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Episode 15: Dr. Bill Rawls

Lyme and building wellness from the inside out

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Show Notes:

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Bill Rawls practiced conventional medicine for fifteen years until, at age 45, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia disrupted his career, changed his life and opened a new world of freeing the body from chronic disease. His intensive journey into alternative non-invasive and drug-free medicine and the discoveries he made inspired him to help others through his practice, in appearances and by authoring best-selling books. Now acknowledged as a global leader in the fight against Lyme, Dr. Rawls has uncovered parallels in other areas of illness and in creating and maintaining overall wellness through a health-focused lifestyle.

In his interview with Bioenergetics Beat Host Heather Gray, Dr. Rawls provides an engaging and useful insight into how the body works and why care at the cellular level is key to achieving and maintaining good health and resisting chronic disease. Dr. Rawls begins with the observation that just as each of us is an individual, so is each of the more than 30 trillion cells that comprise our bodies. Like their human host, this vast community of cells is constantly under attack from choices we make around diet and lifestyle as well as factors we have limited control over, including the environment we live in. We carry within us both the potential for illness and the ability to fight off harmful viruses, bacteria and toxins. Highlighted by the importance of a coherent and properly communicating cell structure, Dr. Rawls presents an empowering path to good health based on a diet of fruits, vegetables and herbs along with exercise to maintain proper blood flow and realizing that stress is among the greatest concerns in maintaining a state of strong and stable wellness.


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After graduating from medical school, Dr. Bill Rawls practiced conventional medicine for fifteen years until, at age 45, Lyme disease and fibromyalgia disrupted his career, changed his life and opened a new world of freeing the body from chronic disease. His intensive journey into alternative non-invasive and drug-free medicine and the discoveries he made inspired him to help others through his practice, in appearances and by authoring best-selling books. Now acknowledged as a global leader in the fight against Lyme, Dr. Rawls has uncovered parallels in other areas of illness and in creating and maintaining overall wellness through a health-focused lifestyle.

In his interview with Bioenergetics Beat Host Heather Gray, Dr. Rawls provides an engaging and useful insight into how the body works and why care at the cellular level is key to achieving and maintaining good health and resisting chronic disease. Dr. Rawls begins with the observation that just as each of us is an individual, so is each of the more than 30 trillion cells that comprise our bodies. Like their human host, this vast community of cells is constantly under attack from choices we make around diet and lifestyle as well as factors we have limited control over, including the environment we live in. We carry within us both the potential for illness and the ability to fight off harmful viruses, bacteria and toxins. Highlighted by the importance of a coherent and properly communicating cell structure, Dr. Rawls presents an empowering path to good health based on a diet of fruits, vegetables and herbs along with exercise to maintain proper blood flow and realizing that stress is among the greatest concerns in maintaining a state of strong and stable wellness.

Heather Gray: And thank you for joining us today for another awesome episode of bioenergetic beats. I’m Heather Gray, a functional practitioner and certified bioenergetic practitioner. And this episode is brought to you today by NIKKI, unleash the wellness within. It’s a non-invasive, easily affordable and highly effective approach to optimize wellness. It’s a wearable device that puts frequency-based better life in your hands and on your wrist. Make sure to stick to the very end today, because we’ve got two amazing giveaways that you’re not going to want to miss out. And you’re just going to want to hear everything that this amazing man has to say. If you, if you don’t know who he is, you must be underneath the rock by now, but let me, let me be, you know, the first person to introduce you to him, but Dr. Rawls, I’ve been following for years. He’s written some amazing books, done some incredible work in the Lyme space, the healing space, and anytime you get a chance to listen to him, please do. So let’s give a warm welcome to Dr. Rawls.

Dr. Bill Rawls: My pleasure. Thank you.

Heather Gray: Awesome. It’s always so much fun. And I’ve, like I said, when I had you on my podcast, I’ve always, I’m a little bit of a fan girl. So it’s always a ton when you get to speak to, you know, a mentor, a hero of yours. Like I said, you’re just doing incredible things. You know, what’s funny too, is your book, The Cellular Wellness Solution. I have probably been to five lectures in the last six months and guess what the topic of conversation is on all of them.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, probably getting it down to the cellular level.

