Category Archives: Science

WTH is “brown fat” and why should I care about it?

Brown fat helps with fat loss!

Really interesting article just surfaced this week showing that humans have much more “brown fat” than originally understood.  So why is this important?  Humans have brown fat, beige fat, and white fat.  Bottom line: brown fat is packed with mitochondria, and increasing and activation of brown stores causes your metabolic rate to rise, weight loss, and all sorts of other amazing health benefits.  Here are some excerpts from the article:

“The researcher suggested that this may point to a possible explanation for the phenomenon that some persons seem to gain weight after only one extra piece of cake, while others can gorge on sweets without gaining at all — different body weights despite having the same diet.

“Ultimately, with medication that activates brown adipose tissue, we must anticipate that some groups of people are likely to benefit from an additional activation of brown fat more than others,” the author of the study explained. “So far, we don’t know the causes for a particular individual to have especially active brown fat.””

I find it interesting that the study authors go straight to pharmaceutical drugs as the solution to activate brown fat.

You don’t need medication to activate Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT)!

This can be achieved by cold therapy (CT) “Cold acclimation recruits human brown fat and increases nonshivering thermogenesis”:

“Here, we show that a 10-day cold acclimation protocol in humans increases BAT activity in parallel with an increase in nonshivering thermogenesis (NST).”

“The combined results suggest that a variable indoor environment with frequent cold exposures might be an acceptable and economic manner to increase energy expenditure and may contribute to counteracting the current obesity epidemic.”

Takeaway – cold showers, ice water face dunks, ice vests, keeping the temperature low at home, cold water dips, all can help to activate BAT. I finish off every shower with about 1-2 minutes of cold water.

Mild acute stress can activate BAT (think exercise) – “Stress could help activate brown fat”:

“Mild stress stimulates the activity and heat production by brown fat associated with raised cortisol, according to a study. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), also known as brown fat, is one of two types of fat found in humans and other mammals. Initially only attributed to babies and hibernating mammals, it was discovered in recent years that adults can have brown fat too. Its main function is to generate body heat by burning calories (opposed to white fat, which is a result of storing excess calories. People with a lower body mass index (BMI) therefore have a higher amount of brown fat.”

Also read about how exercise (a form of stress) increases BAT by increasing production of irisin, a hormone that increases BAT, and activates BAT by activating PGC-1 Alpha – “Supercharging Brown Fat to Battle Obesity – Why turning down the thermostat could help win the battle of the bulge”:

“In a 2012 study, six men remained inactive for three hours while wearing a cold suit that circulated water with a temperature of 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit over their skin—cold enough to lower their body temperature without causing too much shivering. That way the researchers could be sure that most of the extra calories burned during those three hours were expended by brown fat cells rather than quivering muscles.”

“Recent experiments have also revealed that brown fat’s benefits go far beyond burning calories. A 2011 study using mice found that brown fat can fuel itself with triglycerides taken from the bloodstream—exactly the kind of fatty molecules known to increase the chances of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that raises the risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Brown fat cells also draw sugar molecules from the blood, which could help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes; chronically high levels of blood glucose wreak havoc on the body’s ability to manage those levels in the first place, which in turn sets the stage for diabetes.”

“Don’t fancy low temperatures? Investigators have identified several molecules that may be able to stimulate such “browning” of white fat without the need for cold. Two 2012 studies showed that a hormone called irisin, which is released from muscle cells after exercise, coaxes white fat to behave like brown fat. In one of these studies, researchers injected mice with a gene that tripled the levels of the hormone in the blood of mice that were obese and had dangerously high amounts of sugar in their bloodstream. The mice lost weight and regained control of their glucose levels in just 10 days.

Exercise has also been shown to increase UCP1 activity in brown fat, making it more active.”

Takeaway: Regular exercise, specifically HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and resistance training, are the best ways to increase BAT production and BAT activation, and for weight loss & better blood sugar/insulin regulation.

BAT can also be activated by eating hot peppers or taking a capsinoid supplement – “Nonpungent capsaicin analogs (capsinoids) increase energy expenditure through the activation of brown adipose tissue in humans”:

“Capsinoid ingestion increases EE (energy expenditure) through the activation of BAT in humans.”

Takeaway – eating spicy foods or taking a capsaicin supplement (the active ingredient in hot peppers) can help you build and activate BAT stores and help you lose weight.  CAUTION: NOT RECOMMENDED FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH PEPTIC ULCERS, GASTRITIS, INFLAMMATORY BOWEL CONDITIONS OR HIATAL HERNIAS.

And of course, ketogenic diets and exogenous ketone supplements have shown to activate brown fat stores:

“Here we discuss the unexpected observation that feeding an ester of ketone bodies to the mouse, which increases blood ketone body concentrations, results in an activation of brown fat. The mechanism of this activation of brown fat is similar to that occurring from cold exposure in that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP) levels are increased as are levels of the transcription factor cyclic AMP-responsive element-binding protein, which is also increased by ketone ester feeding. Other effects of feeding ketone esters, in addition to their ability to induce brown fat, are discussed such as their ability to overcome certain aspects of insulin resistance and to ameliorate the accumulation of amyloid and phosphorylated tau protein in brain, and improve cognitive function, in a triple transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.”

This study showed the same thing with a ketogenic diet:

“These results demonstrate that a KD can also increase BAT mitochondrial size and protein levels.”

Takeaway – a low carb ketogenic diet and/or exogenous ketone supplementation can activate brown fat.  Click here to purchase the ketone supplements I use and recommend.

Leave a comment below if you’ve had any experience with these strategies for BAT production and activation!

In health,

Rick Gold

The Dose Makes the Poison – Just Not in the REAL WORLD!

They say “the dose makes the poison”. And this is true! But it’s also a brilliant way to cover up a scandal and hide the REAL truth.

For instance, maybe the amount of sugar in a teaspoon of honey won’t make you sick. Heck, maybe it’s even good for you at that dose!

But does anyone really stop at one teaspoon of honey per day? What if in addition to that teaspoon of honey, you were also putting sugar in your coffee, drinking 2 cans of soda, eating pizza, muffins, bread, pasta, rice, and ice cream every day? Now the dose certainly is poisonous. We know what the outcome of this. It’s called metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

What if you were injected with aluminum or mercury from one vaccine. It’s totally possible that your body might be able to clear that adjuvant with no problems. But what if you were given 5-10 doses of vaccines in one sitting? Could this pose a problem in certain people? You bet! Are there even any studies that show the safety of the levels of aluminum and mercury with the current vaccine schedule? Any studies that show how effectively someone with an MTHFR mutation or mitochondrial dysfunctional can clear these adjuvants?

What if you took one dose of a painkiller…your body might be able to safely handle it. But what if you were taking that painkiller along with a medicine cabinet full of other drugs to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help with insomnia, help with depression, and help with acid reflux? Have any studies been done that show the synergistic effect or the interplay between these various medications?

What if you eat some food that has pesticides in it. Your body might be able to clear that no problem if it’s an isolated incident. But what if you’re eating foods loaded with pesticides every day 3-5 times per day? How fast can your liver clear that toxicity? What if, besides eating pesticide ridden food, you’re also eating foods with MSG, food dyes, nitrates, and other chemical additives? What if you’re also ingesting and absorbing chemicals from your water, your carpets, your cookware, your plastic bottles, your food storage containers, your car, your cleaning products, your personal care products, and the air you breathe?

What if every person’s genetics and environment is different? What if person A has genetic mutations that make them poor methylators and detoxifiers while others don’t have that gene? What if one person’s environment exposes them to a massive amount of electromagnetic fields and dirty electricity while the next person not so much? What if one person spends time outdoors at the beach and in the ocean for 40% of their life while another lives on the 30th floor of a crowded building in a crowded city and almost never connects with the earth’s energies or the sun? What if one person gets to sleep early and often and sleeps well every night while the other experiences insomnia.

Do you think these people would all be in the same shape? Would all of their detoxification pathways and immune systems be able to handle the same amount of chemicals, pills, vaccines, or sugar?

Do you think that what is a safe dose for one person might be unsafe for the next?

I’m talking here about the concept of allostatic load, and for every person that differs.

So, does the dose make the poison? Yes it absolutely does, and in a vacuüm, you can judge the amount of poison in one dose of any given substance that would cross the threshold of health and cause harm.

