Next Health is the model for what the healthcare of tomorrow is supposed to look like. We bring you a special video courtesy of PRIME collaborator and Medical Editor Lynn Marie Morski, who also has a podcast called Quit Happens (quittingbydesign.com/quit-happens-podcast/) that dives into the important moments where different people decided to quit what they were doing and pivot to something else. Dr. Darshan Shah’s quit led him to team with entrepreneur Kevin Peake to develop the Next Health concept that offers medical consultations, several different therapies, tech wearables, and so much more all out of a retail storefront. Dr. Shah says, “I really feel, and I really believe, it is my personal mission is to change how people think about their health so they never get to that point where they need a hospital, where they need the pharmaceutical industry, where they need to go to the operating room in the first place.” It is that mentality and that passion that created Next Health and has provided access to restorative and longevity solutions to thousands of people.
In this Deep Dive, you will learn …
Take us back to before your quit (0:45)
- Was a surgeon for 25 years
- Stressful job, crazy hours, not enough sleep, led to health problems
- His quit happened 5 years ago when he decided that he would quit being sick
- Wanted to dive into the science of sickness
- Led him to a lifestyle change, which led to Next Health
How did you make this transition (2:47)
- Started waking up earlier and doing a morning routine
- Learned about health and nutrition, changed his diet
- Having a background in medicine may have actually hindered his ability to help himself
- Required a mindset shift
- Got on the keto diet
- Started recommending dieting to patients who were looking for plastic surgery and lost 9 out of 10 patients
- Wrote a book advising against plastic surgery
How Next Health came to be (7:46)
- Started advising friends and family members and realized there was a business opportunity there
- Reduced surgery time and moved full-time to Next Health
- Wanted to bring his newly-found knowledge to the public
Dr. Shah’s advice for anyone who is looking to reduce stress (10:16)
- Note that stress is not a bad thing in short doses and leads to healthier mitochondria
- Recommends the Pomodoro Technique where after every 45 minutes of work, you take 15 minutes off
- Also recommends taking weekends off, taking an extended weekend every month, taking a week or two off every six months
- There are many modalities Next Health offers that mitigates stress like cryotherapy, infrared light therapy
- Improve mental function and reduce brain fog – he recommends The End of Alzheimer’s by Dale Bredesen
How do we improve our immune system (14:38)
- Overworking our bodies and spending too much time in the gym
- Not getting enough sleep and not getting the quality of sleep you need
- Suggests getting a sleep tracker
- Get a supplement program that’s based on actual mitochondria levels and consider doing IV therapy
- Lynn Marie has an Oura ring and said it has been transformational for her
- Diet, movement and exercise, and sleep are the three legs of the stool
The Next Health Wellness Wheel (17:53)
- Lynn Marie related a story of seeing Ben Greenfield give a speech at Next Health where Dr. Shah asked him to touch on the 12 different parts of the wellness wheel
- She was worried the talk would go on for too long, but it wound up being extremely useful
- There is an overload of information and it’s difficult to figure out what’s true
- The Wellness Wheel was created to cut through the confusion of real vs fake
- It categorizes the aspects of health
- Dr. Shah suggests focusing on one per month and building a habit around each
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Lynn Marie: Darshan, thank you so much for joining us today.
Darshan Shah: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Lynn Marie: Well, it’s a pleasure for us to be here at Next Health. This is really exciting. We’ve just been touring your facility and learning about all the … I mean, my listeners know I’m a total bio hacking nut, and so this is a playground for me to see all these cool things in one place, and we’re gonna talk about what you do here later because it is part of your journey that started with a very specific quit. I would love if you could take us back to before you quit being sick.
Darshan Shah: Absolutely. By way of background, I’m a surgeon by trade. I had been a surgeon for 25 years. For most people in medicine that know what the lifestyle of a surgeon is like, I mean, you don’t sleep very often. You’re up at four o’clock in the morning. You’re stressed out. You’re always working, weekends, as well. It’s not a great lifestyle. I found myself getting a lot of stress, which as we all know, causes a lot of inflammation. Inflammation leads to all sorts of problems, like weight gain, dementia, which I didn’t have dementia, but brain fog, definitely, hypertension, pre-diabetes. I was on, like, three different medications. I couldn’t get my high blood pressure under control. I weighed 30 pounds more than I do now. This was all about five years ago.
