A collection of health and wellness book covers focusing on sleep, stress, detoxification, energy, maintaining health, and calming inflammation.

Identify Your Health Priority

Take Our FREE Assessment Today!

Season 3, Episode 3: Support Your Own Biochemistry with Isaac Eliaz, MD

By Jodi Cohen

Image featuring the "Essential Alchemy: The Ancient Art of Healing Naturally" podcast with Jodi Cohen, NTP. It shows a headshot of Jodi Cohen and a guest, Dr. Isaac Eliaz, alongside podcast branding on a purple background.

In this episode, Jodi is joined by Dr. Isaac Eliaz, MD, a true pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the 1980’s, as he shares his insight on inflammation and how it is the driver of nearly every chronic disease. 

Specializing in cancer, detoxification, immune health, complex conditions and mind-body medicine, Dr. Eliaz has decades of practice with a focus on healing and shares a new paradigm shift in how we think about health and diseases.

Tune in and learn more about: 

  • [01:17] – The Survival Paradox (a paradigm shift)
  • [09:43] – PectaSol – What is it and how can it help you?
  • [17:17] – Discover tools to deal with the survival paradox

About Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a leading expert in the field of integrative medicine, specializing in cancer, detoxification, immunity, and complex conditions. He is a respected physician, researcher, best-selling author, educator, and mind-body practitioner. Dr. Eliaz partners with leading research institutes including Harvard, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Columbia, and others, to co-author studies on integrative therapies for cancer, heavy metal toxicity, and others. He is founder and Medical Director of Amitabha Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, CA, where he has pioneered the use of therapeutic apheresis as an adjunctive blood filtration treatment for detox and chronic degenerative conditions.

Get 15% off your Ecougenics order with coupon code VBO15 | Be sure to pick up a copy of Dr. Isaac Eliaz’s new book, The Survival Paradox 

If you’re enjoying the Essential Alchemy podcast, please leave Jodi a review on iTunes.

Jodi: Hi, I am Jodi Cohen, your host, and I’m really excited to share my guest today. Isaac Eliaz. He’s a leading expert in the field of integrative medicine, specializing in cancer, detoxification, immunity, and complex conditions. He’s a respected physician, researcher, bestselling author, educator, and mind-body practitioner. 

Dr. Eliaz partners with leading research institutions including Harvard, the National Institutes of Health, Columbia (my alma mater), and others, to co- author studies on integrative therapies for cancer, heavy metal toxicity, and others. He’s the founder and medical director of… help me pronounce the name of your clinic.

Isaac: Amitabha. 

Jodi: Amitabha – I’m sure we, I’ll ask you the meaning of that name – in Santa Rosa, California, where he filters therapeutic and treatment for detox and chronic degenerative conditions. Welcome.

Isaac:  Thank you Jodi, and I’m very glad to be on this podcast. I was looking forward to it.

Jodi:  Well, no, and it sounds like you bring a variety of experience and knowledge to kind of helping with chronic illness. So do you wanna just explain what is the Survival paradox?

Isaac: Yeah. Well, the Survival Paradox is a book that I just wrote in September 2021 that reflects my decades of studies as a clinician, a medical doctor, and a licensed acupuncturist. 

So really, studying both roles in a deep way. The decades of practice and meditation with a focus on healing and being an active researcher. And it really offers a new paradigm. It’s really a paradigm shift in how we think about our health and diseases. We are very aware of integrative holistic medicine, and now medicine is more aware because of Covid, that inflammation drives every chronic disease. 

But inflammation is really the vehicle that causes it. It’s really not the cause. What causes inflammation is our inappropriate survival drive – and that’s the paradox. The paradox, Jodi, is that we are built to survive. As a being, as a society, as the earth, as everything tries to survive. And it goes all the way to our cellular level. 

And our response to survival is actually what causes us to get sick and shortens our life. And that’s the profundity of the paradox because when we respond with survival reactivity, we first do it through the autonomic nervous system. Through the sympathetic system, the response is very automated

That’s why it’s the autonomic nervous system, and it’s done through either fighting, which equates to inflammation, or through flight, which is where we go away and we hide, which creates fibrosis.

And these processes are very basic to every chronic disease. We either respond with inflammation or we respond with fibrosis. 

