My shopping cart
Your cart is currently empty.Continue Shopping
Neal: Hi, this is Neal from Growlies, introducing the Growlies talk with Dr. Ian Billinghurst. Dr. Billinghurst, one of my personal heroes, one of the people I consider the father of fresh foods, has joined us today for an interview which is covering some topics and his latest book Pointing the Bone at Cancer: In Dogs, Cats & Humans. Pretty much covering the spectrum of all mammals I think. Then today I just want to say thank you very much graciously joining us Dr. B, it's very kind of you.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst: It's a pleasure to be here. I'm looking at your background, that looks very nice where you're seated right now.
Neal: It's my backyard.
Ian: Very good.
Neal: We're blessed on the west coast of Canada with an abundance of green.
Ian: What I'm looking at now and I'm looking at what should be green but it's covered in frost.
Neal: Right, of course, it's winter in your time, other side of the world.
Neal: You have started as an agronomist and nutritionist.
Ian: Yes, it was about six lifetimes ago.
Neal: Absolutely. It was back in the 60s right?
Ian: Correct yes.
Neal: Nutritionist, I assume that was large animal nutrition.
Ian: Exactly, right, yes, production animals. Including poultry, beef, pigs, sheep, all that.
Neal: All the big farm animals. Then agronomist is how to make best use of your crops, is that correct?
Ian: Yes, it's about growing crops. I found it totally boring but for some reason I did it.
Neal: Then you taught for a while?
Ian: Four years as a high school teacher.
Neal: I didn't know it was high school.
Ian: Pure torture.
Neal: [laughs] What grade did you teach?
Ian: All the way through, from the junior grades through to the senior grades. I was very jealous of the senior grades heading out to do things like veterinary science and medicine.
Neal: Then you became a veterinarian and veterinary surgeon at the same time or were those two separate things?
Ian: No, they're both the same thing, about the same degree.
Neal: Then after that, sometime in the '80s I believe, you branched out I think well ahead of your time into traditional Chinese herbal medicine?
Ian: Yes, I spent four years playing with that and passed all the exams, was supposed to be heading off to China to do the final practical work. At the time, I was building a veterinary hospital and the interest rates had gone through the roof, I couldn't employ staff for the cost, had to work full-time myself and so at that point, I never finished that acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine because I didn't do the practical in China, but I went on to use it of course widely in my practice. It's really underpinned much of my thinking and philosophy from that time forward.
Neal: A more natural approach. Certainly, the acupuncture is huge here on the west coast of Canada.
Ian: These days I'm very kind to my patients. I use laser acupuncture and that includes myself.
Neal: We have a veterinarian who comes to our home who also practices laser acupuncture.
Ian: It was really exciting in the early days because - I also use electro-acupuncture and used electro analgesia and did quite a bit of or many surgeries under that with very old and failing animals and it was absolutely brilliant. The machine broke down, I went to the bush and never returned to it. I've still got the notes and it was a brilliant form of anesthesia, loved it, just very time-consuming.
Neal: Then in the 80s you came up with your first book Give Your Dog a Bone.
Ian: Let me think, that was published in 1993. I probably spent most of the '80s trying to write it. I kept writing these enormously long introductions. One of my clients was a writer and publisher, he said, "Dr. Ian, you actually have to set out a list of your chapter headings and just make the introduction a bit briefer." Anyway, he set me on the path to writing.
Neal: That's actually really good advice coming up with the chapter headings ahead of time. It keeps you on task.
Ian: Yes. That's kind of the way I did it, at least it got me going out of the introduction.
Neal: That book changed the world for many people.
Ian: It changed the world for me because what I wanted to do was write the book so that people would -- I was answering all the questions just in my own practice and really I thought what I want to do is write this book so I never had to deal with this again. It didn't work.
Neal: Not at all. Not even a tiny bit.
Ian: Not even a tiny bit.
Neal: Then second was The BARF Diet.
Ian: It's still - Give Your Dog a Bone is still the most popular. The BARF Diet I kind of write because a lot of Americans, in particular, found Give Your Dog a Bone too full of principles that are not prescriptive enough and so I said, "Oh well, I better write something just for the Americans". I did.
Neal: That answer is why one is this thick and one is this thick. Much more accessible, much more accessible.
Ian: Yes, kind of.
Neal: Now most recently and this was published very recently is this tome. This is an exceptional book, sir.
Ian: It's a totally different vein to the others in many ways.
Neal: It's certainly a different topic. It broaches on the other topics but it's an in-depth look to the history and the story of cancer in mammals, it's so much more.
Ian: I think it's fairly unique. As writers, I think we write books that we would like to have read and I couldn't find it. Every book I've written is something that I hadn't been able to find anywhere, so dammit, I better write the damn thing.
Neal: I have to say it's an exceptional tome. We do have two copies signed, you were kind enough to sign them for us, to give away for this event for when this all drops at the end of November.
Ian:… to Christmas.
Neal: That's correct. We're doing that just because of timing of getting all the interviews done that we want to get done. A couple of things, so you, like myself, you end up on social media --
Robot Voice: Excuse me, Microsoft Word needs your attention.
Ian: That's just my computer talking to me.
Neal: That's handy.
Ian: Ignore that.
