In this episode, I am speaking with Lisa Koche, M.D.—triple board-certified in internal medicine bariatrics and anti-aging and regenerative medicine, and founder of the Spectra Wellness Solutions. Her experience with childhood leukemia and heart failure has led her to focus on treating the root cause of disease when helping her patients. We will talk about her top strategies for optimizing health.
In this podcast, Dr. Koche will cover:
- The pros and cons of muscle testing (And how she uses it in her clinic)
- The effects of intuition and energy healing on patients
- How to use IV light therapy for improving health
- The importance of bridging the gap between conventional medicine and “pseudoscience”
- The critical role mitochondria play in health
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Integrative Medicine Expert and Cancer Survivor Dr. Lisa Koche's Top Strategies For Optimizing Health - Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey there, this is Ari Whitten and welcome back to the Energy Blueprint podcast. Today I have with me Dr. Lisa Saff Koche, who is triple board-certified in internal medicine bariatrics and anti-aging and regenerative medicine. Her own experiences with childhood leukemia and heart failure from chemo led her to focus on the cause of medical conditions rather than treating the symptoms.
She’s the medical director and founder of Spectra Wellness Solutions, which is a comprehensive clinic focusing on all aspects needed for total body healing including the ketogenic diet, hormone replacement therapies and enhancing mitochondrial function, which is something we’re going to dig into in this interview.
She’s built a team of gifted healers that work together to create individualized treatment plans. She has several signature programs for optimal performance, including the Ignite Program featured in her first book, Get Lit. She has also lectured nationally and been featured on numerous radio and TV segments. Welcome, Dr. Lisa, such a pleasure to have you.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been excited.
Ari Whitten: Likewise. You have a very intense personal story. We were just chatting about it before the start of this interview, pretty mind-blowing and crazy stuff that you had to go through at a very young age. I would love for you to just talk about that background and I assume that’s what inspired you to get into medicine in the first place.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Absolutely. I like to say I was gifted with childhood leukemia at age 15, went to a camp physical, felt totally fine and my hemoglobin was seven and that started the journey. My first response was, “Why me?” Kept asking that question. Nobody seemed to have answers. I was lucky enough to go right into remission, had to deal with high school with a wig and chemo and all of that, which wasn’t fun, but I did pretty well. Was able to get into a really good college for undergrad and then went on to have a mass found on my ovary. They found hidden leukemic cells and I had to go back for my junior year in college and do chemo all over again.
Where it got really tough was during that time because I had enough chemo that it ended up causing heart failure, which was pretty severe, couldn’t breathe woke up in the middle of the night. During all of this time, if you can believe it, I still graduated on time, got into a premier medical school, decided I had to figure out why the heck has happened to me and went into internal medicine because that was the broadest approach to getting answers or at least so I thought and started rotating taking care patients. They would come in with problems, be treated with medications or procedures and all of the things we were doing didn’t seem to answer the why for those patients either.
I decided at that point, I had to forge my own path. I started a clinic where I was trying to prevent disease dealing with what I thought would help obesity, prevent heart disease, diabetes, those types of things and I found patients coming in and really weren’t feeling good.
We kept asking why. I started teaching myself integrative medicine, I started teaching myself nutrition, things we weren’t taught in medical school and then I was able to get pregnant, which nobody really thought I could because I had five years of chemo, I had one ovary. They had to remove one back when I was 20. Right after I delivered my daughter, I got Hashimoto’s and psoriasis and a bunch of immune problems. I had to have sinus surgery.
That led me to the next step on my journey of who I brought into my clinic as I continue to ask why, biohack my own body, bring in healers, bring in modalities because the traditional stuff I was pretty good on. Like I said, I went to Emory Medical School, I was one of the best residencies, I was top of my class, I knew the therapies, I knew the treatments and I felt bad. I was tired, I was foggy, I knew there was more for me.
As recently as a couple of years ago, if you can believe it, I was able to have another child at 41 with no fertility after having five years of chemo, had a son but he was delivered under our general cardiac anesthesia because my heart acted up. My heart has been an issue since he was born. It was low-normal, I was still able to run a little bit and then about two years ago, it crashed again. I had to pull some other modalities out of my bag of tricks and I’m happy to say, I pretty much healed myself. I feel better than I have in 10 years right now.
Ari Whitten: Wow, wonderful. This has led you on a journey into biohacking you’ve become essentially one of the first female biohackers. You alluded to it there different times but how does your personal story dovetail into you getting into this realm of biohacking?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Well, I’d love to say I didn’t even know that’s what I was doing, which is the truth until had somebody outside say, “Hey, that’s what you are.” You’re trying to figure out what you are, that you are a biohacker because you’ve taken every step when you hit a wall or when you had a symptom that you couldn’t fix, you went and found the answer.
I would say one of the big turning points for me in addition to using nutrition, using supplements, teaching myself, that was probably about 15, 20 years ago, was when I got exposed to muscle testing. You and I talked briefly about it, but what happened was a good friend of mine was going close her practice because she was exhausted. She was an ophthalmologist.
She went out to Arizona, she heard about an integrative clinic there because nobody could help her here in Tampa and got started healing with the protocols they were giving her. They said, “You don’t have to come back here. There’s a guru over near you in Clearwater.
At that time, I had had my daughter, all that autoimmune stuff had stirred up. I was treating my thyroid the best I could, I went to a traditional endocrinologist to be a good girl, not just take care of myself. The traditional endocrinologist literally said to me, “Okay, well, your TSH is now less than two. Why don’t you come back in six weeks? We’ll check it again and you can see my nurse practitioner.” That was it. That’s all he had to offer.