And the ultimate example of this is what happens to a cell that doesn’t wanna die, who wants to survive? It doesn’t recognize that it’s part of a whole community where it comes into life. It expresses itself and then it goes into apoptosis and another cell will come, just like us. 

We come to this world, we live our lives. Life comes to an end. And when these cells decide they want to survive, it creates a microenvironment, it creates a different coating, a different area around it. It hides from the immune system, becomes autonomous, and starts growing on its own. And we call it cancer. And then it creates inflammation as part of being aggressive and it spreads and eventually, it kills the host and it kills itself. 

So that’s an example of how cancer is driven by inappropriate survival response, inappropriate immune response. That’s what happens with Covid. We get an inappropriate survival-driven immune response with the cytokine storm, and then we get all the side effects, and that’s what people really get sick from and die. 

And so this is why it’s very basic. And then of course what can we do about it? 

How can we move from this?

Jodi: Right before we get into what we can do, I wanna kinda land on that for a minute. Cause what I think I hear you saying is that we have a survival impulse, autonomic nervous system, fight or flight, or arrest and digest

We get stuck in sympathetic. We become sympathetic-dominant. And then it’s almost like our cells become a runaway train where they’re not collaborating with our system, but they’re kind of surviving on their own. And that’s when problems set in. Did I get that right?

Isaac: Yeah that’s one part of it. 

I talked about the nervous system. What happened after a few minutes? So the nervous system, you know, we go into sympathetic mode, right? And then we take a deep breath, we relax, and we can go into a parasympathetic mode. 

Unless we have too much sympathetic. But what happened? We get a biochemical response.

Jodi:  When we’re in sympathetic, it’s kind of like the domino cascade.

Isaac:  Yes. But that’s one part. You got your biochemical response. The biochemical response the body does by using something called alarming survival proteins, with the leading one being galectin-3, which we have been researching for decades. And when galectin-3 comes into play, it drives all the cytokine and inflammatory cascade.

It drives this damaging process. But it’s not easy to turn off like the autonomic nervous system.

Jodi:  I see what you’re saying. So there’s the autonomic nervous system, which triggers the survival protein, and all of these things need to be downregulated in order for people to heal. But once they are kind of, it’s like the fire that becomes the wildfire that’s hard to kill.

Isaac:  Exactly. It’s like a waterfall cascade. Where we in medicine try to deal with the water at the bottom. So you know, interleukin-6, cytokines, how come it’s too late?

Start with galectin-3 at the top. So when you block galectin-3 and then what I do from a biochemical perspective, it’s my work with pectasol, with modified pectin, it blocks galectin-3. 

So if you look at the research on modified pectin, you will find it on kidney disease and health, heart, liver, neuroinflammation, cancer, detoxification, and on heavy metals. Why? Because it’s a fundamental movement that causes health issues on so many levels. So we’re really addressing the issue at the root, and biochemistry is one aspect, and the other aspect is what we can do with our lifestyle. 

With the way we think, with the way we live our life, with the way we process life, you know?

Jodi: And just so the listeners like, kind of chunk it down a little bit so that it’s easier for them to understand, we’re talking about when your nervous system, which is part of it, gets stuck in the wrong gear – that’s when you’re in survival, everything not critical to survival down-regulates

And it also turns on this protein. And before we get into the solutions, I really wanna kind of hover on what’s going on, so people can identify and maybe hear themselves in this. So this can then turn into cancer, you mentioned heavy metal toxicity, detoxification problems, and digestive problems… 

What are some of the other symptoms that as a collective we ascribe that could have this as the foundational root?

Isaac: Because it’s so foundational to our being and it drives inflammation and fibrosis. It’ll affect every health condition. If you look at the condition for galectin- 3 in a chart, you will practically see the research on the about 10,000 published papers on galectin-3. You’ll see every single condition, but the classical one is what inflammation causes. So it affects immune dysregulation, autoimmunity, heart disease, cardiovascular, sucralose diseases, and metabolic diseases. We move from normal metabolism to survival metabolism, from normal mitochondrial function, to normal cellular function. 

You produce energy in a slow way, but in an efficient way. One glucose is produced at 36 ATP. We don’t have a lot of toxic byproducts. The cell is doing well.

