Top Ten Intelligent Medicine podcasts of 2020 (part one)

| By Dr. Ronald Hoffman

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It’s a holiday tradition: My year-end compendium of Top Ten Intelligent Medicine podcasts. Last year we wrote:

“‘Tis the season. As the pace of work and school slows, and the freneticism of shopping and parties abates, people are hopping into cars, buses, planes and trains to reach holiday destinations. Or else, they collapse and simply enjoy cocooning at home with family.”

Irony intended. It’s been a brutal year. We’re all cocooning in our “pods”. The mass-exodus that occurs annually won’t happen this year. And parties? PUH-LEEZE, don’t remind me . . .

It’s a perfect time to relax with your computer or mobile device while catching up on some of this year’s best Intelligent Medicine episodes. Since the launch of the podcast, there have been eight million downloads, and we’ve generated over 200 episodes with timely, free content this year alone!

The New York Times recently reported:

“The number of podcast listeners has increased sharply this year, according to a new report. More than half the people in the United States have listened to one, and nearly one out of three people listen to at least one podcast every month. Last year, it was more like one in four. ‘That’s the biggest growth we’ve seen, and we’ve been covering podcasts since 2006,’ said Tom Webster, a senior vice president at Edison Research, a company that tracks business trends.”

WhileeI believe that all of our Intelligent Medicine podcasts have been helpful and provocative this year, here are some of the highlights you may have missed:

1) Mold-related illness: Dr. Jill Crista, author of Break The Mold: 5 Tools to Conquer Mold and Take Back Your Health, explains why mold problems can cause a wide array of symptoms that are far more pervasive than conventional medicine’s limited recognition of “mold allergy”. In addition to asthma and sinusitis, mold-related illness may cause brain fog, autoimmunity, GI problems, and chronic fatigue; mycotoxins from mold can attack any organ system, but the brain is particularly susceptible. What symptoms would make you suspect mold-related illness? Are there tests that can clinch the diagnosis? Dr. Crista describes a 5-step process for dealing with mold toxicity. Care must be taken not to induce “die-off” which can make the patient sicker. Does diet matter? What supplements facilitate recovery? How do you determine if mold is present in your home or workplace, and what steps can be taken to remediate?

2) The Benefits—and Limitations—of Intermittent Fasting: In recognition of my recent collaboration on a review article, “Recommending Intermittent Fasting,” in the “Natural Medicine Journal” with its publisher, Karolyn Gazella, I invited her on to share our research on the benefits—and limitations—of intermittent fasting, and specifically time restricted feeding (TRF). Reducing your eating window to just 8 or 10 hours a day may aid weight loss, but it does so much more: TRF has been demonstrated to reboot metabolism, provide some of the benefits of a keto diet, promote autophagy and cellular resilience, with disease-fighting and anti-aging potential. We discuss its application to metabolic syndrome and diabetes, cognitive enhancement, as an adjunct to cancer therapy, for cardiovascular prevention, as well as for inflammatory disorders. How best to implement TRF; when TRF might not be suitable; why exercise + TRF might be synergistic.

3) Is completing a triathlon within your grasp? At age 60, Sue Reynolds found herself overweight and exhausted. After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting, she weighed 335 pounds. Now, four years later, she has lost 200 pounds and is a competitive triathlete, ambassador for USA Triathlon. Sue describes what prompted her journey, how she slowly initiated exercise after a lifetime of sedentary habits. She relates how counting calories failed her, and what diet ultimately proved sustainable. How has she sustained her weight loss when so many overweight people have failed? What psychological obstacles did she overcome to envision herself as a normal weight person? How has triathlon competition solidified her commitment to a healthy lifestyle? Can anyone aspire to a triathlon, no matter what their age or previous conditioning? Learn why Sue eschewed crash dieting and embraced a program of slow, steady weight loss. How did coaching help her hone her athletic skills? Sue encourages people to visit to learn how they can set a personal goal to compete in a triathlon. She is currently writing an inspirational book about her experiences. Learn more at and

4) How Pollutants and Food Additives May Undermine Our Immune Responses: Could exposure to environmental chemicals render us more vulnerable to poor outcomes in Covid-19? Integrative rheumatologist Aly Cohen MD, co-author of Non-Toxic: Guide to Living Healthy in a Chemical World (Dr Weil’s Healthy Living Guides), explains how pollutants and food additives may undermine our immune responses. How can one reduce their toxic burden? Can tests measure xenobiotic levels? As a physician familiar with the use of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) for her autoimmune patients, how does she rate it? Is it safe? What’s the basis for claims that it may help coronavirus patients? Are patients with autoimmune conditions especially prone to COVID-19? Do they need to discontinue their immunosuppressive meds? What can diet and targeted supplementation do to ameliorate autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus?

5) Dealing with COVID-19 Mental Stress: Dr. Christian Conte, author of Walking Through Anger: A New Design for Confronting Conflict in an Emotionally Charged World, offers tips on dealing with COVID-19 mental stress. Dr. Conte is an internationally recognized mental health specialist and has attained a level V certification in anger management. How to counteract catastrophic thinking; What lessons can be derived from Dr. Conte’s work with prison inmates (we’re all under lockdown now!)? Ways to defuse angry outbursts; How to talk to kids about the coronavirus; How journaling can help us cope with anxiety; The insights Dr. Conte’s Yield Theory can impart to the current crisis.

I hope this first set of podcast episodes will carry you through the Christmas weekend—I’ll back next week with five more to dive into before the New Year!

Continue to part two…


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