After a few words under my breath, because I can check my own you-know-what TSH [laughs], I said, “This is not right because if this is how I’m getting treated as a physician, imagine all these people that don’t understand this. They’re going nowhere because I feel terrible.” At that point, I said, “Why not? I’ve got nothing left to lose.”
I went over to Clearwater to see this man and he had done this for 40 years. Applied kinesiology being this muscle test, where you literally touch different points in the body and I knew there was not evidence-based science behind it but I was pretty desperate. After we were done with the evaluation, he sat me down and he said, “Lisa, you must feel terrible.” It was so validating just to hear that. He said, “You have three chronic fatigue viruses, your yeast is off the charts, you have leaky gut, you have toxins.” I said, “Now, that paper albeit how weird it was that you got to these answers, is how I feel.”
He got me and I took these supplements and I started feeling better. I started sending some of my really open patients. That’s the beauty of the fact that everything that has helped me, I could immediately use in my clinic. At this point, I have like I said, a pretty large practice. We have about 6,000 patients. I’ve been established as general primary care in addition to an integrated practitioner here in Tampa for a long time.
My patients trusted me and I would say, “Look, this is weird. It’s going to look strange. Only about 20% of people had heard about muscle testing, go see and see what you think.” Everybody started getting better. I just said, There’s something to this. I don’t care if it’s placebo, I don’t know what it is.”
How muscle testing is used in Dr. Lisa’s clinic
Ari Whitten: As we spoke about a little before this interview, I mentioned that I’ve actually done a pretty thorough review of the literature on muscle testing. There were quite a lot of studies back in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and then it really hasn’t been studied much since, but from what I’ve seen of those studies most of those studies determine it’s no better than random guessing. The basic idea of muscle testing, maybe I’ll let you explain it or I can explain it if you’d like.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: I can tell you how I describe it to patients. I tell them we have a physical body and we have an energetic field around our body and a lot of times, the energetic field around our body which sort of holds the blueprint for health, we can access that with this reflex. It’s like when I tap on your knee and your knee kicks, it’s an automatic reflex that you’re not aware of, you don’t control and I literally tell patients to try it at home before they come in and see my naturopath.
I tell them, “Hold your arm up, have your husband, your wife, your kid push on it and then bring something in your energy field that you think is not good for you, so sugar or diet coke or your cell phone and hold it up to your body and then have them push the arm again and it goes weak.”
When patients try it themselves they see that this reflex seems to work, then they are a little bit more open to the concept of it. The science behind it, like you said, I dug in. My dad is a world-renowned mathematician. He’s all about research. He’s all about science. He said it, my husband said– Everybody said, “What are you doing? This is not evidence-based science.”
For me, patients were feeling terrible. I was feeling terrible. From my standpoint, all it was doing was directing the supplement regimen because the concept with muscle testing also is that inanimate things have an energy field. In addition to the physical body, you can take a rock or you can take food or you can take a supplement or a drug and actually measure. There’s devices to measure the energy field coming off of these things. If you put them in the field of the body and it corrects this reflex, it’s like we are energetically matching the treatment to the patient. That’s how I describe it.
Ari Whitten: I hear you. I will say I’m still super skeptical of it. I’ll give you an example of a study that tested it. One is where they took people with verified wasp allergies and they took, I think it was a group of 10 or 20 people with wasp allergies and then another group of the same amount of people without. Actually, sorry, it was just people with wasp allergies, I believe.
Then they had a bunch of vials that had wasp venom in them and a bunch of vials that looked identical, but with just plain water in them. They basically muscle-tested these people to detect if they’re having any reaction to the wasp venom. There was no effect. The people who were being muscle tested were not able to discern plain water from wasp venom as far as what was negatively affecting them. I’ve seen a huge range of other similar studies like that.
What’s interesting is when they differentiate human muscle testers, meaning the person who’s pushing down on your arm versus a machine or something like a grip meter to test your grip strength, that’s measuring it objectively without another human that might exert different amounts of pressure at different times. The effect seems to disappear.
I will say that I’m very skeptical of it, but what I’m not skeptical of is that it can actually be translated into something useful and helpful and probably in ways that go beyond the placebo effect. For example, if you muscle-test someone and then diagnose them and say, “I think you’ve got this virus and that virus and I think you’ve got this problem and that problem.” Then you say, “Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to sleep eight hours every night. Go to bed at 10:00 PM. I want you to start meditating two times a day. I want you to start eating more broccoli and spinach and start exercising.”
You can give them all kinds of advice that have genuine benefits based on a diagnosis that was made with something that may legitimately be no better than random guessing.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: I think I would say 100% we need some more hardcore research to be done. I definitely think it’s operator dependent. I think something to do with the level of frequency of the actual healer is impacting the ability to do the muscle testing. I also think the patient, if they’re not open because there’s an energy exchange.
It’s definitely not precise by any means, but the healer that I have had the pleasure to work with because basically, after I was sending everybody to Clearwater and they were getting better, he ended up leaving that clinic over time and he’s here full time with me now. I’ve got the beauty of having this collaborative nature. Where I’ve had it helped me clinically and physically.
Number one is things like leaky gut. Instead of doing a ton of expensive testing, putting patients on a ton of supplements and then never knowing when to stop other than repeating testing, I think they save a ton of money in the long run because when they come in, I have him handle most of the leaky gut protocols.
