In our interview, Dr. Josh Axe (founder of DrAxe.com and Ancient Nutrition) offers expert wellness tips and talks about bringing Ancient Nutrition to Canada. Dr. Axe’s passion for helping others through natural approaches began when he worked with his mother to help her adopt new healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits to improve her gut health and ultimately help her beat cancer naturally. As a certified doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist and author of several books including the new book The Collagen Diet, Dr. Axe is on a mission to help millions prevent disease and transform their health by incorporating ancient nutrients, including collagen, into our modern diets.
We were privileged to connect with Dr. Axe for a fascinating interview to learn more about the roots of his passion for natural medicine, tips for wellness including why and how to incorporate collagen into our diet, and why he’s excited about launching Ancient Nutrition in Canada. We even found out about his real-life wellness habits, goals for Ancient Nutrition in 2020 and where in Canada he’s excited to travel to next!
WEHL: Please tell us a little about yourself and what inspired you to start DrAxe.com and Ancient Nutrition.
Dr. Axe: I was running a wellness practice in Nashville (from 2007 to 2014) and helping client by client to improve their health. While it was very gratifying to see their individual health change for the better under my guidance, it occurred to me one day that I could have a far bigger impact and literally transform millions of lives if I could put the considerable energy and resources into a natural health website with the intent of offering the most helpful wellness content in the world. That was my goal, and at one point, we actually recorded 18 million unique visits in one month!
Beyond great content free to anyone who visited our site, I next sought to create the highest-quality natural supplements in the market, particularly certain nutrients that were typically missing from the average person’s diet and wellness routine: collagen powder, bone broth protein, essential oils, super greens, herbs, vitamins and more. Simply put, our whole food nutritional products are designed to provide “Ancient Nutrients” in a modern, convenient form to power the body and mind.
WEHL: You have an incredibly inspiring goal of transforming the health of millions of people around the world. What makes you passionate about helping people improve their health through nutrition and natural medicine?
Dr. Axe: Before I answer this fully, I’d like to point out that, while I am a Doctor of Natural Medicine, I am no longer in practice. Likewise, I’d like to clarify that I’m passionate about helping people support their health through nutrition and natural approaches. Honestly, it all has to do with my mom. She is the reason I’ve dedicated my life to helping others with their health. I was 14 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my family and I were blindsided by the diagnosis. The doctors recommended an aggressive chemotherapy treatment, and mom consented to go this traditional route — which included a mastectomy — to eradicate the disease. I will never forget how sick my mom was from the chemo. I recall seeing her hair fall out in clumps and thinking she had aged 20 years in two weeks and praying for God to spare her life.
So while she was pronounced cancer-free after her treatments, my mom became sicker than ever. She struggled with leaky gut syndrome, hypothyroidism, weight gain, chronic constipation, candida yeast infections and depression, and she was on multiple medications and felt tired all the time.
Like so many afflicted with cancer, years later she was diagnosed with cancer yet again. My mom and I believed there had to be a better way to help get her better.
At this time, I had been training to become a doctor of natural medicine and a chiropractic physician and knew some of the top holistic doctors in the world. I started spending at least 12 hours each day researching natural remedies to fight cancer and talking to doctors who had experience in beating cancer naturally. Then, I put together an advanced health protocol for my mom (at her request).
The first thing we implemented was a radical new diet full of many of the nutrients that were missing from her diet, along with the best foods that would help the body heal. My mother’s journey also focused on lifestyle measures, such as reducing stress, as well as spiritual practices including prayer and meditation.
WEHL: Ancient Nutrition recently launched its collagen products in Canada. Can you remember the first time you tried collagen? What was your experience like?
Dr. Axe: The original reason I decided to start using collagen in my diet was because I wanted to support my gut health. I was burning the midnight candle every day running my wellness clinic and then coming home and working on my DrAxe.com website. I began consuming bone broth (which naturally has collagen) daily, and it helped support my gut health among other beneficial effects.
WEHL: What does wellness mean to you?
Dr. Axe: We all want to live our best life, but this is only really possible if we’re able to maintain our health and have daily energy to accomplish our goals. That’s wellness that I hope our site and our products can help anyone achieve.
WEHL: How do you prioritize wellness in your daily life?
Dr. Axe: I do practice what I preach, eating the right foods and steering way clear of the wrong ones. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy dessert on occasion, but it’s just often the healthier version that my wife Chelsea and I whip up at home. Otherwise, we often work out together (hard!) to stay fit and alleviate work stress. I also spend some time in healing prayer each day.
WEHL: As we start a new year, what are some of your personal wellness goals and some of your goals for Ancient Nutrition in 2020?
Dr. Axe: Company-wise, we are the No. 2 natural supplement company in the U.S. at present. In 2020, we want to be No. 1. Similarly, we want to reclaim the No. 1 spot among natural health sites in 2020 (we’re No. 3 at present). All of that, however, will transpire only as we put people first, seeking to continue to help them with their health and wellness.
WEHL: How does wellness translate into your business practices and the culture of your team?
Dr. Axe: From the beginning, I wanted to not only hire people who were as passionate about helping people as I was, but also people who were driven to create the best content and the best products anywhere. Just like on any sports team, if you have players who play hard, are smart and act as good teammates, it will help create a robust work culture that can persist even during stressful times! Along those lines, we provide both benefits and incentives to support everyone’s health. Supplement and gym stipends, discounts for products and services from select natural health partners, in-office healthy catered food on occasion, kombucha on tap and more!
WEHL: For the “collagen beginners” in our community, what are the benefits of adding a collagen supplement into our diets? Why should we care about collagen and what can we expect to see if we do try it?
