Greg: All right. Welcome, everyone. I have my esteemed colleague and guest, Dr. Ameet coming at us from Kenya. Welcome aboard today.
Dr. Aggarwal: Greetings, everyone, how are you doing?
Greg: I'm really excited to have you on the summit. We are talking about — this is a mouthful — stress, trauma, liver, leaky gut, adrenals, and brain degeneration, and I love that trail right up there to the Brain Degeneration summit, all of these different facets that you are going to piece together for us, Dr. Ameet.
Dr. Aggarwal: Yeah, it's all interconnected. It's amazing how stress is actually connected to the liver, and I will go right into it. I'm excited.
Greg: Let's start around — we are familiar with this concept of the gut-brain access and how the gut and digestive, and the microbiome is affecting the brain, but you're talking maybe some nuances around the leaky gut and inflammation and how that does specifically relate to brain degeneration.
Dr. Aggarwal: Right. Okay, so you have your gut and leaky gut basically is when the lining of your gut has holes in it because of inflammatory foods and too much antibodies and too many drugs. With leaky gut, we have toxins going to the bloodstream and that creates inflammation everywhere in the body, leading cause for asthma, eczema, arthritis, a lot of chronic conditions, and the oxidative stress from inflammation also damages the brain cells, number one. Number two, chronic inflammation actually elevates cortisol levels and elevated cortisol levels prohibit or inhibit the brain's ability to rewire itself or to heal itself, especially after trauma. After trauma, the brain cells make the readjustment. Your brain is always rewiring itself based on experiences, and after healing experience, it's important for your brain to rewire itself again, so you go back to your neutral or authentic self. Now, if you're inflamed all the time, you won't be able to rewire yourself properly. So chronic information therefore almost inhibits processing of therapy in a very subtle level, so meaning if you're less inflamed, you'll actually go through therapy much faster and better because your brain can rewire itself again.
Greg: Yeah, that makes total sense. You gotta just put that fire out first. On trauma, what kind of trauma, like when I hear trauma or when the viewers are watching and hearing 'trauma,' I mean, there's multiple different types of trauma. Are some worse than others? This could just be a mental-emotional trauma as well, right, not just physical trauma?
Dr. Aggarwal: Right. Yeah, so most of the trauma I deal with is mental-emotional, so anything from — so I deal with a lot of terrorist attacks, rape, sexual abuse, financial losses, breakups, just seeing thugs beating somebody up kind of thing, because I mean, living out here, you see a lot of things, right? So trauma is basically any uncomfortable difficult experience where you feel threatened or helpless, and so after the trauma, even though the trauma is over, your subconscious still holds onto that experience and you're conscious at some level, and you never feel safe again or a part of your body always feels helpless or paralyzed, or in fight or flight mode, and until you process it, because I use EMDR or Gestalt psychotherapy — different therapies, even tapping — until you process that trauma, you are stuck in a subconscious fight, flight, or freeze response, or even a surrender response, like giving up. So you become powerless, and these responses actually change your brain chemistry, your rewiring of your brain chemistry, and so in that state, you are constantly unsafe even though now, mentally, you're thinking, okay, I'm safe. There's a subconscious part of you that is nervous or hasn't healed fully, and that nervousness always drives your adrenal glands into fight or flight to produce the adrenaline, and it burns your adrenal glands out, number one.
Number two, your adrenal glands produce cortisol as a response to stress, and so constant subconscious stress would keep your cortisol levels at a higher level. This, as we talked about, cortisol levels inhibit brain regeneration, so then if there is degeneration going on, you won't heal degeneration fast enough if regeneration cannot happen.
Yes, certain belief systems as well, after trauma, you have a belief about the world, about yourself, about your parents, about your family, about your surroundings, and you never get over these beliefs until you get realizations, aha moments, either through a different experience or through therapy, whether it's like I said, Gestalt psychotherapy, EMDR, family constellations which I'll talk about a bit more as well, all these things free the mind, the subconscious, from trapped states, and once you free yourself from a trapped state, you are out of the fight or flight, so adrenal glands settle down, then cortisol levels settle down, and then brain is healthy — the fire is not going on the brain so much, so healing is more possible.