Neal: She came through loud and clear though. You end up in a lot of groups like I do where we end up talking about fresh fruits for pets. I want to cover some of the, I call the memes, where these ideas have gone through the community and they're kind of stuck in the community. They don't necessarily make sense sometimes and sometimes they're bang on correct. Sometimes they're just wrong, but people still parrot them because they've heard them and they trust in the community that they've heard them from. You see them all the time, does any of those come to mind for you?
Ian: Actually let me just say one thing, when I first graduated as a veterinary surgeon, it was in a very old building and I was reasonably young. We actually owned the building so I could write on the walls and they were old … walls, it was a terrible old building. Anyway, I used to write on the walls. One of the things I wrote up there was, "The only rule in life is that there are no rules". That's very much part of what I am. I noticed that everybody out there has these rules and my idea is that we should have principles because I think I write down something like "Rules are for fools".
Not that I'm really having a go at people but it was just because it rhymed I think. I was a fan of … sorts of poetry. Anyway, but basically, if we understand principles, then we can break rules and this is important. I've always been about principles and particularly when it comes to feeding, there are certain principles, but we can ignore most of the rules. I still don't know what they are. There's 80/10/10 rules for how you put together --
Neal: That's a funny one. I need a biologist. Did you get your degree in biology when you wrote this book?
Ian: I just had a degree in in Ag. science and vet science when I wrote.
Neal: I would like a biologist to draw a picture of a rabbit that's 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ. That would be one misfit of a rabbit.
Ian: That is not even true because in the evolutionary history of the dog, we've got two species that -- Well, maybe three but we're particularly interested in man, dog, and cat. Obviously, there are others but just got looking at those. Each of these evolved in a different way. The cat evolved to become an obligate carnivore. The dog, it is not an obligate carnivore in terms of nutrition.
Neal: We call them facultative carnivores.
Ian: Yes, or I just sometimes refer to them as a carnivorous omnivore or an omnivorous carnivore.
Neal: I've also heard them called a scavenging carnivore.
Ian: Well, now this is the point. The dog evolved from the wolf but the dog's genome is not precisely the same as the wolf and its nutritional requirements are different because it evolved on from the wolf. That evolution continues today. A lot of people think the dog stopped evolving some time ago. It's got the same genes as the wolf and all that stuff, but that's not true. The wolf today is not our dog's ancestor. It's evolved on too. We both came from a common wolf ancestor and it probably started about 400,000 years ago, maybe 200, it's hard to say.
The mitochondrial evidence for this is now coming through. That a certain group of wolves moved away from their general group and started following humans and the genetic difference was their flight distance. They had a shorter flight distance. They tolerated humans. They followed them around. They scavenged from their hunting exploits. This wasn't bad. They also started to set up. Humans didn't mind them because being what they were, they would be an early warning signal of something approaching. We had the verybeginnings, the faint beginnings of dog and man's association as a wolf.
David - is it David Carpenter? Carpenter anyway, he wrote a book called Dogs. A very telling title, you can guess what it's about. He said that about 15,000 years ago when men started or stopped hunting and started to settle down, he built communities and outside his community, there was a rubbish heap. Those same rules with the short flight distance now began to appear to stay there. The shortest flight distance, of course, stayed and bred on the heap. Now those dogs were evolving -- Those wolves were evolving into a dog. We know now from Russian experiments with silver foxes, which are closely enough related to the dog to allow that relevance to be made. When you select for mental traits, you're also selecting for physical traits.
Neal: Now, they were amazed by that too. They were surprised by that outcome.
Ian: Absolutely. They were going to bug it up their pet breeding program when they got silver fox, say they got black and white ones. I'm sure that wasn't what they wanted.
Neal: There was nothing more. That was not the goal.
Ian: Putting that aside, this period where mankind was settling down and forming rubbish, whether the wolf started to evolve into dogs, they changed their eating habits, they became more coprophagic. They became more scavenging. They became a little bit more vegetable-eating omnivorous because that would have been the ruminal contents of the newly domesticated cattle and sheep out there, obviously bones and all sorts of things. They became much more scavenging because there would have been a lot more bones out there.
What I'm trying to get into in a very roundabout way is that if we look at a cat which has evolved as an obligate carnival, it eats all animals. There is some ratios you can probably come up with maybe, if you wanted to, which might approximate that low level of bone but when you look at the dog, it's evolved as a scavenger. In this situation, it actually evolved to require a lot more bones and probably has for a long time before that anyway. Particularly the youngsters. If you think about how the youngsters grow, I read about this in Give Your Dog a Bone actually, they're going to be last into the feast.
The older dogs will eat the best muscle meat or whatever organ meat they want, the younger dogs will be left with a lot of scraps and a lot of bones. I figured that's why dogs love bones so much. Actually, in many ways, Give Your Dog a Bone was based on my experience, my observation and in many ways, it was a scientific time in that it was a hypothesis that I put forward based on my experience, my observations, put it out there. Now, I didn't think of it in that way at that time. I just wanted to write this stuff down and get it off my mind and not have to talk about it anymore.
However, that didn't work, as we mentioned. What actually was happening, it went out there as a broadly-based hypothesis about feeding dogs and the results have come back in spades in terms of epidemiology. Now, our wonderful scientific brethren sent a lot of vets, give it a very pejorative term, which is anecdotal. Anecdotal refers to one or two cases but when you have a whole population of animals being faced with one particular environment, in this case, a raw food diet based on evolutionary principles, we are looking at epidemiological evidence, and it's out there in spades. that the dogs that eat this way do not require the vet as often, they live longer, they have fewer disease problems, et cetera, et cetera.