But when you combine all the factors above, do we REALLY know what dosage makes the poison for every one of us? Or is it a much more individualized concept?

Could that be why over 100,000 Americans die each year from taking prescription drugs as properly prescribed to them by their docs despite all the pharmaceutical-funded studies showing the safety of each drug in a vacuüm?

Could that be why so many children are injured by vaccines despite pharmaceutical-funded studies showing the safety for each individual vaccine?

Could that be why diabetes is set to bankrupt our healthcare system despite the FDA putting a GRAS label on most of the individual ingredients in sugar laden, processed foods?

Do you think that one-size-fits-all recommendations work for you and your individual health?  I think that what it all comes down to is that in order for you to achieve optimal health and keep you and your family safe, you need to educate yourself on the bell curve of what works for most of the population but you also need to take the time and make the effort to understand whether you or your family falls inside or outside of that bell curve.  Because if you fall outside of it, don’t expect to have the same reaction to any given food, drug, or chemical that people inside the middle of that bell curve have.  We all need to spend more time understanding who we are as individuals and finding out what works for US individually.  That, imo, is the only way to achieve optimal health!


Rick Gold is the President & Founder of Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.  Rick is a certified FDN & Functional Wellness Practitioner and is well-versed in the concepts of functional medicine.  Working with clients locally in South Florida and around the world, Rick helps his clients identify and eliminate many of the underlying causes of their symptoms, with a specialization in gut health and circadian rhythms.

For most of his adult life, Rick suffered from 24/7/365 allergies, frequent colds and sinus infections, indigestion, heartburn, GERD, stomach and joint pain.  He was able to find temporary relief using conventional medicine doctors, but the conventional medicine route never identified or fixed the underlying causes of his health issues.  

Rick used functional lab testing and lifestyle changes to vastly improve his health.  Dietary and other lifestyle modifications essentially reversed most of his health challenges which are now a distant memory.  It inspired him to study and acquire his FDN certification and he now guides clients to better health and disease prevention for a living. 

Rick’s work is extremely personal to him.  He cares deeply about his clients and spends ample time with them to understand their health challenges, empathize with their pain, and the challenges they face in trying to heal.  He is very attune to their needs, and dedicates himself to helping them improve their emotional and physical health through the concepts and philosophies of functional medicine.

Click here to schedule an initial 15-minute phone consultation with Rick.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author. Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

We’ve traded HEALTH for Convenience

The hallmark of modern-day living is convenience.  We’re always looking for new and better ways to make living life easier.  I’m going to cite many examples of this in this article.  Technological, industrial, pharmaceutical, and agricultural advances have made this possible.

We’re actually at a point now where the advances in these industries are happening at such a frighteningly fast pace that, as a society, we never stop to think about whether they are harmful to our health.  We just see the convenience, hear the industry talking heads and the media outlets assuring us that it’s safe, and dive right in!  But there is overwhelming evidence in the scientific community that many of the conveniences that we now enjoy in the 21st century are literally killing us.

This begs the question: just because we CAN do something, does that mean we SHOULD?  Below, I will outline just a short list of modern-day conveniences that made daily life easier, but have wrecked our health in the long-term.  Here are the main takeaways from the article:

  • I will list many conveniences of modern-day living. Many of them are marvels of technology, agriculture, and medicine and have literally changed the course of human history.
  • I will present my arguments for why they are wrecking our health.
  • I will impress upon you the mission statement of my company, Gold Functional Wellness: to help you navigate the pitfalls of modern living and dramatically improve your health while still enjoying many of the conveniences of modern society. At Gold Functional Wellness, we believe we have the answers to the problems presented in this piece, and we are eager to share them with you!

Let’s begin!


Most obvious example: Fast food.  Fast.  Easy.  Kids love it.  No complaining.

We are chronically over-stressed and make poor health choices as a result.

Scenario: You just got home from work.  It was a stressful work day.  You’ve got a lot on your mind.  It’s late.  The kids are hungry.  They need to be fed, bathed, and in bed for school the next morning.  Here are your choices:  1) Boil some mac-n-cheese OR 2) Wash, cut, cook vegetables and marinate, season, and grill some fish?

From a convenience standpoint, it’s an easy choice, isn’t it?  Not only because of the reduced complexity of preparation and time to cook, but also because one of these choices your kids will complain about and the other they will eat happily with no whining and no tantrums, and no repetitious “sit and eat your food” necessary from mom and dad!

No doubt about it.  Fast food is easy, and inexpensive.  That makes it incredibly convenient!  But is this the healthier choice for you and your family?  Not exactly…

Other examples:

  • CAFOs – Confined Animal Feeding Operations. This is a convenient way for farmers

    CAFOs result in sick animals, sick meat, and toxicity in the fat of the animals.

    to raise, fatten, slaughter, and sell many more animals per acre of land than they were previously able to.  It cuts down the cost of land, feed, and increases profits.  It is also able to provide enough animal products to satisfy the demand from a growing population that is bursting at the seams.  The problem?  Animals in CAFOs are confined, unable to move around freely, in many cases rarely get any sunlight, are fed a diet that is at best inconsistent with what they are genetically predisposed to thrive on, pumped up with antibiotics and hormones to speed their growth, development, and stop infections that inevitably arise because of their poor health.  So, naturally, they become sickly animals, and nutritional profile of their meat, milk, and eggs are drastically altered for the worse.  And then, we eat that sickly meat, milk, and eggs.  Convenient?  You bet!  Healthier than the meat, milk, and eggs we used to eat before the widespread use of CAFOs?  You make the call!

  • GMOs & related pesticides – Farmers had a problem: Their crops were being destroyed by pests and weeds which lowered crop yields. The convenient solution?

    Glyphosate, the active ingredient in pesticides applied to GMOs, is a known carcinogen

    1) create crops that have pesticides that grow inside of them, so that they will repel the pests, and 2) create crops that are resistant to lethal pesticides and would otherwise die upon contact with them.  Problem solved right?  Now the farmers can spray their field, kill the weeds, kill and repel the pests, and grow huge amounts of their crops for sales and distribution.  Sounds really convenient to me!  Except, the science is still not out on whether or not GMO crops themselves are harmful to human health, and the science is definitively out showing how BT toxin and Glyphosate, the main pesticides used in conjunction with GMO crops, ARE bad for human health.  The WHO recently classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen.  Studies link an association between these pesticides and altered gut bacteria, digestive problems, suppression of detoxification pathways in the liver, and cancer.  But don’t let that stop you from chowing down on some GMO corn and edamame!  Just kidding…please let that stop you from doing that!  J


Above and beyond that, pesticide usage and modern-day agricultural techniques have totally robbed our produce of nutrition.  This is because these practices have destroyed the soil quality of conventional farms.  This is another example of how modern-day conveniences are destroying our health!


  • Year-round supply of out of season foods – Ever go to the grocery store and

    It’s always best to buy food from local sources for optimal nutrition.

    wonder “how is it that watermelons are available at my grocery store in the winter? Don’t they grow in the summer?”  Correct!  Watermelons need a warm climate to grow.  That watermelon in your grocery store is only there because it was brought to you from another, warmer climate.  If you are eating watermelon during a cold season, this is basically a nutrition-climate mismatch.  If you want to thrive in the climate you are living in, you’ll need to eat the foods that thrive in the climate you live in.  It’s pretty simple logic, isn’t it?  Eskimos, before their food industry became westernized and then subsequently became sicker, eat tons of fatty, cold water fish, seal and whale blubber, and only a small portion of their diet is plant-based.  Why?  Because plants don’t grow well where they live!  It’s a cold, harsh climate.  They eat the foods that thrive in their climate, and thus, the foods they eat confer the ability to thrive for the Eskimos!

  • Additionally, eating foods (especially produce) when they are fresh will provide you with optimal nutrition. If you live on the east coast of the US and you’re eating strawberries or lettuce that was grown in California and took 2 weeks from the time they were picked to reach your table, chances are that those foods will contain far less nutrition than the fruits and vegetables grown locally in your town and eaten a day or two after they were plucked from the ground or the tree.  It’s really convenient to have any food you want at any time of day regardless of climate, geography, or season, isn’t it?  But is it serving us?  Is it helping us to stay healthy and thrive?  I would argue the opposite.  Click here to read more about how transport time, freezing vegetables and fruits, and canned veggies and fruits result in lower nutrient content (especially enzymes and vitamin C).