Heather Gray: mitochondrial health and cellular wellness. And I had to laugh, cause I was like, I remember when he started talking about this, like way before, you know, this book came out way before a lot of these other folks are getting on the bandwagon. So you are definitely a pioneer, my friend.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Well, thank you. Well, you know, it comes from just personal experience of having to figure things out. And in the beginning, just to save my own skin and later, to help people really find a better way that, you know, we’re we’re missing so much in our medical systems these days. And what it boils down to is, you know, wellness, health doesn’t come from a doctor’s office, it comes from inside of you. And, you know, when you tap into that, that’s really important.

Heather Gray: Absolutely, so what can you would you mind going back into a little bit of your story for those of us for those out there who don’t know who you are and speak a little on your journey and why why lime why herbs and how all that came about.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Sure, yeah. Well, I’m a conventionally trained physician, and I chose a specialty of obstetrics and gynecology for several reasons. You know, women tend to be much more attentive to their health than others, and the specialty had to do with wellness and bringing life into the world, and it was really wonderful. But back 30 years ago, it came with this thing of being on call in the hospital every second to third day if you practiced in a small town, which I chose to do. And also, back in the 80s and 90s, there was this question of, do we really need to sleep seven or eight hours? Can’t we get by with four hours? And I kind of bought into that, because most nights on call, I didn’t get any sleep, or I got very little. Some nights, maybe four hours, and a lot of nights, I was up all night. And then when I was off, you know, it was like my time was, when you look at having kids in community, my time was from like 10 to 12. And so, I really was living on hardly any sleep for almost 20 years, and I crashed at the end of my 40s. And first identified with fibromyalgia, not getting any help from the conventional medical community. From a roundabout way, found that I had some of the microbes associated with Lyme disease, and I thought, you know, hey, this is it. Now I have something I can actually treat. I can take antibiotics, and I can get well.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Antibiotics made me sicker. It wrecked my gut very quickly. And my intuition just kept saying, that’s not the direction you need to go. Because I’d been there and I’d seen what medications did to people. And they block symptoms. They have a lot of value. There’s a purpose in place for every medication. But for chronic illness, they don’t make people well. And I knew that. And antibiotics have a lot of limitations too of what they can do. And I recognize that. And just being totally desperate, I turned to herbal therapy because it was available. I could do it. I thought the risk was pretty low. And it was, you know, and just something was pushing me there. And I started taking herbs. I followed a protocol for Lyme disease. I was taking like handfuls of capsules every day. And I started getting well. And it wasn’t like, you know, six weeks later I was done. It was over a five-year period, but I was hugely symptomatic. I mean, I had heart issues and brain issues and everything. All my symptoms just gradually melted away. And that brought up the question, what’s going on here? And it led me to a deeper search of, you know, what are we missing in conventional medicine? And how do we get to these root causes of illness? What are they? What’s driving illness? Not just the microbes. You know, I realized at that point, you know, it was all these other factors, bad diet, stress, not sleeping, all of these things had driven me into the ground and allowed the microbes to flourish. They had been there since I was a child.

Dr. Bill Rawls: That was the root of the whole thing. And I’ve come to appreciate that’s really the root of all chronic illness. So started looking at, well, how are the herbs working? What are they doing? And that led me on a 20-year journey that’s still going on as far as exploring not just the history of herbs, but also the deep science of how this complex chemistry of these plants is accentuating healing in the body. And it’s pretty remarkable. It’s been a fun ride. Retrospectively, I don’t think I’d trade it for anything.

Heather Gray: I have heard you tell the story. I can’t even count how many times now. And every single time I get a big green on my face and just the warmth in my heart, because I just love how real you are. You don’t sugarcoat things, you know, and you’re very, you know, transparent. You said it was a five year journey folks, you know, so hear that. Like it’s not an overnight fix and it’s usually multilayered. And then he also brought in the lifestyle stuff. So many folks in this, in this industry, especially.

Heather Gray: I can talk the same talk as you. And then afterwards they ask me, well, what did you do to treat? Well, what did you do to treat? And I’m like, you’re missing the point. It’s a multi-pronged approach, lifestyle, mindset, stress, food, the whole nine yards. You can’t just take a couple of antibiotics or a couple of herbs even, and then go out and eat McDonald’s, right? Inflame your gut, inflame your brain, and expect yourself to get over this very complex, complicated disease. So kudos to always ever bringing that. It’s a tough piece in, because it’s a piece that a lot of people, especially practitioners don’t like to bring in, because that’s not typically what you’ve been trained in, right? Like diet, yeah. How much training in nutrition do medical doctors get?

