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About This Episode
The Calcium Connection with Brunde Broady | The Importance of Calcium ATPase
In this episode of Discover with Dr. Dan | Proactive Health, Dr. Dan meets with author, Brunde Broady, to learn about calcium ATPase and its effects on human health. Brunde first started researching calcium ATPase after the birth of her son, in an effort to solve his mystery illnesses as a newborn. Listen to the full podcast below about her work.
How this Mother’s Journey Through Health Struggles Lead to her Discovery
Just when she thought she was doing everything right as a new mother, Brunde Broady’s newborn son was having adverse reactions to things he was consuming. Unsure of where these reactions were stemming from, Brunde researched tirelessly for an answer, one which practical medicine could not find. She eventually figured that it all had something to do with calcium ATPase. Then and now, very little is known about this enzyme. Calcium is vital to proper muscle function because it’s found in every single cell in our bodies. “What most people don’t know is the rise and fall of calcium levels within yourself is like a traffic signal.” Low levels of calcium ATPase is linked to increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s and an array of other health issues. But not to worry, the risks can be reduced through several lifestyle factors such as diet, relaxation, and exercise and this enzyme can be regulated at any age.
The Secret to a Young Heart
Living a calcium ATPase supporting lifestyle is important for function regulation and overall well being. One of the best things we can do for ourselves, according to Brunde, is to be aware of our stress levels and to practice stress reducing methods daily. Stress can do lasting damage on the body so when we put effort into reducing it, we can further prevent other maladies from coming our way. Another lifestyle factor that promotes calcium ATPase is a healthy diet. Eating foods rich in color and nutrients is the first step. Reducing sugar intake can also increase the regulation of calcium ATPase because high blood sugar counteracts the enzyme’s ability to perform.
Exercise is another healthy habit that promotes calcium ATPase regulation. Activities like strength training, aerobics, and high intensity workouts have been proven to stimulate calcium ATPase, which strengthens heart muscles. Bunde explains that this is important for health later on in life because as we age, our hearts can’t bounce back like they do when we’re young, so strengthening the muscles when we can leads to a youthful heart. Many people who workout and watch their diets take supplements to support nutrients and muscle growth. Brunde adds, “There are supplements you can take that really support calcium ATPase and it’s such a crucial enzyme that anything you can do to support it is a worthwhile endeavor.”
Leave Room for Being Human, not Perfect
Calcium ATPase is key for child development because it plays a major role in important processes in the body. “It’s especially important for children because calcium ATPase is crucial to neuro development.” For parents just learning about the importance of regulating calcium ATPase from a young age but are wondering where to start, Brunde suggests starting with simple and small changes in your child’s diet. Nothing has to be an abrupt or instant change but slowly adding nutritious food choices can really support a young one’s health. Avoid toxins as much as possible; this can be things like unnecessary chemical additives or food dyes. Brunde recognizes how difficult it can be to make changes in your kid’s diet. In her book, she lists all of the things we can do to promote healthy lifestyles from an early age. The most important tip she leaves us with is to just be aware and to be vigilant but to also leave room for being human. You don’t have to make your diet a perfect science. You don’t have to be a perfect parent. The best you can do is to learn as you go and take the steps for proactive health.
To learn more about Brunde Broady’s work and how you can regulate calcium ATPase within your own body, check out the Discover | Dr. Dan Proactive Health podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Tuesday.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (00:09)
Welcome to Discover with Dr. Dan | The Proactive Health Podcast. This podcast is sponsored by Brilliant, an innovative proactive wellness company. Brilliant helps people to live a healthier and happier life by discovering and using bioactive natural ingredients to formulate products that help them discover and unleash their innate brilliance. See feelbrilliant.com for more information. Today, it’s a delight to have Brunde Broady with us on the show to talk about an enzyme that we probably haven’t heard of, calcium ATPase and its impact on human health. So a little bit about Brunde. When Brunde Broady’s infant son experienced an onslaught of health issues that conventional medicine could neither define nor treat, she began her own research-based quest for answers. Over the course of 10 years, she pulled together hundreds of threads from scientific journals and revealed the importance of the enzyme calcium ATPase. Broady has a Yale MBA and has received patents in both the United States and China related to her work on calcium ATPase.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (01:13)
Her goal is to share her knowledge with as many people as possible to help them make educated health and lifestyle decisions. And she’s wrote a great book called The Calcium Connection, and here’s some info on that. Did you know that one single enzyme impacts your odds of contracting most deadly diseases and health conditions? An enormous body of reputable research into this enzyme has been isolated, ignored and misunderstood by medical experts. The importance of this enzyme simply cannot be overstated. The Calcium Connection: The Little Known Enzyme at the Root of Your Cellular Health delivers a clear explanation of this enzyme’s function and outlines the steps you could take to gain optimal enzyme health. The accessible information packed format teaches you all about calcium ATPase, how it works, what happens when it goes awry and easy practical methods to bring it back into balance and protect it and your overall health.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (02:05)
Whether you are a health enthusiast, environmentalist, parent, or just want to be better informed, this book will help you boost your health now and into the future. Brunde Broady recounts her tireless quest to find a cure for her son’s, Knute’s, compromised health since being whisked away and kept in the ICU after birth. The medical establishment could only help manage his condition, but not diagnose or cure him. Doing her own research and documenting everything Knute ate and his reactions to certain foods, she came across two ubiquitous food additives. Diving deeper, she learned how calcium ATPase, a fundamental regulator of intercellular calcium, is negatively impacted not only by these additives, but by a torrent of other inhibitors. Knute’s health is a testimony to Brunde’s discoveries and The Calcium Connection gives readers a front row seat to understanding how to maintain optimized cellular health. With that Brunde, it’s sure delight to have you on the show with us.
