James B. LaValle, RPh, CCN

Metabolic Code: How we can Guide our Health

DATE AIRED: June 16, 2017

Episode Description

Metabolism is more than calories in and out. The body is finely tuned like a symphony with many intricate parts. There are so many interconnected systems, that it is difficult to know where to start in the journey towards optimal health. Dr. LaValle simplifies this process with the Metabolic Code which simplifies this process both for clinicians and patients. Many clinicians are adopting the results of his research. Also discussed are the importance of sleep, the adverse effects of cortisol, the measurement of the cortisol response, and what laboratory tests you should ask your doctor for. Also, as a pharmacist, he believes that people are being over medicated. Each pharmaceutical drug can deplete essential nutrients needed by the body resulting in additional symptoms and the possible prescription of additional drugs. Learn where to start in your healing journey, what tests to ask your doctor for, and pharmaceuticals effects on essential nutrients.



How he deals with stress: by loving what he does

Empathy, love, and gratitude have been studied to show an improvement in healing.


  • Sum total of all the biochemical reactions going on in body
  • Metabolism makes you feel how you feel today and leads you to the health condition where you will be tomorrow
  • Includes everything that has happened since the womb and includes every decision that you have made since then.
  • Includes such things as inflammation, the efficiency of burning fat, clarity of thought, production of neurotransmitters.

Old definition of metabolism how much energy one burns: the resting metabolic rate

Systems Biology  Includes all the things going on that affects how we feel and where we land in future health

An Example

  • The real question is how far we are from being well.
  • Typically, a person is diagnosed with an illness when his lab values hit a certain cut-off point.
  • How do we diagnose the people who do not have the illness but are rapidly moving towards the illness?
  • A physician might say that a fasting blood sugar of 97 is normal Yet a person with a fasting blood sugar has a 72 5 % chance of becoming diabetic in the next decade.  Even though this lab normal, this person is trending away from normal.   Another person may have a fasting blood sugar of 97 but with failing renal function, a fatty liver and hypertension, they are further along in the disease process because they have a combination of things going on in their bodies.
  • We cab be sick long before the physician detects any abnormalities
  • We can develop disease sequelae (c0nsequences) long before the physician detects any abnormalities. For example, the above patient may have four times the risk of cardiovascular disease, and an increased rate of future dementia and cancer.

Kaiser Study For each point the fasting glucose is above 84, there is a six percent chance of developing diabetes within the next decade.


  • Lavalle developed the Metabolic Code to determine how far an individual is in the disease process.
  • Comprehensive evaluation tool start on path to get wel again
  • This identifies the biggest problem the person needs to look at: identifies where he needs to start in becoming well. Once the patient feels better, he is more likely to continue to work with the clinician on improving his health.
  • It shows people where they are in the healing pathway and which is the best direction for optimal health
  • Is a tool to help health care providers and guide them in decision making
  • It includes an easy to understand and to explain colour coded report.
  • It describes each lab value and shows which are optimal, which are problematic and identifies the lab values in between.

Evaluation Process

  • It includes a questionnaire including 170 questions
  • Biometrics including urine pH, heart rate, blood pressure, weight
  • Labs including homocystiene, hs-crp, insulin, glucose LDL particle size

Metabolic Code includes

  • A 45 page colour-coded report that can easily be shown and explained to others.
  • This reports shows what is functioning poorly, what is trending towards poor functioning and what is functioning well.
  • A list of each lab value, colour-code indicating whether it is in the optimal range, an unhealthy range or in between.
  • An explanation of what each lab measures
  • Explanations of all terms including ‘inflammation”, the “but-brain axis”,  “leaky gut”, “immune system”, “stress response”, etc.
  • Recommendations on which supplements can help. The clinician can decide on which brand of the supplements to choose.
  • Discussions on life style, energy production, the relationship between the gut, immune system and brain.
  • Sample recipes, information to track progress

Individually Quantified Results: “Qualified Self Movement”  

  • What are the numbers that I have (e.g., pulse)?
  • What is it about my sleep and food habits?
  • What am I going to do about it?
  • What are right individually targeted nutrients?
  • Which diet?
  • Exercise?
  • Breath work? Proper breathing can down regulate some of the excitatory stress in body

Metabolic Code Categories

It defines five different triads or buckets of symptoms

I. Thyroid, adrenals, pancreas

  • stress,
  • blood sugar,
  • metabolism
  • how make energy
  • balance between fatigue and weight gain

II. Gut – Immune Brain

III. Cardio-Pulmonary

  • How the heart pumps
  • How the blood flows
  • How we oxygenate

IV. Liver, Lymph System, Kidneys


V. Sex Hormones


Dr. Lavalle has designed health programs for groups

including millions of people.  These programs included:

  • Eating more plants
  • Figuring out what foods a person is sensitive to
  • An elimination diet
  • Exercise and movement –


Elimination Diet

  • Anyone can do this regardless of income
  • Any food that is not compatible with the body will set off an autoimmune reaction which will lead to every disease imaginable..
  • Remove from the diet, the most common foods that cause inflammation in the body. These include
    • Gluten, A lot of people get well by removing gluten
    • Dairy
    • Corn
    • Soy
  • After a month or so, can add foods back one at a time waiting four days between each added food.
  • Observe how you feel with a newly added food


Dr. Lavalle worked with many athletes in the NFL, NHL.