Greg: Awesome. I want you to talk about the EMDR and other components of what you're doing to heal the trauma and stop that oxidative stress, right? Because there are components, if you never address it, like I think a lot of times, folks are like, okay, that's in the past, it's not affecting me anymore. How do you, I mean, either assess or there's this component of the trauma, if you're not resolved, it's like it's now in the memory back, so you have discovered some things that are very effective at healing trauma. What has your experience been with that?
Dr. Aggarwal: Okay, so whether it's emotional or physical condition, I ask the person, when did this start? So I've had patients, for example, with stomach ulcers or migraines and I say, “Okay, when did this start?” It's like 20 years ago, right? 20 years ago, and they're like, okay. I say, “What happened 20 years ago?” They're like, “No, it's the stomach.” I'm like, “No, no, no,” then I say certain events: was there a divorce? Did somebody die? Was there an affair? All these things, and then I feel them change, you can see right there, they get a realization, they're like, “Ah, yeah, there was an affair,” or something like that, and boom, then I say, “Okay, stay with that feeling and notice what's happening,” and then I'll do either some EMDR where you move your fingers from side to side, you get their eyes to move from side to side. It's called bilateral or processing stimulation, and what that does, it helps the frontal cortex of the brain process what's stored in the limbic brain in the subconscious, and that processing helps you come out of that stuck place, or I'll say, “Okay, stay with the pain and the surprise, and breathe with me and just make contact with me,” and when they make contact with me in a very gentle way, that hidden part of them feels seen and it makes contact with me with love, so I'm giving them love in that moment, and they can relax their defenses, the body armor as William Wright talked about, and once they lose their defense, their body armor, breathing changes, the vagus nerve takes in, the whole physiology starts changing, and a very deep healing happens.
I mean, I've treated migraines with this technique, stomach ulcers, some chronic pain issues — a lot of different things happen, right? I'm not an expert yet on finding the exact emotional thing that causes it but I believe everything has an emotional root and I'm working on that.
Greg: Awesome, awesome. Well, it is so important and as we get into then maybe the constellation work, I interviewed Sarah Payton on that and this is a missing facet for a lot of patients care around ancestral traumas, etc., so maybe you want to speak to that a bit.
Dr. Aggarwal: Family constellations is one of my favorite therapies. Just to remind people what it is, it's basically the belief that we actually carry some of the trauma that belongs to our ancestors. It could be trauma or it could be imbalances in the family system, and as a family constellations practitioner, how I find out what's going on is I'll have either representatives or I'll do it energetically, people or objects to represent your family members, either your parents, your sister, your father, your mother, grandparents, or victims of war or a murder in your family, or even a miscarried or aborted child. People often ignore the fact that an aborted or miscarried child still belongs in the family, and I often see mothers who aborted a child and have anxiety later on and not sure why, and then when we let go of this child with a lot of love and acknowledge that it's part of our heart and our system, the anxiety reduces. If your mom gave birth or had an abortion or miscarriage before you, Greg, then you would actually be the second child in the system, not the first, and when you recognize that, your correct position, the whole nervous system calms down. A lot of physical and emotional conditions are because of unseen traumas or unseen imbalances that occur in your family system, and treating those imbalances is really treating the root cause. So instead of just doing supplements and all that stuff, when you heal the emotional balance, boom, you need less intervention, they are more in balance with their spiritual energy. It's the most powerful therapy I've seen in my life.
Greg: And is it like an ongoing situation or is it like a one off? What's the set up for that type?
Dr. Aggarwal: So generally speaking, you find the answer. I mean, they recommend doing constellation maybe — not doing it too frequently, like not doing it every week but maybe once every three months to give time for everything to come back into line. Usually, you find the root cause in one session but sometimes, trauma has multiple layers and there's different facets, like for example, if my mom abandoned my father when I was very young and I protected my father, I became his partner kind of thing, I have a loyalty towards him, so in my subconscious, in my mind, in my child's brain, I'm the parent to my father, which is very dysfunctional, and the way I'll act to my girlfriend or other people is maybe more dominating or I won't even have space for a healthy relationship because I will be preoccupied with my loyalty to my father. When I can give back my father his power, his responsibility in his life, and I say, “Look, I respect your fate, you're a man and you chose that woman before me, and I'm your son,” he has blessed me as I lived my life. I get so much energy for myself, and then I can embrace a woman in my life, and I can give her now my soul for true partnership, and that makes a healthier relationship. If I am absent kind of thing, then my own children will suffer and get entangled with my preoccupation with my past. That's the spiritual aspect.