They’re only on this multitude of supplements for four to six weeks. Their gut’s healing. Symptomatically, they don’t have to stay on the supplements long-term. We do have some type of a feedback with the muscle testing that we’ve gotten it fixed. I’ve seen the patients go through this protocol and really not have to go back. I haven’t had to heal my gut again in 14 years. That’s been incredibly clinically useful.
Then also having him here, if I have an idea like T4 to T3 conversion, he can go and find a vial of five prime deiodinase, put it on the patient and then we can start playing with what do we think is impacting that? Is it heavy metals or adrenal function? Is it just a deficiency in zinc? That’s where we’ve had fun playing over the past decade together.
Ari Whitten: Got you. I’ll leave the muscle testing thing alone. My skepticism is still very high on the whole thing but again, I don’t doubt that you can arrive at very useful things while doing it, especially if you’re also bringing lots of other clinical expertise to the table.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Right, the two of us. What I did with him was I wouldn’t tell a lot of my patients. We would actually do stool testing and not tell him the results and then have him go on muscle tests, when I first started working with him. It would correlate almost every time. What I’d ask of you is if you want to come up with a protocol of how we could study this, I’m game to put together some more clinical research on this because I definitely have seen it.
Ari Whitten: To be honest, I think it’s largely been discarded within the scientific community. I think it’s like just they stopped studying because there were so many negative results.
This is an interesting story. I did talk about it on a podcast with Dr. Alan Christianson maybe six months ago or a year ago or something like that. It was not the subject of the whole podcast. It was maybe five or 10 minutes of the podcast. He talked about some of his experiences there and some informal research that he conducted. I don’t know if maybe research is too strong of a word. He tried to put it into the test via some experiments. Then I talked about some of the research I had read. I also have actually a lot of personal experience with it because I’ve known chiropractors who have done it for many years.
After that podcast, I actually had a woman reach out to me who was very angry with that discussion and said that she thinks that our discussion was wrong and misguided and that she actually did her PhD dissertation on the subject of muscle testing. Then she sent me a link to the experiments that she did. I actually mentioned this before, but one of the things that they determined was basically with muscle testing with humans to humans, they found that the effect size was about 64% accuracy for testing simple things like what is your name or your wife’s name is so and so or just basic things. They’d muscle test you and see whether the response was accurate.
Then when they measured it via a grip, I think it’s called a dynamometer, a grip measuring device, you eliminate the human tester component, then the effect size was reduced down to 50/50, which is basically the same as flipping a coin. My response to her was, “Look, even in your own experiment, your own results when it’s tested objectively via an objective measuring device, show that it’s basically random guessing.”
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: It brings up the art of medicine. How much of these healers? I would tell you that I agree with you. I think the art of healing involves some intuitive diagnostic skills. Who knows that the accuracy of my particular healer here who’s done this for 40 years? If I had to guess, probably like 85-90% because I’ve watched people heal in front of my eyes for the past 15 years. It doesn’t mean it’s for everybody. It doesn’t mean every healer is the right one. It has just been a beautiful addition to what we offer in our clinic.
How intuition and energy healing helped Dr. Lisa
Ari Whitten: That’s where I think you get into an aspect of it that’s really legitimate is the aspect of intuition. Now, my personal take on intuition is very much in line with– Yuval Noah Harari talks about it in his recent book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. There’s got a big section on artificial intelligence. One of the arguments that people make around artificial intelligence is it will never be able to replace human intuition.
Basically, his argument was what is human intuition? What actually is it? If we conceptualize it as mystical hunches from the spirit world, that’s one thing. If we conceptualize it as a ton of knowledge and experience over years and decades and for example, clinical experience working with thousands of patients and the ability to make predictions based on this giant accumulated body of knowledge and experience, then intuition is absolutely an enormously valuable thing. Is it perfect and always accurate? No, of course not but with a ton of knowledge and experience that’s been accumulated, intuition can genuinely be very useful.
Then if that’s being paired with really anything, but if it’s being paired with certainly muscle testing, it could be paired with that. If there’s genuinely a good body of knowledge and experience, then I absolutely think that the art of a good muscle test or with that well-defined or well-owned intuition could lead them in very positive directions.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: That will lead me into explaining about the other healer that I think you’re going to love when I explain what she does. What I was finding as I was working with this naturopath and as I was really getting people’s guts healed and balancing their hormones and work on their thyroid and all the functional medicine type of stuff, was that they were getting maybe I’d say on average 50 to 70% better but the last little bit I just couldn’t get them and neither could my naturopath. They would get sort of stuck and then they would start having either recurrent cortisol issues, recurrent chronic viruses popping up on the muscle testing or I would see they still just had that fatigue, a little bit of fatigue and this happened to me as well.
Then I was lucky enough to have a patient come in with plantar fasciitis and she was so miserable. Her husband was a neurosurgeon, she’d been to Mayo, she’d been everywhere and they couldn’t get her better. I said, “You know what? There’s this energy healer let’s just try it, go see her.” This energy healer ends up sending her to a clinic where they did upper cervical orthogonal axis adjustments. This is a chiropractic technique that does not involve manual manipulation. Darn it, they got her C1 back in alignment and her foot pain went away. I said to myself, “Very interesting, let me file that one back there as another something I need to check out.” About–
Ari Whitten: They’re not using manual adjustments? How are they actually performing this? If it’s not called an adjustment, I don’t know what to call it.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: It’s an adjustment. It’s just done with a sound wave. It would be more up your alley. I don’t know about the evidence-based science behind it, but it is pretty mathematical. It’s a specific type of software that analyzes the angle of C1 within 100th of a degree, and then the measurement for the device and the device literally taps the access back in. There’s no risk because it’s barely a touch at all.