  • nnEMF (non-native electromagnetic fields) – Talk about convenience?  The

    We’re blasting ourselves and our children with harmful radiation!

    introduction of nnEMF has led to amazing and super convenient inventions such as cell phones, portable laptop computers, tablets, cordless phones, Bluetooth everything, Wi-Fi internet access, wireless speakers, wearable technology like the Fitbit, apple watch, jawbone up, and dozens of other Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled devices.  Many people have their entire homes set up to run completely on Wi-Fi from temperature regulation to starting their coffee makers and turning on and off their lights, etc.  Baby monitors transmit signals from the baby’s crib to the parents 24/7.  They’ve even made diapers that now transmit signals to the mom’s smart phone when the diaper is wet!  Electricity companies no longer need to send workers to your house to read your meters.  Smart meters are being deployed everywhere and using nnEMF technology to communicate readings directly to electric companies in real-time.  Click here to hear about what Dr. David Carpenter, a Harvard Medical School graduate and physician, has to say about smart meters.


Have you seen cell towers like this in your neighborhood?

No doubt about it, nnEMF was a marvel of modern technology that opened the door to many really cool and really helpful new things for humans.  We can now do business anytime, anywhere.  We never need to miss a call, email or text.  Our kids, friends, and family can get in touch with us at any time, and anywhere.  We can do our banking and shopping online and save tons of time.  We can even buy our groceries online and watch them show up at our door within 24 hours!  What’s not to like?


Well, perhaps this wasn’t thought out too well.  Is it REALLY a gift to be so accessible like we all are now 24/7/365?  Or is it a curse?  With 24/7 accessibility comes a boatload of increased stress.  We used to work 9-5 jobs and the weekend used to mean something.  It was a true break from work.  These days, we literally work all day, every day, including weekends.  There are no boundaries anymore between boss and employee.


I haven’t even touched on the more important and more health destroying aspect of

Do you have a smart meter on your home?

nnEMF.  There is a large body of research (unknown to most in the mainstream) that shows nnEMF messes with our circadian cycles, dehydrates our cells, unstructured water in our cells, causes cell clumping, and causes diseases like cancer (and this is just a drop in the bucket as far as evidence goes).  Convenient?  Absolutely!  Healthy?  Not so much!


  • ALAN (Artificial Light at Night) and blue light – How about artificial light,

    Dimly lit rooms at night are better for your health.

    specifically in the blue spectrum?  Artificial light during the daytime and at night has enabled modern man to massively increase productivity and has helped to produce huge advances in technology.  That’s the good news!  Aside from fire, which burns an orange-red color and does not contain much in the way of blue light, humans only started using artificial light about 100 years ago.  But before that, here’s what indoor lighting at night looked like:

What do you think is different about this room and your room in the evening?  It’s pretty obvious, right?  People who hang out in this type of lighting at night get tired pretty quickly.  Especially before TVs, computers, and smart phones were invented!  This is what a modernly lit room looks like at night:

Bright light at night disrupts sleep and your health.

A little different, huh?  Here is what a brightly lit city looks like (imagine the light pollution for people living in buildings in these cities):

How can anyone produce melatonin or get restful sleep living like this?









This is what the earth now looks like at night from space (remember that this image was totally different even 100 years ago.  The amount of artificial light that lights up the night sky has dramatically increased in the last 100-150 years.  We are all living in one huge light experiment, and the results are in…and they’re not good!):

The earth is this bright at night from SPACE!









Why is this important?  Because we are diurnal beings, and that means our circadian cycles are programmed for us to be asleep at night when it’s dark and active during the day when it’s light.  The problem?  We’ve erased night!  We have artificially eliminated darkness.  Which has eliminated restful sleep.  Specifically, short wave sleep (SLS) is known to be the most restorative phase of sleep where the “rest and repair” mechanisms take hold and repair damaged tissues in the body and the brain.  Short wave sleep happens mostly in the earlier parts of the night (i.e. sleep before midnight).  It’s for this reason that you hear people saying that every hour of sleep before midnight is as powerful as 2 hours of sleep after midnight.

How do our bodies know when to sleep and when to be active?  It uses cues from LIGHT!

Diagram showing the effect of light/dark cycles on all organ function.

Light enters your retinas through your eyes and signals a part of your brain called the SCN.  The SCN receives that signal and interprets it based on the spectrum of light.  Blue light signals the SCN to think it is daytime and the SCN subsequently commands certain glands and organs to secrete hormones that coincide with being active in daylight.  Red light signals it to think it is close to night time and subsequently the SCN will command certain glands and organs to secrete hormones and other chemicals that coincide with nighttime, sleep, rest and repair.  Darkness signals the SCN to continue to command various organs and glands in your body to keep secreting those sleep, rest and repair hormones and chemicals.

Artificial light at night (ALAN) and specifically in the blue spectrum of light (the brighter light that most of the bulbs in your home emit, as well as your TV, computer, smart phone, tablet, etc.) completely confuses your SCN, disrupts circadian rhythms, disrupts cortisol, disrupts melatonin, disrupts sleep, impairs immune function, disrupts thyroid hormone, disrupts sex hormones, disrupts leptin (the hormone that tells you when to stop eating), and disrupts neurotransmitter production.  Convenient?  You bet!  Healthy?  Not a chance!  Click here to learn a bit more about this.  And here is a nifty little compilation of research on blue light and sleep.

  • Video games & TV – Convenient form of entertainment in the home, aren’t they?

    This is what modern kids do for fun. Bathe in blue light, nnEMF, and sedentary living.

    What were kids doing for entertainment 100 or even 50 years ago?  You can bet your last dollar that they spent much more time outdoors, with other kids in the community, socializing, getting ample sunlight, and breaking a good sweat.  Maybe even rolling around in dirt which helped to expose them to some beneficial microbes that boost immune function.  Consequences – kids would rather sit in front of a blue light emitting screen and close to a persistent source of direct nnEMF exposure rather than go outside and play.  This results in lower physical activity, less exposure to sunlight (which has its own set of devastating health effects like lowered vitamin D levels), loss of social skills, and disruption of circadian rhythms.  This article discusses a study done in 2012/2013 on this phenomenon.  Convenient?  Check!  Healthy?  Nope!


Now, I don’t want you to take this as an attack on medicine, doctors, or hospitals.  There are areas of medicine that are literally a life-saving miracle of ingenuity.  ER doctors save countless lives every day.  Heart surgeons save people who are having heart attacks.  Antibiotics and other drugs have saved countless lives as well.  Spinal surgeons help paralyzed people walk again.  When it comes to acute emergency situations, modern medicine excels beyond our wildest dreams.

But when it comes to chronic debilitating diseases and conditions, modern medicine in general is tailored to the over-arching theme of taking the easy way out or hacking the system by using pills, surgery, chemo, and radiation to alleviate the SYMPTOMS of dysfunction rather than fixing the underlying causes of dysfunction.  90%-95% of cancers are caused by a mix of lifestyle and genetics.  Lifestyle modification can prevent and treat cancer, yet modern medicine only acknowledges pills, surgery, chemo, and radiation.  Most heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions can also be treated or prevented through lifestyle, yet modern medicine does nothing for us in the way of prevention.  They simply wait until we develop these diseases and then treat the symptoms to keep us as comfortable as possible throughout the disease progression.

Most Americans just want to continue leading their lives in an unhealthy manner and rely on modern medicine to keep them above ground when their health breaks down.

I don’t fault modern medicine for this.  I don’t fault doctors, hospitals, or even pharmaceutical companies for this.  They are all only giving us what we want!  We don’t want to change our lifestyles.  We like eating whatever we want to eat, drinking alcohol, doing drugs, staying up too late, partying like rock stars, staying sedentary, working stressful jobs, and generally just having fun without any regard to our health. Most people don’t want to change their lifestyles.  It’s not very convenient to have to change all of that.  They just want the quick and convenient fix for their symptoms.  Modern medicine is perfectly set up to give us exactly that.  The quick fix.  They’re only giving us what we have been collectively asking them to give us for decades.  This is an easy example of how we have traded health for convenience.

