at, for example.


what is it 43% of Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic or something like that, you know, 88% are metabolically ill 70% are overweight or obese? And we know that there’s a very, very direct correlation between you know, higher body fats, you know, fatty liver insulin resistance and inflammation, we know that inflammation drives mental illness. And we see this reflected in the code morbid epidemiological data of the diabetes belt of America consumes more psychiatric drugs than the rest of America and America consumes more psychiatric drugs than the rest of the world.

So we are doing something very, very wrong with mental health in America. And it’s a huge psychological and physiological problem, because, for example, insulin, which you know, talking about insulin resistance and diabetes, insulin, or insulin as a hormone promotes neuroplasticity. Insulin resistance does exactly the opposite. Because if we don’t have healthy insulin signaling, we can’t induce neuroplasticity, we can’t create new neural networks.

So that’s just like one of the 1000s of examples that I could give, but like, you know, all the interleukin six from higher body fat levels and all the insulin resistance, you know, those are two major mechanisms that are not even getting into mold and microbiome and nutrient deficiencies and all these other functional medicine subjects. But just the point being metabolic illness disrupts our ability to create new neural networks and new neurons, which is why metabolic illness like what is a neurodegenerative disease, it’s chronic neuroinflammation.

It’s all it is. And essentially chronic neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, neuroplasticity, and neurogenesis are the opposite of neuro digital So you have to be thinking about yours, the homeostasis of your central nervous system. And if there’s all this damage and not enough regeneration, what happens? That’s the definition of neurodegeneration for and that’s why Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death for Americans suicide is number 10. So it’s like it and then diabetes is like number seven or something.

It’s like, Don’t you see a link there? And not right? Because then you go watch mainstream media and it’s like, go get your super slush from Sonic and then the next commercials for Trulicity demand your type two diabetes and next commercials for invoke to manage your rheumatoid arthritis. And the next commercial is McDonald’s. Like, we are feeding the masses. So this is why like, you can’t you literally cannot afford to be an unconscious consumer because of the lifestyle and what is accessible and cheap and affordable and being fed to you. It just promotes chronic season mental illness, period.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I’m you’re almost making it. So there’s a part three, you’re doing that on purpose. To go down that rabbit hole for sure. I think the best one is the sponsoring of the vaccine by getting, you know a lifetime’s or year supply of Krispy Kreme. I mean, if there’s not a bigger towel than where the wrong emphasis is on, and it just really floors me that there is no more public health. parrot. I don’t even know what there is no public health anymore.

And anyway, but as far as what I think the good news is, is that, as daunting as that is, again, we talked about this last time in terms of the Goldilocks, you need a balance, you do you need growth factors and breakdown factors. And you need a balance of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and over-stimulation and under-stimulation, what I think unfortunately is happening now is environmental, like genetics haven’t changed environmentally, you have roundup and pesticides that lower the ability to lower your glutamate now you have excitotoxicity measured with everything that we’re talking and anxious. Very sensitive, very true, you know, trigger happy to go off the the the loose end people with the smallest little provocation like the worst of the worst. But on the flip side, the best of the best.

I mean, I don’t think in any day and age where science put together like there’s this psycho neuro Immuno and the Korean gi this is they’re all the same. So on the flip side, at least we have the shining, you know, the sort of the saving grace that we have a lot of great tools to be able to come out of this.

And one of the things I’m interested to talk about is what you and I had the opportunity to talk about a little bit about what’s new for you. And you mentioned mental map and microglial testing. And I’m kind of curious to know, like, kind of what what is that? And what is that about? And tell me kind of let the listeners know what you have in store for making the world a better place?


Brendan Vermeire: Absolutely. No, I appreciate the opportunity. Because as we’re starting to kind of tease open. It’s such a huge convoluted complex problem. It’s huge. And it’s honestly, it’s one of those things, you know, like I do, I do everything I can, I mean, I live and breathe this work. I’m so passionate about it. And it’s like, you know, I’m constantly pouring out content through my platform. But like, you know, daily Instagram posts, like you can’t even get into the meat of it. It’s such a big, huge, complex problem.

