Vitamin D Expert Dr. Matthews – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 566

Vitamin D Expert Dr. Matthews – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 566

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Conversation With Surgeon and Vitamin D Expert Dr. Matthews – InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode 566

Hosted by Amanda Williams, MD, MPH

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InViteⓇ Health Podcast Intro: Welcome to the InViteⓇ Health Podcast, where our degreed healthcare professionals are excited to offer you the most important health and wellness information you need to make informed choices about your health. You can learn more about the products discussed in each of these episodes and all that InViteⓇ Health has to offer at www.invitehealth.com/podcast. First time customers can use promo code PODCAST at checkout for an additional 15% off your first purchase. Let’s get started!†

*Intro music*

Amanda Williams, MD, MPH: [00:00:39] I am Dr. Amanda Williams and wow, there are so many wonderful nutrients that I can go on and on about when it comes to detoxification. But I will hold off on that because right now, as I have been telling all of you this week, that I have the distinct honor and privilege of talking to one of the world renowned top vitamin D experts. And for me, this is so important because I’ve been in this field for so long, and I actually remember reading an article by Dr. Matthews many years ago, and I was so inspired by it because as you have listened to me on the radio, you know, Vitamin D is kind of my my go to nutrient. So to have the ability to talk to Dr. Matthews, who has just recently retired from being a trauma surgeon and critical care surgeon, he is just a wealth of knowledge on vitamin D. And so we are going to talk about this today, just to give you a little bit of a background. He is so well well-regarded in the medical community. He was on faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine and a trauma surgeon over at Grady Memorial Hospital for many years. He did his fellowship in trauma and critical care up at Mayo Clinic. So it is such an honor and he is just so many awards and accolades. And so it’s just my privilege to to welcome Dr. Leslie Matthews to the show today. How are you, Dr. Matthews? † [00:02:20]

Dr. Matthews: [00:02:21]  I’m doing great, Amanda. Thanks for having me on your show. †  [00:02:23]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:02:25] Oh, I’m so happy. I read an article that you did many years ago talking about Vitamin D, and I thought, oh, my gosh, hallelujah. We’ve got we have a surgeon that is paying attention to the importance of vitamin D. And I found it so intriguing that not only did you really zero in on, you know, just the difference between obviously acute inflammation and chronic inflammation and seeing that in different settings within the critical care environment, but recognizing how many patients present with vitamin D deficiency and then how you have expanded that out and really got into the athletic end of that. So maybe you can tell me just a little bit about the surgical experience and how you got so involved in Vitamin D so many years ago. † [00:03:11]

Dr. Matthews: [00:03:13] Well, I remember back in medical school, we had a professor doing a lecture who stated that if you eat three healthy meals a day, that’s all you needed to do. And so I knew at that point that you can’t eat three healthy meals a day because vitamin D you only get 10% of vitamin D from your diet. So you get 90% of vitamin D from the sun. And society has changed. Back 50 years ago, we used to be an agriculture society where people hunted fish, kids played outdoors. Now we are a technological society where everybody is on a computer. Very few people get enough sunlight. So vitamin D deficiency is more common than the coronavirus pandemic. So vitamin D deficiency is a pandemic within itself. Half of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient due to air conditioning and sunscreen and all the modern lifestyles.† [00:04:05]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:04:07] And that is so true. And I talk about this and I actually was just talking about the study with the New York Giants and how when they tested out the serum vitamin D levels of the Giants players many years ago, they found that over 80% of the players were in insufficient status. And so it kind of drives back to that point that you recognized so many years ago in saying, hey, you know, this, there needs to be a primary focus. And I know that in your time at Grady and at other hospital systems that you were really trying to to stress this point to to other physicians in the hospital saying, hey, we need to be testing serum vitamin D and even working with a nutritionist and saying, let’s look at vitamin D levels, because if we can make these corrections in vitamin D, we can really start to provide much better care. So, yeah, when it comes to the athletics, I know that you have been very much so involved even with with those those roll tides down there in Alabama. So when it comes to athletics, do you think that there is enough emphasis on this? Because there have been so many studies now that have shown and impressed upon that, even with heal time, with injuries that Vitamin D are so critical. Are you starting to see that we’re starting to make a little headway when it comes to to the athletic arena? † [00:05:31]