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, virtually none. Right. Yeah, it’s I didn’t. My son went through medical school about five years ago. He didn’t get any. So it’s not new. I think we’re getting there slowly, though. I was I was heartened by a news feed that I saw the other day that physicians are starting to write prescriptions for vegetables and fruit. And that was interesting. It’s a new program out there that if the physician writes a prescription, then, you know, it’s set up in only certain areas, I’m sure. But the insurance companies will cover like fifty dollars a week of fruit and vegetables if they get this prescription. And it’s like, wow, that’s great.

Heather Gray: I know in the state of Colorado, their food stamps benefits, you actually get an extra $25 if you go to the farmer’s market, and you can use it for fruits and vegetables so there’s an incentive to buy local fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, yeah, it’s just getting them in people. It just seems to be a struggle to get vegetables in people. But, you know, you can make vegetables taste good. I do it every day. You know, my motto is eat more vegetables than anything else. Every single day I do that. And, you know, they’re just really wonderful ways to get them in your diet.

Heather Gray: Absolutely, absolutely. So this seems like a really awesome place to take a quick pause. We’re gonna take a quick break, a commercial break. Stay tuned, we’ll be right back.

Heather Gray: Welcome back, everybody. Hopefully you didn’t miss the first half. If you did, make sure you go back and listen to it. Dr. Rawls, you know, dropped some awesome truth on us and tell us a little bit about his story on why, you know, he’s got the skin in the game, right? He’s not just some researched person talking from his head and what he thinks, like this is stuff that he lived and that he sees every day, day in and day out. The diet part can always be so tricky to talk about because man, it is polarized. You know, you’ve got the carnivore folks that are saying plants are trying to kill you with their defense mechanisms, right? Lectins and, oh my gosh, histamines and other things. And then we’ve got folks like you that are like, eat more plants than anything else. And it’s just, it can be such a confusing topic to talk about.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, yeah, you just got to look at the evidence. And the fact of the matter is we have to do what our genes dictate for us to do, right? So polar bears can’t live in Hawaii. Cactuses can’t live in the Amazon because their genes dictate the conditions that are best for that organism. And that comes from whatever that organism has been exposed to for its history. So our history as humans goes back hundreds of thousands of years, and humanoid history goes back millions of years. Well, for hundreds of thousands of years, humans ate a forage food diet. And a lot of people think, oh, well, this is sitting around a campfire roasting rump of mastodon over an open spit. It wasn’t. We ate large animals, but that was unusual. So if you look at the history, the evidence, what the evidence suggests is that humans ate about 2 thirds plant matter and about 1 third animal matter, but it was whole animals, lean meat, and it was typically small animals, not large animals in most cases.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Um, the vegetable matter was lean. It didn’t have much carbohydrate, right? So plants don’t produce calories for our purposes. Um, you know, the plants are taking care of themselves. We have to eat plants to survive. And so when you look at wild plants, wild plants don’t have a lot of calories and humans ate anything that might have some calories in it. So they eat a, uh, limb, uh, leaves and stems and roots and berries and anything they could get with some calories in it. So they had to eat a lot of plant matter just to survive, but that plant matter just didn’t, you know, it, it had tons of phytochemicals, of protective chemicals, like we’re getting in herbs and it had all the wonderful fiber. And so we’re built for that. We’re built for a low-calorie, high-fiber, high-phytochemical, high-nutrient diet that didn’t have much in the way of, of calories. Um, they did what they didn’t eat was beans and, and, uh, and, and grains, grains and beans have chemicals called lectins in them that if you eat them raw, they really will rip your gut apart. And they didn’t have any way to process those things. Plus there was plenty of food. There weren’t very many humans on earth. So that’s what humans are eight for hundreds of thousands of years. And that’s what we’re built for. Um, so we started running out of food about 10,000 years ago, human populations grew to the point and this started really in the fertile crescent. They were running out of food. They were overstripping what nature could provide. So they started farming and that ended up being a transition that were self-perpetuating. Because once we figured out how to use grains, we could use grains to feed more people. And, you know, that was the beginning of human population explosions and there was just no turning back, but it’s not necessarily a natural food or the best food. And we’ve adapted to a lot, but it’s still not quite there. And then most of our meat is grain-fed or fattened up in some way. It’s just, it’s not a natural diet. Um, and there was a lot of evidence of that. There’s plenty of evidence showing high meat diets are a great way to get colon cancer and cardiovascular disease. Um, and I eat meat, but I eat meat more as a seasoning within my foods than, you know, like a big slab of steak. Um, but even beyond that, um, if you’re familiar with the blue zones work, this was a national geographic project of about 10 years.

