Ancestral Health Symposium 2017:
A Brief Review
Last week (09/07) Kristin and I attended the Ancestral Health Symposium 2017. It was my first time attending this event. I wanted to share a few things I learned and my experience. I will narrow this down to my favorite talks I attended. Each talk was 40-45 minutes long with 5-10 minutes at the end for questions. There were two rooms going at once, so I had to make a choice on what interested me more.
The symposium started out with a tough choice. Dr. Chris Masterjohn “Are We All Evolved to Eat High Protein?” or Robb Wolf “It’s Not Your Fault: How You're Wired To Eat”. I had to go with Dr. Masterjohn. (Thank you NTA for having Robb Wolf at the 2017 conference. I feel like this would have been similar to his talk I listened in on in March).
Dr. Masterjohn’s talk was very interesting. He spoke about high protein diets, and if they are right for the masses. We know a high protein diet is not for everyone. Did you know how easily the toxic ammonia, a metabolic by product, builds up in the system if the system is not running properly? He really dove deep into the biochemistry of how the body would break down proteins and utilize them. He also pointed out a few genetic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP’s) that prevent the body from breaking down nitrogen and urea cycle defects resulting in hyperammonemia. He had a few case studies of seemingly healthy young adults dying from these rare genetic disorders. What I took away from this was overeating protein is really a harmful thing on the body. I know about protein and gluconeogenesis, but I didn’t realize how taxing the excess nitrogen and uric acid is on the kidneys and liver.
Click here for Dr. Chris Masterjohn’s website
Next up was a wonderful talk on Phyto-biologic warfare. This was presented by a charmingly enthusiastic ND resident, Guillermo Ruiz. During his time, he discussed his studies of carnivorous plants and how they adapted and evolved being able to produce enzymes to break down the insects they feed off. He focused on Sarracenia Purpurea. He spoke about using the botanical extracts of this plant with great success to treat and cure viral and bacterial infections. He also spoke on how plants have evolved. They have become more resilient and even at times dangerous for humans. This may have been my favorite talk of the entire event. He was so excited to be giving evidence based studies on simple botanical extracts being able to kill off pathogens. So nerdy and so cool!
Click here for Guillermo Ruiz’s website
Another of the talks that spoke to me was Sally K. Norton, PhD. She very well could be the oxalate queen! She gave an eye-opening description of just how damaging oxalate crystals are to our bodies. She was prepared with slides of oxalate crystals in thyroid and breast tissue. She had pictures of oxalate mouth burns. These crystals resemble dagger like darts and they are destructive! I had a huge ah-ha moment. I have had many clients tell me that they have done a juice cleanse or started on green smoothies and they felt terrible afterwords, leaving them with a more inflamed gut than they started out with. Dr. Norton pointed out that when you blend or juice these high oxalate fruits and veggies the crystals break up and become more concentrated! She has a great website designed to help educate the masses about oxalate toxicity!
Click here for Dr. Sally K. Norton’s website
I am always interested in cancer talks. Although, outside my scope of practice, I am fascinated with natural treatments and preventative measures for cancer. Grace Lu, PharmD and Nasha Winters, ND gave an engaging lecture titled “The Dirt on Cancer and Chronic Disease: Modern Treatments Merge with Ancestral Sensibility”. A mouthful yes, but they kept me engaged the entire time. They spoke all about poop and the gut. Yay, poop! They highlighted studies regarding the change of the human microbiome since modern food has taken over. Sickness and chronic disease has become the norm since this switch from our ancestral diets.They gave examples of using an ancestral diet, movements, and modern therapies such as hydrotherapy and saunas to help detox and return the body to an “ancestral terrain”, also to remind us “all disease starts in the gut!”
Click here for Grace Lu’s website
Click here for Dr. Nasha Winter’s website
That rounds out my favorite talks I took the most away from. Not to say that I did not enjoy the rest. Here is a quick shot of the other talks I really enjoyed.
Dr. "MTHFR" himself, Ben Lynch’s talk was on “Dirty Genes”, his new book coming January 2018. Website
Nick Mailer, “How the “New Man” Inadvertently Sabotaged the First Ancestral Food”. FaceBook
Rand Akasheh, PhD, “Breast Cancer Pathogenesis and Dietary Recommendations” More Info
Lastly, they had a dental panel featuring three ancestral based dental physicians that had a lot to say about the narrowing of dental arches, plaque bio-films useful for the symbiotic relationship in the mouth, and the direct relationship between gut health and oral health. They all had great insight and ideas on ancestral health mixed with modern dentistry.
This adventure was so worth the $249 price tag. Three days were filled with wonderful information and engaging speakers. I plan to do some more in-depth research on a few things that really caught my attention. I have already begun an experiment on my mother, utilizing a low oxalate diet. I also have recommended a colleague check out the urea cycle disorder with one of her clients. Anytime I can attend an event with 150 like-minded humans I am happy. Lots of bare feet, glass vessels, and yoga pants! Overall, two very enthusiastic thumbs up!
A Few Candid Shots! We ran into our NTA friends and fellow NTP's, Mackenzie Rogers and Daniele Della Valle! Kristin and I were super excited for our first day of school!
Melanie Figeley, NTP
Biotics Research NW
Customer Success Manager
Blood Chemistry Fundamentals