Dr. Matthews: [00:05:33] Well, we are not making enough headway fast enough. Some of the coaches have embraced it and others have not embraced the science. Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, are very smart, very intelligent men. So they embraced it right away. And I remember the first question Coach Nick Saban asked me or asked nutritionist saying the head trainer what was his vitamin D level. So that’s why he’s a winner he’s won seven national titles. And Kirby Smart has won one. They’ve embraced it faster than other coaches have. So coaches are not embracing as fast as they should and actually makes a big difference in athletic performance, injuries, concussions, sprains, strains. And like you said earlier, over 80% of the New York Giants football players with vitamin D deficient. Same thing in hockey, basketball and other sports also. †  [00:06:21]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:06:23] Yeah. And it’s it’s just it’s it blows my mind because I’ve been doing this for many years now and I actually was up there in your your area for for some time. I did my third and fourth year of medical school. I was in Atlanta and I did predominantly. I was over at Crawford Long, but I actually had one elective rotation over at Grady where I was doing nephrology. And I reflect back on this now, I must tell you, Dr. Matthews, and I think, you know, do we even put any emphasis on really assessing vitamin D levels in the nephrology clinic? And I honestly, I can’t I can’t recall that. I think, like, how off are we in the traditional training of doctors that we just really don’t put any emphasis on vitamin D other than it’s, oh, it’s good for your bones when technically we know that Vitamin D is a hormone. So maybe you can to kind of explain that to us a bit. †  [00:07:18]

Dr. Matthews: [00:07:20]Okay. There is a big difference between a hormone and a vitamin when they discovered vitamin D 100 years ago. They had a vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin C. So the next substance, they just named it vitamin D, not knowing that it was a hormone vitamin is like a spark plug. It just makes chemical reactions go at a lower temperature. So when you eat, your body stays at 98.6 degrees. It doesn’t rise up to 120 degrees. A hormone works in your blood and it works in multiple different places, just like testosterone, for instance, on a young male, when testosterone is produced, it affects the voice, it affects facial hairs, it affects fertility and it affects muscle development. So there are receptors for vitamin D on every cell and tissue in your body. So it makes it a hormone that has multiple effects besides just making your bone strong. † [00:08:12]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:08:14] And this is so true, and this is one of the areas that I impress upon our listeners all the time is, Hey, you need to get that serum vitamin D level assessed every year. Because as you were even mentioning, you know, oftentimes people are they say to me, oh, you know, Amanda, I get enough sun, you know, so I’m sure my vitamin D levels fine. And I always I kind of go back to what you were saying. Well, you know, vitamin D isn’t necessarily absorbed that easily, especially in the setting if someone has a magnesium deficiency on top of that. So when you look at all of the different factors to how vitamin D absorption can be impeded and how many folks, like you said, are walking around either deficient or completely insufficient. And then you look at all of the different chronic diseases that you can start to to tie into that it’s a major problem. And so it’s for me being able to to speak with you on this, because I know that you have such a vast background and knowledge of this. Now, when it came to your practice, did you find that in the setting of critical care treatment that once you started to to zero in on the vitamin D levels being so low and you started to make those corrections, what type of results were you seeing in those critical care environments? † [00:09:34]