But ultimately, no, I mean, the government is not at all trying to increase the health of the general public. And it’s so frustrating to me, because like, obviously, I stay up to date, up to date with the latest research. But there’s such a huge time gap in between the latest research and scientific understanding and public health mandates, right.

There’s such a huge problem with that, like, you know, mold is a great example where like, we know how bad and dangerous mold and mycotoxins are. And there are billions of people in Asia and Africa that eat mold-contaminated grains daily, and we have the research to show that. But there’s nothing in place for public health when it comes to you know, what do you do about that? Or how do we fix this global health problem? The research itself calls that a shamefully ignored global health issue.

And that’s what’s happening in America with chronic illness and metabolic illness is you know, we’re not it’s really sad and this is what happens when capitalism goes too far in a toxic direction. You know, it’s big tech, Big Pharma big food in the government all in bed with one another. And they do they that system that’s not just a national to international global system it’s gone awry.

And I don’t know, I don’t think it’s gonna get better anytime soon it’s it comes down to the consumers, the public, we have to choose health. The beautiful thing about capitalism, it’s a double-edged sword if it goes awry it leads to where we’re at. But with education and awareness of what the problem is, more and more people are starting to feel like there is something deeply, deeply wrong with what’s going on. And they’re choosing to let me look outside of what’s being fed to me to see what’s going on here.

Let me use a little bit of critical thinking. So this is why you know, holistic health and functional medicine is kind of this exploding infectious in a good way, movement because people are kind of waking up and like, well, this doesn’t make sense, like, you feed us stuff that makes us fat and sick, and then you, you know, sell us your drugs. And then I have to take another drug for this drug’s side effects. And it just spirals right. We have to choose health and the market goes where the consumers go.

So as more and more of the public start choosing a healthier way of living. The market goes there, unfortunately, which breaks my heart right now and which is why podcasts and conversations like this are so great. His functional medicine and holistic health stuff are very not accessible. It’s a luxury, good.


You know, so I think functional medicine and holistic health as an industry as a movement, we have to start encroaching on the masses because we’re not accessible by them. But that’s why, you know, we all are pouring out content and shouting from the rooftops of our internet platforms trying to help people we’re in the business of helping the government and everything, they’re in the business of disease. Right? So this is where, you know, something I’ve been trying to do is like, how do we make this kind of education and content in these resources more accessible.

So one of the things that I’ve done is create a lab test called the mental map. And map stands for microglial activation profile, which I think is super sexy. I was super excited when I came up with that. But essentially, what I wanted to do is, you know, conventional medicine and conventional psychiatry say there are no biomarkers of mental illness. Now, I could explain for an hour of like, why that is their perspective, I get it, but it’s self-interested based on their business model, essentially.

Whereas, you know, a more holistic and functional business model. No, there’s a lot of biomarkers that are very, very valuable for assessing what’s going on with your mental health. Why are you struggling with your mental health, and it’s not a single biomarker, so I designed a panel of all the most relevant and clinically established clinically significant biomarkers and put it into a proprietary panel with, you know, hundreds of research citations, we’re applying the latest, greatest science so that way, you know, we can get this data into the hands of the people who need it, where, as far as they know, I have a major depressive disorder, I have PTSD, I just have to take these psychiatric drugs forever.

And do you know talk therapy with a therapist forever, there are no objective data to qualify what’s really going on physiologically, and then you don’t have a way of measuring progress. Like that’s why I’m such a big advocate of lab testing. Like in our last conversation we talked about, yeah, for a weight loss program, don’t use the scale as your way of evaluating progress used like blood work, it’s way more sensitive, you’re gonna see those biomarkers change long before the scale.


The same thing with mental illness and transcending mental illnesses, you can’t fix what you don’t measure. But if you have all these biomarkers that are very sensitive in regards to what’s going on in your nervous system, and with your mental health, well, then you have a way of whatever you’re doing, whether it’s talk therapy, and journaling and self-help or supplements or lifestyle modification, at least now you have data to empower your understanding of what’s going on in your body.

And you have a way of tracking progress. That’s objective, right. And one of the things about this is our neural limbic system or reward centers, we need to experience a reward for our effort. Otherwise, our body does not want to encourage more of that effort, because we’re just wasting time and energy. So it’s kind of like with the fitness of like if you’re working out hard every day but you’re not seeing there’s no way of feeling like you’re making progress.