Ari Whitten: It taps it with sound?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Correct. Well, it’s percussive.
What happened with that was, I thought it sounded fascinating about three weeks later, talk about intuition and science because I listened to those types of things, I had a patient I hadn’t seen in two years, I walk in, I’m like, “Hey, how are you doing?” She’s digging in her purse and she slaps down this card and says you have to send people here and it was the same place. I’d never heard of it, right? Then I was like, “All right. Darn it, I’m gone. If that’s what happens, got to go check and go biohack myself.”
I go to this clinic, they do this adjustment and my hands that had been cold for, I don’t know, 10 years, warmed up. All the tightness up in my neck, by the end of the day we end up like this, all of it got relieved and I started feeling like I just felt better.
Same concept started sending people there. I never planned to have this technique in my clinic. Long story we don’t need to get into but the main chiropractor over there ended up coming and joining me in my clinic. I’m now on a different person who’s even a higher frequency, incredible knowledge base. When she gets C1 lined back up and is just more common sense, that bone has two holes in it for your vertebral arteries. About three quarters of blood supply to your brain, if it’s out of alignment, which it is in everybody, you fall once it’s out. Some people think even delivery, just delivering the baby, it’s out of alignment and it never corrects itself, your body just sort of compensates around it.
You can get cortisol that won’t calm down as a stress signal because it’s in this brainstem, your body knows it’s desperately trying to reconnect. You can get people who have brain fog, who have back pain, neck pain, headaches, and this was a very safe and what seemed relatively scientific way to get this line back up again.
I would have patients who would have everything from the plantar fasciitis, others structural problems get better with that very simple manipulation or adjustment, I would have people who hurt their hearing got better, their vision got better because they were restoring blood flow, the signals from the brain stem going down to the body was improved. She also now does some different types of energy techniques almost like Reiki in addition to this adjustment using the sound waves.
Ari Whitten: Nice. Well, my brother’s actually a chiropractor. He is I would say, very evidence-based chiropractor. I’ve had certain times in my life where I’ve had C1 and C2 out of alignment. I’ve had some pretty significant neck injuries, sometimes actual muscle strains of certain muscles that tie into the vertebrae in the neck. I’ve been in like severe pain where I can barely move my neck and if C1 Is out and he’s able to push that back in, it’s pretty miraculous in terms of you can go from debilitating pain and not being able to move to an hour later, being 95% better.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: As amazingly cool as that is, that’s not even the best part of this. The best part of it is how it ties back into intuition. What I started noticing was, and this is again the gift of having these patients day to day that I can watch, people that were stepping up into their power, people who were starting to meditate, people who were starting to speak their truth, sometimes they would come in shortly after in neck pain.
The concept is that you have this energy field around your body and that C1 is pretty much the gateway between the energy field and the physical body. This is what a lot of different types of healers in that world talk about. When we start stepping in, working on intuition, working on energy, it can knock C1 Out of alignment.
I was seeing people come in, they’d be seeing my nurse practitioner and I’d be like, “Why are you here?” “My neck’s killing me.” Then I get them in instead to see the upper cervical chiro, do a little bit of energy work and they were like you said, fine. Not only fine, but then they felt like their intuition was better, they’re more connected. That’s the third piece of the collaborative nature of the clinic that we have here.
The benefits of IV light therapy
Ari Whitten: Nice. What other kinds of therapies are you doing there?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: We’ve been doing IV therapies for 15 years or so. Everything from Myers’ Cocktails, but all the way up. We’re starting to do IV NAD and we did have a device that has since been pulled off the market, but I’m hoping it’s coming back, which is IV light therapy, which is right up your alley because I know you [inaudible 00:26:21] [crosstalk].
Ari Whitten: Is that like the UVC?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: It was called UVLrx and it, I think, had some issues. The FDA doesn’t want these light devices. For whatever reason they had to go and restructure. Hoping that they’re going to be coming back soon.
Ari Whitten: I’m as you know, very into light therapies but I’ve always been afraid of like taking my blood out of my body and then you radiate it with some kind of light and then putting it back into my body.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Me too and this is why I love what you do because you’re so intuitive whether you realize it or not, you’re on it. I had seen that technique before, but anything that’s going to take something out of me, I’m not interested. I’m running through my blood through plastic, I’m not interested. This particular device that I did end up buying for the clinic is actually an adapter and the blood doesn’t come out. It’s putting the light frequency in three different wavelengths.
Ari Whitten: How does that work? Is it like you really put it into a vein or something?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Yes.
Ari Whitten: Oh that’s interesting. I would be more likely to do that than running it through plastic tubes in a machine and then [inaudible] [crosstalk].
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: I never brought that into the practice because I didn’t feel comfortable with it.
One other thing that we do from a light perspective is, this was about 10 years ago, these guys developed this device that had color, music and vibration and so it was ahead of its time for sure. They went to the local university to say, “Hey, we’re treating type 1 diabetes, we’re getting results with autoimmunity. This is crazy, we need to have some clinical research.” They weren’t [inaudible]— They were a chemical engineer and somebody whose daughter had type 1 diabetes and they built this bed. The university said, “Well, that’s interesting. It’s too weird for us. Call Lisa.” They call me and I said, “Bring it over.”