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Dr. Matthews: [00:09:36] That’s a very good question, Amanda. We lowered our low incidence of ventilated associated pneumonia from 80% down to 20%, and that was significantly lower. Our mortality rate overall for trauma services from 11% down to 3 or 4%. And we cut our hospital days about three or four days. We cut ICU days about three. Of four days and we had fewer readmissions once our trauma patients were discharged. We had fewer falls on the service, fewer bedsores. We cut our heart attacks and stroke rate in half. And so it affected everything. And we went 12 years without a single lawsuit. Were my residents perfect? No patients were getting out of hospital three or four days faster. Prior to my arrival at Morehouse, they had over $30 million and Malpractice claims against the school. So for 12 years we had zero malpractice. Usually every three or 4000 patients you have a malpractice lawsuit. We went over 20,000 patients without a single lawsuit in a 12 year period. So it lowers your hospital cost law of malpractice insurance. And so actually by using vitamin D on all my trauma patients was saving the hospital money. Really. † [00:10:54]

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Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:10:55]  Oh, my gosh. Is that is that not amazing? I mean, the two of us, you know, can understand that, you know, functionally as to what’s going on in the body. But I think for for some of our folks listening to to really understand that something as simple and and really cheap as vitamin D is that how much of an impact that actually made? Now, I know that you had mentioned COVID, and I know that you were kind of at the forefront of that when the pandemic started as kind of being the guy out there with your your bullhorn saying, hey, you know, let’s focus on some vitamin D levels. I remember seeing the initial studies coming out of Italy where they were showing that serum vitamin D levels being low in the northern part of Italy and the severity of COVID infections in that part of the country versus southern Italy. So did you find that your voice was being heard basically at the start of the pandemic when it came to, hey, we really need to zero in on vitamin D? † [00:11:52]

Dr. Matthews: [00:11:53] Well, I think they they thought it too good to be true. It’s kind of like Einstein summed up all the energy in the universe E equals C squared where previous scientist had about 30 chalkboards of calculus in statistical equations. And so but it actually works like a fields of hormones. So one of the things that vitamin D it enhances your innate and you adaptive immune system. It’s increase your anti-microbial protein levels which fight off any type of infections. So it works against all infection. So with ventilator associated pneumonia, we had bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, fungal pneumonias, and it worked on all of them. Equally great, equally the same. It didn’t matter what type of pneumonia with antibiotics, plus the vitamin B, high doses. All of our patients, like I said, it decreased incidence from 80% down to 20%. There was all polymers, all different types of pneumonias. †  [00:12:48]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:12:51] Wow. And that’s that’s just remarkable. And, you know, it’s one of those things where I often talk to folks and I can’t tell you how many younger people have come to me. And, you know, maybe they’re their soccer players or they they have they’re they’re playing football and they they don’t take any vitamin D. And I’m like, oh, my goodness, we need to, you know, at least know what your vitamin D levels is. It’s likely to be low. But if you’re playing those types of sports in particular, you need your vitamin D. So what interests me about you is when I read this article that you did many years ago, that you were talking about how you got involved into looking at athletic injuries by going out, I believe it was your your nephew’s high school. So I thought maybe you could tell me a little bit about that.† [00:13:40]

Dr. Matthews: [00:13:42] Yeah. So start working on my- [00:13:43]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:13:43] Oh, you know what? Actually, Dr. Matthews, let me have you hold on. They just told me we have to cut to a quick break. So on the flip side of that break, I want to hear the story because I find it so interesting. So we will be right back with Dr. Matthews just after this. I’m Dr. Amanda Williams. You’re listening to InViteⓇ Health Radio. Welcome back to the InViteⓇ Health Wellness Hour. I am doctor Amanda Williams and we are taking care of business right now with the world renowned vitamin D expert Dr. Matthews and Dr. Mathews as I had mentioned, he has so many different awards and honors and he’s been a speaker at so many different events. And he is the go to when it comes to anything, vitamin D. And we’re just having a great conversation here. So, Dr. Matthews, I want to talk a little bit about your your nephew and the football team and how you kind of started to tie all of that together, even when it came to concussions. So if you can tell me how how you came upon that that idea. † [00:14:57]

