Dr. Eric Yarnell – Men’s Health & Urology
DHP’s Ashok Bhandari recently sat down with Dr. Eric Yarnell, ND, RH(AHG) to talk a little bit about the Naturopathic approach to urology and men’s health. Dr. Yarnell is a Naturopathic physician with over 20 years of practice experience. In that time he has also taught at multiple Naturopathic medical schools in the fields of gastroenterology, urology and men’s health, botanical medicine and pharmacognosy, and more. Along with that, Dr. Yarnell, as a writer, has published several educational textbooks for students and practitioners of natural medicine, while also contributing to numerous more texts, research, and articles. He is a highly respected doctor in his profession, and we are super excited to have him share his knowledge with us. (Watch this interview as a video here, or listen to the podcast here).
Dr. Yarnell, welcome!
Thanks, no pressure!
Thank you for being here. So first of all, let’s just kind of describe urology and men’s health. Urology is a relatively well-known term in the medical world, but men’s health is not a very common specialty.
That’s true, it’s not. And particularly, of course, in Naturopathic medicine we’re something like 80% women, so I can understand that. Of course there’s a lot of emphasis on men in the general culture and I think – rightly – there’s a lot of sort of, “wait a minute but women’s health needs to be focused on,” and that’s good. So one thing I want to make really clear is that it’s not either/or. But anyways, you know men have unique health needs that are different than women, and a lot of the same. So this is not just looking at sort of the male reproductive organs, although that is a big part of what I do, but it’s also sort of taking care of all the other aspects, and I’m trying to help men just navigate their way in the world. And I think it’s nice if you can feel comfortable with your doctor and talk about difficult emotional issues or relationship issues, as well as your prostate, you know? All those things. So I do see women of course, because I do deal with basically problems in the bladder and kidneys, but the majority has been working with men.
Okay. And what got you interested or involved in urology and men’s health? Were you always drawn to that, or was it something in medical school?
Well it’s a little bit of a funny story. I was interested in men’s health and sort of this men’s movement that kind of happened in the 80’s and the 90’s, and not as a reaction against women, but as like, “oh wow, feminism! That’s awesome, that’s really helping women, but we also need to sort of raise men’s consciousness,” you know? How we can be a progressive force in the world. So I was interested. But actually, when I started Naturopathic medical school, I decided I want to be a midwife and everyone’s like no forget it that’s not going to work. Even though there are male midwives, like Greg Prosmantur. Like I know that. And now Elias Kass. But anyway, I just basically didn’t listen and I started taking the classes. But I did my first birth and I was awake for like almost three days and I was like no, not doing this. I need sleep, I’m not cut out for this. And then I was like, what do I want to focus on, because that was so much of what I was doing. And I just noticed at that time there was basically no men’s health class, it was like two weeks of urology class. And I thought this doesn’t really makes sense. Like, I get it. Again, woman’s health has kind of been overlooked and it needs to have a lot of focus on, and we had two classes on women’s health. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore half the population essentially. So then I just started really researching myself and at that time, no one was doing this so it was very difficult to learn. But I found it fascinating. And I was clearly helping men right away. One point I’d like to make about that is a lot of people say, “well men don’t go to the doctor, you know? How is that going to work?” And what I came to realize was that part of the reason they don’t go to the doctor – and I knew this was partly my own issue too – was because the doctor didn’t know anything, right? They didn’t know about men’s health. They couldn’t really help me that much. They weren’t trained. It was like so, classic example, all they knew about for an enlarged prostate was the herb Saw palmetto. Which is a very famous herb and that was a true thing. But if that didn’t work, they just shrugged their shoulders like “that’s all I got.” But I knew there has to be more than that, so anyway, all those factors kind of drove me into this now.
Very cool. That’s awesome, you know I’m also interested in it, and I’ve kind of seen that and I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn from you, which has been great. But from the 80’s and 90’s until now, you know you’ve been practicing for over 20 years, how has the field evolved? How have you seen it change, you know? What have been some of the trends?