Biologically speaking, what happens, and they did this research, so imagine, 9/11, pregnant women, or any terrorist attack, pregnant women suddenly see a trauma, their cortisol levels go up, their adrenal glands keep on firing, so obviously, that's going to change the baby's biochemistry, right? And so children born off of mothers who were in some stressful event, the studies are showing that they are actually more prone to anxiety, OCD, and different mental disorders.
Greg: Interesting, yeah.
Dr. Aggarwal: Yeah, so there's a biological reason as well as a subconscious, I guess, for lack of a better word, spiritual connection to all these things.
Greg: And so you are — I want to go through this line — so you got the trauma component that leads into stress, the stress leads in inflammation, and the inflammation damages the brain?
Dr. Aggarwal: Yeah. Yes, stress and trauma stress the adrenal system and therefore throw off the cortisol levels. Inflammation is caused by improper food, diet, too many antibiotics, etc. which damage the gut, and that causes leaky gut, toxins go into the bloodstream, causes inflammation everywhere, and that also caused the cortisol imbalance which affects the brain.
So we got two things: stress and trauma affecting cortisol levels, leaky gut affecting cortisol levels, and we haven't even talked about the liver yet, so we need to go in the liver –
Greg: Right, and that's right where we're going, so perfect. Because everyone in that discussion, it's always about healing the gut, getting the inflammation down in the gut, and you brought up a great point of what about the liver? So what about the liver, Dr. Ameet?
Dr. Aggarwal: So, very delicately, the liver is the most beautiful organ, I think. It's the master organ according to Chinese medicine. It controls hormonal balances, vitamin storage, immune cell activation, glucose and glycogen storage, fat, cholesterol metabolism — all these things, and our liver is constantly inundated by toxins. It's processing everything that comes into your gut, everything from the environment — all the pesticides, everything, so your liver becomes stagnant, it produces less bile, and with less bile, there's poor digestion, so more gas, bloating, constipation, and a worsening of leaky gut. Now, you need healthy bile flow, of course, to improve digestion. The good bacteria in your gut depend on healthy bile, so if your bile is not flowing well, you are going to get dysbiosis, an imbalance of good flora.
And then, stress also — so in Chinese medicine, stress and frustration affect the liver. It contracts it, so people will get more irritable, more frustrated, and vice versa. If you are an irritable person or a frustrated person and you have a lot of resentment, then your liver will also be affected, and when your liver is affected, you will elicit those emotions. It's a vicious cycle. Anyways, so liver stagnation contributing will cause leaky gut, number one. Number two, with liver stagnation, remember, liver is processing all your cholesterol and all your fats and lipids, and that's super important for brain function. All your phospholipids are going to your brain, so if your liver is stagnant, you're going to have more free radicals floating around in your body creating damage to all your lipids and stuff like that in the brain. So the more you clean your liver with either alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, all these herbs that I mentioned, we call it the homeopathic remedies, herbs such as turmeric and milk thistle are fantastic, then you have less oxidative stress in your body, less damage to your brain, better bile flow. With better bile flow, you'll have less gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, and leaky gut syndrome, right? So everything, it's like unplugging the blockage in the whole system, in the plumbing, so literally, more than the gut — well, the gut, and I don't even like to separate them — don't ignore the liver when healing the gut because if you only focus on the gut and the liver is stagnant, you're going to be disappointed.
Greg: Yeah. Well, when you look at it too, all of the blood flow from the gut gets filtered right to the liver, so it is all going right there.
Dr. Aggarwal: Everything. Everything.
Greg: I love that, and the big piece of this, so folks watching and our viewers might be thinking, well, how does this affect the brain, right? And really, this is the big point, is there are a lot of options that you haven't accessed yet if you haven't been addressing these other facets of care, because you go to the neurologist, you get put on a drug, most of these diagnoses is there is no known cure and it's placating symptoms at best, and what we are offering here is a whole different approach of treating whole people, not just pieces and parts, and allowing the body to heal itself given the right information. These facets that you have brought up around healing the trauma, because that really — a lot of those components, and it may have not even been their trauma, right? It could've been their ancestors, their parents, their grandparents, their great-grandparents, their great-great-grandparents, so really covering that, like everyone in a neurodegenerative state, we need to look at that stuff. So what's your approach with folks when they come in and/or some of the online programs like you have as well?