Your body’s like, well don’t bother going to work out like you’re not going to reap the rewards. For your efforts, why even do it? It’s the same way with transcending mental illness. If you never have an objective way of assessing progress, you’re just subjectively will do I feel better? Do I feel better now, I’m not going to do anything good for myself, it doesn’t help anyway. So I think something is empowering about data, you know, data, objective data, that showing on what’s going on inside your body, and how you are moving the needle on your health.

So I created a tool that we’re using with practitioners, and we’re training practitioners how to use it and interpret it effectively for their clients and patients. We’re also delivering this beautifully branded report to consumers so that way, they’re more empowered in their understanding like I might have shared in our last podcast when I was first put on a psychiatric drug, it was just by my primary care physician like there was no blood work, there was no psychological psychiatric evaluation.

Nothing just like oh, you feel depressed here. It’s SSRI young, 17-year-old Brendan, right. like nobody ever did any objective lab testing. And I just so deeply disagree with that sentiment of there are no biomarkers of mental health, that does not align with the narrative that scientific literature says, and it’s so self-interested and corrupt, where Yeah, that’s the narrative that they use conveniently to promote Big Pharma which runs the world.

So I think the data starts waking people up the data, shows the truth, and empowers them to pursue a self-healing path and getting the appropriate help they need from their healthcare team. But I think data is very empowering. And I’m very hopeful that this test, this panel will empower people on their journey so that they can overcome their health struggles.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, for sure. It’s funny how you know, it’s there, it sounds like someone’s having their cake and eating it too. Like, on the one hand, there is no, there are no biomarkers for mental illness. But on the other hand, there is not necessarily having to do any biomarkers to do a prescription for you at the same time. It’s anyway, so the challenge I would have, though, would be potentially not getting lost in the minutiae of what the objective markers show if you are on the subjective self-actualization, or the, you know, the self, the life self-actualized.

And you have different categories that you like to use as a tool, and I appreciate you sharing that, where you have different areas of your life that you’re subjectively rating on a scale of 10. And you don’t show them intentionally what their old scores were, what happens if I mean, chances are rare, I’m sure there’s a positive correlation nonetheless.

But sometimes, you know, there can be a discrepancy between what the objective lab say, and what the subject says, especially if someone’s immune system has been ground zero, and they haven’t been they’ve had false negatives, and now they have real positives, but that shows that gets going worse, subjectively, but then at the same time, subjectively, I feel better, what happens in those instances?


Brendan Vermeire:
Yeah, no, that can be a tricky thing to untangle, which is also where like, even though I am such a big advocate of the self-healing movement, in people taking ownership of I am in this position, I am responsible for being in this position. And I’m also capable of working my way out of position in the majority of the work falls on me I can, I can work with functional medicine doc and health coach and, you know, conventional doc and as a psychologist to help me along that journey, but ultimately, it’s up to me, but this is where, right, like, you know, clients, patients, consumers, well, they’re not health professionals, and, you know, so it’s like, maybe you shouldn’t try to fix the faulty engine in your car if you don’t know how you should take it to a professional auto mechanic that can help you make sense of the problem or, you know, teach you how to fix it or whatever.

So I don’t think people should be trying to do it on their own. Because, yeah, you know, the exercise that you lose to the circle life, or whatever I call it. That’s how I’ve always assessed progress in my clients is, you know, how do I know if what we’re doing is working? Well, two things one, I shouldn’t see your objective lab testing getting better. But number two, I should see your subjective perception of your symptoms, getting better your subjective perception of your quality of life getting better, and I like to track all of that data.

And yeah, you know, you could see, like, yeah, maybe you know, about exposed to bug and you know, had an immune flare up or you’re working out hard or you went through a stressful period. There’s gonna be those things that might cause like a blip in your, you know, biomarkers. You could still have, you know, increased your level of satisfaction or fulfillment in all these areas of your life, like your financial health, or your interpersonal relationships, or whatnot.