Well, now there is not just me who is considered a men’s health specialist. There’s a handful of other ND’s and these are both women and men. Which is also really important, I think, that this is not just about sort of male doctors with male patients, just like there are a lot of men that do women’s health. It’s not like that. You can understand someone else’s problem. And so that’s really good. It’s still really small, but there is awareness. And now the class now at Bastyr University is called the male reproductive module. Like it’s a recognition, it’s not just a piece of urology, it’s it’s own thing. So I think there’s a lot more awareness, definitely in the public and I think that’s good. It’s hard to know because I’m in Seattle where we tend to see a greater consciousness among men. So I feel like there is a greater awareness in general that “oh, men should go to the doctor.” The doctors are better trained so there’s something to gain from that. It’s all around about men, but it’s still too slow a pace of change for me and still too small. We really still have a huge need in this field.
Interesting. So overall, you have seen an increase in popularity and acceptance, the amount of conditions or different tests and assessments that have come out?
Absolutely. And I think part of that has been driven by sort of prostate cancer awareness and PSA tests, of course which came out in the mid 80’s. And sort of paralleling what happened with breast cancer awareness and the development of mammography as a test to detect breast cancer’s early. Like that sort of made men realize oh yeah I shouldn’t just wait until this cancer spreads all of my body to do something about it; I should be proactive. And I especially love that because now that’s an entry for me to talk about preventing prostate cancer which is a piece that still is completely absent from conventional medicine. Okay not completely… but very absent, is this idea that we should focus on prevention. So when I see younger men I talk about, “well part of the reason to eat vegetables now is to not get prostate cancer in 20 years.” And I love that. And they get it! Mentally, yeah that makes sense to me. Like, I need to establish these healthy habits now that can last a lifetime. It’s not as if you get cancer and you start eating vegetables and that’s it – your problem is solved. It really takes years for this change to work.
Interesting. And I want to come back to that, but on that topic of trends and you were saying you started looking at research when you started getting into this field. How has that evolved? Has there been more research and information actually available from that side too?
So much. It’s really increased and there’s a little bit of a fight about this in terms of like, “well does women’s health get more research than men’s health.” And that depends. Like, let’s not fight about it. Yeah you can legitimately see there’s an imbalance but it certainly has increased enough that I just recently published my men’s health textbook of two volumes and they’re almost 2,000 pages long with 10,000 referenced. And that took 16 years to compile. But it was there, and it’s definitely growing all the time. I mean keeping up with just the research on prostate cancer, prostatitis, and enlarged prostate, could be a full-time job. I mean there’s huge amounts that comes out about those, so yeah it’s been much better. The other thing that’s really interesting is the change of male infertility which we might go into late, but it used to be sort of like whatever it’s always the woman’s fault. And now they’re realizing “oh, it’s a 50-50,” and we should look at men sometimes. And just the research explosion in that area is another great example.
Very interesting. And ok, you kind of alluded to this already, but how exactly does it fit into your practice as, first and foremost, a Naturopathic physician? You specialize a little bit in the urology and the men’s health area, but when you take a step back and look at your practice as just a physician, what principles of Naturopathic medicine really come up most strongly to guide your practice?
I think a lot of what I do, and maybe I’m diluting myself, but a lot of what I think I do is sort of this idea of find and treat the cause. I don’t like to just say here’s something for your symptom, although I do that because we don’t want people to suffer. I don’t want to just say well this is what’s sort of standard. It’s like, why for you did this happen? And sometimes we can’t figure that out. Like especially with cancer it was probably multiple things that happened many, many years ago, so we have that. Even then, I still think though some of those influences we can change. Again, dietary things, etc. so that we’re not making the cancer worse. But definitely with prostatitis, enlarged prostate, male infertility, like there are many times when we can find the causes and get rid of them and then the person can potentially be cured. I know that’s a heavy word but why not?! Yeah, go try to completely get rid of their problem so that’s important. And really, as I already mentioned, the sort of prevention as a principle and we don’t just focus everything on what’s happening right now but also trying to make changes now. Often I do both, right? It’s like this is going to help the current situation and it’s going to help your symptoms, it’s going to help this problem go away, and it’s going to prevent heart disease and other kinds of cancer and so, we’re always looking for those crossovers. I love that. And one thing that’s tricky about that is it’s hard to see the results, really. It’s hard to see that you didn’t get colon cancer, you know? But everyone gets it though. They’re like yeah I want that outcome even though I know it’s not an immediate response. It’s not a magical pill, or you know a silver bullet, but they can see that their health is better. And also though the outcome I do hear a lot of is increased vitality from these kind of generic measures. Which is making me realize part of the principle I just do and can’t help is this principle of doctor as teacher.