Dr. Axe: For those who may be new to the collagen scene, I think it’s important to give some information about what collagen is and why it’s so important. Here are some highlights:
- Collagen is a protein made up of building blocks called amino acids, making up nearly 30% of the protein composition in the human body. It’s known as the “glue” that holds us together.
- Collagen is a significant building block of cartilage, muscles, skin, bones, ligaments and tendons.
- Collagen constitutes 20% of total bone mass, and 95% of the organic bone matrix is collagen.
- Collagen comprises approximately 75% of skin and 70% of cartilage.
- With normal aging, the body produces lower-quality and significantly less collagen. In fact, after age 25 to 30, collagen naturally degrades at a rate of about 1% to 2% each year.
Ideally, it would be great to consume a diet that is higher in collagen (like our ancestors did), but that is not the case for most people. Instead, many choose to use a collagen supplement to get the collagen they want.
Collagen supplementation can help give your body the building blocks it needs to support its own collagen production.
Overall, collagen supplements can help support healthy skin, healthy joints, healthy nails and more.
WEHL: We’ve had questions on our Wehl platform about what “multi collagen” is. Can you help us understand what it is and how it differs from other options we see?
Dr. Axe: There have been numerous types of collagen identified in the body. In short, the body naturally has multiple types of collagen, but only a handful are the most abundant in the body, including collagen types I, II and III.
When we use the phrase “multi collagen,” it’s just that: multiple types of collagen, including collagen types I, II and III from three different sources: beef, chicken and fish.
Many other collagen products on the market often offer only one or two types of collagen from only one source. For instance, they may feature chicken collagen that offers only type II collagen. Or they may offer only beef collagen that features only types I and III collagen. Our Multi Collagen Protein offers multiple types of collagen from multiple sources.
WEHL: How is your collagen made?
Dr. Axe: Our Multi Collagen Protein collagen powder is sourced from non-GMO, pasture-raised, cage-free and cruelty-free sources.
More specifically, our hydrolyzed bovine collagen peptides come from pasture-raised cattle, featuring collagen types I and III.
Our sustainably sourced chicken bone broth collagen concentrate comes from non-GMO, U.S.-farmed chickens and features collagen type II.
Our marine collagen comes from wild-caught pollock, haddock and cod that is harvested from North American waters. Our “clean marine” collagen naturally features type I collagen.
WEHL: What are some fast and easy ways to incorporate collagen into our day?
Dr. Axe: There are many ways to use unflavored collagen. You can add one heaping scoop with any liquid or beverage. You can also add it to your daily smoothie or coffee. It’s also great in pancakes, oatmeal, puddings, cookies, brownies or other baked goods. It’s even good to add to soups, stews, gravies and sauces!
WEHL: We hear that you have some products being made in Canada. Can you tell us a little about that?
Dr. Axe: Sure! We launched in Canada this past September after hearing from so many Canadians that they too wanted access to our products. With regulations being different in Canada and the dollar fluctuating the way it does, we are manufacturing our Canadian products in Canada. Our ingredients are still sourced from the same places that our USA products are. As we spent a great deal of time hunting down best-in-class ingredients for use in our products, we wanted to sustain the same level of premiere ingredients. Manufacturing in Canada also supports the local economy there, so we are building on that investment by hiring a team based in Toronto and Vancouver.
WEHL: What excites you about bringing Ancient Nutrition to Canada? Are you looking to bring more of your product line in the future?
Dr. Axe: What excites us most is that we get to spread our mission beyond the USA and truly impact more lives. We launched with 10 items (Multi Collagen Protein, Bone Broth Collagen Protein and Keto Collagen in a few flavours), and are working hard to bring 8+ more items to market in 2020. We are a true lifestyle brand, so eventually, we want an offering that covers our core pillars of Collagen/Protein, probiotics and CBD at some point!
WEHL: You and your wife Dr. Chelsea like to travel. What is your favourite place in Canada to visit or where do you hope to visit in the future?
Dr. Axe: We have a long list of places we’d like to visit in Canada starting with Vancouver and exploring that area as well as Vancouver Island. We also have plans to get to the Banff and Lake Louise areas to hike at some point … but we’ve also heard the east coast is equally spectacular.
Ed. note: When Josh and Chelsea visit Vancouver, we think they should challenge each other to do the Grouse Grind, eh? 😉
WEHL: Can our international friends and Wehl members in Europe expect Ancient Nutrition to come their way?
Dr. Axe: With Canadian expansion now rolling out, we are beginning to look at other countries for expansion and Europe is definitely on that list. Each country takes time as they each have their own regulatory environment we need to respect and abide by. We are fueled by the love we feel from our new Canadian customers to work diligently on doing the same for other places around the globe so we can continue to spread our mission of transforming lives worldwide. Keep following us for updates on our expansion!
More about Dr. Axe:
Dr. Josh Axe, founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com, is a certified doctor of natural medicine (DNM), doctor of chiropractic (DC) and clinical nutritionist (CNS) with a passion to help people get healthy by empowering them to use nutrition to fuel their health. He is the bestselling author of KETO DIET and Eat Dirt, and the upcoming COLLAGEN DIET book. Dr. Axe founded the natural health website DrAxe.com, one of the top natural health websites in the world today. Its main topics include nutrition, natural medicine, fitness, healthy recipes, home DIY remedies and trending health news. His website includes a group of credentialed editors, writers and a Medical Review Board. Dr. Axe is also the co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, which provides protein powders, holistic supplements, vitamins, essential oils and more to the modern world.
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