But time and time again, you do see, you know, pretty significant correlation with like, biomarkers are getting worse, and their perceived quality of life is getting worse, biomarkers are getting better their perceived quality life is getting better. But there can be those little discrepancies, which is why working with a trained professional that knows how to contextualize the data, I think that’s the single most important thing is you have to put the data into context. And non-health professionals just don’t have the education or skills to do that.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah. And I would even say, I mean, I agree 100%. But I think the most important thing is knowing what are those self-actualization circle points, right, because, again, we talked about this last time is a lot of people just know what they don’t want anymore, not so much what they do want. And that does have a physiological connection with the scrambling of that front part of the brain and not being able to make sequential planning and how to be able to think logically and rationally.

And, what would it look like I remember I had a client where it’s so funny, she was one of my favorite clients. And she was looking down at her notes, and her glasses were on her nose, and she was like steam coming out of her ears. And I remember asking her like, like, look up for a second. And she would look up and I said, What would you be doing if you didn’t have all this stuff? Like going on? Like, and she’s like, what, thumbing through her notes? Like, like, like, looking at me, like, What do you mean, like, and I just kind of saw it hit her that epiphany of Yeah, like, we’ve kind of lost the sight of why, you know, what is it that we want out of this?

And I think that’s so important because great to see those biomarkers move for sure, objectively because that does give us objective findings that this is improving and 100%, they’re correlated with these things. But if you’re not making those synapses and those neural connections, then what is it all for in the first place? Right. So when does your mental map test come available?


Brendan Vermeire: Yeah, no, it’s currently available for practitioners. And we’re doing a 12-hour seminar, two-day seminar in late October, that’s going to teach, you know, the ins and outs of every marker on the test. So that’s kind of the practitioner side, the consumer side of consumers being able to buy their beautiful custom, you know, functional report, we’re hoping to get it out by October 1. So right now, we’ve just been getting people on the waitlist, and you know, that list is growing, which is great.

You know, there’s a lot of long-term things there, I’m thinking about, maybe turn it into an app or something, you know, to make it a very user-friendly experience, so that they can use the data to guide their journey. But you just really nailed hit the nail on the head with, you know, that’s the thoughts become proteins again, where, yeah, I think a lot of us, it’s like, we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.

And we’re sick and tired of our current circumstances. But to your point, you asked them, Well, what do you want, like if you weren’t, and that was one of my favorite things to do with new clients. They list out, you know, their top five health complaints. And it’s like, okay, so if you woke up tomorrow, and all of these health complaints were just gone? What would be different about your life? What would you do with your day if you weren’t plagued with these things?

And if you can’t answer that, like, that’s your first action step is because then you create those synapses, like those thoughts of envisioning become proteins, it’s like, we might have mentioned it. But there was that study that took two cohorts of athletes. You know, one athlete group or one control group was exercising and going through this, you know, strength training regimen every day.

And the other group didn’t exercise at all but was doing envisioning, they were imagining working out, they were imagining doing squats, and then they, you know, measured their quadricep growth and found that even the non-exercising groups still develop the bigger stronger muscles, just from that envisioning that’s a perfect example of thoughts become proteins in neuroplasticity. So you have to start envisioning the life that you do want to manifest that boat from a quantum and a very real physiological perspective.


Dr. Joel Rosen: For sure, yeah, I think that’s so important. And in terms of us from a scientific point of view, because some naysayers will say, Oh, that’s just woo-woo stuff, but it is not. It’s science stuff. So awesome. Interview again, as far as I guess it’s hard for me then what’s new in terms of any new things?

Because last time, I always ask the guests on parting I said, hey, what would you tell the younger bright-eyed Brandon that you didn’t know then that you know now and you said, Well, he was a pretty cool kid, and so forth. And What would you What? What’s in what’s new information? Like? What’s the new newest aha that you’ve had that has kind of given you some new connecting tangles with other concepts that you already had recently?


Brendan Vermeire: was quite the question. You know, I think there’s a lot to be said for, you know, reconnecting with your authentic truth that’s gotten domesticated and covered up with years and years of false belief systems and narratives. And so over the past few years, year by year, I find I get closer and closer to my authentic childhood self.