That's getting around to, we were talking about this at 80/10/10 ratio, it doesn't apply to dogs. If there is such a thing or something that comes close to that, it applies to cats or obligate carnivores. We have to think of dogs in a different way. That just brings us back to principles.
Neal: I think during the talk that you had given when I saw you up here in Canada in Saskatchewan last fall, you had talked about how the differences in, let's say, the industrialized pet food or commercial pet food industry and the fresh feeding communities, you're talking about the fine razor's edge of nutrition that the commercial guys have to feed or have to ride because of their approach to a single point of nutrition as opposed to the broad road that a fresh feeder can. Can you talk to that for me?
Ian: Yes, absolutely. When you feed real food -- Let's go back a fraction. What we're talking about is two very different paradigms. One is a paradigm based on feeding nutrients and the other one is a paradigm based on feeding food. Now, when you feed food, it's a totally different thing to selecting or going through a process where you decide what nutrients are present in food, what nutrients an animal requires, how much it requires, what will happen if it doesn't have the right ones. Now that is what we have done and that's the nutritional or the nutritionist's approach to nutrition.
The evolutionary nutritionist's approach to nutrition is to say, "Well, yes, they need nutrients, but I will never buy my research to find out which nutrients they need exactly, exactly how much they need, et cetera, et cetera." This is virtually unknowable in nutrition. … but we don't know. We've got NRC and FCO coming up with rules and I think it's FDF or something in Europe. They come up with rules but it's all based on supplying nutrients. The reason they need to supply nutrients is because they want to supply food or a material, it's hardly food, which is based on biologically inappropriate materials.
Foods that the animal did not evolve to require or evolve eating. Animals evolved eating food and in that food, there are nutrients and this is what shapes the animal's genome, the form of the food, which is raw and - [coughs] excuse me, whole. The form of that food and the fact that it contains -- If you feed the broad balance of the food that animal evolved eating, you almost supply every nutrient it requires and in the form it requires. This works together with the homeostatic mechanisms of the animal in question because this is what has been honed between the food and the genome over millions of years of evolution. You cannot duplicate that relationship by simply saying, compiling a list of foods that your science.has decided - sorry, a list of nutrients that science has deemed as necessary.
Trying to figure out how much of each of those, how they interact with each other, but you can't because what you do is you put all these together in and your mix them together and you cook them and suddenly, it's getting masses of chemical interactions and you're producing material that this genome has never come across before. Now when you feed that way, obtaining balance is on a knife-edge. It's very, very critical. Whereas when you feed real food, the balance is broad like a road. It’s really very simple and this is one of the things I say, nutrition is absurdly simple if you follow the evolutionary rules.
If you follow the modern nutritionist approach, it's beyond complicated. If you try to understand evolutionary nutrition is beyond complicated. It's beyond that raised to the power of infinity because the cybernetics of the relationship between genes and food and what we currently call neutrogen or epigenetics, that is beyond our understanding. There is no computer that can deal with it and yet it just happened and it's there and we can use it, excuse me, without understanding it. I mean that's a long-winded way of saying we just don't have to understand nutrition. We just have to know the foods that animals are supposed to eat and then roughly the same proportions.
Neal: The thing that comes up, the thing that comes to mind for me sorry, is that in human foods, every three years they decide if eggs are either bad for you or good for you because they're still learning so much, but they apparently have the dog and the cat down. Humans, we're still learning, but dogs and cats, we totally got that. I don't believe them, I stopped taking advice from Nestle nutritionally many years ago.
Ian: Well, the fundamentally, most wicked, bad, awful, terrible, destructive thing I do is source of energy.
Ian: Well, not one of the spaces that we feed commercially, where it's humans, dogs or cats evolved eating this high-starch, basically high-sugar diet. We did not evolve on that and the metabolic problems that bring are atrocious. Problem is we have some very resilient genomes in all three species that do not show problems until later in life and then, they are the horrendous problems.
Neal: That's where that epigenetics comes in, the environment affecting your genes.
Ian: Well, yes, but the environment of carbohydrates as a major energy source just absolutely destroys us and a lot of it is through actually through the mitochondria, as we are now discovering.
Neal: Is that ultimately the goal of Pointing the Bone at Cancer, is showing that the root of what we're seeing today in 50% of dogs, getting cancer, that more dogs die of cancer, and I don't know that this is fact, but Rodney Habib has said he's seen the study that says more dogs die of cancer than every other mammal on the planet.
Ian: I suspect that's probably true and the most problematic one is a golden retriever because of who they used as sire, some show or sometime back. It absolutely has a lot of predisposing genes but the point of Pointing the Bone at Cancer is that our understanding of cancer itself at the moment is profoundly wrong. That's really my point and that being the case, it explains exactly why we are filing to do anything with, well, the people with metastatic cancer.
Neal: It’s apparently a nutritional disease.
Ian: Well, it's a disease of failing mitochondria. Just very briefly -- Gosh, where do you start with mitochondria?
Neal: Well, you gave a lovely history of mitochondria in the book and there's many other mitochondrial diseases besides cancer, like MS comes to mind.