  • Antibiotics – Antibiotics were a modern medical marvel that have saved countless lives since they were created. They started out as a really good idea to help critically ill people recover from advanced bacterial infection.  But then something happened:  we started using them for every cut, scrape, and every little bacterial infection.  Many people use antibiotics when they have a cold without even knowing if the cold is bacterial or viral in origin.  Many people use antibiotics pre-emptively just in case they are exposed to someone else who was sick or if they go on a plane.  The beef industry (CAFOs) uses antibiotics on their sick cattle and also to fatten them up for slaughter.

Antibiotic overuse is a major problem.  It’s causing the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs, destroying beneficial gut flora, contributing to long-term chronic malnutrition and inflammatory illness, and a whole host of other problems.  Most parent give their kids antibiotics for ever little ear infection.  But up to 80% of ear infections clear up on their own without using them.  Did you know that?

Fluoroquinolones, a very powerful and potentially devastating class of antibiotics (think Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin, Factive (gemifloxacin), Noroxin, Proquin XR), are being prescribed for routine UTIs and for sinus infections.  The dangers of these powerful antibiotics are well known (1, 2, 3) There are thousands of Americans diagnosed with Fluoroquinolone toxicity (also see here) and COUNTLESS others who have been injured by these antibiotics and just haven’t been diagnosed.  Antibiotics are very convenient, and they do have their place in medicine.  But they need to be approached with care and used wisely.  Using them the way we do now is causing a serious and possibly irreversible health crisis.

  • Most prescription and OTC drugs – I am generalizing prescription and OTC drugs here to save time and space in this article. But it’s easy to pick out a few and go into great detail about how, while they ARE convenient, they actually do more harm than good to our health in the long run.  That’s because these drugs are

    Ever look at the drug aisle in a pharmacy? Drugs are so accepted in our society you would think that headaches are a sign of Tylenol deficiency!

    not formulated to cure anything or bring about true health.  They’re formulated to alleviate your symptoms.  They’re convenient, but don’t fix the underlying root causes of your symptoms.  Bottom line: you can’t fix a problem caused by lifestyle with a pill!

Additionally, all prescription and OTC drugs “rob Peter to pay Paul”, meaning they alleviate one symptom while throwing another area of your physiology out of whack, causing more symptoms and the manufactured need for more drugs.  A great model for the pharmaceutical industry, and popping a pill to feel a little better (albeit temporarily), IS convenient and attractive to many of us…true!  But is it healthy?  Well, consider these FACTS (which can be found here in a report by Harvard University):

  • Properly prescribed drugs (aside from misprescribing, overdosing, or self-prescribing) cause about 1.9 million hospitalizations a year.
  • 840,000 hospitalized patients are given drugs that cause serious adverse reactions for a total of 2.74 million serious adverse drug reactions per year.
  • About 128,000 people die from drugs prescribed to them every year.  That clocks in as the 6th leading cause of death for US citizens behind only heart disease, cancer, COPD, accidents (unintentional injuries), and Alzheimer’s disease. It clocks in ahead of diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and kidney disease.

Does that sound healthy to you?  Unbelievably, no one really talks about just how dangerous prescription and OTC drugs can be.  Let’s have a look at just a few:

  • Surgeries – Many surgeries are the same in that they aim to relieve us of the

    Many surgeries are life-saving and necessary. But there are so many that pose unnecessary risks and damage our health in the long run.

    symptoms we are experiencing rather than fix the underlying issue and improve our health. If your gallbladder is malfunctioning and causing you painful episodes, the easy and convenient choice is to have surgery to remove it.  You CAN live without a gallbladder but it is very hard to THRIVE without one.

 That’s because the gallbladder has a crucial role of collecting and storing bile that is made in your liver.  The gallbladder stores this bile for release when you eat fats.  The bile helps you emulsify and absorb fats.  No gallbladder = less bile when you need it, less fat absorption, less absorption of crucial fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.  It also results in chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, or BOTH in many patients for years after surgery and for many permanently.

Gallbladder removal is also associated with slower transit time (for food to travel from mouth to anus) and increased risk of developing SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth).  And there’s always the increased risk (however slight) for colon cancer associated with having your gallbladder removed.  Really I can go on and one here.  Convenient to get that surgery?  Perhaps…and sometimes even necessary in emergency situations.  I won’t deny that.  But is it healthy to go without a gallbladder?  Not so much.

There are many other surgeries that are quite convenient but also subsequently wreak havoc on our health.  Did you know that your tonsils play an important role for immune function?  If you or your child has chronic tonsillitis, is it a better idea to have them removed or to find and fix the underlying problem?  Most cases of chronic tonsillitis are caused by chronic viral or bacterial infection.  Knock those out and fix tonsillitis!  Easier said than done, I know.  But the correct path usually is the harder one.

Plus, removing your tonsils that are chronically infected because of chronic viral or bacterial infection doesn’t remove the underlying infection AND it weakens your immune response!  Nature is not stupid.  Your tonsils are a part of your immune system and they are there for a reason.  Removing them takes one part of your immune system out of your body.  Removing them is the easier and more convenient approach, but it permanently hampers the function of your mucosal immune function.  Convenient?  Yup!  And you get ice cream after the surgery?  What could be better?  Healthy in the long run?  Nope.

Industry: I am going to move through this quickly and lump many industries together for the sake of brevity.  That doesn’t make this section any less important.  It’s just for the sake of time and brevity.

The dangers of hundreds of chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis are well-documented.

It is well-known at this point that the water, energy, agriculture, manufacturing, auto, plastics and chemical industries have introduced over 100,000 chemicals into our daily lives in the last 100 years (estimates range from 85,000 to well over 100,000…but the point is…it’s A LOT!).   These chemicals have served to make our daily lives much easier and way more convenient.  What ISN’T well known is that most of these chemicals have never been tested for long term safety in humans, and that many of them have been tagged as known or possible carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and obesogens (they mimic estrogen and make us fat…still think that obesity is simply explained by calories in-calories out??)!  There are hundreds of chemicals I can write about in here but I’ll just name a few to make my point clear:

  • Teflon coated pans – Non-stick surfaces? How convenient!  Sign me up!  Except…this.  Is that few extra minutes you save from not having to scrape your eggs off the pan worth an increased risk of cancer?  Apparently many Americans think so because they continue to use non-stick pans even while evidence clearly shows the dangers.
  • Flame retardants – They’re literally EVERYWHERE and they’re purpose is to conveniently prevent us from dying in a fire. Many states even require manufacturers of furniture, upholstery, baby toys and clothing to have flame retardants.  This is changing though, albeit slowly!  On the surface, adding flame retardants to everyday products in our homes, cars, offices, and parks sounds like a great idea!  Except we are trading the possibility of a quick death by fire for a slow painful death from the diseases associated with the accumulation of these toxins in our bodies over the years.
  • Phthalates – The following quote is from this article: “In the past few years, researchers havelinked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues.”  They are in household items (vinyl flooring), personal care products (hair care, body wash, some cosmetics), fragrance, household cleaners, and food.
  • Click here to read more about chemicals and how they’re affecting our health (especially children!)

The energy industry:

  • Fracking is a technology that enables us to access natural gas trapped under the

    Fracking pollutes the water supplies in nearby towns.

    ground. Natural gas is a cleaner burning source of fuel.  And the US is sitting on top of a huge source of this fuel, so moving to natural gas would make us less dependent on foreign and dirtier fuel sources like oil.  Convenient, right?  Except fracking introduces an immense amount of chemicals into our lives and our drinking water, and is poisoning neighboring communities to fracking sites.

  • Here’s a great fact sheet about the energy industry in general. It’s nice and super convenient to have lights in our homes, air conditioning, heat, cooking stoves, street lights, cars, planes, trains, buses, etc.  But the amount of pollution generated by the creation of energy sources to power the modern world we now live in has created a living environment that is destroying the planet’s natural resources and conducive to disease formation in humans and animal life.  It’s ruining the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.  Convenient?  Sure!  Healthy?  Nope!

If you made it through this really long article, congrats!  This was long, even by my standards!  🙂  The crazy thing is that I can keep going.  There are many other conveniences of modern life that destroy our health and I left those out.  I had to, or this would have turned into a book!  But I think you get the point: The conveniences of modern life are making us sick.  We’ve traded health for convenience.

So, what do we do here at Gold Functional Wellness?  Do we tell our clients that they have to forsake all of their houses, cars, lights, computers, phones, tablets, clothing, cleaning products, and electricity and move to the amazon, hunt and gather their food, and wear a loin cloth?

