If you haven’t already heard of the renowned functional medicine expert Dr. Will Cole, let us proudly introduce you! He consults patients around the globe via his telehealth functional medicine clinic and is named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation. He treats everything from thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders to brain problems.
We had the honor of chatting with Dr. Cole to discuss intergenerational trauma, inflammation, health sovereignty, and, of course, saffron. Read on as we get a peek into the powerful mind of Dr. Will Cole (and be sure to check out his episode on THE FULLEST Podcast for physiological and emotional healing practices to support the gut)!
Q: We love how you address the emotional body in your health practice, and we are especially grateful for your perspective on healing inherited traumas. Are inherited traumas simple to distinguish? What does this look like in the body, and how can we identify them?
A: As with many things that get passed down through families, like genetic conditions and physical characteristics, trauma can be inherited too (like cellular heirlooms) due to the fact that trauma can literally change the way your DNA expresses itself.
Your DNA serves as a sort of map for your body, telling it what to do and how to act on a cellular level. When your environment changes dramatically (such as during a time of major stress or trauma) your DNA doesn’t change fundamentally, but the way it’s read by your body does change.
That’s why trauma and stress can be the difference between being diagnosed with a disease and not experiencing it — and why they don’t just live and die with you or your parents — they act as a generational inheritance.
Since everyone’s biochemistry is different, you can’t necessarily pinpoint a single set of symptoms with intergenerational trauma. However, research is continuing to examine the link between generational trauma and a multitude of health issues, including autoimmune conditions, diabetes, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome.
If you have any of these conditions or struggle with symptoms like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, a sensitive fight-or-flight response, or nightmares, it is important to work with a qualified practitioner who can do a deep dive into your health history to determine if intergenerational trauma is a factor in your health case.
My book, Gut Feelings, also goes deeper into the cool science behind intergenerational trauma and gives you tools to start healing if you want to learn more.
Q: We admire your perspective on alcohol. Most people don’t want to give it up, although it is likely causing harm (even when consumed just a couple of times per month). Can you speak on three things to remove and three things to add to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle today?
A: Again, since everyone’s biochemistry is so different, the exact things that are going to push you toward disease are going to look different than someone else. But with that said, there are a handful of things that are not good for anyone to expose themselves to long-term.
- Stress: You can eat the healthiest diet in the world, but if you are feeding your body a giant slice of stress every day, your health is going to suffer because it impacts everything from your hormones to your gut health.
- Toxins: We are exposed to more toxins than ever in our modern society, and it impacts our hormones and overall health more than we even realize. Although everyone has a different threshold when it comes to toxins, it’s important to swap out your cleaning and personal care products to non-toxic versions to cut down on your toxin load as much as possible.
- Sugar: Now, I’m not saying you can’t ever have anything sweet again. But I am talking about refined, processed sugar. Cut this out as much as possible and make the switch to natural alternatives like raw honey, pure maple syrup, and monk fruit in moderation.
Q: THE FULLEST believes that mental health is the foundation of wellness. That’s why we created a saffron supplement that has been clinically proven to support mood. In addition to supplements, what lifestyle changes can people implement into their daily routine to support anxiety, depression, & ADHD?
A: Definitely start a daily mindfulness practice. Whether that is breathwork, meditation, or journaling, having something that brings you back to the present moment and has a calming effect on your stress response is a must.
But beyond that, I do recommend seeking out a professional counselor who can walk through this with you, in addition to a functional medicine practitioner who can get to the root cause of anxiety, depression, and ADHD. That way, you are only picking up the wellness tools that are going to move the needle on your health instead of wasting your time experimenting with things that might not be applicable to your specific health case.
Q: Inflammation is a big reason why so many autoimmune conditions arise. What are some tips you recommend to patients who suffer from inflammation?
A: First, I recommend running labs, if possible, to get a baseline understanding of your inflammation levels.
The biggest thing I recommend is to find the foods that work for your body. Everything you eat is either fueling inflammation or soothing it. I’ve seen many foods (even healthy ones) cause inflammation flare-ups, and uncovering food intolerances and sensitivities is an integral part of winning the inflammation battle.
An elimination diet is a great way to help discover which foods are not working for you if you aren’t able to work directly with a practitioner.
Q: What are your top three no-nos?
A: For me personally, I believe it is the death of self-love, followed by gluten (since it doesn’t agree with my body) and alcohol (since I value being in a clear headspace).
Q: What rituals do you incorporate into your nighttime routine for optimal sleep?
A: After my long days seeing patients at my telehealth functional medicine clinic, my nighttime routine is essential to quiet my brain and prep my body for sleep. I start by turning my phone off 1-2 hours before bed, so I’m not exposed to blue light. Then I like to take a scoop of my supplement, The Magnesium, which is formulated with a special type of magnesium designed to cross the blood-brain barrier to jump-start my sleep-wake cycle. Then, when I finally crawl into bed, it’s all about my weighted blanket.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share when it comes to supporting anxiety, depression, ADHD, sleep, & inflammation?
A: Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. You know your body best and when something isn’t right.
Don’t let anyone — even medical professionals — gaslight you into thinking it is all in your head or not as bad as you’re making it out to be. There is always hope for healing.
Q: How does THE FULLEST align with your life? What are your top saffron picks & how do you incorporate them into your lifestyle?
A: If you know me, I’m always sipping on some sort of tea during my day at my telehealth functional medicine clinic. So I love THE FULLEST Warm Feelings® saffron latte sachets. Not only do they taste delicious, they help promote a sense of calm even on my busiest of days. Plus, they are easy to take with me on the go when I am traveling.
Dr. Will Cole is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world over a decade ago. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel. Be sure to follow him along on Instagram and Facebook!