Great. So from the Naturopathic standpoint, we don’t always treat conditions. We’re kind of treating the whole person, we’re treating the individual for their health. But, what are the most common conditions that end up walking in your door in your Naturopathic practice?
I think because I’m a professor at a Naturopathic medical school and I speak at conferences all over the world now, and all my writings, I’ve become kind of a referral doctor, so most of my patients are referred by other naturopaths or students. And therefore I tend to see more complicated and more disease and less of the preventive stuff. So I see a lot of patients with prostate cancer, that’s about a third of my practice. And then a lot with other prostate conditions, those are really common. And now more and more, as I kind of said before, I’m starting to work with patients with kidney disease which, of course, is scary for people. For the patients that have it and also for doctors because it is an area where there’s not a lot of understanding. And obviously the stakes are high, if things don’t go well and if the kidneys get worse. So that’s a lot of it. But certainly erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease, which is a disease of the penis, male infertility, it’s also something that I see a modest amount of. And just a random assortment of other things like bladder infections, which are often related to enlarged prostate in men, and kidney stones.
Ok, so a big, wide range of conditions. And you know it would obviously take forever to go through each of them, but maybe on a more general level or some of the more common ones out of those: what is the conventional treatment like, and how does it compare and contrast with the Naturopathic treatment? How are they different or how are they similar?
Well, uhh, boy…
I know, loaded question!
Well, I’ve been on the warpath for some of these. So I think the two that are most clear, where there’s really stark differences would be with prostate cancer and chronic prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate. Which I actually want to start with that one. So chronic prostatitis is a complex condition, it’s almost certainly actually multiple diseases that have kind of been lumped together. But in conventional medicine, for a long time, there’s just been this theory that it’s a bacterial infection of the prostate, and so the treatment is to give antibiotics. And a small percentage of men do have a bacterial infection and that treatment works. And that’s great. But more and more evidence is confirming what I see clinically, which is that for most men it doesn’t work. Or they get temporary relief of their symptoms and then it comes back. And they’re right back in your office 3-6 months later with another flare-up. And it turns out part of why that is, is that a lot of the antibiotics they use are also anti-inflammatories. So they’re not just killing bacteria, they’re doing that and that helps them you know to feel better but it doesn’t fix the problem. And there’s been this like dogged discrimination that no an antibiotic is an antibiotic. But it’s like, wait, why not see this perspective? So anyway that’s led me to look into sort of the deeper roots, getting back to that sort of why does it happen. And it’s a kind of a crazy complicated story, I know you’ve heard me tell it to patients, but a lot of times the problem actually starts in the gut with this problem called leaky gut. And I know that’s kind of a buzzword, but this is based on research. This idea was not a traditional idea; it’s really something that scientists discovered. These sort of microscopic leaks in the intestines which then when food molecules go through, the immune system sees these things that they would normally never see and they really get upset and then those cells migrate, in this case, to the prostate and provoke all this inflammation. So it’s funny, you know the patient comes in expecting some treatment focused on prostate and here I’m talking about treating the gut. But they’re interested because a lot of times they’ve been going through treatments for years and not getting better. And it’s like well if this will make me not have this pain, I’ll try it. Even if it sounds kind of crazy. And more often then not it really is curative, you know, it’s able to completely get rid of the condition which again that is – I think – the goal. So it looks completely different, it involves dietary changes, and I do use some herbal things to help reduce pain. And I should say there’s another little subset that’s interesting of men with chronic prostatitis or what’s also called interstitial cystitis. Which is that they might have problems in the muscles in their pelvic floor, and really that they’re too tight. And so there’s completely different treatment there: we’re using some hydrotherapy, magnesium, and some herbs to help relax those muscles and so I’ve seen that several times and that’s really rewarding as it works immediately. And often they’re frustrated, saying “why did I suffer for so long when I could have just done this simple program and been cured.” So prostate cancer is another one that’s a big one. And there’s been so much media attention about this