NO!  We don’t do that.  We recognize that this is the world we live in.  It’s a different and far more dangerous world than the one our great grandparents and even our parents grew up in.  It’s far more polluted and toxic in every way possible, and the problem is compounded by our food supply being less nutritious than ever before in our history.  What that means is that we have to adapt.  We have to implement safeguards to protect us from this ever-growing list of potential toxicity and nutrient deficiency.  We have to implement strategies in our lives to stay healthy that our ancestors never had to do, because they never faced the dangers we face.

That is what the Gold Functional Wellness programs are about!  Teaching you how to live in this modern world and how to continue enjoying many of its conveniences while protecting yourself and your family.  We teach you (despite all the dangers listed above) how to live in a way that builds and strengthens your immune function, lowers inflammation, improves energy, improves sleep quality, lowers your risk of developing disease, balances your hormones, and improves your sense of well-being.  This is a program that every single person living in a modernized society should go through.  It arms you with the knowledge and the tools to live healthy and happy in an increasingly difficult environment!  So if you’ve decided to enroll in one of our programs, congratulations!  It might just be the most important and powerful decision you’ve made in your life to date (minus the whole getting married and kids thing) ;)!

Thanks for reading!

In health,

Rick Gold


The skinny on bio-identical hormone replacement.


Hormonal imbalances can cause many undesirable symptoms and can even contribute to long-term development of serious conditions and diseases.  See the graphic below for a brief list of symptoms related to hormonal imbalances:



Symptoms of various hormonal imbalances in the body.  Bio-identical hormone replacement can help alleviate these symptoms, but doesn't fix the root cause of the imbalances.

Symptoms of various hormonal imbalances in the body. Bio-identical hormone replacement can help ease these symptoms, but doesn’t fix the root cause of the imbalances.

I’m often asked for my opinion on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.  Here is my answer in my latest video.  I Hope you find value in it! If you do, please like, comment, and share this video with your friends.

And please subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more great videos like this one! Click here to subscribe!

Thanks! – Rick

The connection between oral health, gut health, and overall health. 

Rick Gold, President of Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.

Rick Gold, President of Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.

By Rick Gold, Certified FDN Practitioner.

As a certified FDN (Functional Diagnostic Nutrition) practitioner, I work with clients to help them find and eliminate the root causes of their symptoms.  The body is a self-healing, self-regulating organism, and all it needs from us is to give it what it needs to do its job: removal of environmental & lifestyle stressors that cause dysfunction, and proper nutrition.

If you strive to find and eliminate the root cause of your symptoms instead of masking them and flood your body with proper nutrition, you can restore balance and homeostasis to your body and allow it to do its job of keeping you healthy.

There are so many potential underlying causes of chronic illness.  Sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep, increased toxic burden, lack of proper nutrition, chronic undiagnosed bacterial, viral, or fungal infections, bacterial imbalances in the gut, OTC and prescription medications are just a few underlying causes.

So where does oral health fit into all of this?  To understand the connection between oral health, gut health, and overall health, we need to first understand a bit about how the body works:

Anytime the autonomic nervous system senses stress, it sends a stress signal to the brain.  The brain then sends signals to the adrenal glands that the body

The HPA (Hypothalamus/Pituitary/Adrenal) axis illustration shows how the body responds to ANY type of stress.

The HPA (Hypothalamus/Pituitary/Adrenal) axis illustration shows how the body responds to ANY type of stress.

is under stress.  The adrenal glands then produce cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.  Cortisol prepares the body to handle stress.  This is called the “fight or flight response”.  When the fight or flight response is activated, all bodily functions that are required for immediate survival are heightened, and all bodily functions (like digestion, reproduction, or rest and repair) are shut down.

It doesn’t matter what the stress is that you are experiencing; from emotional stress over your job or your relationships, physical injuries, hip, spine, or jaw misalignments, getting chased by a bear, or chronic bacterial infections, the scenario that I just described above will play out every time.  This system works well when the stress we encounter is short-lived.  But these days, stress is something that we live with 24/7/365.  In this scenario of constant stress, the fight or flight response shifts from a life-saving bodily function to one that causes digestive dysfunction, infertility, hormonal imbalances, leaky gut, and malnutrition!

Stress Man

Chronic bacterial infections and heavy metal toxicity are major sources of persistent stress on the body that chronically invokes the fight or flight response.  The oral cavity is one of the most common and most overlooked sources of chronic bacterial infection AND toxicity from heavy metals.  To illustrate this, allow me to get personal with you and share part of my health journey:

Six years ago my state of health was a mess, and I began my health journey to find and eliminate the underlying causes of my stress.  My health has improved dramatically since then.  I had addressed my diet by eliminating gluten, dairy, and other food sensitivities.  I had addressed healing my gut using antibacterial protocols, probiotic therapy,  gut-healing foods and supplements.  I incorporated meditation into my daily life.  I worked on optimizing my quantity and quality of sleep.  I even worked diligently with my wife to rid our home of chemical-laden cleaning products, cosmetics, etc.

But amazingly, while my overall health had improved dramatically, there were still a few things that confounded me.  Although I was much healthier and my immune function had improved, I still had a tendency towards sinus infections when I would get sick.  My blood tests continued to show a slightly depressed white blood cell count.  I still had intense food sensitivities, especially to dairy.  I had pretty much covered everything, right?  Not so fast!

The one area of my body that I had not addressed in recent years was my oral health.  I felt

The tooth that had the root canal done to it.  You can clearly see the mercury filling on top.

The tooth that had the root canal done to it. You can clearly see the mercury filling on top.

that I had an issue with a root canal that I had done about 13 years ago.  The only type of dentist I would ever use for myself, my family, or recommend to clients is a biological dentist.  I decided to go see a biological dentist that I refer all local clients to for oral evaluations.  After a thorough examination, she had determined that the root canal was indeed a problem (I had an abscess and a chronic bacterial infection from the affected tooth that reached into my sinuses) and the beginnings of periodontal disease.  Talk about

a chronic stressor that invokes the fight or flight response!  This chronic infection was putting major stress on my immune system,

The cap that was used to cover my tooth was made of a cheap, non-precious metal that was corroding in my mouth!

The cap that was used to cover my tooth was made of a cheap, non-precious metal that was corroding in my mouth!

which was showing up as an unexplained slightly lowered white blood cell count for years on my blood tests.  No wonder I suffered from leaky gut, bacterial imbalances in the GI tract, food sensitivities, and malnutrition!  Chronic bacterial infections in the oral cavity are also linked to autoimmune disease, heart disease, and cancer.  The dentist expertly removed the root canal and during the procedure discovered that it was filled with mercury; yet another chronic stressor on my body that explains many of the symptoms I had experienced for the last 12-13 years.

You can clearly see the infection once the tooth was pulled out.  It has a white tint.

You can clearly see the infection once the tooth was pulled out. It has a white tint.

So far I have touched on how bacterial infections in the oral cavity can cause gut and immune dysfunction.  I haven’t even yet discussed how mercury can disrupt our health.

Symptoms and conditions that correlate with mercury toxicity.

Symptoms and conditions that correlate with mercury toxicity.

Mercury amalgams can and do constantly shed mercury into our oral cavity and we swallow it into our GI tract.  Mercury alone in the GI tract can cause leaky gut.  It is a major irritant to the gut lining.   The gut lining intimately linked to mental health.  Did you know that about 90% of serotonin that our body makes is made in the lining of the gut?  Serotonin deficiencies are intimately linked to depression and anxiety.   This is one reason depression is a major symptom of mercury toxicity.  Mercury can pass through the gut lining and into the bloodstream.  Mercury from dental amalgams also out-gases and is inhaled.  Inhaled mercury goes straight to the brain and easily crosses the blood brain barrier.  It is known to be a potent neurotoxin.  Click here to read a comprehensive scientific review of mercury in all of its forms and the effect it has on human health.

Now that all the mercury has been removed, the next phase of my healing process will now focus on gentle heavy metal detoxification.  Luckily, I’m equipped with the knowledge to do this.  Unfortunately, so many others are not.

Oral health is a crucial aspect of any wellness program and I urge everyone to find a biological dentist in their area for a thorough evaluation to determine if chronic bacterial infections or heavy metals are part of the underlying cause of poor health.   To find a biological dentist in your area, go to

If you live in the South Florida area and are looking for a biological dentist, there is only one that I recommend, and I’d be happy to connect you with her.  Feel free to contact me!

