# 102 — Maximizing Performance Health w/James LaValle R.Ph.,C.C.N.M.T.

“Exceptional performance health isn’t easy, but it’s worth it”

James LaValle R.Ph.,C.C.N.M.T. is an internationally recognized clinical pharmacist, author, board-certified clinical nutritionist, and expert and educator in integrative and precision health with 35 years of experience.  Jim is best known for his expertise in uncovering metabolic issues keeping people from feeling healthy and vital.

In episode 102, Jim talks about his soon to be released book for athletes with an emphasis on solving whole body issues by building a resilient gut.

James P. LaValle

James LaValle’s experience covers super athletes to individuals struggling with chronic health complaints. LaValle is currently affiliated with George Washington University as a clinical instructor in the Masters of Integrative Medicine Program, James has authored 16 e-books and 20 books including the most recently released, Your Blood Never Lies, as well as his best seller, Cracking the Metabolic Code, along with Smart Medicine for Healthier Living, Nutritional Cost of Drugs and The Cox 2 Connection. He was named one of the “50 Most Influential Pharmacists” by American Druggist magazine and has done well over 1000 media appearances on T.V. and radio.


Discussion outline:

Jim’s background and history of helping people to get healthy and improve performance

  • Working with thousands of people
  • Working with professional athletes

Athletic Performance improvement

Bio markers for sports performance. Biomechanics and biochemistry need to intersect in order to have a healthy person who is training.  You can start an inflammation cascade due to an injury or you can get injured because you have inflammation in your body.

Key takeaways:

  • Many common medications are detrimental to gut health (antibiotics, statins, contraceptives, metformin, proton pump inhibitors, SSRIs, laxatives)
  • Joint & muscle pain can come from a leaky gut and food sensitivities
  • Eat more plants for fiber and other phytonutrients (3 vegetables for every 1 fruit)
  • While you are fixing your gut, target a modified low-carb (not keto), low allergen (avoid dairy, corn, soy, gluten shellfish, pea protein powder), anti-inflammatory diet. Have a varied diet; don’t eat the same foods all the time.
  • Stress = feel overcommitted, trouble sleeping, crave carbohydrates, eat past feeling full, get dizzy upon standing
  • Slower recovery from exercise as we age is not inevitable, it is related to poor gut health which contributed to unmanaged stress (HGH, testosterone decreases)
  • Help for gut: glutamine for athletes, cat’s claw (500-1000mg), berberine (fix leaky gut and more), digestive enzymes for bloating & gas, chew food well (better digestion)
  • Blood markers of poor gut health and chronic inflammation: MPV, hsCRP, MEBs: monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils (add up to >9%, have gut issue), basophils>1% means stuck in inflammation and repair mode (over training), insulin > 5 or 10 means excessive adrenaline, cortisol near or over 22 means probable leaky gut, low ferritin (even with normal iron) is a sign of inflammation (which is lowering red blood cell production)
  • Long COVID and other brain fog can be due to changes in the poor functioning of the gut microbiome causing neuro-inflammation
  • Bone loss: gut disregulation or stress or taking a PPI …reduced absorption of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D…plus low testosterone results in bone loss. Correlated with increased artery calcification

Cooling chronic Inflammation

Meta-flammaton. Metabolic inflammation

Network biology thinking. Is everything in balance?  Imbalance leads to triggering a sympathetic dominant ….blood sugar goes up..more adrenaline…inflammatory cytokines. Get ready to fight. But it should reset but doesn’t.  Everything in your life to this point has an impact. Exercise during life. Exposure to toxins during life. Drug therapy now or in past.

Meta inflammation leads to inflamaging


  • Diet – eat too much , too late, too often, wrong foods, don’t chew food well, don’t do 18-6, but follow circadian, get fiber and resist starch, modified low carb to fit you, low inflammatory and low allergen (gluten and dairy are the easy targets)
  • Stress – flatten cortisol curve.
  • Pesticides/ household exposures
  • Medicine (PPI, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, statins, metformin, corticosteroids ). Need less antibiotics by having a stronger immune system (de-stress!). Stress drives T cell senescence.
  • Over exercise
  • Alcohol / smoking
  • Genetic predisposition

How to tell if you have a problem? 