Heather Gray: Did you see that there’s a documentary out right now? It’s a series called The Blue Zone. I can’t, I won’t see it.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, you know, this is all observational, looking at groups of people who have long life and low disease, and they’re pretty much eating exactly the diet that our genetics would tell us we need to eat, and what I recommend in my books and have been for 20 years. So, you know, all of these things, and the healthiest people in the world don’t eat lots and lots of meat, and they eat some grain, but they don’t eat tons of grain, and they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and, you know, that’s where we ought to be.

Heather Gray: Oh, beautiful. Love it. Let’s dive a little deeper into your book, The Cellular Wellness Solution. There were so many amazing gems in this. Like I fell in love with your first book, Unlocking Lyme. And I was like, how could he possibly top himself? And then like within the first couple of chapters of this, I was like, oh my God, he did it. He topped himself. Like, and you have such a beautiful way of explaining things on a more simplistic level to where that you don’t need a PhD to understand. And I think that’s another reason why I love the work that you put out so much is because you’re speaking to a broader audience where more everyday people can understand you.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Well, it takes some work to get there. It’s pretty easy to talk off the top of your head, but to put it in writing was a challenge. I mean, it took me two years just to thin that content down to.

Heather Gray: You thinned it out? That’s a pretty meaty book.

Dr. Bill Rawls: People have to accept that really is four books, all right? One book is that concept of cellular wellness. The second book is the science of herbal medicine. The third book is what you need to do for diet, environment, lifestyle to really stay healthy. And then the fourth book is taking those concepts and applying them to specific situations like brain health, cardiovascular health, gut health. So, you know, it’s divided up. And I know people pick it up, and I’m sure I probably would have been – it would have been easier to sell it if I had sold four books instead of three or two, one total book. But, yeah, it’s got a lot of content in it.

Heather Gray: A lot of great content, though. Like I said, it’s just so, I’ve got so many, the camera can’t pick it up, but I’ve got so many dog ears throughout this whole book of just gems and then highlighted and not just exclamation points. And because like I said, we speak the same language and that’s why I’ve fallen in love with your work. Years ago, the way that I did is because I didn’t hear too many doctors speaking like you do. You know, there’s a lot more in the functional practitioner world that talks more about lifestyle and environment and toxins. But to hear a medical doctor speak that language, I was like, oh.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Writing has always been my therapy. You know, when I was trying to figure things out, if I could write

Dr. Bill Rawls: in a such a way that people could understand it, then that helped me understand and move forward. So, you know, I started writing in the early part of my journey and started writing. I used to have these things called health briefs that I would pass along to my patients. And that thing you just said of, you know, people carrying around these dog-eared books, you know, my first book I published in 2009. And it was, you know, I really didn’t do anything to market it, promote it. It was just for my patients. And that was it. That was my first book, 2009. I just happened to have a copy sitting back because I was looking for a phrase that I remembered writing some time ago. But I would run into people in grocery stores. They were lugging this book around with dog ears. And I knew that, you know, I was having an impact and it was worthwhile. So I’ve kept writing and still writing. It’s just a good way to connect with people.