And, you know, I was reading this beautiful like, quote on Instagram the other day, that was, you know, saying how you go talk to a class of like kindergarteners are first graders, and they’re asking all these very profound questions like, Where do babies come from, and what’s beyond the universe, and, you know, all these just very powerful, deep, profound thoughts that their little minds are having. But then you go talk to a room of 12th graders and their eyes are glazed over, they don’t care, they don’t want to be there. And that goes to show something has gone very, very wrong in between kindergarten and 12th grade.

And I read that the other day, I was like, you know, that’s pretty powerful and pretty true, because our authentic self, I think, is best represented in our, in our childhood, before we go through the trauma before we go through the domestication and conditioning, and get spit out this callous, non enthusiastic adult, we lose sight of who we are, and we lose sight of how amazing and beautiful reality is. We’ve been so conditioned to experience it this one way that we are like, it’s we have blinders on, and we don’t even know it.

So this is where I think there’s so much power in reconnecting with that authentic inner child, because that’s who you are, like, what you were interested in is your nature and behavior as a kid? That’s who you are. So like, what happened in between then and now? And how can you get closer back to your, your state of authenticity? Because that’s where life is much more blissful?


Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, that’s a great answer. It made me think, what cruel trick is that? No, like who you are at the very beginning, only to lose your path all along the way, as the years go by, but then I thought, well, the whole ying-yang theory is that you develop an evolution of, of wisdom, I think wisdom is good word wisdom, with that nice devotee of that purity. And you combine both of those.

And that’s how we should be aging with the balance of the new things that we learn that enrich the authentic child and ourselves so that you have the best of both? So awesome. I don’t know if we should go part three, because then that way, I mean, part three in some other area is as opposed to taking on the big three because that’s never a good thing to do. But I am right there with you, you know?


Brendan Vermeire: Yeah, no. I think we did a good job of kind of touching on some big thing. It’s like keeping it focused on what can people do though, right now, I think everybody’s feeling very frustrated and powerless. But quite the opposite. Like, if you’re feeling powerless, that’s usually more so you’ve given up your power.

And all you have to do is kind of take it back. And that’s kind of the battle in itself. That’s the good fight that we all need to be fighting. So yeah, I thought it was an amazing conversation. I hope your listeners get a lot from it.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Maybe well, and you know, what I was gonna say is like I from time to time, slack on my exercising, and you just need one, one, breed exercising day to undo the bad days and start all over again, which is so great, because you can always start all over again. And there’s, it’s never too late to start all over again.

And that’s the great thing about it. So awesome. I’m sure by now my listeners know where to get in contact with you. But it’s your big platform is Instagram at the holistic Savage. Correct. And they’ll be able to see that and then the tests are the people that you educate. Have they mostly been licensed health therapists or are they all kinds of therapists? Yeah.


Brendan Vermeire: Our practitioner group has gotten diverse. In the beginning, it was mostly unlicensed, like functional medicine coaches. But now at this point, it’s just all over. I have like psychotherapists in licensed psychotherapists and my functional mentorship and we’ve got that Catholic doctors and chiropractors and dietitians and MD is not as much I mean, a few here and there, but MDS are kind of the hardest. Sometimes all stubborn. So, you know, I would say it’s kind of 5050 of like unlicensed holistic functional coaches and practitioners and then another 50% of kind of a melting pot of different types of professionals.

But I think that’s what makes functional and integrative medicine so cool is the diversity of skill sets in the industry. And just like you know, you look at systems biology, the more diverse an ecosystem is, the more stable and healthy it is. So I like to think that then as an industry as a professional type, you know, functional providers, we’re a more stable and healthy profession because of our diversity, so just a little theory of mine.


Dr. Joel Rosen: Oh, it’s a good attitude to have I never understood the lack mentality, as you know, a rising tide lifts all boats I don’t get it like if I help you with information or we help each other. It takes away from me because you can’t outgive the universe I just don’t get. I mean, I guess that’s rooted in insecurity and they need to listen to our last couple of podcasts to figure out why they have that lack mentality.

But anyways, my friend, I appreciate your time. And I look forward to seeing continued growth and progress and all the things that you do to contribute to making the world a better place. So thanks for everything that you do.


Brendan Vermeire: Yeah, likewise, my friend such a pleasure.


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