  • Excess exercise is almost as bad as too little exercise
  • Excess exercise causes oxidative stress causing excessive exercisers to be in the same shape as those who don’t exercise.
  • Excess exercise also causes adrenalin and cortisol spikes, insulin resistance, hypertension, lower growth hormone, bone loss and deterioration in the brain and hippocampus (memory center).
  • There is a sweet spot between too little exercise and over training.
  • Athletes will have massages, good meals prepared for them. The average working person who exercises intensely does not have these advantages.
  • When the heart rate goes up, it sends a signal to the thyroid to slow down
  • If intensive training is continued day after day, eventually train thyroid to be sluggish
  • If training five to six days per week more than one hour at a time or high intensity training need to watch for this.
  • Exercise vamps up cortisol


  • Fifty years ago, we ate foods like wonder bread yet our health did not seem as bad back then.
  • Currently there are a lot of stressors such as EMF (we cannot get away from this), pesticides, glyphosates, stress, over-medication.
  • Cortisol is a huge factor in health: it is tied into many health issues and affects memory and immunity
  • One of primary things that is affecting people
  • Cortisol is the highest in the morning and is supposed to drop in the afternoon and drop further in the evening when melatonin is supposed to kick in..
  • Too much stress during day results in too much cortisol
  • Excess cortisol leads to
    • weight gain,
    • low thyroid,
    • Insulin Resistance
    • Poor sleep as cortisol increases wakefulness


  • At night is the time in which we repair.
  • Melatonin is produced at night time to help with sleep.
  • Melatonin and Cortisol have an inverse relationship.
  • Without adequate sleep and repair at night, aging is accelerated.
  • With stress, we produce adrenalin, noradrenalin, and cortisol all of which keep us awake.
  • Note, the blue light from computers and RVs deplete melatonin which helps in sleep.
  • Wearing yellow glasses before bedtime prevents the melatonin depletion.
  • Melatonin dictates insulin for the next day
  • Low melatonin results in impaired insulin signaling
  • Poor sleep results in high blood sugar values the next day.


  • The average 75 year old in the US takes ten prescription medications
  • It is not mandatory to report depletion of nutrients
  • Some people get five to six courses of antibiotics each year.
  • One half the population in the US are diabetic or prediabetic
  • 1/3 have hypertension
  • Over half of people are depleted in minerals especially magnesium
  • Other nutrients are being lost due to drug therapy.

Birth Control pills

  • deplete B 6 which is needed to make serotonin
  • Nineteen to 56 % of women on birth control pills have the tendency to get depressed
  • They can also cause birth defects due to folate depletion.
  • Need to give 100 mg B 6 to counter effects
  • Should wait six months to get pregnant after taking birth control pills.
  • Vitamin pills only have 3 mg B 6 which is not enough


  • deplete Co Q 10.
  • This will cause mitochondrial dysfunction and can lead to diabetes


  • (Pepsid, Tagamet ) deplete calcium, iron, zinc folic acid, B vitamins, folate, and Vitamin D

Anti Seizure Medications

  • cause birth defects due to folate depletion.

Protein Pump Inhibitors  

  • deplete Vitamin D leading to bone loss and increased risk of fractures.
  • Deplete vitamin B 12 and magnesium
  • Decrease stomach acid which is needed for digestion, pancreatic enzymes, bile production.


Even after patients were given medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugars, if there was no effort to correct for urinary pH (which indicates oxidative  stress), epithelium damage, progression to renal vascular disease and complications from metabolic disease continue to take place

Progression of Medication Prescriptions

There is a typical progression in medication prescriptions

  • The nutrient depletion caused by one medication may lead to the symptoms or conditions which require the next medication.
  • Lipitor is given for high cholesterol. This depletes Enzyme Co Q 10 and leads to diabetes.
  • Metformin is then prescribed. It depletes nutrients leading to hypertension and the need for an Ace Inhibitor or an ARB.
  • Nutrient depletions lead to the need for a beta blocker or calcium channel blocker or ace inhibitors can deplete magnesium and lead to arthymias
  • Further nutrient depletion leads to aches and the need to add ibuprofen.


  • Complete Metabolic Panel
    • Liver function tests
    • Measures kidney function
    • Measures electrolytes
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
    • Gives a view of the immune system
  • NMR lipid profiles
    • highlights the size and number of the small size LDL particles
    • information about cholesterol
  • A 4 – 5 point salivary cortisol
    • maps out stress response and the diurnal pattern
    • This can be done with urine or saliva
  • Thyroid function tests. Include
    • Total and free thyroid, T 4, and T3
    • Thyroid antibodies
    • Thyroid binding globulins
    • Reverse T 3
  • Red blood cell magnesium levels


  • When lose vagal tone and heart rate variability, one is stuck in a sympathetic tone (flight vs fight)
  • With sympathetic tone, vessels get stiff, less oxygen gets to the cells.
  • Parasympathetic Mode is when we are relaxed and can kick back, and digest food.


  • If we eat “garbage,” our health deteriorates.
  • We need to learn how to eat better.
  • Learn how to get a good night’s sleep
  • Manage stress
  • Learn how to become the captain of our destiny in health
  • Blend medicine and natural therapeutics
  • Need program to targets your specific needs and to address why your chemistry shifted
  • Look up what nutrients your medication depletes and supplement these.