Ian: What they're finding is that all of mitochondrial diseases tend to occur later in life and they affect the major organs. What is being realized is that those specific mitochondrial diseases, which are due to genetic problems with the mitochondria, are mimicking or showing us the way to all the degenerative diseases, which are actually due to failing mitochondria. Now in the case of cancer and the other degenerative disease actually go in two opposite directions, in a way. It's quite strange. Oh gosh, how do we explain this? In a degenerative disease like kidney failure, the mitochondria in the cells fail for a variety of reasons, but the cells die and so as more and more cells within the organ die, it becomes less and less able to perform its functions to the level required by the organisms and so we get things like kidney failure because of the loss of cells.
On the other hand, cancer is a situation where, because the damage is very slow and very chronic -- I didn't mention in the degenerative disease, the cells are dying because the mitochondria have been destroyed by the environment, food, mainly by reactive oxygen species, again produced by high carbohydrate diets so in all degenerative diseases, we're getting destruction of mitochondria. In most of the degenerative diseases where you get organ failure, the cell commits suicide.
Neal: It’s actually programmed to do so.
Ian: Exactly right, but in the case of cancer, yes, we get this filing mitochondria, and Warburg shared this back in the late 20s, 30s through to the 50s, he showed that if the damage to the mitochondria is slow enough and the organism or the cell, sorry, and this only happens in tissue STEM cells, if the tissue STEM cells can gradually turn on an alternative energy supply, and this is all about them. In degenerative disease like kidney failure, the loss of energy, the cell dies, commits suicide, apoptosis, or there's another way of saying that. In the case of cancer, it doesn't die because the cell's energy supply is - or there's a resurrection process. It turns on glycolysis or fermentation and over many generations of these STEM cells, the process of glycolysis is gradually increased to the point where it can take over from oxidative phosphorylation, which is the process of energy production within the mitochondria.
Mitochondria now turned that off, but that brings with it a process of constant reproduction and this is the basis of cancer. It's a destruction through lifestyle of the mitochondria and tissue STEM cells that brings with it this alternative energy supply and that brings with it a very ancient program and we still say this program today, it's in early embryonic STEM cells because they use glycolysis to produce the energy and glycolysis becomes a signal to turn on ceaseless reproduction.
Neal: It has a role during the creation of the animal but then it turns off later and it goes wrong later in life after the mitochondria has been harmed by environmental --
Ian: … very slowly over many years, that's why cancer takes so long to develop. Now in that process, it turns off some tumor - wrong word. It turns off some growth suppressor genes and we call them tumor suppressor genes, but they’re actually growth suppressor genes. They're not there, but I'm going to say, they're not there to stop tumor's growth presence since they are, but they’re growth suppressor genes. One of them in particular, retinoblastoma, when it is turned off, this also turns - no, it doesn't -- What this does, it stops the cell from being able to use its DNA repair processes because - it's because it doesn't hold the speed of the cell's growth.
There is no time for those DNA repair process to happen. This is where mutations come in. Now currently, our research has looked at a cancer cell, seeing all those mutations and said, "Oops, clearly they are the origin of cancer" but they are a downstream effect so that attacking mutations -- Yes the mutations do help progress cancer forward, but they're not the cause. When you attack them, you are not --
Neal: The cancer has already started, it's already there.
Ian: It's this point. This actually came to me as a realization I suppose about four years ago, following the work of … because I couldn't figure it out either. None of it made sense. It just didn't make sense because the statistics that were put out by the statisticians and mathematicians who knew this stuff, said that even with all these
carcinogens, you could not possibly get all those mutations in specific cells to cause cancer. It's just not possible. Sorry, in specific genes. It still is impossible. What's happening is that the mutations occur later. Unfortunately, yes, some of those mutations, you can attack the results of them and you get some benefit for a short period of time for some cancer users. These are the so-called smart drugs, the targeted therapies. The best of these is immunotherapy.
For the vast majority of cancers, this is not the answer. The answer is much simpler. One of the points I make is that cancer is regarded as a multitude of diseases we currently do but is one disease of mitochondrial failure. Now I'm not the first to say that but what I've tried to do in Point the Bone at Cancer is show the science behind it and show the evolution of our cells from bacteria and archaea and how the bacteria, the … that ancient bacteria that wasn't a parasite, an intracellular parasite and it came to be the mitochondria, and how that has worked to produce the modern cell with this failing because the mitochondria have a bacterial genome.
The bacterial genome is highly susceptible to being affected by all the usual carcinogens, including all the lifestyle factors. This is where the carcinogens act. The nuclear genome is so highly protected that there is no possible way those carcinogens could do all that damage. The damage occurs at the mitochondrial level. Excuse me.
Neal: People will ask us to dial it back a little because we're talking at a very high level or maybe even the microscopic level of what's going on rather than the macro level of how can I make changes in my and my pet's life.
Ian: That's the most important question. The thing is this, the reason I write all that microscopic detail is for the cancer professionals, for the vets to look at this and say, "Hey, this is the science behind cancer. It's out there." I didn't make it up. It's all peer-reviewed stuff. I just put it together in a book and said, "Look at this, for goodness sakes." Because unless we change what we do, we will never defeat this disease and that's the way it's going. We haven't defeated it. We spent billions and billions since the '70s, since Nixon began this war. The people with metastatic cancer are dying at exactly the same rate and under probably in many cases even more horrifying circumstances than they were in the '50s, except that we do have some drugs for palliative care that are probably better.
Neal: It means the papers on cancer that have been paid for by the war on cancer.