Dr. Aggarwal: Okay, so my online program focuses on healing the gut, the liver, and the adrenal system with herbs, homeopathics, supplements, etc. because you gotta stabilize and put out the fire that's causing the degeneration in the brain and causing all the symptoms, then I have a whole section, like four or five different videos — in fact more — on healing trauma with different exercises, because yes, you gotta heal the body but you gotta heal the mind as well, and you gotta release the subconscious beliefs, the traumas, the pain that you're carrying. Otherwise, if you only heal your body, you'll be perpetually stressing yourself, you'll be thinking negative thoughts. Negative thoughts, of course, change your personality. You won't be exercising as much, you won't be confident enough, you won't be going for what you want in life, so you'll be limiting yourself based on trauma, so we gotta heal that as well and that automatically, you take better care of yourself.
Greg: Awesome, yeah.
So through the gut and the liver, so you've got the liver herbs, the homeopathics, you are really big in the homeopathics and it's one of your main modalities that you use, do you do like, classical homeopathics or acute prescribing, or some combination of both, what do you do with that?
Dr. Aggarwal: I do both, I do both because what I find is there a certain homeopathic remedies that are fantastic for the liver and there are certain homeopathics — and my online course does this, goes through all the different remedies, the homeopathic remedies for specific types of trauma — so you have homeopathic remedies for shock, sudden shock, you have homeopathic remedies for betrayal, if your girlfriend cheated on you or your boyfriend cheated on you, or you lost your loved one, you have homeopathic remedies for failure and suicidal thoughts, you have homeopathic remedies for low confidence. So I use homeopathic remedies for situations, and then I also find the constitutional one over time. So after I understand the character, the constitutional character of a person appears more clearly when we remove these layers of shock and trauma, and just the inflammation, and that's what I find, it's important to heal the gut as well as use homeopathy and heal the liver as well because there's so much toxicity in people that if you don't remove the toxins, their symptoms are so affected by toxins, you don't know what their real constitution is. It's like somebody coming to you on 10 medications, 10 psychiatric medications and they are completely stoned out, you don't know what their personality is like truly because they are numbed out, so somebody with liver toxicity, it's super important to just clear all the toxins and I get a clear picture of okay, what is this person's true anxiety about? Is it a physiological thing? Is it a gluten sensitivity, or is it because the father shouted at them when they were five years old and they haven't recovered? And we call this complex. When you heal that, boom, like the confidence comes up, even testosterone levels change because imagine you are staying in a subservient state, always apologetic, always fearful, you are going to convert more of your testosterone into estrogen, you're going to be very timid, but suddenly, you free stuff up, physiology changes, adrenal glands change, and you get a charge, you feel more confident. Your hormones come more into balance as well. And that, of course, affects the brain then.
Greg: Love it. Are there specific brain remedies or when you're addressing folks in a brain degenerative state or neurodegenerative state, are there other remedies that you think of or herbs, or other prescriptions that you put into the program?
Dr. Aggarwal: Yeah, so in the program, I discuss about restoring the adrenal gland function to save the brain because remember, a lot of brain degeneration is inflammation and adrenal fatigue, so all your speakers probably talked about leaky gut, so probiotics, vitamin D, fish oils, etc., and that's fantastic, of course, but you gotta heal the liver, one, because that's almost a secondary source of information. And then, adrenal support is super important because a lot of people have burnt out and their adrenal glands is just wonky. When you support the adrenal glands, I find the brain just recovers so fast. It's almost like the adrenal glands and the brain are one organ, and they are in a way, right? The hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal axis is a very strong — how would I call it? Link. Anytime somebody feels stressed or threatened, they produce adrenaline right away from their adrenal system, and so when you support the adrenal gland and you feel more stable and resilient, then what happens is they calm down actually, so adrenal herbs are not only stimulating but they're actually nourishing to the point where you feel more stable, and when somebody feels more stable, you have less anxiety and with less anxiety, the brain almost feels safer to heal itself because it's not in protective mode.