Heather Gray: That’s awesome. Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, what is what is cellular wellness? And why should we care? And let’s let’s dive deeper into this this beautiful book.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, well, in that first book, 2009, I was trying to ask that question, what causes illness? And I came up with this idea that you look at our genetics and how we’re programmed. And so we have so many different diagnoses of chronic illnesses, but you start tracing any of those back and ask, what are those common links? You trace it back to the same origins. And so I got it down to five categories of things, that it’s diet, it’s what you put in your body. It is your environment, toxic substances that you’re exposed to, and abnormal radiation, and electromagnetic energies. It’s whether you’re getting sleep and how stressed you are. It’s whether you’re getting exercise or not. And then at that time, this very nebulous microbe factor back in 2009. And now I’ve continued that research. But along the way, it took it from that macro level of how it’s affecting the body all the way down to the cellular level. And the value of that is that our body is made of cells. And every one of our cells is an independently functioning unit. And so it’s self-sustaining. And so our cells are remarkable because they can repair themselves. They can regenerate. So basically, if your cells are healthy, you’re healthy. If you have symptoms, it’s because cells in your body are stressed or injured. And typically, the symptom is going to point to that. So taking those causes of disease, you can look at it from a cellular point of view of saying, OK, let’s take one cell in the body. What does that cell need to be healthy? And every cell in the body needs the right nutrients. And that’s different for different cells. Our heart runs mainly on fat. Our brain likes glucose. Our thyroid cells need iodine to produce thyroid hormones. So different cells need different things. But that nutrient, the nutrients come from that whole food base, that we should all be eating. So our cells need the right nutrients. Our cells need a clean, toxin-free environment. So when all the toxic substances we’re exposed to inhibit cellular functions.

Dr. Bill Rawls: And that is how toxic substances, whether you’re talking about natural toxins like mold or all the petrochemicals in the environment, all of these things disrupt cellular functions. Cells need downtime to recover. They need a full eight hours of sleep. Now, some cells in the body, like our heart, they rest in between beats, but most of our cells need to regenerate and sleep is when that regeneration happens. It’s just getting over the stress of working all day. So they need downtime. Cells need good blood flow. So if you look at the one thing that exercise is so important for being physically active is it moves blood. And blood, moving blood, dilating blood vessels, when we do that in exercise, we flush the cellular space and not only increase delivery of nutrients and oxygen, but we also carry away toxic substances. The first step in detoxification is dilution, is washing all of that stuff away. So that exercise is really important. And then that fifth factor, protection from microbes. And I’ve carried that a long way now. And it turns out we’re exposed to microbes all through our lifetimes, thousands and thousands of things. And a lot of stuff makes it through our immune system. And what’s new over the past several years is I’ve learned that microbes, viruses, bacteria, protozoa from ticks, from, you know, putting stuff in our mouths when we’re kids and picking up Epstein-Barr and all of these things, these things can stay dormant inside our cells throughout our body. That state of dormancy, they can stay dormant. Our cells keep right on working like they’re not there. But then you stress yourselves with a bad diet, not sleeping, all of these things, they reactivate. And that’s what happened to me. I’d been carrying these microbes in my tissues, but it’s not one microbe at that point, it’s things erupting all over your body.

Dr. Bill Rawls: So that’s what chronic illness is. And we have different chronic illnesses because we have different cells in the body and different microbes infect different cells. And so it manifests in different ways, but the core, the root is just that right there. So if you can solve that problem of cellular stress, you not only beat chronic illness, but you set yourself up for perpetual wellness.

Heather Gray: And I get an amen.

Heather Gray: mic drop, like that was just so eloquently put. And it’s funny, we’ve seen a huge resurgence of reactivated viruses since 2020, right? COVID really wreaked havoc and reactivated a lot of people’s Epstein-Barr, Lyme, you know, you name it. And it kind of got all lumped in with COVID, but as we’re starting to find out later that it was actually reactivated viruses. And I think it was from you in the Unlocking Lyme book that you talked about the Italian Alps mummy, right? That found Lyme disease in his body, but was that like 5,000 years ago? So we’ve been evolving with this bacteria for thousands of years. And that’s why, like I said, it drives me bonkers when people are just focused on killing the microbe, you know, killing the bacteria. And it really, if you’ve, and there’s so many people too, that it’s sad. They live with flares on a regular basis. They just think that’s a normal part of Lyme. But once you get your immune system and you’re down to the cellular wellness dialed in, I haven’t had a flare in three years. And I had COVID and I had the flu. And all I get is COVID or the flu. I don’t get COVID and a Lyme flare. I don’t get the flu and auto-immune flare, right? Because my immune system is doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah. Well, you know, your immune system, but also cellular health. All right. And I’d like to talk about that pretty frequently. Everybody puts a lot of weight on the immune system. It’s really important, but that’s part of your defense systems. You actually have four levels of defense. So your first level of defense is barriers like skin and the lining of your lungs. The lining of the gut keeps food and bacteria inside your gut. But microbes are constantly trickling across. So your immune system is kind of your backup plan to get those things when they come across. So it’s most vitally important for a new arrival of a brand new microbe, a new infection. But your third level of defense is your cells. Your cells can expel or destroy microbes or at least keep them dormant. And it’s when cells are weakened and stressed that new, you know, invasions with new microbes become more of a problem. Or then you have reactivation of these dormant microbes that it’s looking like we all have in our blood and our brain and everywhere in our body. And then that very important fourth level of your immune system is your normal flora. Your normal flora keep pathogens in your gut and on your skin and other places in these kind of outside areas in check. And you disrupt your normal flora with bad food, antibiotics, stress, all of these things. You’re going to suffer from it. No doubt about it.