Ari Whitten: You’ve established a reputation for yourself as the weird one?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Exactly.
Ari Whitten: If you’ve got something weird, send it to Lisa.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Absolutely. I own it. I’ll try it. Why not? As long as it’s not going to hurt.
I brought it in and actually, the first time I ever tried it. This bed has frequencies that match the music and then there’s different, you can adjust the color. I went in there, you’re in there for an hour and you’re basically balance your parasympathetic sympathetic. I didn’t understand what was going on when I first tried it.
What was really interesting was that when he first opened the doors to this device after the hour I was in, he started to gag. This guy who developed the machine, he was like, “Oh my God, it’s all this toxic chemo.” He could smell the medicine but I hadn’t had chemo in like 15 years. The fact that it brought up to me some interesting points, which was, “Oh my God, people are holding on to stuff in their energy field, that has to be detoxed as much as the physical body does.” I started seeing pain getting better and all types of things using this device as well.
How to use IV therapy for improved health benefits
Ari Whitten: Interesting. I want to go back to the IV vitamin infusions for a minute. I have a lot of friends who do this and I’ve definitely seen a lot of people doing this. I want to come back to this IV vitamin thing for a minute. I have lots of friends who do this, I’ve been to lots of conferences where it’s very common to see somebody with a booth set up where they’re doing these IV vitamin infusions.
I claim no real expertise on this topic, I’ve done a very cursory review of the literature, but honestly I couldn’t find a whole lot of literature. My impression is for things where there is a diagnosed deficiency, like somebody has a B12 deficiency or an iron deficiency or something like that, can be very useful and is validated. I think IV vitamin C therapy, high dose vitamin C with IV, there’s some positive research around certain cancer types and certain also treatment of infections like Epstein-Barr and things like that, but I really haven’t seen much of anything in the way of support for general vitamin infusions.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Yes, I would say the research is scant at best, but where I see it clinically useful, especially when we’re treating leaky gut, these patients, a lot of times when people come in– Your listeners, they may be taking a ton of different supplements, and they’re just not even being utilized, because they need to get the gut lining healed. They’re not absorbing digesting appropriately.
When people come in and they’re exhausted and they have chronic fatigue viruses or they have leaky gut, if their adrenals are tanked, high dose vitamin C or– Let’s not say their adrenals, if their whole system is down. Vitamin C in high doses, which is much higher than is able to be absorbed with the oral route, can really speed up the ability to function throughout the day. I see if I do it once a week or twice a week, about four to six infusions at the beginning, it’s like getting them back to a baseline much faster than if we just take the route of healing without anything IV.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. There’s also the NAD infusions, and I know that’s become more popular. I’ve definitely heard some very positive anecdotes about it, and I know some doctors who are doing that therapy and swear they see tons of really miraculous improvement. Then I’ve also heard a lot of anecdotes with people saying they haven’t noticed anything and it was a really uncomfortable, unpleasant treatment with a lot of nausea and things like that.
Then I also heard Chris Masterjohn, who’s a Ph.D. in nutrition and as a buddy of mine, who I’ve had on the show a bunch of times, I heard him in it actually another podcast talking about it where he was basically expressing some concern saying like, “We don’t really have good evidence to support it, and it’s kind of-” I’m going to get the details of this wrong, but something to the effect of NAD Plus is a metabolic signaler when it’s in the bloodstream, and it’s not really meant to be floating around the bloodstream in high doses. It’s more meant to be synthesized inside of the cell.
Anyway, I haven’t made my mind up on it at all because I’ve definitely heard some positive anecdotes, but I personally would be afraid to try just because I feel like we don’t really know what the effects are, but I’m curious what your experience with that has been.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Okay, I’m cautious like you. With all the things I’ve done in my body, I personally have not done it yet, but we have done some infusions here in the clinic. There is one test called Mitoswab. I don’t know if you’ve heard about that.
Ari Whitten: Yes, I have.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: They’re trying to get more and more research supporting their results. I’m working with the director and medical director there to try to understand and try to come up with some other research to take a look at their data. They had some concerns about IV NAD, which I thought was super interesting.
I think what it’s going to come down to is where the block is. When you take Mitoswab, it does look at the different complexes and the electron transport chain, and his side was that it may depend on where the barrier is, where things are getting mogged down in terms of whether or not NAD is a good idea.
One patient was a pretty cool case, who we’ve done all the great stuff we do here. Just like everything else from my biohacking, what turned me on to mitochondrial function, we didn’t quite get to that piece of the puzzle, was because when my heart gave out again more recently, I was desperately searching the data, “What do I need to do? What else do I need to do?” I’ve got my neck aligned. I’m doing energy work, I’ve got my gut, my viruses, everything balanced, and I still am having symptoms. I’m not 100% by any means, and now my heart’s pooping out.
I need help with mitochondria, and that’s what turned me on initially to the ketogenic diet, which eventually turned me on to the mitochondria in general. I started studying this and when I did one test on this pilot patient of mine, it was the same story. She’d been through all this great stuff that we do but with her, we just couldn’t get her better. She was flying transatlantic, which has you know, a train wreck for the mitochondria with the level of free radicals and [inaudible]. [crosstalk]
Ari Whitten: Meaning she was a flight– Pilot. Okay, so she was flying transatlantic multiple times a week?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Yes. Well, however many times a month and yes. We’re pulling out all our tricks, the IV, everything and we could not get her better. When I got exposed to this Mitoswab technology, we did her test and Sri, the head doctor there, calls me. I was like, “What’s wrong with this lady? Is she a live? I’ve never seen anything this bad.”
