Humanized Health: The Future of Personalization
Rebekah Kelley: Welcome to the Humanized podcast, all about personalizing your health. I’m your host, Rebekah Kelley, and today our topic will be Humanized Health, the Future of Personalization, with Marc Isaacson. Before I introduce Marc, I want to remind everyone to subscribe and get all the other variety of casts in audio, video and transcription at HumanizedHealth.com. I’d also like to thank our lead sponsor, Village Green Apothecary, at MyVillageGreen.com.
Marc Isaacson is the president and CEO of Village Green Apothecary, an industry leading integrative pharmacy located next to the National Institutes of Health in the Washington, DC, area. Village Green Apothecary offers a suite of personalized health products and services, including a custom compounding lab and one of the largest selections of health products found anywhere, with over 10,000 products and 500 brands, including the company’s Pathway and Sinus Survival brands. With a highly skilled team that includes pharmacists, nutritionists, a clinical herbalist and naturopathic doctors, Village Green Apothecary has been a trusted source of knowledge and tailored solutions for over 50 years. Mr. Isaacson is passionate about functional nutrition and wellness and is on a mission to change the current symptoms-based healthcare model and help individuals get to the root cause of their health conditions and achieve optimal health. And by creating the Humanized podcast, this podcast, he’s helping to expand the reach of personalized nutrition through education, empowerment, and individualized guidance.
Marc, thanks so much for being with us today.
Marc Isaacson: Oh, totally great to be here. So fun to see what’s going on after we worked all these couple of years to figure it all and sort out this show.
Rebekah Kelley: And we’ve been wanting to have you for a while. So it’s nice that you had some time. I know you’re super busy because you’re running this awesome program, store, all of it, everything that we just discussed.
But I want to jump right in and ask you a question. There’s a crisis of chronic disease in the United States. We’re all aware of it. Seven of the top ten leading causes of death in the US are chronic diseases, most of which are considered preventable. So how is our current kind of one-size-fits-all healthcare model, where we just kind of plug people in, how has that failing us?
Marc Isaacson: So look, I’ll just make it simple, as simple as I can for everyone and say that, just very top level here, it’s kind of incredible when you think about it – our healthcare system today, all the stuff that we’re all paying for, is about 20% of our economy. Huge number. So that number is, give or take, very close to 4 trillion. That’s with a T, 4 trillion dollars. So that’s all healthcare combined, everything, you know, that’s chronic disease, emergency medicine, normal primary care visits, all that kind of stuff. But this is the interesting thing in terms of that number that we’re really focused on and working on. And this is what people don’t realize, is that out of this $4 trillion number, there is approximately 80% of all healthcare costs is chronic disease. So if you take 80% of 4 trillion – it’s easy math, give or take, I can do this much – it’s $3.2 trillion is chronic disease related. But the most interesting number, or the number that we can really all impact that so many people don’t realize is, out of that 80%, there’s like 80% of chronic disease that’s actually fixable. So that’s really 60% of this overall $4 trillion is fixable. So that’s approaching, to the best of my knowledge, is 60% of 4 trillion is $2.4 trillion is the stuff that’s fixable. And when I say the stuff that’s fixable, I mean, this is all these common things that happen all the time. You know, there’s mental health stuff, there’s other brain chemistry stuff, there’s cardiovascular stuff. Everyone knows about diabetes. There’s digestive issues. There’s autoimmune issues, there’s respiratory issues. So it’s all of those different buckets of chronic disease that people have.
The reason why we’ve done Humanized Health and kind of created this content platform that is about bringing these thought leaders in and talking about all these different chronic areas and how personalization can really transform each of these areas, but overall transform healthcare and save literally trillions of dollars, potentially, but it’s certainly hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars to the healthcare system. You know, it’s all driven by the notion that, hey, we can actually personalize now. And we’re at the place where we’ve got incredible bloating. These are the things that people don’t realize yet, or don’t really understand, but I always call this moment in time, this time of convergence. So conversions means we’re at this place. Everyone knows we’ve got handheld phones, whether it’s a Google device or an Apple device, but it’s unbelievable the computing power we have there. So that means we can track all kinds of stuff. We can look at all kinds of data. In the last 20 years, we’ve gone from really, almost no knowledge on the genome to unbelievable knowledge on genomics and DNA and these things called SNPs and variances and all this other kind of stuff. Same thing with lab work. You know, we’ve gone over the last handful of years, just with unbelievably understanding of how labs and your personal biochemistry interact with your genes and cause the wrong genes to express. Then there’s this other thing called epigenetics, which is, simply put, all your external lifestyle data, and that’s anything from the food you eat to the air you breathe to the alcohol you’re consuming or not consuming, or secondhand smoke. And if you’re taking prescription drugs, it’s an impact, and nutrients and stress and working out – you know, all these different things that we can control. And clearly toxins is a huge part of this equation, coming in your body.