Heather Gray: mouthwash, like alcoholic mouthwash is showing to be so detrimental to our cardiac health and to our gut health because that’s the beginning of our microbiome, right, in our mouth. And if we’re wiping it out with this alcoholic mouthwash each time, same thing with, you know, antibiotic hand wash and the sanitizers that everybody was bathing in during COVID, like it made my head explode. I’m like, stop, you’re killing everything, all the good stuff too.

SPEAKER_00: Yep. It’s true. Yep. Yep. You have to respect those defenses.

Heather Gray: Absolutely, yeah. So that was beautiful.

Heather Gray: What else in this awesome book? I know you’ve got a few more steps and procedures and things we got into the natural defenses. Why else should we care about cellular health? Because I think a lot of times too, we’ve been told that the mitochondria is our powerhouses, but we’re starting to find out that there’s a lot more things that the mitochondria does. There are a lot more functions of the mitochondria. Can you dive a little deeper into that?

Dr. Bill Rawls: Well, mitochondria. First of all, a really interesting factoid about mitochondria is they actually determine that our mitochondria, I guess it’s pretty widely known that most people known that they were bacteria. And it was high-energy bacteria that our cells use. Our cells are really big compared to bacteria, and it takes a lot of energy to maintain them, which creates a lot of free radicals. So early on, instead of creating our own energy, our cells just decided to outsource. And they incorporated these bacteria that had this high potential to produce energy. So we started providing the food for the bacteria and the food, and we got a trade-off for the energy. And that’s where our mitochondria came from. They actually were an ancient species of Rickettsia, a distant relative of the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. So that talks about how far back this relationship we have with intracellular microbes goes. And it’s not always negative. That’s the big thing is we’re exploring this deeper microbiome that we’re calling the dormant blood and tissue microbiome. There’s speculation that a lot of these microbes may actually be beneficial for us. We may actually need them. But so mitochondria are supplying the power. And it’s interesting. So mitochondria burn fats, burn carbohydrates to create a gradient that turns out a chemical called ATP.

Dr. Bill Rawls: an ATP comes out of the mitochondria and circulates through the cell. And so it’s kind of like a liquid battery that’s constantly circulating. So the ATP is de-charged into ADP and circulates back into the mitochondria and this is going on all the time.

Dr. Bill Rawls: different cells. It’s like skin cells have about 100 mitochondria. Your heart cells, the high energy cells, has like 5,000 mitochondria. So everything about the cell is dependent on the mitochondria because if a cell has energy, it can keep regenerating itself. It has energy. It can replace parts. It can keep doing its job. It can recover from stress.

Dr. Bill Rawls: when it loses its mitochondria, that’s when the cell gradually loses function. So what happens is the mitochondria, they’re constantly getting burned out with free radicals. So these little power generators inside the mitochondria are exposed to really intense free radical damage. And it’s kind of one of those things, you know, I’ve heard it’s like, well, why don’t we just dump a bunch of antioxidants in there and stop that damage? What you do is you stop the energy reaction. So the mitochondria has to put up with a certain amount of free radical damage to do its job. And our mitochondria have a separate set of genes. Interesting. They have their own DNA. So that mitochondria DNA is, all it does is it’s the program. It’s the pattern to rebuild new parts for the power generator. So it can keep doing that over and over and over again. But the limiting factor with the mitochondria is it burns out that DNA.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Every mitochondria has like five to 10 copies. So if they burn out one copy, they can do another copy and another copy and another copy until they’re all gone. So when all the mitochondria in your cells burn out all of their DNA, your cell’s done. That’s the end point. So your cells are constantly manipulating mitochondria.