Brunde Broady: (03:04)
Thanks for having me, and you did a great job summary, my, summarizing my work. So thank you.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (03:10)
Wonderful. Sounds like an amazing book and we’re excited to learn a little bit more about calcium ATPase. So to start off, what is this enzyme that most of us haven’t heard about?
Brunde Broady: (03:20)
Okay. So when most people think of calcium, they think of bones and teeth, right? So there’s 3.2 pounds of calcium in our body, but a teaspoon and a half are in our blood and our cells. And what most people don’t know is the rise and fall of calcium levels within yourself is like a traffic signal. It controls all cell functions. The calcium ATPase does is this special enzyme whose only job it is to regulate calcium levels within the cells. So this not working properly is as if your traffic signals in your body aren’t working properly, which can cause all sorts of mayhem. So no one reall,y there’s been 25,000 journal articles published about its importance, but for some reason, it hasn’t filtered down and what’s important, is there things we can do in our life that help maximize your levels.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (04:06)
So tell us a little bit about your story of how you got into this in the first place, into this body of research.
Brunde Broady: (04:13)
Right. So my background was in finance, so I had no plan to go into this, but my son was, I had lidocaine anesthesia or whatever you want to call it, pain relief, not knowing that that was a calcium database inhibitor. But anyway, he was whisked off to the emergency, I mean to the ICU for a week. Came home with an apnea monitor because he would kind of have these breathing, stopped breathing, swallowing problems or muscular problems, pneumonia, aspirations, some of these things. And I was so naive. Before he came home, I had the nursery painted. I had the carpets put down, I had his floors turned up. I fed him formula, Pedialyte with dyes, erythromycin with dyes, and what I ended up noticing was that his symptoms got worse when he either ate or was exposed to these things. So slowly but surely I put together a list of things that affected him.
Brunde Broady: (05:06)
And I went online and there were some others who had the same experience, but I wanted to know why. I kind of focused on his muscle function, which was really evidenced by his eyelids droop, which is called ptosis. So I learned about how calcium, how muscles work and calcium regulation within muscle cells was key. And then I began to research on PubMed, which is the place where there’s all the medical journal articles and sure enough, everything that he was sensitive to had a negative effect on this enzyme that was crucial for calcium regulation, which is calcium ATPase. So I got him settled. But in the meantime, I was kind of like, I want to learn more. And what I found was that it’s important for every single human being on earth because it’s in every single cell of our body. And guess what? Low levels are associated with a ton of health problems like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s. So I’m like on a mission to tell people about calcium ATPase and some of the exciting things you can do to help avoid reducing it and maximize your levels.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (06:08)
Wow. Well said. So jumping right in, if we want to help to regulate our calcium ATPase levels, this biosignaling regulator in the body, what are some things that we can do?
Brunde Broady: (06:22)
Okay. So the first thing you can do is try to reduce your exposure to toxins. That means just like the traditional ones like lead, mercury, cadmium, et cetera, pesticides. But also things you may not know about such as food additives, BHT, TBHQ, food dyes, potassium chromate. And things that you may not have thought of like aluminum when you cook with acidic foods, such as barbecue sauce or tomatoes that causes aluminum to leach into your foods. Sunscreens with titanium dioxide nanoparticles, sushi, tuna. Tuna sushi has super high levels of mercury. So in my book, I have a ton of different checklists and you don’t have to do all of them, right? Every one that you do is positive for calcium ATPase. So that’s one part, toxin reduction.