For the first time, we understand how all this knowledge base is converging and how it all intersects. And the critical message that we’re trying to deliver with Humanized is, the whole notion of how can we make sure that individuals all over the country, all over the world, understand there’s this incredible ability now to really look at your personal data, your personal information, your genes, one-of-a-kind to you, your biochemistry, that’s through regular lab work at LabCorp and some other [labs] – you know, you can do more involved things – but your biochemistry, one-of-a-kind to you. People don’t understand that. This thing that we call the epigenetics and all the lifestyle, one-of-a-kind to you, and when you marry all that stuff together, so that the challenge is, it’s a lot of data and it’s complex, but the good news is this convergence of all the knowledge base allows us to really, for the first time, really just personalize for you. And this is why we’re doing Humanized, because people do not understand that there’s this unbelievable ability, literally right now, to understand your body.
And the last one, I’ll just close out with this little piece, is that if you think about it, I don’t know the exact number, but give or take a billion to two, we have eight to nine billion people in the world. And what people should realize is, the truth of this, based on all the clinical data and research is, that each of us is unique, based on all this data I just rambled through real quick. And given that, that there’s not, you know, it’s not a ketogenic diet to do. It’s not the vegan or the vegetarian or the paleo diet or Mediterranean. And a bunch of these diets can be great for you, but it really comes down to the fact, where we are today, is there’s only one diet for you, because you are different enough that there’s one diet for you. And Humanized Health is about getting this knowledge base out.
Ultimately, how do you do it? But the phase one, which is Humanized, and the content is say, hey, here’s the potential. Here’s the opportunity that people do not even know about. And we’re at the place in time where literally, relatively speaking, economically, we can sort out a ton of this stuff and we can literally personalize just for you. There’s only a certain set of foods that are for you, that are great for you, and there are the “must avoids.” There’s only a certain set of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, nutrients that are super important for you, ones you need versus ones you don’t need. And then there’s certain lifestyle areas that can be more important or less important to you. So there’s only one, as I say, at the end of the day, one blueprint for everybody.
Rebekah Kelley: I love that. And it makes sense how, when we did the introduction, we talked about all the different specialists and what you guys do, and how you’re aggregating information around having nutritionists on staff, and then the wide range of supplements, and then the compounding pharmacy – it makes sense that it’s all coming together.
Can you talk about the need for personalization of healthcare and how this approach can optimize health, and then how you’re bringing together these different experts on Humanized Health? How that’s fitting together so beautifully?
Marc Isaacson: We understand… hopefully this is an initial good way to look at this. We understand that different people have different pain points and different conditions going on. So as a starting point, Humanized is about having, there’s this fancy word called systems biology, which is… you know, part of this whole personalization realm where everything in the body system is really tied together. So in the traditional allopathic market, in the allopathic system, what’s really challenging is that you have everyone who’s a specialist, almost. I mean, you have primary care, which is kind of like the overview, but if you have something more serious going on, you’re going to the cardiologist, you’re going to the neurologist if you have a brain issue or whatever it might be, you’re going to an immune expert or whatever it might be, or digestive expert, and so forth, endocrinologist with hormones, whatever it might be. All of that stuff has relevancy. The most amazing thing is, though, I’ve seen this so many times with people getting sicker and they start taking prescription drugs and they’ve got two or three different specialists and each of those specialists is prescribing different drugs. I mean, I saw this with my father-in-law towards the end of his life, he was taking 17 different meds. And it’s not that uncommon when you get to 50 plus or 60, where you’re taking four or five or six meds. And the challenge is, there’s never… it just doesn’t happen in this existing system where there’s like a central control point where people are looking at all this stuff and what it all means.
So we’re out there saying, hey, it’s one body, it’s one system. We’re going to have experts in all these different areas. But these experts that we’re bringing in are talking about, hey, if you have digestive stuff, if you have brain chemistry stuff, and this is the most typical thing that people already understand, or even if you have an immune issue, or diabetes, a ton of this stuff is related to the digestive track, it could be related to something else… but your whole body is tied together. So if you’re getting drugs in three different areas and nobody’s monitoring that, and we’re looking at it all – we have some artificial intelligence and in another segment I’ll talk about that a little bit more – but we really have some ability now to look at multiple drugs and look at foods and look at nutrients and look at all this stuff and understand how those things are getting impacted. And looking at things like drug-nutrient interaction and depletion, and so forth. Cause most pharmaceuticals, not all, but 89% of pharmaceuticals deplete these core nutrients that you need. So we look at all that stuff.