Ian: Absolutely. The careers of thousands of scientists have been launched. Molecular biology, the companies and all that, we know so much more about molecular biology and all these companies that have got one gene that they now own, for goodness sake. They can make a drug using the knowledge based around that gene. All this stuff, but none of this has benefited the cancer patient. My aim with this book is to say, "For goodness sake, look at the true science behind cancer and on that basis, change what we regard as the most fundamental and important modality in its treatment". Use whatever else you want to if you like because this treatment actually modifies the bad effects of chemo and radiotherapy anyway but attack the fundamental cause, which is the fermentation process. Cells that are cancerous have to use fermentation to produce their energy. That is where we need to attack them, stab them. We can do it and it's happening."
Neal: Is that the glycogenesis?
Neal: I apologize if I got it wrong. Is that the glycogenesis? Or is that where they just get the blood supply?
Ian: You're thinking of angiogenesis.
Neal: That's what I -- Okay.
Ian: … is the fermentation.
Neal: Okay, there we go. I combined the two.
Ian: There's two methods of producing -- By the way, I hated this when I was at uni, it was terrible. Biochemistry was my worst subject and it's now the one subject I realize is the most important of all. It was presented to us so badly that we had no understanding or I didn't, anyway, of what it was all about. I learned stuff by rote, got through it and passed exams. Now I know. I didn't understand back then oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis and where they fit it in. I learned it but I was like, "I don't even know where this happens exactly". The oxidative phosphorylation occurs in the mitochondria.
From one molecule of glucose, this method produces around about 36 packets of energy called ATP. From glycolysis, it's only two. Glycolysis is very inefficient and this too has its impacts on the body. When cancer uses glycolysis, it uses a very inefficient method to produce energy. Therefore it is a major cause of cancer cachexia because it only burns glucose and what it does, it can't burn fat.
Neal: That's that wasting. That's that muscle wasting that happens to people …
Ian: Because it burns glucose so inefficiently, it uses up all the glucose we feed it. By the way, our oncologists stress that the people have to eat glucose, my god, but then because the cancer gobbles that up very inefficiently, apart from a thing called the Cori cycle, where it recycles it and makes more glucose even more inefficiently, it also turns the body's protein into glucose.
This glucose gobbling machine is pulling out the glucose from our body, from all our organs, from our muscles and this is this cachexia you see of people who have got cancer because the cancer is literally eating them alive by pulling out all the protein. They die of organ failure and malnutrition. In fact, because so many of them die of organ failure that's often stated as the cause of death when it was actually cancer. The statistics for cancer are underreported. Anyway, that's just part of the. What our oncologists never tell their patients is this cancer is feeding on sugar.
Australia is a very high carbohydrate food and I better not mention the name but all the oncologists recommend it to "build you up." Sure, probably for a week, they feel better eating the stuff because it gives them all this sugar and energy but in the meantime, it's also building up these growths inside them. The oncologists just accept that as the normal pattern. If somebody goes on a ketogenic diet, and you have to be very disciplined to do that. I haven't explained the ketosis just at the moment. If they do that, they don't gain a lot of weight but suddenly they're not feeding this cancer.
Back to the oncologist, they do the scans and the metastatic cancer is disappearing. The oncologist said, "Well, that's interesting. I don't know why that's happening but you better do whatever you're doing now. I don't want to know what you're doing."
Neal: That seems like a strange approach.
Ian: That's a very unscientific approach because our oncologists are taught that this is just another alternative method of treating cancer. Alternative methods of treating cancer are forbidden.
Neal: That's where essentially demeaning what they weren't taught by saying, "Well, that's alternative medicine." You know what happens when alternative medicine works? It's called medicine they could demean it without demeaning it.
Ian: Or they just say, "There's been a spontaneous cure," as if the fairies at the bottom of the garden had done something. Again, they will do anything not to recognize that something is working.
Neal: We're talking about the sudden onset cancers. The ones that come up from environment. We're not talking about the genetic predisposed cancers or the cancers in young animals that were essentially in their genome at birth. Bear with me for just a sec. Humor me for just a sec because you know so much more on this. I'm just trying to wrap my head around it. When a puppy is born, the egg that that puppy was came out of its mother's ovum. That ovum was formed in the grandmother, so the environment of the grandmother affected the mother, which affected the puppy.
What I'm saying is the environment matters for generations. His mother was raw fed, so he's good, but the grandmother should be raw fed as well if we're talking about dogs or cats. For the potential for, let's say in Goldens, for instance, that predisposition towards cancer at puppyhood even to come up. When we're talking about this kind of cancer, we're talking about the stuff that's happening later, mid to later in life. They got through all the puppy disease potential for cancer, and this is stuff that came through because of environment. I've given you a lot there. sorry. [laughs]
Ian: No, that's okay. There are purely genetic causes of cancer. Actually, one of them is retinoblastoma, which is a cancer in the eye. That is caused by a loss of the tumor or the growth suppressor gene, retinoblastoma. What we now know is that even these inherited cancers still work through the mitochondria. The mitochondria, the way it works in company with the nucleus-- I have trouble getting my head around this, too. I've got to push this through slowly.
The mitochondria working with the nucleus, if there is, for example, this retinoblastoma gene that is missing, this sends certain signals to the mitochondria. Those signals are signals of increased growth. The other thing I haven't mentioned is that the mitochondria are actually in control of whether a cell loses its differentiation. If it's a liver cell, it stops being a liver cell and just becomes a cancer cell. The mitochondria are in charge of that.