because it’s something that a lot of men can really understand, but there’s confusion too. So the main fundamental issue is that prostate cancer again it’s not one thing, there are different types. And this is true for all cancers. But what’s really different about this one is that most prostate cancer is non-lethal. We’re all sort of used to thinking of cancer as this very deadly disease, and there is a form of prostate cancer that’s very deadly, but that’s maybe 20% of men that may get prostate cancer and have it actually spread and threaten their life. So that other 80%, it doesn’t. And this is very well documented in many, many research studies. This is not a theory, this is not an idea that I had, this is a growing consensus. So much so that an article in one of the major conventional medical journals last year said we need to stop calling low-grade prostate cancer, cancer. It doesn’t behave like cancer, it doesn’t spread, it doesn’t kill. The word cancer scares men, and the same thing could be said of breast cancer in a minute; it’s very similar and it’s the same problem, and the same article argued to stop calling low-grade breast cancer, cancer. It isn’t. So that I work with a lot, just trying to say you don’t have to necessarily have your prostate out or radiation unless you’re so anxious and you just have to have that. But that, we can almost always do natural treatment and monitor it make sure it’s really working. I’m not so foolish, because some men have early aggressive type cancer and we want to make sure to detect them and send them for the proper treatment, which is a prostate removal surgery, radiation, hormone therapy sometimes. So that’s been a big part of my practice and I feel like that’s been really rewarding because you can see now since I’ve been doing this I have many men that are alive ten years later. It never spread, it exactly followed what we know happens, and they were spared from having this very serious surgery or radiation so it’s wonderful.
Yeah absolutely, that is incredible. And that’s so rewarding for the patient to not have to do such a high force intervention right away. Which actually segues really nicely into what I was going to ask is: when you look at the treatment options that you just kind of talked about, and you know even going into the conventional ones that are very often – or if not very often but sometimes are needed, how do they fit together? How do you use the therapeutic order to put together your treatment plans and where does the force of intervention kind of compare from, you know, the Naturopathic approach, to the conventional, or the mixture of the two?
Yeah this is something that comes up all the time, and I like this sort of model definitely for presenting this idea to patients. It really makes tons of sense that we try to use the least force necessary. Like that to me is the overriding mantra. So if we can fix a problem by a change in diet, why would we do that over surgery? Where you run all the risks of having surgery and that come with that, and it’s irreversible usually. So yeah, in the case of prostate cancer, with this low-grade type basically I try to gather information. More than just a PSA test, by the way, this is based on usually a prostate biopsy and/or imaging of the prostate. We do other blood tests to try to get a sense of, “okay, yes, multiple tests say this is the low-grade type.” And then we also have both to compare to in a year or two to make sure it stays low grade. And then we try the sort of milder dietary treatments, vitamins, herbs, as opposed to rushing right into a prostatectomy, which may not be necessary for this – probably isn’t – for this low-grade type. Versus: yeah the patient comes in and you know, unfortunately the biopsy or imaging tests show its aggressive, you know that it either has already spread or it looks highly likely to do that, then to me the least force to extend their life – preserve it and extend it with the lowest risk – is surgery or radiation. And then my role becomes to do things on the natural side that sort of mitigate those risks. Help both lower side effects but also make it work better. And that’s something I think a lot of people haven’t thought about but there is evidence to support it, and we’re really trying to amplify the effect of those conventional treatments. So surgery is a very high force intervention, obviously there’s many unintended side effects. In the case of taking out the prostate, often there are problems with erectile function, incontinence, pain, infection. There are lots of things. So we’re trying to help with herbal treatments, with diet, to counteract those things while treating the whole person’s body. Because a surgery only treats the prostate. And we’re especially concerned about sort of micro metastasis; that the cancer might have snuck out in very tiny amounts before we removed it and so by using treatments that are safe, we treat the whole body and that’s a really nice augmentation. And the two go together, they’re not separate, they’re really combined. So I don’t see it as a conflict I really see it as a way for two different disciplines to help people the best. It’s not about our ego’s, it’s about the patient.