And then, of course, I use the homeopathic remedies as well for shock and trauma, and for adrenal fatigue. One is phosphoric acid, I love using that one, but there's others in the course where we are really supporting the adrenal system to recover energetically, so coming out of that frenzy and so I use homeopathy to change the vibrations of the system, and when the frenzy has reduced, the adrenal glands are still depleted and that's when you throw in the herbs like Rhodiola, Ashwaghandha, whatever is needed to now nourish the body. It's like the food now, so homeopathy is almost like the counseling in a build — you release the trauma with the homeopathy and then you bring in the food and the nourishment to the body to build itself.
Dr. Aggarwal: And there's other herbs you can use to increase blood flow to the brain, like ginkgo and rosemary, things like that. I do that, of course, as supportive therapy but I was really focused on first healing the pillars of health, the root cause, which is trauma, ancestral trauma, and then the gut, the liver, and the adrenal system.
Dr. Aggarwal: Because then, when you do that, you need less remedies overtime.
Greg: Yeah, that emphasis on the root cause, and you really dialed it into what exactly you are seeing to get the most benefit for the most people, is going out to those core issues.
Coming down the end here, is there anything else that you would like to share with our viewers and listeners out there around their brain health, healing, whatever comes to mind?
Dr. Aggarwal: Intuitively, what I am drawn to say is self-forgiveness and love. We have a lot of self-criticism going on in the body, negative thoughts — I'm not good enough, I need to be better, more successful, da da da. All this pressure on the mind — not good enough based on standards the media is putting out there, personal growth courses, all these things. It's exhausting, it's exhausting our nervous system. So I think self-love and self-forgiveness is such a healing experience that it takes your body out of fight or flight because self-criticism is strongly connected to autoimmune, right? Attacking the cell, so just going to more self-forgiveness, self-love, and hugging once in a while — there is research coming out where loving acts are really healing. So yeah, please, love yourselves more.
And then, I plead to everyone, I'm doing community work out here in Kenya, so please get my book and the online course, and just spread the love, really, because love is what's missing, I think, for a lot of people. We are starved.
Greg: We are, and we do need more love, so I'm full-on in alignment with you. I want you to talk about your work in Kenya, what you are doing.
Dr. Aggarwal: Okay, I started these mobile clinics for communities that don't have healthcare, and driving around in a jeep and sitting under a tree, and so I wrote my book and the online course to help raise funds for this because I just like to give back to people who are supporting the cause, and so whenever I get enough funds, I'll support that community work or an orphanage here, or there is a disabled children's home now we have in my town where children are abandoned because of deformities. They were just abandoned and this wonderful nurse has picked them up from the villages, so yeah, we just try and help out, we are just trying to help out.
Greg: Lovely! You know, we were talking before we got on the air and you, at one point, had students coming down to help with that work and really learning kind of bush medicine of how to provide care in the wild, literally.
Dr. Aggarwal: Yeah, so I would coach students from around the world to come and volunteer with me, so they have clinical experience, and we learn a bit of the herbs here, but mostly, we focus on homeopathies, we'll train them on how to use homeopathy effectively for acute conditions. Now, my goal is to raise enough funds to make it more affordable for students to come and I actually want to train students from around the world on treating mental health conditions, that's my new project, to come and volunteer with me and also go through a personal coaching program. I teach every year in Italy now where people go through a transformation process to heal their own self, their own traumas and beliefs, so that they become more clear and effective with their patients. I'm trying to create better doctors out there. I mean, most naturopaths, everyone out there is wonderful. I'm not saying that I'm better than anybody, you know what I mean? Sorry, that came out a bit strange, but I want to help students and naturopaths become more clear within their heart, so that they can hold a space better for clients.
Dr. Aggarwal: So learning how to do the whole adrenal, liver, etc. and healing the trauma.
Greg: Oh, I love it! You know, I'm really excited to help get your message out, get some support going for your work because it's so important, and I really appreciate you coming on the Brain Degeneration Summit and sharing this information with us.
Dr. Aggarwal: Thank you, and I'm waiting for you to show up on my doorstep in Kenya because we are going to do a mobile clinic together, I promised you that.
Greg: I'm coming, I'm taking you up on that. Alright, thank you, Dr. Ameet.
Dr. Aggarwal: Lots of love, lots of love!
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