Dr. Matthews: [00:14:58] Oh, well, actually, like like you mentioned, I started work with my nephew Jordan when he was in ninth grade. He’s about the size of Pee-Wee Herman at the time. [00:15:06]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:15:09]  I love it.† [00:15:10]

Dr. Matthews: [00:15:11] So I worked with him so I placed on a high dose vitamin D. And actually this kid actually was a three time Georgia five, a ten meter high hurdle champion. And as of today, he still has the third fastest time in high school, Georgia, 110 meter high hurdles. His younger brother was a two time five champion, high hurdle champion in the state of Georgia. So with the vitamin D  does is people have always said coaches always said the speed you’re born with is the speed you have. That is not true, you know. So I always think outside the box. So one thing that vitamin D does is it increases the number of fast twitch fibers that you have and it increases the diameter of these fast twitch fibers. So if you have two types of muscle fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch, fast twitch, what you’d normally see in the sprinters, the slow twitch, muscle fibers, what you see in distance runners. So if you can increase the number and the diameter of fast twitch muscle fiber, that person should be able to run faster. So instead of running a 4-7 40 yard dash, they might get down to a 4-6 or 4-5 40 yard dash. So in football, this is very important. So if you have linemen that can run 4-6 point is they could run a quarterback down from sideline to sideline before even gets across the line of scrimmage. And also it increases muscle strength and essentially increase in the muscle fibers. So Jordan was a football player and a track athlete, so he start playing in Martin Luther King High School. The coach was just amazed at how fast and how strong he was the fastest player on the team, the strongest player on the team. So the head coach at the time, Michael Carson, summoned me to you, wanted to meet with me and asked my niece, What do you have, this boy, on, what is he taking?† [00:17:01]

MAINTAINING AND BUILDING MUSCLE – INVITE HEALTH PODCAST, EPISODE 539 >> Listen Now! 

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:17:03] Oh, that’s great. I love it.† [00:17:04]

Dr. Matthews: [00:17:07] So I told him vitamin D. And so I met with the parents and school officials and we devised a protocol, a program for the entire football team. So, you know, Martin Luther King High School at the time became a 5a powerhouse. So they were on the most dominant teams in all the state of Georgia. And first year that we started the program, they had 25 players, a D1 football scholarship. So one of the first team that I work with and everybody called Bills a fluke. And then the next year they had 24 players. [00:17:39][32.2]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:17:41] Oh, my goodness. †  [00:17:41]

 Dr. Matthews: [00:17:43] And so it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. And then they had had numerous concussions a year before. And then so I was looking at everything fractures, muscle strain, sprains and everything. So they went down to zero concussions, a year of working with it. And so remember that, your skull is a bone and just like your arm or leg. So if you look at battering rams, they but he is all day and they don’t get concussions and they don’t fall out normally. And you look at the woodpecker, the woodpecker slams his head into a tree 17,000 times a day and he doesn’t fall off the tree with a concussion or fall out. So the thicker.† [00:18:20]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:18:20]  I’ve never thought about it that way, that’s amazing. † [00:18:22]