Yeah, and that’s just wonderful to see that they can fit together so nicely like that. Given that the people, you know, have the education to know that it’s there. And it comes right back to you saying “being the doctor as a teacher.” Educating the patients on options and availability. So you kind of alluded to it, but it looks like from your side, the most common treatments that you’ll end up using are a lot of that diet/lifestyle and herbal medicine?
Yes, I love herbs! And to me the diet/lifestyle, that’s foundational. I don’t know how anyone could not do that stuff, it’s so obvious. The benefits are so clear! So many patients come back like, wow I had no idea if I stopped basically eating poorly and a lot of processed foods, or junk foods, and eating out all the time, and started eating a lot of vegetables and homemade meals, they just feel incredibly better. In ways they had no idea or they just got used to feeling sort of low energy, their sleep isn’t that good, etc. And it’s just transformative. Anyway, yeah that’s crucial, but I do love herbal medicine. Yeah and you know it’s a funny thing, I often point out that the beginnings of drugs therapy are from herbal medicine. Many of the first drugs, in fact all the first drugs, were herbs. So digitalis is really a famous one, a lot of people think of aspirin, even though that’s synthetic but it was based on herbs that have salicylates in it, Belladonna yielding atropine. All these things. So there’s very powerful herbs that can have immediate obvious effects that can really help patients symptoms, and sometimes you know really help fix their disease. And then there’s all these wonderful other herbs that are much gentler and they take much longer to work. And there’s nothing like this in conventional medicine, so I can understand it’s hard, both for conventional doctors to understand, like I get that, and also patients, that you need to take this for like six months to a year before it works. We’re so used to like, a week or a month, like come on, I don’t have a year. But we do. And these are the kinds of herbs that sort of help us deal with stress, they help our sleep be of better quality. And those are things you don’t feel instantly, or notice the benefit of. It’s like, “oh wow, I didn’t have any colds this last year, I always have three or four. What changed? Oh, I’ve been taking this herb that kind of helps my immune system work better.
Right, yeah! That’s it. I absolutely love herbal medicine, and I wish I could just sit here and talk to you for an hour on herbal medicine and, maybe we will one day. Maybe I can convince you to come back! But that’s great, you know, that’s so nice to get a little bit of an in-depth – even that brief but in-depth – look at kind of how the Naturopathic approach to urology and men’s health and just Naturopathic care, is so easily integrated into what people are already used to. You know, it’s not a different world. So thank you for that. Now here’s the part where I like to give you a little chance to get on your soapbox. So I want to know what you would tell people are the top three things to avoid or stay away from to promote good health. Whether they’re related to this topic or just in general.
I kind of want to say the internet. Obviously there’s good and bad, and the problem is being able to filter out the garbage. So I think what is most important is when you’re looking at something on the web, always ask who says this and why. And if you don’t know who’s saying it, first of all, there’s no name attached, there’s no person, or it’s just a company, you have got to be skeptical of that. Because their incentive is to make money, not to help you, unfortunately. So unless you can verify something by multiple means on the Internet, with attributions to a specific person, or like if they say research shows that this product works and they don’t tell you what the research is… there’s no research. Or it was just done in a test tube and that is not relevant to people really. So, it’s like what are the details? Who’s the name behind it? Anyway, be very skeptical of claims on the internet that sound extraordinary because they probably aren’t accurate. I just see a lot of people spend a lot of money on things that don’t help them, that are dubious, and I mean particularly scary would be supplements for sort of erectile function on the Internet. Which many studies have shown are frequently adulterated with drugs. So you’re taking something that’s dangerous because, you know – the dose – you don’t even know what you’re taking! And you could have serious side effects so it’s better, really, to get a professional recommendation or at least buying something that, again, you can validate by multiple routes. Like multiple authorities who know something about something say this is a good product, you know? That it’s safe and effective. Then that’s a lot better. So I do want to empower people to be able to look into their own health and to understand it, but also the more complicated it gets, the harder it is to do that without a lot of study. Alright so that’s number one. So I think number two is kind of letting yourself get into bad habits. I don’t know how to say that, but… so I think exercise is the best example. We just get used to not doing it. It’s so easy to not do it, just say “oh I need to do this, I need to do that.” And I’m guilty of it as much as anybody. Like writing a textbook involves a lot of sitting. So anyway, it’s creating those niches or those times that you do beneficial things. Like I’m just going to do my 15 minutes on my treadmill every day at this time, and it just becomes a thing you do. So avoiding bad habits. And of course there is others that are more obvious, like smoking and things like that. There just really is no upside to that so really trying to avoid those things. The 3rd thing to avoid… I guess I’m going to go with processed carbohydrates. No matter what you think, they’re not going to help your health. They taste good, I get it, I like sugar too. They taste good, but yeah, they’re pretty much all negative. And that’s just such an obvious one, I know people hear it all the time but it really bears repeating, they’re so problematic.