 When we go into survival mode, we produce energy through glycolysis 100 times as fast when we are in survival, but very inefficient. Only 2 ATP for one glucose. 

A lot of byproduct lactic acid damaging compounds, so naturally it’ll affect every organ. So chronic kidney disease, acute kidney injury, lung disease, heart disease… so inflammation is a very big one.

Jodi: Yeah, it’s interesting. I used to run marathons and I knew my speed and sometimes I’d run faster and I could keep pace with the faster person for two miles, and then it would kill me. 

So it’s basically what you’re kind of saying, if you’re running at high capacity, you’re not supposed to stay there. And these damaging effects happen. Now let’s land on your solution, and before we get into pectasol – it’s a binder it’s made from, is it apricot pits or what? What is it?

Isaac: I mean, pectasol is modified citrus pectin. Pectin is the white inside part of it extracted from the citrus fruit, but it’s modified in a very specific way to a low molecular weight, so it gets absorbed into the bloodstream and there it has its effect. 

The main effect is the blocking of galectin-3. So it regulates this unhealthy process and has an effect on so many aspects. And then it also has additional benefits as a binder.

Jodi: Especially for lead. 

Isaac: Right, excellent for lead, and for mercury, for cadmium, for all the positively charged, we published on its ability to bind to even uranium and it can bind cesium, but it can also bind some micro-toxins. 

And so it’s a very good binder, but it’s beyond a binder. Why do I say it’s beyond a binder? And you know, some people know it as a binder. Some people use it for immunity because it regulates immunity. It’s more than a binder because a binder can bind toxins. Modified citrus pectin regulates and downregulates the inflammatory response.

So you don’t get the side effects of binding. It actually regulates the damaging process that is caused by toxins. And that is unique. I mean it can be used with a binder, it can be used with a supplement, it can be used with medications. It can be used, you know, with essential oil, it can be used with anything

Because what it does to understand what it does, we have to understand how galectin-3 works. What galectin-3 doesWhy is what? What is the survival protein? It gets a message that something is going wrong. It goes to the damaged tissue, and it’s really the bus driver. 

It drives different inflammatory compound, growth compound, hyperviscosity compound is part of the repair system We are trying to repair. How do repair through inflammation? Just like Jodi, when you get cut in the skin, right?

You end up having a scar. The scar is a repair system, but if you get scars internally, you get organ dysfunction. 

So the galectin-3 comes through the tissue and then it creates a pentamer. And the pentamer is attached to each other and it creates a coating, a biofilm. For the biofilm, the basic structure is galectin-3. So it creates this microenvironment where under the microenvironment, suddenly you don’t have enough oxygen. 

You have a different environment biochemically that makes the cells in the tissue function in an abnormal way. So when you break this lattice formation, you allow the body to heal in a much healthier way. And that’s why it’s such a foundational supplement, in my opinion, after being in this for decades. It’s the most important supplement someone can take because as we age, galectin-3 levels go up in the blood and it is really what causes inflammation. 

Inflammation is driven by galectin-3.

Jodi: I just wanna land on something. So what you’re saying is it’s a biofilm disrupter, which is complicated.

Isaac: Oh, of course, it is because biofilm, the basic structure, you’ve got galectin-3, and then you’ve got the oxidized lipid and the heavy metals attaching to the galectin-3. 

And then the biofilm creates a microenvironment. It’s a different environment.

So yes, the pectasol disrupts the biofilm. It modifies citrus pectin because it disrupts galectin-3, it downregulates the unhealthy inflammatory response, and that’s why it’s such a universal solution. And that’s why people can feel that their memory is getting better, the joints feel better, you know, their circulation is better, the blood pressure is improving. How is it possible? 

Because we are addressing a fundamental process of aging and damage to the body that is a result of this abnormal survival response. And that’s a paradox.

Jodi: I love it. And I know you have people take high doses, it’s like six tablets twice a day, correct?

Isaac: Yes. The dosing depends. For people who just do maintenance or are young, like under 40 and healthy, they can take six capsules a day or one scoop. People who are dealing with serious illnesses, they take six capsules three times a day or nine capsules twice a day. 

In our clinical trials and modified citrus pectin, for example, in prostate cancer. 