There's a constant feedback between the mitochondria and the nucleus. This lack of this retinoblastoma gene actually is a signal for the mitochondria to start telling the nucleus how to behave in terms of reproduction. What we also know is that if we could take those children and put them on a ketogenic diet for much of their lives, we actually stopped a lot of the bone cancers and other cancers that form later on down the track. A lot of these children, they become blinded by this cancer and they have to have their eyes removed.
This gene is also causing cancers elsewhere. If we can put those children on a ketogenic diet, they will live longer. Particularly, even if we don't start till they're adults. Even where there's a genetic predisposition, it's actually working through the mitochondria. Seyfried wrote the metabolic theory of cancer. Or, what do you call it? Whatever he calls it, I can't remember. He's the man who's really working the world up to all of this. He shows the evidence for this, that even these so-called inherited cancers worked through the mitochondria.
We can still deal with them on the basis that it's a mitochondrial disease. Sure, these people have a much greater predisposition to it, and they're at much greater danger. This is still the way to deal with it, because ultimately, most of those people with this genetic, the inherited predisposition, are going to die, and much earlier than usual. What we're trying to do with this is prolong their lives. Not only prolong their lives, but prolong their life with a quality of life.
Neal: That's the key.
Ian: That's right. Once we start treating cancer as a metabolic disease, and we start saying, okay, we can deal with cancer on this level, on a nutrient level with ketones, we then start to say there's a lot of other things we can do in terms of phytonutrients, and minerals, and all sorts of things that all retards the cancerous process. The whole point of my book was that, whatever else you do, and there's lots of things that people do. They use herbs. They use homeopathy, acupuncture, all sorts of phytonutrients, et cetera, minerals, whatever.
We know how a lot of these things work because they attack specific areas of the cancerous process. Use all of those, but must make sure you attack the fermentated process, or take cancer on that basis. Even if you use, as I've said, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, the damaging effects of those are ameliorated. They made much less when you're on a ketogenic diet. This is my point, but I wanted to show the science behind all that.
Neal: I want to make the point for people listening. When we talked about a ketogenic diet, a lot of people think that when you talk about a ketogenic diet, you're talking about ketoacidosis the diabetics get rather than a healthy ketogenic response from a low carbohydrate diet. Those are two different things.
Ian: Two absolutely different things. You cannot develop ketoacidosis if you have a normal level of insulin being produced. It just cannot happen. That's physiologically the facts. In fact, we're clear acidosis might be anywhere between 10-- I just forget the units in animals or something but per liter. You might get 10 of those in somebody that's ketoacidosis, all the way up to 50 or 100. Which I said, they probably did from acidosis at that point. When you're on a ketogenic diet, you struggle to get about two or three. It is very difficult. You've got to be very disciplined.
This is the point, too. There are those people who want to use this, but if their family, in any way, is against it, or won't join in, or doesn't understand, it's not going to work. Sadly, I see this in friends that I know. The person with cancer, he wants to do it. He doesn't quite understand it. The family doesn't understand it at all, or one person does. So, it's very difficult for people under these circumstances to use it.
That is why, unless it becomes mainstream medicine, and because this is the other factor, once the doctor says you have to do this, the whole family will join in. They won't care if they don't understand it. If the doctor or the oncologist prescribes that diet which is high in fat, not very moderate for protein and has zero or close to zero as possible with non-fiber carbohydrates. All of a sudden, carbohydrates are reduced down to nothing. They will follow it. They will do it.
Neal: It's funny. When they created the class of carbohydrates, they should have created two. The complex and a simple. When we're talking about the carbohydrates to cut out, you're talking about your potatoes and your rice, and things that are ultimately sugar to your body. I'm not talking about the greens that are low in starch like your spinach, and your kale, and your parsley, and your broccolis, and things like that.
Ian: They're very high in fiber. They're also going to contribute some sugar, so you've got to be very careful. You balance it out by putting, if you have a salad, for example, a green salad, you smother it in extra virgin first cold pressing olive oil, for example. Yes, the fiber, the indigestible fiber is fine. In fact, it has a role to play in the large bowel.
Neal: That's ultimately your prebiotic that your biome is going to live on.
Ian: That's right. It's converted to short-chain fatty acids, which makes your bowel much healthier. Which also then, and this is the basis of another program of mine, which is for things like kidney failure. If you feed a high fiber diet of healthy vegetables, and it's got to be totally put through a juicer so you got the juice and the fiber separated. They both go into the diet. The juice contains all those phytonutrients, which is brilliant for health and many of which have anti-cancer, immune-stimulating and health properties. The fiber ends up in the large bowel. It feeds the bacteria down there, it's prebiotic. They produce all these short-chain fatty acids on which they grow and on which the colon wall grows. Now, we have a situation where the bacteria, which are growing, they've got all this energy in the form of short-chain fatty acids and it's in protein to produce their cells.
Where do they get it from? They draw it out of the bloodstream. The colon now becomes like a third kidney in terms of taking a load off the kidneys of the nitrogenous waste. This is the basis of the kidney diet and the basis of so many diets for older dogs and cats with degenerative diseases where we feed them these crushed vegetables.
Neal: That's brilliant. How do you get a cat to eat a vegetable?
Ian: For 15 years, I was producing a dog food and a cat food. It was the dog food with its slightly higher levels of vegetable material that was very, very successful as a kidney diet for cats.