Darshan Shah: Five years ago, I had my son, and I decided that I need to be around for a little big longer, a lot longer. I decided I needed to quit being sick. As a physician, you’d think I’d know how to quit being sick, but you went to medical school, as well. We spent a good two required hours on nutrition and zero to five minutes on sleep and detox, and the word did not even enter any medical book. I had no idea how to quit being sick. I knew how to treat a disease symptom. I knew how to prescribe a pill for a symptom, but I didn’t know how to get rid of the symptoms in the first place.
Darshan Shah: When I made the decision to quit being sick, I also made the conscious decision to dive into the science of sickness, and why are we sick in the first place? That led down the whole path that eventually culminated into a complete lifestyle change and a complete business change, and going into the business of health optimization and longevity, which is why Next Health came about.
Lynn Marie: How did you start making that transition? ‘Cause you’re working as a full-time surgeon. Correct?
Darshan Shah: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Lynn Marie: You start realizing, okay, there are some other modalities out there that can help people with their health.
Darshan Shah: Right.
Lynn Marie: Did you have this moment where you thought, I may have to leave clinical medicine to make this kind of transition?
Darshan Shah: No, because I was paying my bills, being a surgeon. I basically want to get myself healthy first. I was feeling more and more tired, more and more stressed, taking medications twice a day, getting frustrated with that, and not being able to get my blood pressure under control. I just said I needed to figure out a time that I could dedicate to myself.
Darshan Shah: What I did was, I started waking up 30 minutes earlier every morning before the kids were up, and I could spend some time by myself and start building a morning routine, which I think is one of the best and most powerful things anyone can do. If you’re not a morning person, an evening routine, but a routine. I started reading. I would read 30 minutes a day on how to optimize my diet. That was the first thing I did. That led to me living a keto lifestyle for about a year and getting 30-40 pounds off, like instantaneously within a few months. That was very powerful for me.
Darshan Shah: I found that how disappointed I was in my medical education, I didn’t even know the keto diet existed before I read about it, and I watched YouTube videos and podcasts, and I said, “I’m just gonna give it a try and see what happens.” Being a doctor, I was measuring my biomarkers the whole time, making sure some of the reported side effects of keto, like high cholesterol, didn’t happen, and it didn’t. My cholesterol went down. What a powerful tool that doctors don’t have in their tool belt. It gets back to the origins of why we’re sick in the first place. You get that back to the origin of why we’re sick, and then all the sicknesses, you realize, are all related, and they all start going away. That was the first step, was creating a morning routine and learning.
Darshan Shah: Being a physician, you think that I had a leg up in the learning. I actually didn’t because I had all that negative information in my mind that don’t trust diet and … All that stuff is woo-woo. You need to go straight into the biochemistry of why we’re sick. There has to be a pill for that. I was actually fighting an uphill battle in my own mind and fighting an uphill battle against the education that I had received in medical school, but thankfully, it opened my eyes to a whole new world of information out there that I could use.
Lynn Marie: I love that. That mindset shift is huge because you’re absolutely right. So many walls go up when people mention toxins, or nutrition, or any diet that is as high in fat as the keto diet, but we are taught, like you said. I don’t even know if we got two hours of nutrition.
Darshan Shah: Right.
Lynn Marie: It was such a small amount of our education, and there was so little spent on anything else preventative that it’s a whole mindset shift, and you have to look into these things that we were taught were a little woo-woo and realize, oh, no, there’s a lot of science, actually, behind this. Well, no, there’s science. It’s working for people everywhere, and so there’s at least anecdotal evidence, a plethora, thereof, and so you have to pay attention to that.
Darshan Shah: You know what I’m so disappointed about in medical school and just medicine in general is when you see the word, anecdotal evidence, it’s a bad word. Right? But we have this thing, N of 1. I’m an experiment of myself, and for me, you can count my journey and story as anecdotal evidence, but it 100% worked for me. I could tell you, thousands of patients later, that we’ve recommended some of these same things to, it’s worked for them. Eventually, even though there’s not a double brine randomized placebo control study about the keto diet that will satisfy every physician on the planet, you have to start looking at the real world evidence, right?
Lynn Marie: Yeah, absolutely. I love that. That’s a huge point to bring up. So, there you are. You’ve done the keto diet. You’ve seen the effects on your own health. What led to that next transition? So, you’re still working as a surgeon at this point. Correct?
Darshan Shah: Right, right.
Lynn Marie: Where did you go from there?