Dr. Bill Rawls: to find the best mitochondria and stimulate that mitochondria to rebuild more mitochondria. But as you go through life, even your very best mitochondria are declining. So that’s why, you know, most athletes are retired by the age of 40. They’ve burned out most of their cells mitochondria. So when you hear about mitochondrial resuscitation, people dumping in coenzyme Q10, carnitine, all of this sort of thing to make that mitochondria work better. The studies show it works a little bit, but not that much.

Dr. Bill Rawls: And the reason is because nutrients aren’t the limiting factor. Those are all nutrients. And your cell can, if you’re eating a good diet, your cell is continually supplying those nutrients. The limiting factor is burning out the DNA.

Dr. Bill Rawls: So the harder your cells are working, the harder the mitochondria is being taxed. So they burn out faster. So if you’re stressed and you’re staying up and you’re not getting a good diet and you’ve got microbes that are eating up your mitochondria throughout your body, your cells are stressed, they’re working harder. They’re burning out their mitochondria faster. So not only do you set yourself up for chronic illness, you age faster.

Dr. Bill Rawls: So getting around that mitochondrial thing isn’t something that I think we’re going to find technologies that do. It’s just a limiting factor. But if that was the only factor, in other words, if we never were stressed, it’s estimated that humans could last 120 years. But of course, we stay stressed. So the key is reducing cellular stress. And that’s what the herbs do. And that’s why herbs are so remarkably important in this cellular health game.

Heather Gray: That was going to be my next question. So what a beautiful segue is like, and I love the way you put it in the book, embracing herbs. And because a lot of people do, they still, it’s crazy to me how so many folks think that that’s kind of a woo-woo or even, you know, witchcrafty way, you know, herbs, oh, you know, it’s not science and it’s just, it just cracks me up, the ignorance still around some of the most ancient of medicines that are still proving to be so powerful today.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, a lot of that comes from our medical establishment, and it goes back a long, long way. It’s university-trained physicians all the way back to the 1500s and 1600s didn’t necessarily use herbs.

Dr. Bill Rawls: They used toxic therapies. They used poisons. They used mercury. They used bloodletting. University-trained physicians. They were all men.

Dr. Bill Rawls: laywomen in communities were herbalists, and they were the physicians’ archenemies, and when you don’t, when you really get irritated at your competition because they’re actually making people well, what do you do? Well, you burn them at the stake for witches, and that’s what a lot of the witch hunts were all about, was getting rid of lay female herbalists.

Heather Gray: You just gave me goosebumps the size of Texas. That’s, oh my gosh. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that story before.

Dr. Bill Rawls: It’s interesting. Yeah, it goes back a long way. And so, there’s a lot of bias there. Of course, that was in Europe. It wasn’t necessarily true in the Arab countries, in the Asian countries, in India, we have Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and all of that was extremely valuable. And I studied it early on, but it’s observation. And those observations are very important, but they didn’t have any way of getting down to the cellular and biochemical level. So, what has intrigued me over the past 20 years is just the explosion of science, of looking how the chemistry of these plants, and mushrooms for that matter, our medicinal mushrooms, how they affect us at the cellular level. And what they’re doing is they’re blocking all of the stress factors that cause cellular stress. So, when you’re doing that, you’re not doing it for one cell in the body, you’re doing it for every cell in the body. And so, maybe we’re taking an herb for helping our heart or helping our liver or whatever, but those are actually helping every cell in the body. So, interestingly, recently, I was researching milk thistle, which is well-known to protect liver cells. And it turns out it has all these other functions that it’s been used for, including protecting the cells that reorganize our bones. And it turns out that milk thistle is something that’s really important for you to take, especially after menopause, because it protects you from osteoporosis. So, this liver herb protects our bones. Wow. And a lot of other things too. And it’s because it’s protecting cells throughout the body. So, that’s been my interest in herbs is recognizing that this complex chemistry that the plants are producing to serve themselves, when we take them in, when we do that, like we were doing hundreds of thousands of years ago, when we were eating a forage food diet, we were providing this robust protection from our cells, which has been sorely missing, especially over the past hundred years.