So on biochemical relapse of prostate cancer, we get a really encouraging result with the slowdown of the PSA rises in 80% of the patients in a multi-center trial, people took 18 capsules a day. If so, you have a maintenance dose of six a day. 

But if you are dealing with health challenges, you will go to the full dose of modified citrus pectin, which is, yeah, 15 grams a day.

It’s a very sophisticated fiber because it’s a modified fiber that gets absorbed into the bloodstream. But it’s really, it’s as close to nature as you can be. It’s really made from citrus fruit.

Jodi: Yeah. And so I’m curious, do you do that just in isolation or do you have other- do you have them like focusing on other remedies and supplements as well? Is it a one-and-done magic bullet or

Isaac: No, no. It’s definitely not a magic bullet. Because it addresses the foundational issue, right? Lends itself to be integrated with other treatments. So we published research, you know, there are 80 published papers on our modified citrus pectin, and the papers are modified citrus pectin, being synergistic. 

For example, in cancer with chemotherapy, with radiation therapy. So you can combine modified citrus pectin with anything. That’s the beauty of it, right? It lends itself to being combined with other substances. It has remarkable safety. It’s really safe for everybody. So it’s what makes it so special.

Jodi: It’s a nice binder for kids, too. Cause it’s kind of gentle. Something interesting that we’ve noticed is we have an essential oil that you put on the vagus nerve to kind of stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and what we’ve found is that it then if people have been stuck in survival for a while, they have a lot of delayed maintenance and all of a sudden they start kind of draining toxins and their lymph might be congested or the fascia might be clenching or they might be reabsorbing the toxins.

So we’re really trying to make sure that the body is set up to let the garbage leave and not re-assimilate.

Isaac: Right. That’s important. It’s a concept of elimination. You can’t discharge if you don’t eliminate. From the organ to the bloodstream and to the gut. So yeah, it’s very, very important.

Jodi: Interesting. And is there anything else, you know, do you wanna kind of elaborate on how you help patients deal with the survival paradox beyond?

Isaac: Yeah, of course. So, you know, in my training, it’s multi-dimensional. So in my personal medical practice, I use multiple tools. 

If it’s acupuncture, if it’s healing hands work, meditation, injections, and neuro- therapy, because survival causes scars. Scars can be multi-generational. 

You know, we know from research that people from the Holocaust, their offsprings carry the traumas. And in my book, the Survival Paradox, the book is truly a paradigm shift book, especially for health providers, but also for patients and people who read it. 

It really changes the whole way of thinking about their health. So in the book, in towards the end, when I talk about solutions, where I explain what is survival products, how it affects our body, and I go through every major system in the body and cancer, and I give a lot of clinical examples of stories.

Then I talk about solutions, which are detoxification. Healing our scars of survival. And then I talk about healing the mind and letting go of the survival response. So in the healing of our scars of survival, I tell my own story. You know, I’m named after my grandfather and certain symptoms I had since childhood that really were epigenetically passed from him. 

And when I healed them, in a dramatic way. I always had this chest pressure and then it just, a few years ago, it totally disappeared. You know, 50 years after it started, my mother who could never see any movies or documentaries on the Holocaust, was suddenly able to do it without talking to me because I went back and I healed my trauma with my grandfather, who then affected my mother as the first generation. 

So that’s the power of healing. The different methods in, the thing that I specialize in, which I’m known as a disruptor in, on a global level, is the use of therapeutic apheresis for inflammatory condition and what is therapeutic apheresis, right?

Jodi: But before you move away from epigenetic, and like family, what tools do you like to heal multi-generational trauma? Like I’ve played with family constellations, I’ve played with emotion code. What have you tried, and what do you like?

Isaac: So there are different tools we have to deal with. Family constellation is very important.

I specifically use some unique meditation methods. Some of which are based on my decades of practice in Buddhism. Then a certain insight that I had in how to relate them to our physiology. So if we look at our physiology, our physiology is built, Jodi, to heal from such trauma. What do I mean? When we are reactive, we are reactive from our ego, from our head, you know, something happens to us and we react. 

And this reactivity, as we mentioned, goes down every cell. So if you look at every cell in our body, every organ, it takes nourishment. Clean blood, clean nourishment, and it lets go of toxins. What it doesn’t want. It happens all the way to the membrane level of the cell that lets go. 