Darshan Shah: At this point, I kind of transitioned from doing a lot of reconstructive, and trauma, and ER work, and doing cosmetic plastic surgery, just so I could try to schedule my life a little bit better. I, at that point, decided to give my cosmetic plastic surgery patients the same advice that I had been following. They would come to me for liposuction, for example, and I would say, “You know what? You don’t need lipo right now. What you need is to get on a diet, whether it’s keto, or Mediterranean, or something else to take 30 pounds off first, and then come back and see me.” You know what? I probably lost 9 out of 10 patients that way, but I didn’t care. I said, “You know what? I’m getting people healthy, and they feel incredible.” I wrote a book, called Making the Cut: 10 Reasons You Should Not Have Plastic Surgery. It’s one of the best-selling plastic surgery books on Amazon.
Lynn Marie: I love that.
Darshan Shah: My colleagues don’t love that, but …
Lynn Marie: I bet not.
Darshan Shah: But you know what? I felt it was a responsibility I had to make sure people who considered plastic surgery were doing it safely and make themselves healthy first because there’s no use fixing the outside if the inside is broken, right?
Lynn Marie: Yeah.
Darshan Shah: After I wrote that book, during that entire time, I kept educating myself. I got addicted to the knowledge that I did not have, and I learned all about optimizing brain health, cardiovascular health, hormone health, detoxifying my life, my immune system, everything. I kind of created this system, which I call the wellness wheel, which is 12 different points of wellness, and I started talking to people and taking them down a journey of these 12 points and helping them get better, basically. I saw many clients, many patients, many friends, family members, loved ones not just lose weight, ’cause losing weight is not the end all, right? You can have someone who is totally skinny and looks like they’re healthy, but their inflammatory markers are out of control. It’s really about addressing all of these issues and concerns. I have thousands of people that I was helping with this new kind of paradigm and I said to myself, “There’s a business here, and I want to change what I’m doing in my business life, so let’s open Next Health.”
Lynn Marie: I love it. What did it look like in that transition? Did you kind of taper out your clinical practice as Next Health ramped up?
Darshan Shah: Yes. That’s exactly what happened. I tapered that out. I still operate. I still do surgery once a month just to keep my skills up to date, and help friends and family, and patients I’ve done. They sometimes come back, and they refer their family members, so I’ll do those kinds of things, but really, really cut back and really now am just focused on bringing all of this knowledge to the public, using Next Health, and podcasts, and YouTube videos, and thank you so much for having me on your podcast to spread the word of health optimization.
Lynn Marie: Well, we’re super happy you’re here. On that topic, a lot of people who listen to this podcast are leaving a job, and they may be doing that same thing where they’re tapering down their old job and maybe starting up a side gig, and that can be a really stressful time, and it could take a lot out of the body if we’re not careful. If you could tell us some of the things that Next Health, or some of these modalities that you found in your research, that you would recommend to somebody in that position where they’re conscious that, okay, I’m going to head into a more stressful time. I’d like to be proactive and not just end up … Okay, finally, I have a side business that’s working, but I now have no hair and I am 50 pounds overweight. Right?
Darshan Shah: Yeah.
Lynn Marie: They want to be proactive and realize, okay, let’s work on some stress mitigation. They can do the meditation. They can do all those things, but what else would you recommend?
Darshan Shah: Sure, sure. Stress is one of the 12 aspects of my wellness wheel that we talked about. The first thing that they can do on their own, without having to go anywhere, is realize that stress is actually not a bad thing in short dosages. Our bodies were actually made … Our mitochondria, our autonomic nervous system was made to handle small bursts of stress, short bursts of stress. It’s that prolonged stress that causes the damage without a break in between. Our ancestors, they walked out of the cave, they get chased by a dinosaur for a few miles, and then they’d find another cave to hide in, and they’d be fine. As long as you can get out of the dinosaur path for a little while, your stress is gonna actually be beneficial to you. It’ll cause your mitochondria to be healthier. Look at stress in a different way. Look at it as something that can be positive and you’re actually improving your health, but the key is to break it up. Are you familiar with the Pomodoro Technique?
Lynn Marie: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Darshan Shah: Yeah. Every 45 minutes, take a 15 minute break. Get a timer if you need to, but do that in your work life. Every week, you take the weekend off. Every month, you take maybe an extended weekend. Every six months or a quarter, you take a week or two off. Really, if you’re going into a new gig, build that into your life. Build breaks, vacations into your life. That’s gonna make stress good versus evil to you. Right?
Lynn Marie: Yeah, absolutely.