Brunde Broady: (07:07)
The second thing was really exciting, which is there’s all these foods you can eat that have compounds that actually have been shown to stimulate calcium ATPase. So it kind of includes all the super foods you know about like strawberries, nuts, pomegranate, spinach, kale, but the exciting thing which I actually researched on that these compounds like gallic acid, Lipozene, resveratrol, green tea, ginger, all have been shown actually in research studies to stimulate this compound. The third thing is blood sugar cause high blood sugar is the enemy of calcium ATPase, which we all know is bad. Number four is exercise. So there’s all types of exercise to make calcium ATPase And the last plank is stress reduction because stress hormones reduce calcium ATPase so there’s a lot of things you can do. But at the same time, there’s a ton of, I’m also involved in biotech companies so there’s a ton of things coming down the road that can, if you already have a problem, it can help. But in the meantime, there’s the supplements like you have with your Brilliant Connect supplement that has a lot of different compounds like green tea, resveratrol, let’s see, pomegranate, just a lot of things. So in the meantime, there are supplements you can take that really support calcium ATPase and it’s such a crucial enzyme that anything you can do to support it is a worthwhile endeavor.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (08:39)
Yeah. It’s amazing to think about these signaling mechanisms in the body that control the millions or trillions of chemical reactions that occur every single second. So with calcium ATPase, if I want to help it, would I take a calcium supplement? Would that help?
Brunde Broady: (08:53)
No, so that’s kind of, I mean, that’s why it’s kind of a confusing thing because calcium levels in your blood are separate from calcium levels within your cell. There is an interaction because when there’s too much calcium in the cell, it’s pumped out of the cell into the bloodstream. But unless you’re taking like mega doses of calcium, it’s not going to affect how much calcium is within the cell. So it’s kind of everything. I mean, calcium is clearly important, right? For bones and teeth, but in terms of this particular enzyme, it’s surprisingly not relevant.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (09:30)
Okay. What about magnesium? I know calcium and magnesium sometimes go together.
Brunde Broady: (09:36)
Right? So magnesium basically acts as a calcium channel blocker. So the reason why that helps with your blood sugar and relaxation is because when too much calcium gets into a cell like causes, for example, muscle contraction. So what magnesium does, is it blocks the flow of calcium into the cell kind of like calcium channel blockers. So that’s one way, because when you have too much calcium in the cell, it can cause damage to the cell. So calcium ATPase works in concert with magnesium because it’s just another tool the body has to regulate the calcium level within the cells. I mean, in one way, they kind of both do the same thing, which is lower calcium levels back to baseline, but they have different mechanisms.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (10:25)
Okay. And so the whole point of this, as you were saying, is to push calcium out, to get it to normal levels and to keep equilibrium in the cell.
Brunde Broady: (10:34)
Right. So the other thing that calcium ATPase does that magnesium doesn’t do is that it pumps calcium into the storage vesicles within the cells and they have a fancy name called the endoplasmic reticulum, but just know they’re storage vesicles. And the reason why that’s important is not only because it lowers calcium within the cells, but the endoplasmic reticulum needs a certain amount of calcium not to be stressed. And if it’s stressed, it can’t do its job, which is fold proteins, such as insulin and all sorts of different things. So calcium ATPase lowers calcium levels and it also maintains endoplasmic reticulum equilibrium, and if that’s off, it can lead to so many different diseases. So it has an extra, an extra role that magnesium doesn’t have.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (11:20)
Okay. Wow. So if I want to, what role does exercise? So you said exercise can help. Is there a certain type of exercise that I want to do in order to maintain?
Brunde Broady: (11:31)
Yeah, the good news is that moderate aerobics, high intensity training, as well as strength training, have all been shown to stimulate calcium ATPase in the skeletal muscles in the heart. And that’s really important for every bit because as you age your levels go down and what that means is it’s harder for your heart to contract or relax and you have less muscle strength. So high intensity level training shows the most benefit, but the other ones do as well. So any kind of exercise you can do can only be a plus for calcium ATPase and you actually can increase your levels of calcium ATPase, which is so cool, no matter what your age.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (12:10)
Oh, that’s cool. And so how would we do that? Is that via exercise or are there other things?