  • Blood pressure, RHR, HRV clues to sympathetic dominance.  When stress is high brain gets on alert and drives gut to be leaky.
  • Leaky gut leads to brain fog, afternoon tiredness and inability to think clearly.
  • Dislipidemia: higher apoB, more oxidation of LDL, endothelial disfunction…not a statin deficiency
  • Lose growth hormone production. Start to lose muscle. Sarcopenia. If cortisol is high. “Whatever syndrome “
  • Iron. Adequate iron (or low) but poor ferritin. EPO production goes down. Can’t make red blood cells as well.  Fatigue headaches
  • Insulin resistance- glucose in blood goes up.  50% of population is diabetic or pre
  • Bone loss — osteoporosis
  • Lose neuroplacticity
  • NAD / NADH ratio. Lower energy production leads to Mitochondria function declines.

Blood markers that can point to inflammation being a problem?

  • MPV — marker for metabolic inflammation
  • White blood: neutrophils under 2nd quartile. % MEB <10% is good
  • Lymp to neut. ratio?

Food sensitivities (and difference between a sensitivity and an allergy?)

How to resolve?  Some common solutions.

Keep moving. 45 min of aerobic exercise lengthens telomeres. Resistance exercise improves insulin resistance and retains muscles.  Be smart about exposure to toxins.

Insulin resistance must be resolved…how?

  • Too much or too little exercise. Cortisol high or flat “no curve” leads to insulin resistance and low testosterone
  • As insulin goes up arteries get stiff blood pressure goes up and damages kidneys
  • Higher sugar sitting around causes all kinds of problems including cancer.  Plus nerve damage and small vessel damage leading to bad blood flow and amputation.
  • Keep growth hormone coming: peptides. Keep igf-1 in range: not high or low, and responding appropriately
  • cut carbs down for awhile, lots of plants, lean proteins, skip allergens like gluten and dairy for a while, bitter melon, ozembic peptide GLP-1 (is berberine a natural alternative?).
  • get enough magnesium
  • Chromium
  • B vitamins
  • avoid a Bad diet Too much sugar or simple carbs
  • Pollution and toxins and pesticides

Stress supplements:

  • Theonine — 300mg x3
  • Relaura  — cuts stress eating 250mg x3
  • Holy basil — gut issues 200-400mg x3
  • Melatonin— high dose 20-30mg until stress goes down
  • Black ginger better than coq10

– Top tips: focus on cortisol and control food intake and appetite. What nutrients do I need to get into and stay in balance to avoid stress and binge eating.  . Alkaline diet. Enough magnesium. Less oxidation.

Keep moving. 45 min of aerobic exercise lengthens telomeres. Resistance exercise improves insulin resistance and retains muscles.  Be smart about exposure to toxins.

How to get a custom solution?

I just can’t go to my doctor to get advice beyond the basic lifestyle solutions.  What do you advise people do when the basics aren’t enough?

Things to be careful about

supplements (liver enzymes), silver bullets vs good basics, too much exercise, testosterone boosters, responsible manufacturing of supplements (NSF, truth in labeling and effectiveness of the chemical)

What ingredients to avoid in foods?

  1. Partially hydrogenated oils
  2. Added sugar — a little is okay but a lot is bad for health independent of body weight
  3. Phytates (iron, zinc) and oxylates (calcium) rob body of nutrients?  No. They bid to minerals in the food being eaten. But over time the body adjusts and avoids absorption issues.  Higher Phytates in urine are indicative of better bone density.  Reduce ACE for improvement in many health outcomes.  Low oxylates. (Avoid spinach, beets as a main calcium source) Kale, broccoli, fortified milk are good
  4. Gluten should be avoided? No. Gluten sensitivity is real. 6% of people is an estimate. Gluten free
  5. Lectins cause leaky gut?. No. Lectins can be toxic but cooking destroys lectins. Very rare. Improperly prepared food. Compare to improperly prepared meat.   Canned beans are safe. Boiling beans until soft makes them safe.

Impact of medications …..25% of drug are “microbiome disrupters”. 

  1. PPI / acid blocking
  2. Ibuprofen
  3. Antibiotics (short and long term)
  4. Other? Blood pressure, statin, metformin,
  5. Drug induced nutrient depletion. Can take a year to happen.
The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.