Darshan Shah: That’s one thing. Yeah, exactly. We offer a lot of high tech modalities here for stress, for example cryotherapy reduces inflammation instantaneously. That’s where you step into a negative under 40 degree chamber for three and a half minutes, and inflammation just melts away from your body when your on cryo. That’s one of the modalities that we offer. We also offer infrared, bed, basically. It looks like a tanning bed, but it’s near infrared light, not UV light, which also helps reduce mitochondrial stress. Lots of great technologies out there, but first and foremost, that’s all icing on the cake. You gotta build the cake first with learning to manage your own stress.
Lynn Marie: Yeah, and then let’s talk a little bit about focus ’cause you were talking about brain fog when you were in that period before you had gotten your health a little bit more in order. I think that’s an issue when people are burning the candle at both ends. Sometimes there’s just not enough mental bandwidth to get it all done. I know there are some things in the bio hacking world that can help with focus and help with productivity. Which of those did you find helpful, either in your own or that you recommend to others to use?
Darshan Shah: Great question. Once again, the modalities that we offer here are the icing on the cake. You gotta get down to the cake and building the cake, for me, involved reading one book that I just absolutely love. I read it, like, five times, Dale Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s. This book applies to everyone who wants to improve their mental function, and reduce brain fog, and just have better cognitive abilities because what he talks about, Dr. Bredesen talks about is I think there’s 30 different ways that we’re constantly injuring our brain. Each one of those 30 ways, we need to figure out how to eliminate that from our life. One of them, for example, is having low vitamin D. Another one is having a lot of inflammation in your body. Another one is alcohol.
Darshan Shah: There’s a lot of different things that we’re harming our brain with, and that’s what’s causing the brain fog that then turns into dementia, which then turns into Alzheimer’s disease. It all starts 30 years before. If you’re feeling brain fog, you’re hurting your brain. You gotta get all those 30 factors mitigated, so read that book. After you’re done reading that book and you fixed all that, then you can come to us and use technology, such as NAD therapy where you do IV NAD, and we also sell oral NAD, which has been great for me as far as mental therapy goes. Again, cryotherapy, hyperbaric oxygen, infrared therapy, all of these modalities that decrease inflammation help with clarity and brain fog.
Lynn Marie: That’s great. You also brought up something, and I see this in my own friends and colleagues that are just a little overstretched in the hustle. Their immune system goes. I love how you’re doing this icing on the cake versus the cake. So, how do we build the cake, as far as our immune system?
Darshan Shah: That’s a great question. A lot of people are damaging their immune systems by overworking their body. There’s two ways we overwork our body. We overwork ourselves in the gym with athletic performance, especially as you get older, like in 30s or 40s, or late 30s, early 40s, and the other way is overly mentally taxing ourselves and not getting enough sleep. If you want to supercharge your immune system, the two things that you can do is actually decrease the amount you’re working out, especially if you’re over 39 or 38, and focus mainly on strength building exercises. You definitely want to do cardio, but your heart only needs 30 to 45 minutes of cardio a day to stay super healthy. You don’t need to spend three hours on the treadmill every single day. That’s what’s breaking down your immune system, actually.
Darshan Shah: Secondly, is get enough sleep. When I say get enough sleep, it’s not just a number of hours you’re getting sleep, but the amount of time you’re spending in deep sleep. You want to try to optimize your sleep. When I talk about sleep, sleep and immunity are two other aspects that we talk about all the time in that wellness wheel philosophy, but with sleep, I get everyone to buy a sleep tracker. I think that’s extremely important, so you can actually get quantification of your sleep ’cause you’re asleep. You don’t know if you’re in deep sleep or not in deep sleep. You need something to tell you that. Right?
Lynn Marie: Yeah.
Darshan Shah: Get a sleep tracker, and then learn all the different ways to optimize your sleep environment and your sleep routine. There’s about 20 different ways to optimize each one of those two things. If you do that, your immune system is gonna be unbreakable.
Darshan Shah: The third thing you need to do, and this is the icing on the cake stuff, is get on a good supplement program that’s based on actual mitochondria levels and consider doing IV therapy every once in a while, especially before and after traveling.
Lynn Marie: I like that. The thing you brought up at the beginning is huge. I think so many people get into this more, and more, more is more mindset as far as exercise, and you’re right. At some point, that chronic cardio leads to inflammation. It just breaks down your immune system. It can even break down your muscle. There needs to be this overall education that everything has to be strategic, including your workouts, not just more. Just like with sleep, it’s not the quantity. It’s the quality.
Darshan Shah: Exactly.
Lynn Marie: Oh, I love that.
Darshan Shah: Too much sleep is bad, too.
Lynn Marie: Yeah.
Darshan Shah: Too much sleep can cause inflammation. So, you really need to hit that sweet spot.