Thanks for reading.  Now it’s your turn!  Do you have dental amalgams?   Can you relate to any of this?  Write your comments below and let’s bring some awareness to this issue by sharing this article with our friends and family!


Rick Gold

Certified FDN Practitioner.

Contact me:






The Sleep Series – Episode #2 – Circadian Rhythms, Blue Blockers, and a special performance!

In this video, I describe what circadian rhythms are and one reason that our circadian rhythms get out of whack.

I also give you a few great tips to counteract this phenomena and improve the quantity and quality of your sleep by naturally boosting your body’s melatonin production!

There is real research behind using blue-blocking sunglasses to boost your body’s natural production of melatonin. Click here to see just one of the many studies that show how people who wore blue blocking sunglasses experienced 46% more melatonin production than those who didn’t.

Enjoy the video and please use the comment section below to let me know your thoughts!  Thanks,



U.S. Gov’t: “Cholesterol isn’t bad for us anymore!” Science replies “DUH! What took you so long?!?”

You know, science is a funny thing in that accepted science is always right…until it isn’t anymore.  And when the science on anything is widely accepted, governments and people put a high level of faith into it and make major changes in their lives to align themselves with what science says.

When science is right, that’s a great thing that saves lives!  Take cigarette smoking for Smoking is coolexample.  Until the science caught up with how bad cigarettes are for us, the majority of Americans smoked!  We smoked right next to our kids.  In the car with the windows shut.  At indoor restaurants.  Who remembers smoking on airplanes?!?  It really wasn’t that long ago when all of this was accepted.  And then science caught up.  And well, we all know what happened with that.  In that instance, science saved many lives!


But what about when science is widely accepted for many years…decades, even…and then we discover that the science was wrong.  Dead wrong!  Well, depending on the topic of discussion, the results can be absolutely devastating.


Let’s take heart disease for example. You may have heard about a scientist named Ancel Keys.  Keys was the father of the “lipid hypothesis”.  Keys conducted a study in the 1950’s that found a major correlation between the amount of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat eaten and heart disease.  His findings were heralded by the US government and scientists everywhere and he became the poster boy for healthy eating.

Keys’ scientific findings would go on to be the foundation of U.S. dietary guidelines for the next 6 decades.  The guidelines stipulated that to protect heart health and prevent heart attacks, we should drastically limit our dietary intake of cholesterol containing foods like eggs as well as foods that contain saturated fat like red meat and coconut oil.  The advice was to replace those otherwise very healthy foods with grains.  In fact, people today STILL fear cholesterol and saturated fat, AND believe that grains are good for heart health because of that study.


Ancel Keys - Responsible for MILLIONS of American deaths since the 1950's.

Ancel Keys – Responsible for MILLIONS of American deaths since the 1950’s.

Only one problem though: Keys was wrong.  DEAD WRONG.  And worse: His study was FRAUDULENT!  Yes, you read that correctly.  The US government based over 6 decades of dietary guidelines on a falsified study!

Keys initially studied 22 countries.  The problem was, when he included all 22 countries studied on his graph, the data failed to show any statistically significant correlation between saturated fat, cholesterol intake and heart attacks.  So Keys did what any good, honest and dedicated researcher would do: throw out the data that doesn’t match your hypothesis!


Take a moment to watch this short clip from the movie Fathead.  It perfectly explains how we became so phobic of cholesterol and saturated fat (and it’ll give you a chuckle!):

Yes, that’s correct.  Here is a graphic showing Keys’ data and the data that he left out of his study:

Keys' study originally included 22 countries but only the data from 6 countries supported his hypothesis.

Keys’ study originally included 22 countries but only the data from 6 countries supported his hypothesis.

As you can see, the data is really all over the place.  He lied.  He was a criminal!  Yet this man was unbelievably put in charge of American dietary guidelines that would shape the way this country eats for over 6 decades!  And what was the result?

Did these new dietary guidelines reduce heart attacks for Americans?  Nope!  In fact, according to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans.  1 in 4 deaths are caused by it.  about 600,000 people die of heart disease every single year.  That’s more than cancer, and certainly way more than any vaccine preventable diseases which are all the rage now.

What’s more, the last several decades of research have pointed to inflammation, NOT cholesterol and saturated fat, as the number one culprit of heart disease.  In fact, a 2009 study by scientists at UCLA revealed that:



“75 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack had cholesterol levels that would indicate they were not at high risk for a cardiovascular event, according to current national cholesterol guidelines.”
“Specifically, these patients had low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels that met current guidelines, and close to half had LDL levels classified in guidelines as optimal (less than 100 mg/dL).”


Wait…what?!?!  I thought LDL cholesterol was the culprit!?!  At least that’s what every cardiologist says.  How could legions of brilliant doctors not know this stuff?  What could possibly be the reason that this information is being suppressed and under-reported by the media?  I’ll leave that part to your imagination.

Fast forward to today, and the influential Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the group that provides the scientific basis for the “Dietary Guidelines” has recently stated “OUR BAD!  dietary cholesterol intake really isn’t bad for you!  OOPS!  Sorry for the millions of deaths caused by our piss-poor advice for the last 6 decades.”

The science behind this has been widely available for at least a decade now.  They just turned the other way and pounded the table to protect their egos and to not have to admit responsibility for killing millions of Americans with piss-poor health advice!

And the irony of it all…they STILL don’t fully have it right!  They are still saying saturated fat is dangerous.  It isn’t.  The science is out there guys.  It’s just not being acknowledged. ‪‎cholesterol and saturated fat‬ don’t cause heart disease!  Sugar‬ and excess carbohydrates do! Oxidized vegetable oils like soybean, canola, and cottonseed oil do!

For the last 60 plus years, our government and the medical community has pounded the table that “the science is irrefutable…cholesterol causes heart disease”. And now after millions of Americans have died based on that faulty science, they are finally saying “our bad…we might have been wrong”.

Dietary cholesterol at worst will account for no more than 25% of a persons total body cholesterol.  The rest is made in the liver.  

Cholesterol isn’t a villain. It’s
one of the most important substances in your body.  So important that your body produces its own and tightly regulates the levels.

How important is cholesterol?
  • Cell Membranes: It forms the lining of every cell in your body. The cell membrane.  Without it your cells wouldn’t even be able to talk to each other.
  • Sex Hormones: Circulating LDL cholesterol (yes the “bad” cholesterol) is responsible for producing Pregnenolone in the body.  “What is pregnenolone” you ask?  Only the master sex hormone.  Your body uses pregnenolone to make DHEA, testosterone and estrogen. Without it we cannot make sex hormones.  Take a guess what that means for someone who is taking statins to lower their LDL cholesterol? 
  • Repairs Cellular Damage: Cholesterol has many vital roles. Another one is to repair the damage that injury or wear and tear does to our cells.  Break a leg, you’ll get swelling in the area.  Your liver will send cholesterol (via LDL particles) to the area of injury to repair the cell damage.  Without it you would not heal!  
  • Vitamin D Synthesis: Cholesterol is needed by the body to produce Vitamin D.  You know, that really important nutrient that prevents cancer and heart disease?  

  • Digestion: Cholesterol is necessary for digestion and is needed in order to produce bile.


So, with that in mind, What do you think comes first:

A) cholesterol clogging your arteries?


B) your arteries becoming inflamed and irritated?

The answer is b!  Your arteries become inflamed and less supple from generalized inflammation in your body.  This causes damage to the cells on the lining of the artery.  What is the body’s response?  Send cholesterol (carried by LDL particles) to the site of injury to repair the damaged cells! 


Are fires caused by firemen?  It sounds silly, but think about it.  Every time we see fires, we also see firemen.  That’s a correlation.  But is it correct to hypothesize that firemen cause fires from that correlation??  That is exactly what science did for the last 6 decades with cholesterol!


Think of the damage in your arteries as a 4-alarm fire and cholesterol as the firemen.  Cholesterol is there to put out the fire.  But the fire keeps raging.  So more and more firefighters with more and more fire trucks keep showing up to fight the good fight and save your life.   

The problem is that when you continue to live a lifestyle that is generally inflammatory to your body, the cholesterol cannot keep up with the chronic damage and the inflammation and never really leaves the artery.  So Cholesterol’s job is never done.  That is how and why cholesterol stays and eventually calcifies in your arteries.