Yeah, for sure. And that’s good to be hearing it as one of your top three things to avoid. And that repetition, like you said, it just can’t be said enough. I’ll agree with that for sure.
And I’ll point out again there is a strong correlation between blood vessel health and erectile dysfunction. I mean the arteries have to be able to deliver blood to the penis. If the blood vessel is compromised by atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, it can’t do that. And what drives that? Or one of the many drivers includes processed carbohydrates, but also sedentariness, not exercising. So it does affect your health, even though it’s not always intuitive.
Okay wonderful, I like those. So the next three is your three daily tips for, or daily practices to promote balance in everyday health.
So one is to pursue what you love. And every day there’s got to be some piece of that. It may not be profitable, it may not be required, there may be competing interests, but there has to be something. So yeah, for me it’s a weird one, but like I really like reading research. And I don’t always want to read it about, “oh I have to do this.” I like to just kind of browse. No matter what I’m just going to take some time and just do that. Yeah obviously, frequently it’s more like, you know, making some time to snuggle with your sweet one. Or anything like that where it really is important and it’s something that brings you joy. So I think that’s really important. Okay, can I say the exercise one? But really, every day, you need to move. And it doesn’t have to be running a marathon, or to get all sweaty and hot and make it a big ordeal. But some level of that. And again, I’m guilty of not doing it either. I’ll get into a groove of “I’ve got to meet this deadline, I’m writing a book, I’ve got a chapter to finish.” So I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty, but the truth is that that was the norm for all of our history, that people moved their bodies. I don’t even want to use the word exercise. Because everyone thinks of that as “oh I have to put on special clothes, I have to go to a special place, it takes all this time.” No, I’m just talking about doing a 15-minute walk after dinner. This is not a giant ordeal, again it partly does fill that habit piece that I was saying before. And then, boy, I think I have to go with eat your vegetables every day. Your mother was right, your grandmother was right; this is crucial. It affects, I mean, every condition. There is not a health condition where this is not an issue. I mean it’s weird because there’s one thing I deal with, which is sort of late stage kidney disease, where vegetables actually become a problem because the kidneys can’t process the potassium and that builds up. But every other situation, it’s like the key fundamental piece to really help the person get better. And for prevention, you just can’t overlook it. I want to point out that with both exercising and vegetable-containing diets. So there’s the Mediterranean diet, there are a lot of versions of this. Even the Paleo diet really is a high vegetable diet, it’s not mostly animal products, it’s also vegetables. The research on this for prevention shows that they are so much more effective than any drug. If you look at statin, which sure, there’s research that shows they lower risk of heart attacks and strokes, but exercise is like 10 times stronger. So if you’re not going to do that basic thing, then you’re going to get in trouble.
Nice. The foundations of health. They never go away. Great. Okay and the last set is just your top three tips for optimal health. It doesn’t have to be daily practices, doesn’t have to be specific to men’s health or anything, but just in general: three things that can optimize somebody’s health.