 Dr. Matthews: [00:18:24]  Yeah. So Amanda the thicker your skull becomes, that kinetic energy is transmitted to the bone and it starts before we get to the brain or the soft tissue. So making that skull thicker basically protects your brain. And so then even if you do get a concussion, it helps it heal faster because vitamin D is is antioxidant is anti-inflammatory. And so it works on inflammation and oxidation, which are some of the we know now that most diseases are caused by chronic inflammation when it goes from acute to chronic. And the average football player, by the time they finish college, they’ve been hit, you know, had at least 7000 hits to the head or just in practice and games alone. And so if these sub concussive blows that can cause concussions. So you need about 100 g-forces of energy to the here to call the concussion. So if you get 80, 80, 80 and 60, 70 consistent over ten, 12 year period. You still have the chronic inflammation which produces CTE. And so, you know, I noticed that in these players, even in my traumatic brain injury I have a patent right now it’s one of the first patents we use vitamin D in our traumatic brain injury patients and patients that would normally go to a nursing home or a long term rehab center were waking up and going home. And actually, I had one young lady that had one of the severest head injuries that you can have, years ago she graduated from University of Georgia, summa cum laude, and got a masters from the University of Georgia. And she’s married and teaching school now. So now I’m working with a 15 year old kid right now that had one of the worst head injuries. He had a bleed into the brain stem, you know, from a football hit. And he was airlifted to Children. So I got consulted by the mom. She’ll look my name up and they expected this kid not to make it. They were talking about pulling the plug. The doctors are trying to convince the mom to pull the plug on him that he would never live, never survive. And this kid is now at home convalescing. So he’s communicating is he’s back to a GCS of 15 and he’s learning to walk again. Just made his first steps, you know, by himself in rehab. So I expect him to make a full recovery, too. So it does amazing thing. So traumatic brain injury is just the worst of the worst alone, a continuum, you know, concussions, you know, mild, moderate, severe and in the worst traumatic brain injury. So it works in the worst of the worst traumatic brain injuries. So people, even with the traumatic brain injuries, report our mortality rate from 11% down to 6.6% with the traumatic brain injuries. † [00:21:01]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:21:03] Wow. Now now, let me ask you this, because I know that you know what the CTE is, you know, the encephalopathy and, you know, tying different players who have maybe had some issues in the past. And we definitely see this being incredibly problematic. And more NFL players coming out and speaking upon this. Do you think that Vitamin D has even been looked at in any of these players who have or are experiencing the encephalopathy? † [00:21:30]

 Dr. Matthews: [00:21:32] Well, it is not as much as I wanted to. That’s why, you know, I hired an advertising agency to try to get the word out that these players don’t have to suffer these devastating injuries. There is help out there that can help. And so, like I said, I actually have a patient on it. You can Google my name and traumatic brain injury and patent and see that you know I was awarded a patent normally takes over two years to get a patent. So the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had my patent and completed in, what, 18 months? And they commented on it, said, this is a novel and unique treatment for traumatic brain injuries. That was their statement. You know my patient. † [00:22:08]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:22:10] Oh, well, I am going to stay on top of this. I would love to be able to stay in contact with you, Dr. Matthews, because I am I am a vitamin D fanatic, I must say. I’ve been in the the nutraceutical world for many years now. And it’s one of those things where I just keep trying to tell people, you know, vitamin D is it’s the key. And so, you know, your background and your extensive knowledge, it’s been such an honor for me. I must tell you to have you on the show today. And I look forward to to future conversations. And I really just want to express my gratitude of you taking the time out of your day. I know that you’re very busy. And for joining me to to talk about this on on my show today. So, thank you so much for joining.† [00:22:51]

Dr. Matthews: [00:22:52] Well, thank you for having me Amanda have a great day. † [00:22:54]

Dr. Amanda Williams, MPH: [00:22:55] All right. You take care now. So what an honor. I tell you, I have been following Doctor Matthew’s work for for many years now. And with the knowing how many injuries are out there and there is more awareness when it comes to football injuries, but also recognizing the importance of vitamin D when it comes to our immune system, when it comes to chronic disease states and having him kind of break that down in terms of the difference between acute inflammation, which in a case for a surgeon, they want to see that acute inflammation, they want the body to be able to heal fast versus that chronic inflammation. And for those of you who have listened to me for many years on the radio, you know that I’m always going back to that. I talk about Inflammation and the importance of keeping that chronic inflammation in check. So Vitamin D is an integral part to that. So for those of you who are listening, if you’re sitting there going, I have no idea what my vitamin D level is, please go out and get your serum vitamin D level, tested it because it is so critical to so many of the different functions in our body, and I cannot stress that enough. So thank you so much for tuning in today. You’ve been listening to InViteⓇ Health. I’m Dr. Amanda Williams. Stop by one of our InViteⓇ stores. Have a good day. † [00:22:55]

*Exit Music* 

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