Does that make sense?

So what does this all mean?

1) Cholesterol in and of itself is not the cause of heart disease!  It has been wrongly vilified.

2) Chronic inflammation in your arteries and chronic systemic bodily inflammation is a better predictor of cardiac risk.  Why?  Because take away the inflammation, and you take away the chronic damage to the lining of your arteries, hence you take away the need for cholesterol to stick around to repair damage.  It will just flow through your arteries and be carried back to your liver by HDL particles as it was brilliantly designed to do! 

3) Cholesterol is a poor indicator for your actual risk of cardiac event.

4) Inflammatory markers such as CRP and Homocysteine should be considered when evaluating your risk for heart disease or a cardiac event.  There is also evidence that an enzyme called “Lp-PLA2” is an excellent marker of inflammation inside the arteries (especially for women).  If your doctor recommends you take statin drugs based solely on your cholesterol levels and does not test for these inflammatory markers, you need to fire your doctor and find one who does!

By the way, speaking of statins, if you take them or if you know anyone who takes them, you need to read this study that was just released (not surprisingly without much fan-fare from the media despite it’s literally earth-shattering findings) in February of 2015.

The study found that statin drugs:

  • May be causative in coronary artery calcification (clogging your arteries!).
  • Can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of coenzyme Q10 and ‘heme A’.
  • Inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2 which protects arteries from calcification.
  • Inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase, our bosies master antioxidant.  An impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis may be a factor in congestive heart failure, reminiscent of the dilated cardiomyopathies seen with selenium deficiency. Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs.

The study concludes that “current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated.”

The next logical question would be “OK, so inflammation is the underlying cause of heart disease…but what causes inflammation?” 

The answer: every part of living a western lifestyle! Too much of any of the following will cause chronic inflammation in your body:

  • Lack of sleep.
  • Processed foods.
  • Sugar.
  • Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Vegetable oils (soy, canola, cottonseed, etc). They are very unstable and oxidize quickly. Easily one of the greatest sources of inflammation in the western diet hands down.
  • Prescription and OTC medication.
  • Chronic bacterial and viral infections.
  • Bacterial imbalances in your gut (this one is HUGE).
  • Malnutrition, maldigestion, malabsorption of nutrients.
  • Environmental pollutants (air, water, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemicals in household cleaning products, cosmetics, sunscreen, etc)
  • Emotional stress and a lack of coping mechanisms (this one is also HUGE).
  • Alcohol consumption and recreational drug use.  Actually, combining alcohol and Tylenol or any NSAID is a particularly deadly combo.  How many of us do that?  You get hammered and then take a Tylenol before bed to stave off a bad headache in the morning.

Literally every aspect of living a western lifestyle causes inflammation in our bodies.  Lowering your inflammation levels will keep you healthy.  That’s what I focus on with all of my clients. Changing their lifestyle from pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory.

Inflammation is the precursor not just to heart disease but cancer and autoimmune disease as well.  There are genetic components, but like I tell my clients:

Genetics loads the gun, but environment is what pulls the trigger.

You may have a predisposition towards heart disease, cancer, or autoimmunity, but it only expresses itself when your lifestyle leads to the inflammation that causes that gene to express itself.  Think of your genes as a chain that has one or several weak links. The chain is not broken yet, just weak. If you apply pressure to that link it will break and render the chain useless.  But if you don’t apply pressure, the link will remain intact.  In your body, inflammation is what puts pressure on gene expression.   

And there you have it: epigenetics summed up in a few sentences.

Think of how many people you know that have died from heart failure.  All of this could have been prevented if not for the faulty science of the lipid hypothesis, and the government’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the changing science for the last few decades.  If this makes you angry, GOOD!  It should make you angry!

Please spread the word by sharing this article on your social media feeds and email it to your loved ones.  It’s not too late for many of us!

And, as always, I encourage you to comment below!

Thanks for reading!

PS – Click here to read an incredible article on cholesterol, its many important roles, and a breakdown of the various lipoproteins.

Rick Gold is the President & Founder of Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.  He works with clients locally in South Florida as well as worldwide.  Rick holds a certification in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and is well-versed in the concepts of functional medicine.  He specializes in identifying  and healing the underlying causes of malfunctions in the gut (i.e. leaky gut, SIBO, dysbiosis, acid reflux, IBS, and autoimmune conditions).

Rick used functional lab testing and intensive lifestyle changes to eliminate his health complaints and vastly improve his overall health.  After that, he knew that he had found his calling.  Rick acquired his FDN certification and now helps clients heal themselves in the same fashion with fantastic results.

To schedule a phone consultation with Rick click here: Schedule Now 

See what others are saying about my Amazon Kindle e-book “Guide to Gut Bacteria & Probiotics”: Click here!

Read a FREE preview of my guide to Gut Healing Protocols!: Click here to read the first 9 pages of this guide for FREE before purchasing!


Announcements: my new e-book & online store launched

Hi all –

I’m very excited to announce that I have finished writing and published my first book on!  The book is titled “A Definitive Guide to Gut Bacteria & Probiotics”.  As the title suggests, the book is meant for health practitioners or for anyone who might be interested in understanding what gut bacteria is, why it’s so important to our health, the various methods used for positively influencing gut bacteria, reliable and effective brands of probiotics, and proper dosing for maximum therapeutic outcomes.

A few reviews have trickled in for the book and, so far, and they are all positive.

I’ve also launched an online store which makes it easier than ever for new and existing clients to purchase lab packages and other products (like my new book) via secure credit card transaction with the click of a button directly from my website.

Below is an excerpt from the book.  If you’d like to read more, you can buy a copy of the book by clicking on it below (it’s only $2.99…less than the price of a Starbucks coffee)
Order Online
  A Definitive guide to gut bacteriaWe’ve all heard about probiotics or “beneficial gut bacteria”.  We all know that they are good for us.  But what are they?  What are the different types of probiotics and what functions do they perform in our bodies?  What happens when we have imbalances in our gut bacteria?  How do we fix it?  Is it as simple as eating yogurt? As it turns out, science is just now starting to catch up with the massive importance that probiotics have in determining our health, our weight, our moods, and just about every bodily function one can think of! In this guide, we will explore the following:

What are probiotics?

The benefits of supplementing with probiotics.

Who should supplement with probiotics?

The causes of gut dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria).

Symptoms of dysbiosis.

Information about the various strains of commonly used probiotics.

Scientific studies on probiotics.

Tips for balancing/optimizing your gut bacteria.

Suggestions on quality brands of probiotic supplements.

That’s all for today, folks!



Rick Gold, Functional Wellness, FDN Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.


Book a consult:


Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFDN


New study: “U.S. Healthcare Ranked Dead Last Compared To 10 Other Countries”

US HealthcareHi folks –

An article in Forbes magazine caught my attention recently.  It was titled: 

“U.S. Healthcare Ranked Dead Last Compared To 10 Other Countries”

The US spends more than any other country on healthcare, yet we consistently rank poorly in actual disease incidence and health outcomes compared to other developed nations.

Isn’t it time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture?  The way that conventional medicine and our current healthcare system approaches chronic illness simply does not work.  It never did. No amount of pharmaceutical pills, surgery, chemo, or radiation is going to fix a disease or condition that was caused by lifestyle.

It has been shown over and over scientifically that cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and autoimmune conditions are, often, preventable via lifestyle alteration.  Incidence of Diabetes, in particular, is growing at an astronomical rate.  If nothing is done to turn that ship around, diabetes alone is capable of completely bankrupting our healthcare system.

The only way to approach building this nation’s health back is to acknowledge the causes, and work on eliminating them:

1)    Our food supply: We eat highly processed, nutritionally dead, genetically modified, pesticide-ridden, antibiotic-contaminated, calorie-dense, hydrogenated oil-rich foods.

2)    Our stress levels: As a nation and individually, we are under intense and chronic amounts of emotional stress AND internal stress (see #1 and add heavy metals, bpa, phthalates, and the 80,000 other chemicals that have been introduced into circulation over the last 100 years and that are ubiquitous in every product in our homes).

3)    Our quantity and quality of sleep: We don’t sleep enough.  In fact, our society actually highly regards and rewards hard work at the cost of losing sleep.