Heather Gray: A hundred and 10% got it absolutely beautiful way of putting that and how cool I guess it is really beautiful,

Heather Gray: how symbiotically the herbs work in our body and receptors for certain things. And it’s like we were meant, right? It’s like literally we were built to handle this type of work.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Yeah, so, you know, and I guess I was just chosen to carry that message because I had the same thoughts when I went when I you know, I turned to herbal therapy because I was in a financial position and had to cover medical practice in a small town and I couldn’t go off and seek expert opinions. I had to figure it out. And, you know, and I happened to read this book on using herbal medicine and I went into it thinking, yeah, low chance this is actually going to make a difference. My expectations were very low. But then it worked. And it’s like, no, wait a minute, let’s take another look at this thing. And it was almost like I was chosen to carry that message.

Heather Gray: I’m so glad that you were so where this seems like an awesome spot. We’re going to have to close up. Where can people find more information about you and the type of work that you’re doing.

Dr. Bill Rawls: I discontinued my medical practice about five years ago, just because I found that the more I just talk to people and the more information that I could provide to them, I could help them better. The medical practice is very restricting because I ended up, you know, to make it work, you have to do labs and procedures and all of this stuff that often is just to pay the bills. And it, so, and along that time, I was starting a herbal supplement company. And so I found that I could create programs and protocols through that company. And I periodically do consults to help people that I’ve been doing that quite a lot over the past five years. So it’s through that. The company is VitalPlan, vitalplan.com. I also have a website, RawlsMD.com. So those are both places that people can find me and social media, various kinds of places. I’m fairly active there too.

Heather Gray: Absolutely, you put out some great content on a regular basis. Like, thank you, your team has probably seen me, you know, fangirl on your Instagram page quite often. We because we love our customers so much in a way that we want to show appreciation is that we’re giving a giveaway. Like I said, during this episode, but what’s so special about this episode is we’ve got two giveaways. And so Dr. Rawls has donated a copy of his book, so that the winner will win that. And then they’ll also win a NIKKI device, which, you know, is a wearable tech that puts frequency through red light to help balance and support the body with energy, allergy, sleep, you know, a lot of the lifestyle stuff that Dr. Rawls had talked about earlier in this podcast. So one lucky winner will get a NIKKI device and Dr. Rawls’s book. So make sure to go to the show notes to learn how to enter for that. Also check out wearenikki.com podcast and you get a 10% off if you use the code bio beats with that. So Dr. Rawls, thank you again, like every time I talk to you, I keep learning more and more. And we could probably easily do this for another couple hours. But sadly, we have to go but I just so appreciate you and the work that you’re doing in the world. Thank you so much.

Dr. Bill Rawls: Will, thank you for having me.

Heather Gray: Everybody else, make sure to have a healthy day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Dr. William Rawls MD?

Dr. William Rawls MD is a renowned figure who, after a significant career in conventional medicine, encountered personal health challenges with Lyme disease and fibromyalgia. This diagnosis ignited a passion for exploring alternative, non-invasive, and drug-free approaches to health. His journey through these challenges has led him to become a global leader in the fight against chronic diseases, such as Lyme. Dr. Rawls’ unique account of his path to wellness and his dedication to helping others through his practice and literature demonstrates a profound commitment to improving health at the cellular level.

How Can Lifestyle Choices Impact Health?

According to Dr. William Rawls MD, our lifestyle choices play a pivotal role in our health and our capacity to fend off chronic diseases. He highlights the importance of diet, exercise, and stress management in creating a health-focused lifestyle. Dr. Rawls’ approach is based on the understanding that each individual, and indeed each cell in our bodies, faces unique challenges due to dietary and lifestyle decisions as well as environmental factors. By adopting a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and maintaining an active lifestyle while managing stress, we can significantly improve our health and well-being. Dr. Rawls’ passion for sharing these insights is driven by his own experiences and the sign of improved health he observed through natural, holistic practices.

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