Can An Endocrinologist Help You?

Dr. Walid Khairallah opens up about his Secrets to a Life Well Lived


Dr. Walid Khairallah is a consultant in endocrinology at the Bellevue Medical Centre, and the manager of Green Clinics, a center for Integrative Medicine based in Beirut, Lebanon.

He is known for combining nutritional therapy and lifestyle modifications in the management of patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, as well as special conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and autoimmune diseases. Dr. Khairallah is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where he has trained to become a certified Health Coach.

Dr. Khairallah discusses health and wellbeing with Ellie Blair:

1- Can you tell us a bit about your education/work history and what you are currently involved in?

My early medical training centered on conventional medicine; I graduated from the American University of Beirut with an M.D. in Internal Medicine, and pursued a fellowship in Endocrinology. I then worked at the Joslin Diabetes Centre affiliate in Bahrain, where I realised the importance of the interaction of genetics with diet and exercise in the onset of obesity. I later completed a training in biomedical nutrition and graduated as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. Since then, I have adopted an integrative approach to medicine, which has become the framework of my practice. By relying on advanced medical testing, I can observe the impact of environmental toxicities, dietary intolerances, hormonal imbalances, and genetics on the onset and progression of various illnesses.

2- As we are in a time of overindulgence, can you recommend suggestions/ideas for our readers to have a healthier approach to diet and wellbeing?

My personal experience led me to find a link between nutrition, the environment, and illness. I had been suffering from debilitating Irritable Bowel Syndrome and sinusitis since I was a teenager. Conventional medicine helped me manage some of my symptoms, but I was only able to treat the root cause of my problems through adequate diet and supplementation, as well as other lifestyle modifications. I have since found out that nutrition and the environment are two of the critical factors behind most of the chronic illnesses we face nowadays. Throughout years of practice, I realised just how many individuals are malnourished and unable to obtain adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals from food.

What I suggest to the readers is to be more aware of what they are doing in their daily lives. We have developed many habits that we get attached to. These habits have to do with how we eat, what we eat, what we drink, how we move, and how we sit, and they do not necessarily comply with our body’s original requirements. So what I ask people to do is to think critically and to question everything they are doing in their everyday lives, in order to determine whether or not their habits and actions are in alignment with their bodies’ needs. The key is to be in touch with the body and to listen to it.

3- What supplements can you recommend to assist in the process and how would they help?

I believe the most essential supplement is vitamin D, because there is very little of it in food and most of it comes from sun exposure. Vitamin D is known to have about 3,000 different functions in the human body, and exactly 300 genes depend on adequate amounts of Vitamin D in order to function. Some of the main roles of Vitamin D include promoting bone calcification and bone growth, improving muscle function and strength, and activating the immune system in order to protect the body against viruses and other pathogenic microorganisms. Also, numerous studies have shown that high levels of vitamin D are protective against cancers of the colon, prostate, breast, and skin. Without enough vitamin D, the body cannot maintain adequate calcium levels in the blood, and calcium is essential for cellular function and the nervous system.

The second most important vitamin is vitamin C, as it plays a big part in the role of detoxification of the liver and immune system. Normally, we can get vitamin C from certain fruits and vegetables, but it is worth noting that the amount of vitamin C available in food is insufficient. For this reason, it is important to take vitamin C as a supplement. Some of the essential functions of vitamin C include fighting off infections, protecting the heart, protecting the cartilage and skin by increasing collagen formation, and ridding the body of cancer-causing free radicals.

The third most important vitamin is vitamin K2, which is usually present in certain fatty foods. Thanks to our modern Food Pyramid and the increasing popularity of low-fat and fat-free products on the market, it is growing increasingly difficult for us to obtain adequate amounts of K2. In fact, even if you consume fat nowadays, the quantity of vitamin K2 you obtain is still insufficient. Vitamin K2 is important for fixing calcium in the bones and preventing it from depositing in the walls of arteries; thus its action is complementary to the action of vitamin D. It also protects the neurons in the brain from free-radical injury, and the kidneys from calcification.

The fourth supplement I would recommend is a good brand of probiotics. A lot of people can benefit from a course of probiotics, especially if they have taken a lot of antibiotics in their lives. Probiotics help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut (including the stomach and intestines).

Last but not least, I believe that taking Magnesium supplements is important. Magnesium has many roles in the body, some of which include improving muscle function and preventing muscular cramps, protecting the heart, regulating blood sugar, protecting the brain and preventing the occurrence of migraines and tension headaches, and regulating energy production in cells. We often lack magnesium because we tend to lead very stressful lives, so the body’s demand for magnesium is greater than the supply of magnesium obtained from food. It is worth noting that the form of magnesium we choose is very important. I would recommend magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate.

4- Are there specific detox programs you would suggest?

My philosophy about detox is doing it on a daily basis. So how do we do that? When you overload your body with toxins, the toxins end up accumulating in tissues and cells, thus slowing the detoxification process. Therefore, the first step involves decreasing the body’s exposure to toxicity. Once this has been accomplished, the second step is to give our bodies the raw materials needed for the detox process. This means getting an optimal intake of vitamins and minerals, primarily through a healthy diet and adequate supplementation. There are quite a lot of protocols for detoxification.

I believe in a gentle detox protocol that includes eating foods that enhance the function of the liver and immune system. Such foods include artichokes, organic celery, kale, carrots, broccoli, and animal proteins and fats from good sources (preferably grass-fed). Believe it or not, cholesterol-rich foods also play a big role in detoxification.

Therefore, be sure to include foods such as eggs in your detox diet. Eggs are also rich in choline, a nutrient that also aids in detoxification.

5- Do you have any specific literature that you would recommend in support of your answers?

The book that I would recommend for reading is Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet, which is very well researched

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