203: Dr. Michael Ruscio | Healthy Gut, Healthy Golf

This week, Dr. Michael Ruscio takes us on a deep dive into the topic of “Gut Health!”   I know it might not seem quite as sexy as increasing your driver speed or talking about the latest PGATour event, but I think you’ll be surprised at just how much this topic might hit home for you.  Little do you know how much your “gut” impacts your performance out on the course and simplify your life in general.

Michael Ruscio, DC is a doctor, clinical researcher and best-selling author whose practical ideas on healing chronic illness have made him an influential voice in functional and alternative medicine. His research has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and he speaks at integrative medical conferences across the globe.

I wanted to bring Dr. Ruscio on to talk about his expertise because “gut health” is a subject that’s interest has recently grown exponentially in regards to research and discovery of its importance.  Dr. Ruscio, being a Functional Medicine Doctor and former athlete, is the perfect person to not only explain the basics and some possible solutions but also why we as golfers, athletes, coaches, parents, etc should be paying more attention to what our bodies are telling us.

Michael Ruscio’s Background

  • Michael Ruscio has a diverse training background. His undergraduate studies were in exercise science and pre-med. Dr. Ruscio later decided to depart from his plans of conventional medicine after he was unable to find relief in this system. He decided to pursue alternative medicine because of his positive personal experience with it.
  • During his training in alternative medicine, he became concerned at the level of dogma and lack of scientific rigor in parts of this field. Dr. Ruscio now works to provide what he feels to be an optimal balance of progressive, natural-medicine-focused solutions, applied within a conservative, practical and evidence-based model.
  • His Education and Certifications include:
    • Functional Medicine Practitioner
    • Lead researcher in pending IBS study
    • Post-doctoral continuing education provider
    • Doctor of Chiropractic – Life Chiropractic College West
    • B.S. Exercise Kinesiology – University of Massachusetts
  • Dr. Ruscio’s best-selling book, Healthy Gut, Healthy You, has paved the way for a ‘start with the gut’ philosophy which has enabled doctors and patient to obtain improved outcomes with minimal expense and effort.
  • He is leading the charge to make alternative medicine more affordable, effective and practical, through a pragmatic application of evidence-based therapies. Dr. Ruscio’s ability to objectively analyze medical literature has made him a trusted voice of reason, a voice he shares on his top-rated podcast and website.
  • Ruscio’s mentality: “Functional medicine can lead to miraculous improvements in one’s health. I advocate for a progressive but cautious model that will provide you helpful recommendations for improving your health while also remaining sensitive to cost and practicality.”

Highlights from this Episode

  • Michael Ruscio kicks the episode off by talking about when he fell ill during his twenties. He eventually found the cause of his problem was being driven by a gut infection. However, he wasted much time and money treating symptoms with natural therapies. Dr. Ruscio’s hope, in his teaching, is to prevent other patients and clinicians from making this same mistake.
  • He defines both what he means by “Gut Health,” and what Optimal “Gut Health” looks like to achieve optimal performance. Bad Gut Health can even go so far as to how you can be eating a healthy diet, but your body is only absorbing a small fraction of the nutrients, almost like you were eating something that is devoid of nutrition like junk food.
  • How an individuals gut health cause different diets to work better or worse and the 2 types of helpful diets to test out and help towards diagnosing and seeing a response:
    • an Elimination Diet (cutting out certain inflammatory foods) or a
    • Low FODMAP diet (reduces foods that are high in pre-biotics and can feed bacteria.)
  • The connection between the gut and the brain: how they are related, how they communicate and control so many aspects of your body. Some diets can not only have common gut symptoms (aches, diarrhea, etc.) but can also lead to symptoms like joint pain, insomnia, and depression just based off of histamines.
  • We also talk about supplementation: when does he introduce supplements (before or after dietary intervention,) and how heavily should we rely on such supplements?
Parting Questions

Caddy Shack or Happy Gilmore? Caddy Shack

What would be your walk up song? Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

If you could play 18 holes with anyone, who would it be and where would you play?
Sam Harris at Pebble Beach

Last piece of advice do you have for the 18Strong Audience?  “He who has as ‘why’ to live can overcome almost any ‘how’”

Learn more about Dr. Ruscio and his work at:




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