Brunde Broady: (12:16)
Yeah. So, I mean, so for in terms of exercise, I mean, the studies have been done, basically three to five times a week, 30 minutes of aerobic or weight training, three times eight repetitions, it’s kind of like, well, we all know we should do, right? But if you do it consistently, it’s been shown in research studies in particular to stimulate calcium ATPase. Of course it does a lot of other great things too.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (12:42)
Okay. What about diet? I know you mentioned a lot of the really cool fruits and vegetables which have these medicinal compounds, these vital nutrients in there, as far as macro nutrients, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, are there certain ratios, different diets out there that –
Brunde Broady: (13:01)
Yeah and the main thing to avoid is high blood sugar, because what happens in high blood sugar is the high level of sugar, that’s what they call glycation, and it attaches itself to proteins, which you probably know, like A1C levels, right? Measure the attachment of sugar to hemoglobin. Well, it also does the same thing to the protein calcium ATPase. So high blood sugar is the enemy of calcium ATPase and there’s a lot of ways to approach high blood sugar, right? There’s paleo, keto, Mediterranean, or simply reducing your carbs. So, and I think even just the continuous glucose monitoring patch is useful just in terms of kind of getting a handle on how you as an individual respond, but blood sugar is just crucial. Not that you can’t have high blood sugar every once in a while, but you just don’t want to have it several times every day because it’s terrible for calcium ATPase.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (13:53)
Okay. And so complications like diabetes where sugar levels are always high, does that exacerbate –
Brunde Broady: (14:00)
A disaster because one thing that’s the first step is that it reduces calcium ATPase in the pancreas. As soon as this overload of calcium in the pancreatic beta cells, it leads to cell death. So you have less insulin being produced. But what happens is because you have less insulin being produced, you have higher blood sugar, right? And that blood sugar attaches to the calcium ATPase. And what they found is that diabetics have like 50% lower calcium ATPase levels than the normal person, but more importantly, that affects their heart, that affects their kidneys, that affects neuropathy, that affects the brain, that affects your muscles. So reduced calcium ATPase is like, diabetes is like a fast-forward version of if you have low calcium ATPase. The damage occurs in the body. What’s exciting is that compounds have recently been developed that stimulate calcium ATPase in diabetic mice. And what happens is their blood sugar levels normalize. The damage to their heart, their nerves, et cetera, is minimized. So it’s clearly a target, but in the meantime, ideally you would be able to prevent this from ever happening by taking care of your own calcium ATPase. There is some good hope in terms of people that have already stepped over that bridge, that this is a way that can be really helpful.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (15:27)
Okay. And are these pharmaceutical drugs in development or what is this –
Brunde Broady: (15:31)
In fact, so in my research, I came across this researcher, Dr. Russell Dahl. And he was like, he had been into calcium ATPase for more than a decade, just like me and he needed funding to conduct his research. And I joined in. And since that time, Mount Sinai, Harvard Medical School recently partnered with us for diabetes. Alzheimer’s Foundation gave us a grant because it’s shown promise in Alzheimer’s and kind of like most exciting to me is just in the last month, Japanese researchers used our compound and were able to reduce, actually eliminate muscle damage and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is that terrible disease as a kid. So I’m one drop in the ocean. There’s a million other researchers doing the same thing, but what’s exciting is that this particular target, calcium ATPase, is really a key factor in health because it controls every cell. So down the road there’ll be pharmaceuticals, but in the meantime, there’s things we can do.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (16:33)
Okay. And so these pharmaceuticals, do they bind to the calcium ATPase active site and active sites?
Brunde Broady: (16:39)
Yeah so basically, they stimulate the activity of it. They’re called small molecule cell activators. So they don’t actually increase the amount of calcium ATPase. They increase the direct activity and by doing so, again, it prevents that toxic calcium overload. That’s one part. The second part is it prevents endoplasmic reticulum stress. And what happens when there’s endoplasmic reticulum stress, it ends up having a cascade, which is kind of like a death spiral, or it triggers the cell to die. So like in Alzheimer’s, when you have into endoplasmic reticulum stress, that’s when you lose neurons, right? And diabetes, that’s when you lose pancreatic cells and muscular dystrophy, even though dystrophin is the main problem, that protein, because of those leaks in that protein, excess calcium gets in the cell, which ends up causing cell death. So if you can stimulate calcium ATPase, that can prevent that overload. So calcium ATPase, the most important thing it does is it prevents endoplasmic reticulum stress, which leads to cell death. It’s irreversible, so to speak.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (17:45)
Right. Wow. This is good stuff. So you mentioned some of the work you’re doing, where do you think the future is? Research with calcium ATPase and human health in general, what we can do?