That was super interesting information, and we went ahead and got her the IV NAD. She’s had, I think, three treatments plus some sublingual and her Mitoswab improved dramatically, and her symptoms. That’s where I’m at at it. I don’t have the answers yet, but I am definitely collecting data, and I’m trying to tie it to some type of research-based testing.
Ari Whitten: Yes, for sure. For the time being, I think a lot of the research around NAD Plus is warranted and I would have no issues with high-dose oral NR or NMN supplementation. Yes, I personally am just a little wary of almost anything to be honest, anything that’s IV. Unless you can show me really good evidence of how this is supporting good health, I’m generally disinclined to inject things or [inaudible]. [crosstalk]
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Now it’s in the mall. It’s in Vegas, it’s in the mall. Your listeners have to be careful because a lot of times, where they are sourcing their vitamin C is a genetically modified corn. We compound it from tapioca here. We’re very cautious where we’re getting the blends. We are cautious when we give patients the first infusion. We’re really watching them, but a lot of my entrepreneur executive types, they’re the ones who love it because it’s pulling up to the gas station and they can just keep going.
Ari Whitten: Interesting.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: [inaudible] that boost.
Ari Whitten: I have to ask, you’ve talked about a lot of what I would conceptualize as advanced or exotic treatment options, but from my perspective, we have this chronic disease epidemic in the United States, that the best research I think estimates at least 80% of which could be pretty much eliminated through just some basic nutrition and lifestyle interventions.
Even there’s some research showing massive reductions in the chronic disease burden from just eating a little bit more vegetables and exercising three times a week for 30 minutes, not even very much, no smoking and limiting alcohol consumption to half a glass of wine at night. We’re talking about very, very basic nutrition and lifestyle interventions.
That’s where I see as the foundation is not just that degree of basic interventions, but really a big focus on nutrition and lifestyle interventions. I’m just curious to what extent you’re doing that in your clinic or to what extent you’re seeing patients who are already doing all that stuff, and it’s like, “Now we got to immediately start jumping to more advanced, more exotic solutions.”
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: No, beautiful question. I think that’s one of the things that makes us very unique in what I’m doing here, and I hope to eventually systemize all of our protocols so that we can train practitioners all over the country, because we take insurance, which is very unusual in the functional medicine world, as you probably know. Me and my nurse practitioners, any of the medical side, we will take insurance. In any given day, I could have somebody just who got me off their plan, which is actually fun now, versus somebody who’s been to 95 doctors and is really, really sick.
Actually, right before I came in, I had a guy who hasn’t seen a doctor in 15 years and I’m able to just introduce him to vitamin D and helping him stop smoking. The beautiful question and I think your point is really well taken in that the medical field in general when you look at functional medicine docs for a lot of integrative people, they’re so negative traditional medicine, and I don’t think there’s– Everybody has a place and we’ve been able to blend it beautifully here.
A patient will come in I tend to use my intuition, but the nurse practitioners we can tell what they’re ready for. If they’ve tried everything, we’ll be sending them to the naturopath for muscle testing. If they seem they’re more of an empath who’s sensitive to Wi-Fi, they’re going first to my upper cervical because she can help them get lined up and a lot of their symptoms are going to get better.
Every one of them, we’re going to get them on some basic stuff, assess their nutrition, assess potentially vitamin status, just recommend whatever it is that they can tolerate. In my book, what I did was researching the ketogenic diet, I was probably one of the first people to try it in a clinical setting. I Googled, somehow I stumbled upon mitochondrial biogenesis because my heart was failing, and I knew I needed more mitochondria and I didn’t know you could make more until I listened to this podcast. Which was probably six years ago and it was Dr. Mercola and Dom D’Agostino. Dom is literally 10 minutes from me. I had to rewind it because he was at my lab in Tampa and I was like, “Wait, what did he say? Rewind.” Then it was like, “You can make new mitochondria.”
I went out, check out his lab with the rats, all that good stuff, brought in something as extreme as the ketogenic diet, started seeing incredible benefits.
Fast forward now, I synthesized all the literature and put my program into- literally, it’s two principles, I made it super simple. My book is a 45-minute read where no matter where you are, if you’re just getting started, you could get an easy tip out of just don’t eat these foods that I call dim and try to throw in these lit foods, which are foods with more I like if it’s light. Which is right up your alley, looking at the photon emissions from food, and that’s it. Just do that and yes, you’re going to feel a lot better.
We have the whole spectrum of offerings, and it’s funny because 20 years ago I had the intuition to name my practice Spectra before I knew anything about light and now the name of the practice still flies.
Building the bridge between conventional medicine and “pseudoscience”
Ari Whitten: Maybe he was subconsciously guiding you to that direction. There’s some interesting dynamics here with one, your personal story as far as the cancer and the chemotherapy. You’re also walking this line between you’re an MD, you’re a conventionally trained medical doctor, you’re triple board-certified in internal medicine and bariatrics, and you have this very traditional or conventional medical background, and yet you’re also doing these things simultaneously in your clinic that most conventional doctors would say, “That’s quackery, that’s pseudoscience.”