Neal: That's brilliant. I sell lots of this stuff so that's what I do. I'm a retailer. I don't manufacturer any of the foods. I learn this stuff so that I can understand and help my customers choose the right things. That's an interesting one because I've never heard that the dog stuff has anywhere between 5% and 15% vegetables depending on the manufacturer.
Ian: In my opinion.
Neal: At what level would be too much for a cat then?
Ian: Whatever it might eat. [laughs] It is simple, is it not?
Neal: I did a video yesterday for my store. I do these little weekly videos for my store and it was just, keep it simple. Don't panic. Don't let anybody tell you don't know enough. We give shirts away that say, "Keep Calm & Feed Raw."
Ian: I've seen some atrocious raw dies. Well, now what thinking of is I'm thinking of a dear aunt of mine. She had this 18 and 19-year-old Little White Shaker. It was Maltese. They get the shakers to say so, tend to call them Little White Shaker. Anyway, it was 18 years old and she hadn't fed it anything other than minced meat for the last 10 years, nothing else. Now, I'm sure it at it ate its own poo and it probably pinched something out of the garden. It taught me that dogs, if they're fed raw food-- You cannot do that with a puppy, by the way, if anybody's listening. They will get a calcium deficiency and it'll be atrocious. With an adult dog, you do not need all that calcium.
Neal: They're so resilient.
Ian: Yes, so resilient. Obviously, whatever calcium was there, it managed to use to the nth degree and dogs will do that. That's why you can feed this one diet to dogs, by the way, which is high in calcium. What they don't need they poop out. If you look at the poop of a raw fed dog that's on bones, what's it do? It turns white in the summer for a few days.
Neal: Yes, small, firm, brown and bumpy.
Ian: What was that?
Neal: That's what we describe the ultimate poop to people, small, firm, brown and bumpy.
Ian: Well, it turns white and then it just crumbles and goes away.
Neal: Yes, because it's.
Ian: Yes, it's not offensive. Well, it's fairly offensive.
Neal: It's still poop. [laughs]
Ian: A lot of people have actually used that in compost heaps and it's fine. Anyway, I think the point there is that the raw diet is very resilient. Relax and stop all those rules. There are people on the internet and I saw one the other day and I won't make any noise, of course. This person was prescribing very specific amounts of nutrients that they had to include in this raw diet and it was all based on AFFCO principals. I said, "No, not necessary."
Neal: The AFFCO standards don't make sense for fresh food.
Ian: They make no sense at all. They don't even make sense for those foods because most of them are guesses and guesstimates. Here's hoping because they just simply don't know. What they don't know is the interactions.
Neal: What happened to your profession, the veterinarians? From my perspective, I require good veterinary advice on occasion for my pets, like my family members. I require a good doctor who can give me good advice on how to keep my animals as healthy as possible. Why is it, occasionally, I get shamed for feeding fresh foods?
Ian: Because that's the way they were taught. In Australia, a lot of people are selected to go into the veterinary science faculty on the basis of their marks. They're very bright people. A lot of them have never owned an animal in their life.
Neal: Because they see enough of them.
Ian: Well, I don't know. Or, they've lived at home and mom looked after the animals. Then they go to veterinary school and they're taught all this science stuff and it's very good for the most part. Then in the case of places like Sydney University, there's a major pet food company and I'm not going to name it, comes in. This major pet food company becomes their tutor, their lecturer, teaches them everything they need to know about companion animal nutrition. Part of that teaching is you must never, ever, ever, no matter what you do, feed raw food.
It's dangerous. It will be unbalanced. It contains bugs that will kill the dogs. If it's got bones in it, they will definitely pierce the bowel, cause peritonitis and the dog will die. I've seen vets who don't advocate raw, but they talk about it. Now, these people have been so brainwashed that they will tell lies. They will say I see dozens every week of people eating raw with gastrointestinal diseases. I see bowels perforated. I have to pull bones out of stomachs. I do all these operations.
I see the results of imbalanced diets, all these diseases of excess or deficiency. They're telling porkies but they do it because they feel they're doing their clients a service. They've been told how dangerous those things are and so people listen. This vet is a god as far as animal science building is concerned. Why would this person tell me anything other than the truth? This perception out there amongst people. Our vets honestly believe that fresh foods are bad and they don't make that leap. Would I eat this way? Would I assume fresh foods? Would I not eat salads?
Neal: Balanced incomplete makes no sense. Balanced incomplete, when you think about it, is insane.
Ian: It comes back to the roundabout the 50s, but it also comes back to a commercial imperative. If you're going to sell food, a commercial food, the simplest way is to make each meal a complete meal in terms of nutritional balance and completeness.
Neal: That’s that razor's edge we were talking about earlier.
Ian: That's right. You can come close to that with real foods. We did this with raw foods that we were selling for many years. Again, the epidemiological evidence was absolutely brilliant. These animals were so healthy and so many problems just cleared up, just with this change in diet.
Neal: Obesity, diabetes, lower incidence of cancer. I see it in my store every day.
Ian: That's right. This is what happens. The complete and balanced myth that every meal has to be complete and balanced arose in the 1950s. Well, the history tells me and I'm getting this from somebody else that it was Colgate-Palmolive who moved from using animal fats for their soap to using palm oil, basically. Suddenly, there was all this fat left around. What do we do with it?
Neal: You can't just throw it in the landfill.