There is one organ that functions differently. There is one organ that accepts everything other organs don’t want with an open, embraced heart. It’s called the heart. The heart gets all the dirty blood from everywhere. It doesn’t say, “I’m gonna take only from the liver. I’m not gonna take from the kidneys.” 

It gets it from everywhere. What does it do? It connects to the universe with the breath, through the lungs, and our drama for the universe, it’s not a big deal. The universe is reflected in infinite time. Always past, present, future, and infinite space. And then we get clean oxygen that comes to the heart

And what does the heart do? Does the heart give blood in an unconditional way? The main artery that comes out of the heart is a rigid artery that doesn’t contract in any way. It gives blood everywhere.

And the first organ that the heart nourishes is the heart itself with the coronary artery, and that’s reflected in the heart, nourishes itself in order to nourish others. 

So it can do its work and as part of nourishing others. And the heart exemplifies selfless giving because it always gives. But in order to give clean blood, it has to take dirty blood. So we have to take our traumas, our difficulties, and instead of fighting them, we transform them. We use them as wood to the fire

And another amazing thing about the heart, an observation that I made and also worthwhile knowing, is that the heart is the only organ that nourishes itself after it finishes doing its work. It finishes the, you know, the heart would’ve gotten blood in the right atrium when it started, the blood just came in or in the left atrium would be better if it’s cleaned. But no, no. The heart nourishes itself only once it puts the blood out, and that’s the concept of self-love is part of loving others.

Jodi: And those listening to this and they’re like, I suspect I have epigenetic trauma, I’m not quite sure how to transmute it…Is your practice something that’s heart-centered? Is it breath-centered? How do you work with people who have epigenetic intergenerational trauma that they’re not sure how to, you know…

Isaac: My practice is heart-centered. It’s called, I mean when I teach meditation and healing in the clinic, I have a lot of tools, of course, and that’s why I mentioned therapeutic apheresis because it’s filtration of the blood outside the body-

Jodi: Is that like you have a needle in one arm and another, like that’s a-

Isaac: Yes. Yes, exactly. It’s similar to dialysis, but it’s a very fancy procedure, but it’s the same concept. You see how you can lift technology and you can have simpler- 

Yeah, so my, I call my approach open-heart medicine, the infinite healing power of love and compassion. It’s gonna be my second. And it’s based on decades of training, insight, and clinical application. And so everything is centered around it

And when you connect to the heart in a true way, you move from effortful trying and survival to a letting go process. Effortless. And within it, of course, breath needs to be, because what is breath? Breath is movement. Breath is life. When we stop breathing right in, in Judaism, nshima. Nshima is soul. Nshima is breath. 

And the only difference is there is youth. There is a letter of God, the divine energy. 

So when we stop breathing, we lose the connection, right? But what happens when the heart stops moving? We are dead. So to be alive, we think, and we go back, and we go forward, and we get stuck, and we get fixated. So fixation is in the nature of our daily life through our head. Movement and flow is what our heart does.

And the beauty of it, Jodi, we are built to do this, you know? So when you connect to heart-based practices, you learn them in hours. 

They affect you in a day or two. When you try to change your mind and thinking and your thought process, that’s how it works, right? Because why we are trying to overcome our very fundamental survival drive and reactivity. 

We’re trying to move from reactivity to heartfelt compassion, and compassion- expressed responsiveness, where we get the stuff that triggers that. But instead of reacting with fighting, we respond with compassion. And the beauty of it again is that we are built to do it. And that’s why it’s so profound

And so when you have this kind of thinking, small tools can go a long way. And if you look at your field of essential oils, why are essential oils so powerful? Because the smell in them goes very deep into the organs. It goes very deep into our essence, and it can really open things in a very deep way. In Chinese medicines in the discussion about the taste and the smell as a vehicle to penetrate deep into the qualities of our organs. 

And this is the physiological effect, actually, the psychological effect. And it also has a spiritual effect, which is a little bit too complicated to explain in a podcast. So the idea, when you embrace a profound model and you understand it because everything is changeable. 

As long as we don’t get stuck in survivor mode, everything is possible.