How do you personally– Actually, one more layer that I’ll add to this is just before we started recording, you also mentioned you just sat down, I think, to renew your internal medicine boards, and you had to take a 10-hour test to get whatever it’s called recertified in that. How do you mentally even tolerate having to go through the conventional medical training if simultaneously, you are believing that what you are doing in your clinic is just vastly superior and more advanced, and it’s also really its own language, its own separate world that’s different from conventional medicine? How do you meld the two?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: I think I bridge that space between the two because some people come in and they are so depressed that they can’t go see my naturopath and take 9,000 supplements and come get an IV. They need to get out of the pit where they’re in, and they need a medication. I’m over to give it to them. I don’t want them to stay on it.
There’s people who come in to see me and they’re on 10 meds and I won’t do anything but get them off their drugs. I think that there’s a place for everything and with my personal story, I’ve been gifted the blend because the chemo is what healed me at that time. Granted, this is a very chemo-respondent cancer that I had, which had really high success rates, but I take three meds to this day.
I tell my patients when you take these drugs and you’re upset about it, because a lot of my more integrated patients and more and more savvy, they’re mad, they don’t want the pharmaceuticals. I tell them everything is energy. “Let’s connect to these meds.” Tell them, “Hey, go in, do what you need to do in my body and then move on out.”
Trying to connect energetically because I feel that our mitochondria are listening to a certain degree, and I’m bridging the gap also through the mitochondrial research. I do think the more we learn, the more we’re going to understand that because these were their own bacteria that they really are bridging all of this newer science to the physical. In my own head, I don’t see it so separate.
Now, if you want to ask my office manager, the kind of not so pleasant words I was saying when I had to study for this 10-hour exam, and go back to remembering what to do with a ventilator, that was not my most pleasant time. I did it because I think that patients are more comfortable going into some of this integrative stuff, knowing that I’m not going to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If they need an antibiotic, I’m going to give them an antibiotic and I’m blessed that I can do that. To me, it’s a spectrum just again, like the name of the practice.
Ari Whitten: Yes, it’s very interesting. I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered someone who is as friendly to conventional medicine and well versed in as you are, who is simultaneously into Reiki and muscle testing. It’s interesting that you can shift between both of those worlds and you see the place for both of them. I think that’s very unique.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: It is, and that’s where my goal is, if I could get practitioners, either a nurse practitioner or an MD whose primary care, they can come in and potentially pair up with a chiropractor or an energy worker in their community. We are working on systemizing all of our protocols, they can come in and we could train them, and then they can add some of this adjunct to their practice and really heal so many more people than maybe what they currently have in their toolbox.
How Mitochondria play a role in health
Ari Whitten: Yes. You mentioned mitochondria a number of times. I’m curious, what have you found– You mentioned the ketogenic diet, but are there any other treatments that you found or strategies that you think are extremely beneficial for mitochondria? Maybe also we should step back. I know you’ve alluded to this and to some degree but why are mitochondria so important in your vision of health? What has led you to the conclusion that mitochondria really matter in this picture? Of course, I agree with you thoroughly, and I’ve arrived at the same conclusion, but I’m curious what has led you there?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: I would say it’s my constant quest for the why because again, in my own healing, I’m still not where I want to be. As recently as two years ago, I had to bring my heart back from where it was borderline heart transplant was so bad to now, where my EF, my ejection fraction, which is how much the heart is pumping, is better than it’s been in 10 years, and I’ve used a ton of different modalities.
Probably, why I’ve come to that conclusion, is more of my personal journey, but I also have watched my patients when we keep doing all this incredible stuff, from again, leaky gut and adrenal and thyroid and questioning, does the adrenal fatigue even exist, and getting their hormones balanced. They are feeling better, but they’re not getting all the way.
As I continue to ask why, when I started playing with the ketogenic diet and watching what was happening with people, it was pretty groundbreaking that how much better they were all feeling. It was pretty clear to me to that hardcore keto is not what people needed to do and stay on for long term. Teaching metabolic flexibility made sense to me. Then I just kept looking for more.
Actually, a really quick funny story was my daughter would always have me quiz her for her exams. She says to me, she was in probably eighth or ninth grade. She said, “Can you quiz me?” I said, “Please don’t be history, please don’t be history.” She said, “No, it’s biology.” I said, “Yes, and it’s on the mitochondria.” I said, “Absolutely. Let’s go.” Then she hands me this pack of papers, and the first five pages are about the leaf. I’m like, “Really?” It was the chloroplast. She looks at me, and she goes, “Mom, what’s the big deal? It’s exactly the same.”
Okay, that’s what this eighth-grader said to me. It looks the same. I again, like I did with the upper cervical thing I said, “Isn’t that interesting?” I didn’t know what to make of it, and I asked her questions and moved on.
About six months later, again, looking around desperately for information, how else to help my mitochondria, I stumbled upon Jack Crews talking about light. I’m driving my car and he says, “People, have you ever looked at a chloroplast?” If you know, his delivery is a little different than mine we’ll say.
Ari Whitten: Yes.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: [laughs] He was like, “It looks exactly the same as a mitochondria.” I was like, “I know. I can see you’re talking to him. I saw that when I was quizzing my daughter.” I listened to him and started playing around with light and found what he was talking about fairly fascinating. I’m still trying to digest a lot of it, but just the combination of getting the sunlight into the eyes and early in the morning, grounding.
Then coming on some of your research on red light therapy techniques. Red light therapy and oxygen, I have a LiveO2 unit where we’re trying to drive the oxygen in, so anything that could push mitochondrial function was what I started to dabble in and again, I started to feel better.