Ian: Well, no. Let's make some money out of it. The dentists were already in the hands of these people and they said, “We've got the dentists on board with toothpaste and all that sort of thing. Why don't we get the vets on board?” They’re already selling these biscuits, which are not complete. If we add fat to this and make sure there's minerals and vitamins added in, we can make complete and balanced pet food.
What we have to do is get a sales force to sell it. The most obvious sales force are the people in direct contact with the pet-owning public. That turns out to be veterinarians. If we can sell to the veterinarians the idea that we're providing, or not only that we're providing this food, but every animal must have a complete and balanced diet at every meal. Then, suddenly, we have got the perfect solution to selling our products, which are complete and balanced. Remind you, that complete and balanced changes every year and all that sort of thing. Putting all that aside, they had the perfect business model.
Today, our vets have a brilliant business model. They can sell very high-end expensive food that doesn't appear to cause a problem but does cause a problem that actually creates the patients. It brings them back, but then with a very bad degenerative disease, which is costly to diagnose, costly to treat, et cetera. What a brilliant business model where you create the disease for which you have the solution, and which has professional and public approval.
Neal: It's weird because I say to people who come into my store and they tell me what happened at the vet, and why they're coming to me because they've lost faith, which is sad to see because they rely on that person for good medical advice. I say to them, well, what does your common sense say to you? Fresh food is better or Nestle, Mars or Colgate. Which one's better? Those guys, the boxed foods, bagged foods, they last a year and a half on a shelf, or fresh foods, your common sense. You tell me. Which would you eat?
Ian: Of course, but, unfortunately, the veterinary profession cannot see that. They certainly can't see the benefit of real foods and homeostatic mechanisms despite their scientific training. It's too simple.
Neal: Similar to the oncologists we were talking about earlier.
Ian: They're even worse, in many ways, because they're brainwashed by The Big Pharma, who is using them to sell their awful chemotherapies and radiation, all of that. It's such a science now--
Neal: It’s tragic.
Ian: It is tragic. If you ask an oncologist, does he expect to win? I think it would be a terrible profession or branch of the veterinary or medical profession to be in. You are just expecting constant failure. It's awful. I couldn't do that kind of medicine. In fact, I remember walking out of a lecture way back in the 80s. There were some specialists from overseas and they came in and they were talking about cancer and the first lecture was about surgery. They showed pictures of dogs with these terrible oral and facial tumors. They just said, “Just cut it out.” Then they showed pictures of dogs with all of their bottom jaw removed and the tongue drooling out.
Neal: Whatever happened to quality of life?
Ian: None whatsoever. I walked out of that lecture. I thought this not the way I was taught. It wasn't my vision of being a veterinary surgeon, or how to deal with this. I was already seeing promise, I didn't know why, in my own patients, who were just fed a real food diet. They either were not getting enough, they did get it later in life. We could actually cause it to regress by getting them off all or any processed foods. A lot of people, they would feed fresh, but then say, “Just feed a bit of dry food because it says on the package it's got everything a dog needs.”
Neal: Just in case.
Ian: That would be an... We took him off that and we saw so many-- I didn't even know about the ketogenic diet then but we saw so much improvement. Just thank you for the opportunity, in my bumbling way, to spread this message. It is complex.
Neal: This book is amazing. This book here, it is absolutely phenomenal. I gave it to my brother-in-law, who's a big health nut, you could say. Great guy, dives super deep. Immediately, everything was being highlighted and it was just awesome. It's just phenomenal book.
Ian: I have to write things down to understand them. [chuckles] In many ways, I think writers don't make good speakers because, when I write something, I have to rehash it about six times before I get it right.
Neal: Just real quick, I know we're running short on time.
Ian: That’s okay.
Neal: One other myth or two other myths I wanted to cover today was, they're opposite each other. I have trainers who come in who say they have this hyperactive dog, and they want to put them on raw because it'll calm him down. I have other people who come in and say, "I don't want to put my dog on raw, because it'll make them vicious." Which is it?
Ian: It calms them down most definitely. There's a whole group of trainers in Australia that will not train a dog unless you switch to raw.
Ian: This does not make them vicious. In fact, in the history of mankind, I think it was Jared Diamond, it could have been. One of those writers or somewhere, it's been documented that those peoples who are raised on a mainly carbohydrate diet are far more warlike and dangerous people. Think of the Maasai, they're a very gentle people and they live on blood and milk animal product.
Neal: Yes, they milk the cows on both ends.
Ian: The answer is the people who say, "I want to calm my dog down," that is the way to go. They'll be hyperactive, but they'll be happy hyperactive and not vicious. Part of the problem with mental aberrations is and I make this point all the time in lectures and what have you, if you want to produce your car to run properly, you put the right parts in, the right fuel and the right oil. We do the same with our dogs, they run better and that includes their brain.
Ian: Again, its simplicity itself. The by-chemistry behind is fairly complex, but you don't have to know any of that. Just feed food. Don't worry about…
Neal: Exactly. Dr. B, I think our time's up with you today. I just wanted to say, thank you. Deepest gratitude to you. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. I hope we've covered all the things you wanted to say. For those poor people who don't get the opportunity to win the book, where can they find it?
Ian: Just go to my website, www.drianbillinghurst.com. It’s triple W, D-R, as in Doctor, so it's drianbillinghirst.com. Yes, thank you for the opportunity to chat. I'm very happy to chat about these things. I'm just happy to talk about whatever comes up and thank you for the opportunity.
Neal: Thank you very much, sir. I'm just going to stop the recording here.