Brunde Broady: (17:57)
Right. So there’s been a lot of studies with gene transplant where they use a virus to, for the heart and also for different muscles and blood vessels and muscular dystrophy. And there’s been a lot of positive results. But, it seems to be hard to convert those animal studies to human studies. Yeah. So small studies, it’s shown a benefit. So, so now researchers looking at a different way, i.e. small molecules that stimulate calcium ATPase and there’s actually some new heart failure drugs out that one of the modes of action. So, and also the Harvard researchers that we ended up hooking up with, I was drawn to them because the guy implanted a chip into mice that were overweight, right? A small chip that had a wireless connection to something. And by pushing the button, it, stimulated calcium ATPase and the mice ended up their metabolic rate went up like 20% in 10 minutes.
Brunde Broady: (19:00)
So whenever anyone who’s obese, your obesity is negatively correlated with your BMI. And the reason why is that calcium ATPase is responsible for about 15% of your total metabolic rate. So there’s a lot of positive things that could happen down the road in terms of research for obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and that’s, I mean, it’s such an obvious target because like you say, cellular function is key. When that’s off, everything can go haywire, right? But then also, there’s more and more studies that show these natural compounds, right? Green tea, green tea, ginger, ginko, resveratrol, luteolin, ellagic acid, that you can either take as a supplement or eat in your foods. It’s not just, “Oh, gee. We know these are good for us.” It’s, “Oh, these are positive calcium ATPase supplements.”
Brunde Broady: (19:59)
So there’s a lot of things that, and also just avoiding the toxins, right? Because one exposure is not going to get you, but if you add up 25 exposures to calcium ATPase inhibitors, it’s going to add up, right? It’s especially important for children because calcium ATPase is crucial to neuro development. So with it, they’ve done a test where they expose neurons in the different prenatal periods to calcium ATPase inhibitors, and it inhibits neuron growth, neuron complexity, and also neuron pathways. So like, that’s what happens in fetal alcohol syndrome. That’s what happened with mercury poisoning, lead poisoning. The mechanism of action is the reduction of calcium ATPase in the brain. So you don’t want to be giving your kids or exposing your kids to all these things that have ultimately the same net effect as lead or mercury, even if it’s a lower level. Because it all adds up, right? So that’s another aspect that’s, just for me, it’s really a mission for parents to understand that and again, not that you have to be perfect, but just to kind of have a framework for making your decisions so that you can splurge what, like Reese’s peanut butter cups, it’s TBHQ. Pillsbury cookie dough. Sugar cookie though. Rice Krispie treats. TBHQ. Orbit gum, Trident gum. TBHQ. So there’s all these things. I list a lot in my book that you’d think wouldn’t be so bad, but the reality is it all adds up. Just to the extent that you can be aware that you can just, it’s kind of like a bank account. You have calcium ATPase, you can make deposits or withdrawals and the goal is to make more deposits than withdraws, right?
Dr. Dan Gubler: (21:48)
I love the example.
Brunde Broady: (21:48)
Yeah. That’s kind of, that’s kind of the goal of my book. Certainly not to be judgemental. I mean, even to this day, my son’s 20 and half the time he goes off and it means eating things that are bad for him, he pays the price and then naturally he goes back on because it’s not worth it. But you have to leave room for human, for being human.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (22:13)
Right. Yeah. It’s hard to change things completely.
Brunde Broady: (22:18)
Yeah, for sure.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (22:19)
Wonderful. Well, Brunde, this has been a delight talking with you. Any final thoughts you would leave with us?
Brunde Broady: (22:26)
Just really, just the awareness of this enzyme and how important it is for every cell function and for your health. And if you go to my website, brundebroady.com, you can learn more about it. And if you want to learn more, you can get my book. But I think that no matter what, you’ll learn something new that could be good for your health. And that’s my goal. I’m not selling anything. I’m just trying to get the information out there.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (22:52)
Oh, fantastic. Thank you for your mission. We need a lot more people like you that help to get out critical, scientific information that the general public doesn’t know about. Wonderful. Great. Well, thank you so much. And thanks to our listeners. Leave a review if you like this content about learning more how to live proactively and take care. This is Dr. Dan signing off.
Brunde Broady: (23:13)
Okay. Bye bye.
Dr. Dan Gubler: (23:14)
Dr. Dan Gubler: (23:33)
The information presented by guests in this podcast is their sole opinion and in no way represents the views of Discovery with Dr. Dan | The Proactive Health Podcast or Brilliant. This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional medical care. Please consult with your medical doctor before making any changes in your lifestyle.