I really think these herbs we call “adaptogens” are important for most people. So what that adaptogen word means is they’re helping us adapt to stress. And there is complex literature on how they do that. A lot of people just think oh they just help your adrenals work, but it’s way more complicated than that. Anyway, we all have stress. Even people like that say they’re not stressed… you’re tired still. Even just driving is stressful. Like traffic is stressful, people are crazy out there. But most of us do have stress from work, from school, from relationships, or whatever. So these are just a nice way to help us deal with that, because it’s not going to go away. The stress is going to be there. It is important to have techniques for coping, but this is one piece that I think really helps. And the side benefit is they are, as a class of herbs, ones that help our immune systems really be their best. And it’s not a simple matter of more or less, but really more fine-tuning all the different parts of the immune system. So for example, helping prevent influenza, helping prevent cancers. And there’s rich literature on this. So these are things like ginseng, devil’s club, astragalus, schisandra, there’s so many. And my favorite one, Gotu kola, I talk about it all the time. I feel like most people can and should take these regularly because of these preventive benefits, if nothing else. So, I think water is another sort of optimizer. And as someone who deals with a lot of urology problems, I see this. And I’ve seen conventional providers on TV and stuff, or on the internet saying there’s no evidence that you need to drink eight glasses of water a day, and I’m like, what?! I mean, there is! Preventing bladder cancer and preventing kidney stones, again there’s ample research saying if you don’t drink a lot of water, you’re at greater risk of those disease. So there’s clearly two common diseases that more water prevents. And more water doesn’t prevent all disease, I’m not saying that. But the other benefits I see at that is sort of displacing other beverages. So of course we have soda, or even diet soda. All these things that people drink that really aren’t very good for them. Even fruit juice is really a problem. It’s a lot of calories with really not a lot of nutrition, depending on how it’s made. But that sort of commercial, highly processed fruit juice is not healthy for most people. So I see that kind of benefit. And I mean water when I say drink water, not just drink liquids. There are other drinks that are healthy, I mean I personally dislike coffee but you know a cup of coffee a day, there’s a lot of benefit to that. Three a day with a ton of sugar and milk, I don’t know. Or green tea as well, as a beverage, we have a lot of research showing its benefits. So if someone really doesn’t like water, there are ways to get water with flavor that are better or acceptable. And herbal teas too. There are a lot of delicious herbal teas that are a net benefit. So drinking more water – it’s not 8 glasses a day, what does that even mean? What’s a glass? Some people drink a glass THIS big and some use a gallon-sized cup. So what it really is, you need to drink enough so that you have to urinate about every two hours when you’re awake. That’s a much better way to titrate that because some people, it takes less water than others depending on their bladder size, etc. So that’s what I usually try to say. Okay and third thing is sleep. Again, kind of a foundation of health. And there is a lot of study on sort of what is optimal, but I think that is one thing that gets sort of pushed aside. And I know for my own life, if I’m really under pressure to get a project done or whatever, I tend to say “well I’m just going to go to bed an hour later.” But I pay for it. I really feel it. I know I’m not functioning as well as I could be, and we now know from ample studies that it increases cancer risks, and heart disease, and all these things. So really getting optimal sleep. And that doesn’t just mean time; it means that we’re really in deep sleep. So sometimes that means we need to make the bedroom darker to help our own melatonin synthesis be right. Or sometimes we have to use these nervine herbs that really help us go into the deep stages of sleep more effectively. But basically working on that is really crucial for optimal health.
Wonderful. You know, this little section is always my favorite part of when I get to sit down with doctors. Because I’m just writing all these tips down, I’m getting everybody’s top tips, and I get to learn as well! So Dr. Yarnell, that was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about all that as I’m sure people that watch this video will as well. And before I let you go, I have to ask, where can people get more information? I know people are going to watch this and will want to learn more about urology, or men’s health, or what you do, or maybe see what things you’ve written, or research that you might be working on or publishing. What can they do to learn more, where can they go?
So I have a private practice, and I have blog posts on there. I’m not a prolific blogger but if something important comes up, so a few times a year. And that’s called www.MedellaOptimalHealth.com. Medella is like an old-fashioned word for sort of inner strength. Anyway, so that’s a major place if people want more of what I’m dealing with. And then, just Google my name if you want to see what I’ve written. Which is often targeted towards practitioners, but there’s a lot that’s in there that patients or folks that aren’t as medically trained can take away or be interested in.