Ari Whitten: Very interesting. I think Jack likes to explain mitochondria and chloroplasts. It’s the opposite chemical reactions taking place, like chloroplasts are taking in CO2 and light and then producing oxygen and carbohydrates, and we’re taking in your carbohydrates or fats and producing CO2 and energy-producing ATP.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Right, but then what it did for me is it brought me back to the basics, like, “Okay, maybe we do need that ball in the sky. Maybe it’s not just there for us to put sunscreen on, maybe it’s useful.” If we’re similar to plants in that regard, what does the plant need? It grows better when you talk nice to it. That brought in some of the thought-pattern impact. It needs light. I started doing research on light and the mitochondria and you picked up some of Dr. Pop’s work and looking at bio-photon emissions at the mitochondrial level.
I just have scoured the research and I have started working on creating some of my own products and really hoping to just set up some research protocols as well to drive into this more.
Ari Whitten: Yes. It’s also very interesting, as you’re alluding to, but we should state directly, that light photons actually interact both with chloroplasts and mitochondria. In biology class we of course study how light photons interact with chloroplasts, but they almost never mention in college biology, certainly not high school biology, not college biology, not physiology, not medical school biology or physiology. Nowhere do they mention that light photons also interact with human mitochondria and help stimulate energy production.
Interesting, funny story. When I was in high school biology class, my teacher for that class, she was kind of hippie, into health food and stuff like that. She would always drink green juices throughout the day and she would drink green juices and then she’d go out and lay in the sun. We used to make fun of her. These kids were 15, 16-years-old making fun of our teacher, thinking, “She thinks she’s a plant. She thinks she can photosynthesize.”
It turns out later 20 years later, little did I realize I’d be writing a book on how light photons interact with the mitochondria and even there’s some speculative research around how chlorophyll metabolites can basically accumulate in the cells and interact with the light in a way that helps regenerate CoQ10 and facilitate increased energy production. It turns out maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all, not photosynthesis, but still, she was on to something.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Similar. When I’m playing with is trying to find the first product I’ve created is trying to find a way to put light into some oil. I’m running light through water and oil, trying to get it to hold some of the frequency and I’d put in some other types of energies into it and I’m calling them lit drops. You’ll like it because I’m all on the light and fuse transformation. I’m having patients say an affirmation because in my mind, that plants can grow better when we talk nicely to them. Positive thought patterning, why not? Put it under the tongue and I’m seeing some really cool results with patients having more clear focus and more energy.
Ari Whitten: Yes. Excellent. I would love to wrap up with maybe your top two or top three tips or strategies or little tidbits that you want to leave listeners with and then I want you to talk a bit about your book and or your books and your programs that you have available.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Absolutely. I would say top two or three, like you said, basic everyday things, get outside. I tell patients before about 10:00 AM, kick your shoes off, get in the grass and let the sun in your eyes. Don’t stare right at the sun, but give yourself about five or 10 minutes. I’m all about multitasking. I usually will turn on a guided meditation and go and allow myself to receive because the give and receive cycle and most of us is fairly out of balance. We need to get some energy in.
That’s a five to 10-minute easy free tip that actually is helping our mitochondria. That’s probably number one. Like you said, very simple changes nutritionally can make a huge difference. Just getting the quick-acting carbs out of our diet, trying to increase a little bit of the good fats and cleaning up the processed foods, the dim foods getting them out of your diet. That would be probably number two. It’s simple, but it works.
The third thing would be mindset. As we continue to unravel this mitochondrial how it’s working, the science behind it, I think we’re going to find that just like we found light communicating there, that there’s energy frequencies and that our thought patterns have something to do with it. I’m staying in a positive mindset. Getting out of victim mode, trying to make sure you have gratitude every day. Those are some of the top things that have helped to heal me to the level that I’ve been healed.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Actually, before we get into your programs, do you do telemedicine consults? If listeners are interested in working with you remotely, is that something that you do at your clinic or only in person?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: We do to a certain degree, have some spots open for telemedicine. The beauty of our clinic is a collaborative nature. A lot of people will fly in because they can see all of our healers here but I am open to some level of telemedicine as well.
Ari Whitten: How do you want people to reach out to you if they are interested in working with you?
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: The best way is probably if they go onto either social media. I’m @DrLisaKoche on Instagram, and Lisa Saff Koche on Facebook. You can also send us messages through the main website, spectrum-wellness.com or DrLisaKoche.com. We are coming out with an eight-week-course to get lit and optimize mitochondrial function biohack your body to wellness. That will be online. We will be hitting on a lot of this stuff and walking people through it.
Then my book is already out that you can get on Amazon. It’s called, Get Lit: Simple Answers to Overcome Fatigue, Exhaustion, and Brain Fog. Go ahead and check that out now on Amazon today.
Ari Whitten: Wonderful. Well, Dr. Lisa, thank you so much. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I think you have a really unique perspective and a unique approach to all this. You have a unique mind to even like I said, walk these two sort of vastly different territories and bridge the gap. What you’re doing is very interesting and this was a really fun conversation. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Dr. Lisa Saff Koche: Absolutely. I look forward to further collaboration.
Integrative Medicine Expert and Cancer Survivor Dr. Lisa Koche's Top Strategies For Optimizing Health – Show Notes
How muscle testing is used in Dr. Lisa’s clinic (08:20)
How intuition and energy healing helped Dr. Lisa (18:15)
The benefits of IV light therapy (26:00)
How to use IV therapy for improved health benefits (29:15)
Building the bridge between conventional medicine and “pseudoscience” (41:22)
How Mitochondria play a role in health (45:52)