Then small things can go a long way, but if you need a dramatic thing like therapeutic apheresis, it’s there for people who come to the clinic. 

And so that’s the beauty of it. You know, when you look at people who do, who have a… the health provider practitioners and they need to use a lot of tools and a lot of methods and a lot of machinery. They missed the essence of understanding. So we are trying to compensate with a lot of fancy treatments, but when we go back to the basics, anything and everything is possible and that’s why my favorite saying, one of my favorite sayings is- Not everyone will be a miracle, but anyone can be a miracle, and the reason is because everything is changeable.

Jodi: So speaking of that, for people who are listening who are like, “I would like to learn more about his heart meditation and how to work with him,” is that something where they have to come see you in the clinic? Can they do that virtually? How does one do that?

Isaac: So in the last decade, I focused on teaching in Israel. I have a foundation there and I’ve taught thousands of people on a volunteer basis. And now with my book here, I’m gonna shift my focus to the US. So in 2023, I’m gonna start offering these retreats. And the first retreat, you know, initially we’ll be in Zoom.

I’m gonna actually, I’m gonna make it as an offering for maybe- I’m gonna do a first week, which will be a few days on Zoom…

Jodi: So it’s on Zoom. Oh, so it will be virtual! That’s what I was wondering because all of these people, you know, there are certain things that are easy if you’re deficient and vitamin D is pretty easy to supplement, you know? If you need to exercise, you can figure that out. But if you have, you know, if you’re the child of a Holocaust survivor, if you have ancestral trauma, that’s a tricky one. Oils do help, but that’s like a bigger nut to crack, so-

Isaac: Of course. I know it works from thousands of people that I’ve helped. And so it’s, and again, I’m bringing forth decades of training. I wrote my first book in my early sixties-

Jodi: We’re tracking. How do people know where and when on Zoom, when they find this?

Isaac: People can go to dreliaz.com and they can register for my newsletter, which is high-quality, research-driven. And then I will let them know when the retreat comes, I plan to do the first one is the spring of 2023

And my plan is to do it, offer it as a free retreat, as part of my offering. And this is really my third act, you know, in my sixties I started my – we didn’t talk about my background – but I started my journey at the age of 15 learning Taekwondo and meditation in Korea when my father was a civil engineer. 

So I’m looking at almost 50 years of meditation and contemplation. And it took me also almost 50 years, you know, to put out the Survival Paradox, the first book.

We think in Judaism that life and death is the power of the tongue. And you have to be really very contemplative before writing a book because it has a lot of power. So I took my time, took decades, but now it’s my time to share my experience and my unusual training. Learning vertically different medical systems, not horizontally. And so that’s what I want to do. That’s my joy. That’s what my heart wants to do, and that’s what I plan to really share. 

And it’s interesting that while I’m coming to this from a meditation inside of decades of practice, in my research life now and again, I have a very large NIH grant to research galectin-3 actually in sepsis and acute kidney injury. And in my research life, I stumbled on the survival protein, which contracts us, which creates fibrosis, which doesn’t let us open our hearts. 

And then I came up with this biochemical natural solution, you know, modified citrus pectin. So you can see in my own journey, I did it on a biochemical level. And I’m doing it in the more esoteric, multi-dimensional level and disintegration is what I would like to offer to people. I feel it’s my responsibility to do it because I spend decades refining it, you know?

Jodi:  That’s amazing. Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you’d like to share?

Isaac:  No, I think for our first podcast it’s a good start. You know, I’m really, really happy to connect to you, and with you, and if we talk again, we can take more time to explain, actually the esoteric views, a little bit about essential oils, how they relate to meditation, to different aspects of different organs.

Jodi: I would love that. I would absolutely love that.

Isaac: It deserves its own podcast because I have to go through a whole process of explaining how the mind works, how reality works, how our relative reality works, and what other emotions are related to it, and why essential oils are such a tool. 

And if you look for example, in Ayurvedic medicine, in Tibetan medicine, there are five like, spiritual herbs that are very fragrant. They’re fragrant, they have smells and essential oils deliver it in a powerful way. But I don’t wanna spoil it.

Jodi:  That sounds amazing. Thank you so much for your time and your insight. This was fabulous.

Isaac: Great. Thank you.

About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.