And ultimately, today, to make it as simple as possible, we’re trying to get the word out. Just as a frame, just the starting frame, that here is what is out there now. Here is what is possible based on all this convergence. And we’re bringing these different experts in who could explain from their expertise, how the whole body ties together. And whatever their expertise is – brain, cardiovascular area, digestive, endocrine, autoimmune, things I mentioned already – but all of these areas tie together. And if you are having an issue in one area, the crazy thing about this is, and this how I’ll conclude on the segment, the crazy thing about this is that that one area, like immune or digestive, endocrine, related to diabetes, all these different areas – the approach is, when you’re fixing the whole system, they’re really the same. It all ties.
You know, when you’re trying to fix 80% of the chronic disease, thousands and thousands of clinical studies showing that this stuff is fixable, resolvable now, and we’re pulling the technology and the team and the people together to go down that road and we’re already helping people who are smart – MDs and clinical nutritionists and naturopathic docs and people that are pharmacists, they’re all licensed, degreed in their states, and so forth, incredible knowledge base. And at the end of the day, we can go down this road with people and we can fix these things. And the approach ultimately comes down to, it’s as I said in the segment, it is pulling this data together and understanding each of us is unique, and then understanding what is our master blueprint for optimizing our body. And if there is this 8 or 9 billion people, approximately, in the world, there are this many people, there’s 8 or 9 billion different plans, one-of-a-kind plans, and they go like this: the foods for your body, the nutrients for your body, the lifestyle actions you have to take. This critical area – and in the next segment I’ll do, I’ll talk about it a little bit more – but this critical area about toxins. You know, foods, nutrients, lifestyle, all important, but I always call the toxins like the fourth leg in the stool, and understanding your genes now, which we can do, which is super cool, understanding your genes and saying, hey, can we detox or not, or do I have the right genes, am I blessed with the right genes? So if you are blessed with those right genes, which is very rare, unfortunately, you might live to 80 and 90 and you can drink and you can smoke and you can go crazy, but most people are not. But we can now understand that. We can look at that and we can understand what does that mean? How do I identify my toxins? How do I eliminate them? What do I have to do from a lifestyle perspective? Things like sweating, exercising, taking baths, whatever it might be, what are the nutrients that will help do some sort of work-around on toxins so I can detox? So all these things are doable now.
So again, I would just close and say, Humanized and all this content we’re putting out is to make sure that people understand that we can do this stuff and start to give people a feel for where to go. And in this other segment I’m going to do shortly, a little bit about what’s next. We’ll talk about – so this is like, I guess, my little cliffhanger now – so the what’s next is we will totally talk about the steps you actually take, and quote unquote, the actions that you take, and how do you implement and start to go down this path, if you really want to personalize, which we believe is the future of medicine, the steps you have to take.
And I would just encourage people in my close, to say the way that we created Humanized was to deliver it in these shorter bits 10-, 12-, 15-minute segments with thought leaders and we’re delivering it in a way that is hopefully comfortable for however somebody might take in their education and learning, because we’re creating a video version of each of these segments. We’re creating an audio podcast available on all the different podcast networks of each of these segments. We’re doing a little infographic that has a little of the highlights, and we’re also transcribing each one of these things. So I know, Rebekah, you’re out there promoting it all the time, so I appreciate it, but I mean, clearly anyone could go to MyVillageGreen.com and just scroll down and you get access to obviously all of our products and everything else we have over there, and our consultants and people that have the expertise, but we have Humanized, a place where you can just click to see Humanized content, or you can go to HumanizedHealth.com, either way, but you can literally go in and you can just scroll down the infographics and you can click on one of those and you can instantly listen to it, watch it, read it, see the infographic. I encourage everyone to share, because we think this is the big moment of how we transform healthcare. Our goal, and our big, you know, people may not know this word, there’s this big thing called the BHAG [pronounced bee-hag], which is big, hairy, audacious goal. I mean, our goal is 3, 4, 5 years, we want personalization and the ability to personalize everywhere. We want it in primary care, we want in corporate wellness, and we think it’s going to come because not only can you take care of the people that are sick now, you know, 80% of the people that have these chronic diseases, but the super cool thing that we didn’t even talk about, maybe the next segment I’ll talk about it a little bit more, is we can clearly understand almost from birth now, but certainly kids, kids in their teens, adolescence, what their biggest risk factors are, being super – this is the ultimate dream of what we should be doing – being super progressive and figuring out how we can help them upfront, before any of these things… before mental health issues happen, before digestive health issues happen, before they have diabetes, we can understand what are the key components and the most important actions for them to take to minimize their risks. How’s that?
Rebekah Kelley: I love that, Marc. Thank you so much. Those are really valuable insights. And thanks for coming on the show and talking about where this all originated. Humanized Health can be found, as Marc said, at www.MyVillageGreen.com. Let me remind you to subscribe and get access to all the Humanized videos, podcasts and transcriptions from all of our thought leaders on personalized health at HumanizedHealth.com. I can’t wait for our next segment, Marc. Thanks so much.
Marc Isaacson: Awesome. Thank you, Rebekah. Awesome job. Thanks.