4)    Our sedentary lifestyle: We don’t move enough.  Most of us work sedentary jobs and lead sedentary lifestyles

5)    Our lack of coping mechanisms for intense chronic stress: We do not put an onus on implementing daily meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or other techniques that help our bodies recover from the vast amounts of stress they are under.

As long as these 5 conditions persist, we will remain sickly, and no amount of money spent on pharmaceutical drugs will reverse that.

But here’s the cool thing: turning this ship around all starts with you (and me)!  The type of change that we need is a ‘grassroots’ sort of thing.   One person waking up at a time.  Enlightenment.  Sharing of knowledge and information so that people can start making smarter and more informed choices in every facet of their daily lives.  Every day we make literally hundreds of choices (some conscious and others we make automatically without thinking about it, like brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste), and each one of those choices either brings us closer to being healthy or closer to getting sick.  There is really no in-between.

In a capitalist society, there is only one type of vote that counts, and that is how you spend your money.

EVERY time you buy processed junk foods, high-sugar snacks, GMOs, chemical-laden cosmetics, tanning lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and household cleaning products, you are directly or indirectly voting with your dollars and telling the companies who make these products to keep poisoning you with them!

What do you think would happen to Dunkin’ Donuts if every American decided right now that they are not going to buy another chemical and sugar filled doughnut ever again?  Do you think they would keep selling those donuts?  Or do you think they would try to change their business model to sell products that the people want?  The same goes for all fast food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Burger king, and grocery stores that fill their shelves with processed junk food.  Do you think they would keep selling those products if the public stopped buying them?

So here is how you can help start this health revolution:

1)    Get informed!  Subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.  Subscribe to others like mine.

2)    Share posts like these with your friends and family.    People share jokes, funny videos, memes, and statuses about game of thrones at the drop of a hat, but for some reason, when it comes to stuff like this, there isn’t enough traction.  And that’s a shame, because social media is a VERY powerful tool for stuff like this!

3)    Vote with your dollars! STOP buying processed junk food.  Buy perishable foods.  Buy organic.  Buy grass-fed meats.  Buy wild-caught fish.  Stay away from GMOs.  Buy only organic cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, toothpaste, household cleaning products.  etc.

Remember, on an individual basis our actions might not move the needle.  But collectively, the power of the masses can literally move mountains!  Just look at the stuff that The Food Babe has been able to do!

That’s all for today, guys.  Stay tuned, because I am in the midst of compiling an intensive, comprehensive guide to everything probiotics and gut bacteria related!  I’ll let you know when that’s complete.




Rick Gold, Functional Wellness, FDN Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.


Book a consult:


Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP




Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

New study shows that 1 out of every 3 hospitalized patients are diabetic.


Diabetes finger stick

A new study found that 1 out of every 3 people over the age of 34 who are hospitalized in California have diabetes (and only a small percentage were hospitalized due to their diabetes…it was largely for other health issues).  Let that statistic sink in for a moment.

The study cites not only that diabetes is a growing health epidemic, but it also cites how our healthcare system is being completely overwhelmed by the costs associated with treating patients with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a “disease” that is completely preventable via lifestyle changes.  Yet 1/3 of Californians (and I suspect 1/3 of the rest of America is similar) have this debilitating illness that drastically shortens life span and is heavily correlated with heart disease and cancer.

People are dieting and exercising now more than they ever have been.  How many people do you know that are either on a diet or have and use gym memberships?

So, what gives?   Why then, is everyone getting fatter and sicker?

Well, it could be that American yearly sugar consumption has skyrocketed from 2 lbs. per year to over 160 lbs. per year per person over the last 100 years.   Think about that the health impact of that.

This study analyzed the incidence of type II diabetes and rates of sugar consumption in 165 countries and found “A strong positive correlation coefficient (0.599; p < 0.001) was observed between prevalence of diabetes mellitus and per capita sugar consumption using data from all 165 countries.”

So, in summary:  a completely preventable lifestyle-based condition has become an epidemic that is making our country sicker than ever and is single-handedly going to take down our healthcare system over the next 20-30 years.

It’s funny, I see so much panic and concern from people (mostly parents of young children) about the 130-200 yearly cases of the measles we see in this country.  They are concerned because “measles is a preventable disease”.  Yet, those same parents allow their children to gorge on sugar and set the stage for adolescent obesity and type 2 diabetes…a disease that is TRULY an epidemic, with 1/3 of our country affected by it, and which is a much more serious illness than the measles.

What we need to do in order to beat diabetes is to make a collective paradigm shift in the way that we view food.  That sounds daunting, but here are a few tips that we can all start implementing TODAY that will go a long way in preventing and reversing diabetes for us and for our children:

  • If you already have diabetes, you should seriously consider going on a strict ketogenic diet.  There are many studies such as this one or this one that show great promise in reversing diabetes by eating this way.


  • Go through your refrigerator and your pantry.  Identify all foods & beverages that are processed or that have added sugar in them.   This stuff has absolutely no place in a healthy diet that prevents diabetes!  Throw them in the garbage.

Junk Food






  • When food shopping buy only perishable food items that have very few ingredients and no preservatives, no chemicals, and NO ADDED SUGAR.  Basically that means buy fresh, organic meats, fish, poultry, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.  When buying meat, opt for grass fed.  When buying seafood opt for wild caught.  The paleo diet is a great place to start:

Paleo explained in a graphic







  • Call a family meeting and implement a new rule: your house will now be known as a JUNK-FOOD-FREE ZONE.  No exceptions.   Junk food does not enter through your front door.

No Junk Food alllowed










  • Send your children to school with homemade and packed lunches.  Don’t let them eat the crap that is given to them in school lunches.   It is deplorable!  Does the picture below look like anything that would prevent diabetes?

School lunch







  • Learn about and limit consumption of the immense hidden sources of sugar in our diets.  A food does not have to be sweet to cause diabetes.  Bread, pasta, pizza, rice, cereals, croissants, bagels, muffins are all loaded with carbs and, when eaten, they enter the bloodstream as pure sugar…no different than a snickers bar!  A pretty good resource that helps you understand how much sugar is hiding in every food you eat: SugarStacks.  Does your kid have a favorite yummy breakfast cereal that he or she eats on a daily basis?  Read this article from the EWG (Environmental Working Group) blog.  The amount of sugar in these cereals will BLOW YOUR MIND!  These are the same cereals that slap American Heart Association “heart healthy” labels on their boxes!


  • When throwing birthday parties for your children, be a leader.  Be a beacon for other parents and children to take example from:  don’t serve candy and cake to the children.  Get creative and serve a healthier all fruit cake like like in the picture below, or serve stevia or erythritol-sweetened, grain-free candy and cakes.  At least those won’t wildly spike blood sugar.  And they can be just as tasty!  My wife actually makes delicious grain-free no sugar added muffins.

healthy birthday cake









  • Talk to your kids.  Educate them about food and our relationship to food.  I always teach my son about what foods are good for his health or bad for his health.  That doesn’t mean he always listens and only eats good foods.  He is 5 years old.  He eats plenty of crap.  But he eats that outside of the house.  In the house he knows it’s healthy eating only.   My son knows the difference between organic and conventional foods, why that’s important, and that sugar is very bad for his health.  I work hard every day to pound this knowledge into his head.  Hopefully, it’s a lesson that will stay with him as he enters his teenage years and adulthood.  Because, at the end of the day, I recognize that it’s my job to give him the necessary tools to not only get a good education and a career, but also to live a long, happy and healthy life.  And the habits that he is going to have at 30 years old are influenced by what he learns now at this tender, mold-able age.   It’s my job as his parent to give him the tools and the knowledge to grow up healthy and disease free.

talking to kid

Thus far in this article we have discussed type 2 diabetes, but there is also  evidence that type 1 diabetes is highly correlated to gut dysfunction (specifically leaky gut, imbalance in gut bacteria, and altered intestinal immune function).  Logically speaking, if someone with type 1 diabetes were to do some functional testing to uncover any of these malfunctions in their gut, and subsequently find them and fix them, there is a strong possibility that they can positively affect their type 1 diabetes condition.   At the very least, if they work to heal their gut and their type 1 diabetes remains unchanged, they will have vastly improved their overall health which is a win.  Click here to read an in-depth review on that.

Please share this article with your friends and family.  Spread knowledge!

Do you have any experience with diabetes?  Perhaps you have it or someone you love?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.



Rick Gold, Functional Wellness, FDN Practitioner
Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.


Book a consult:


Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP


Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.