Lynn Marie: Yeah. I’d say when I got this Oura and I started tracking my sleep, that was one of the main changes, I’d say, in my overall health because finally I had something I could track. With diet, I wasn’t at the point where I knew how to track biomarkers yet, but this was so easy to be like, did I get enough deep sleep? What did I do before bed that led to that? Okay, let’s try that again.
Darshan Shah: Right.
Lynn Marie: I couldn’t improve on something I wasn’t measuring. I also had no idea, like, okay, I tried to go to bed at 10:00, but did you fall asleep at 10:00 or did you fall asleep at 11:00? Without the ring, you just have no …
Darshan Shah: You have no idea.
Lynn Marie: You’re just guessing, right?
Darshan Shah: Right, exactly.
Lynn Marie: Yeah. It’s such an easy thing. I mean, we all have to sleep. It has to happen, so let’s make the most of that. I appreciate that.
Darshan Shah: You really gotta consider sleep the third essential leg of the stool of wellness. It’s diet, movement and exercise, and sleep. You gotta get those three right first. If you don’t get those three right first, you’re basically setting yourself up for a lot of inflammation, which will lead to all the other problems.
Lynn Marie: I love your wellness wheel because the first time I came to Next Health was to see Ben Greenfield talk, I think about a month or so ago. He gave this talk where I think you had asked him like, “Okay, touch a little bit on everything in the wellness wheel.”
Darshan Shah: Yes.
Lynn Marie: I was like, whoa, I’m not even sure how this is gonna happen. There are so many things in the wellness wheel, and Ben is such a font of information. I’m gonna be here until 3:00 in the morning. That’s what I thought. Somehow, it was the most useful talk I had ever seen of his because that wellness wheel is so comprehensive.
Darshan Shah: Right.
Lynn Marie: I think I’m gonna try to remind myself to throw this in the show notes because there are so many things in there that, like you said, okay, there’s three pillars. Here is your sleep, your movement, your diet. Right? But community is on there, I believe.
Darshan Shah: Yeah.
Lynn Marie: And your mental wellness.
Darshan Shah: Right.
Lynn Marie: These are all important …
Darshan Shah: Exactly.
Lynn Marie: For being a whole functioning human being.
Darshan Shah: Right, and you know what happens now? Everyone is on 3 different news apps, and they’re subscribed to 14 different blogs, and they’re listening to 7 different podcasts. You’re just getting this deluge of un-curated, non-categorized information, and everything somehow relates to everything else. It’s just like, you don’t even know what’s real anymore. Some of the stuff you read is written by people who aren’t necessarily subject experts, and they’re giving you the wrong information or right information based on the wrong facts. Anyway, it’s a mess of information right now. It’s information overload. My whole purpose in creating the wheel, which is basically a structure or an outline, is to help people categorize what they’re doing into different learning activities because you don’t want to get overwhelmed. You want to focus on one thing at a time and get that part right.
Darshan Shah: The wellness wheel basically categorizes all the different aspects of health into 12 different aspects so you can go from the main core ones, the three we talked at, sleep, nutrition, and exercise, and then you move on to what’s important next, which is brain health, cardiovascular health, and hormone health. Once you get those three right, then we work on the next three, which is inflammation, stress, and detoxification. Then we just keep going on, and on, and on. You have to give yourself time. Give yourself a year to get healthy, but every month, focus on one aspect, and then habits stack. Build a bunch of habits around nutrition. Then build a bunch of habits around sleep and exercise, and keep doing that. Once you get to the year, you’re gonna feel incredible.
Lynn Marie: I love that. This has been such valuable information. I hope every entrepreneur out there feels now empowered like, okay, I’m gonna start. Like you said, stack those habits. Whatever little habit is number one, go for it, guys.
Darshan Shah: Right.
Lynn Marie: Like Dr. Shah was saying, these aren’t all things that cost a lot of money. The Pomodoro Technique is free. You work for 45 minutes and then you go free your brain for a second.
Darshan Shah: Exactly.
Lynn Marie: This is very cool. Thank you so much for joining us. Where can people find you and Next Health?
Darshan Shah: Sure. I have an Instagram. It’s @HealthHackerMD. We also have an Instagram for Next Health. It’s @NextHealth. You can just go to next-health.com. If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, want to visit us, we’d love to see you.
Lynn Marie: Los Angeles, currently, but soon, all over the world.
Darshan Shah: Hopefully.
Lynn Marie: Yeah, putting it out there. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Darshan Shah: You are so welcome. Thank you.