Do you suffer from memory lapses, mental exhaustion, or problems with concentration? These can be linked to several factors like lack of sleep, stress, lifestyle and diet or even menopause for women.
Find out in this podcast how one can overcome brain fogginess and improve mind performance through proper diet of good fats, sleep and the right exercise for brain health. Learn more about PQQ, CoQ10 and other brain supplements as well as some adaptogenic herbs that powerfully boost one’s cognitive function.
In this episode we cover:
01:58 What Dr. Justin ate for breakfast
03:30 Building the right foundation
27:41 PQQ, CoQ10, Omega 3
42:52 Caffeine Benefits
Baris Harvey: Welcome to another awesome episode of Beyond Wellness Radio. In today’s show we are going to talk about brain hacking and brain supplements and overcoming brain fog. But before we dive in to the show today let me tell you about our newsletter. Make sure that you go to beyondwellnessradio.com and hop on the newsletter. By going on to the newsletter, you will be the first to see all of our updates on our podcasts and any other awesome information that we have for you. Also I want to make sure that you guys go to justinhealth.com which is Dr. Justin’s site where he has all of his content and information for you and he also has a video series on thyroid health that you guys should definitely dive into. It is loaded with information and helpful tactics that you can start implementing today. So make sure you go to justinhealth.com and signup for the newsletter. Also go to reallyhealthynow.com and you can sign up to the newsletter as well and you can be ready to receive the first copy of my book as soon as that is done. So that is what is up for today. So Dr. Justin, how is it going?
Justin Marchegiani: Baris, it is going great today. We have a nice little morning here. Just running a current across my wrist here to help stimulate some collage repair. Just hit a little bit of PQQ which is a compound to help up regulate mitochondrial function and actually repair mitochondrial neurons. So I am doing that to make sure I am in the zone today. And breakfast today was just four eggs sunny side up and then a little bit of protein powder afterwards with some butter and MCT in my coffee. How about you?
Baris Harvey: Yes awesome. I drove down to the Bay Area this morning. So I actually had some Trail Mix, had some organic beef jerky and had some cashews, almonds and a little bit of cranberries. So that was my snack for this morning.
Justin Marchegiani: I am glad to hear you had no oatmeal on your Trail Mix.
Baris Harvey: No oats. None of that. No.
Justin Marchegiani: Good. That would definitely be a Paleo.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Right, exactly. So you mentioned the PQQ that you are taking. In today’s show, we are going to talk about kind of like this brain hacking, this is kind of like a big thing. But even for people that, let us say they are trying to hack it, optimize brain function. There are a lot of people today that have like brain fog or overall issues. Let us help all these listeners out and try to find a way to remove some of those things that are blocking their brain from doing what it should be able to and get people able to focus, able to sustain a long day, able to fully utilize, I believe, which is our super power as humans, is our brain power.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And before we go into that 100%, I think it is important that there are some great supplements out there and I am all into bio‑hacking and tweaking certain things. But I just want to say if you do not have the foundations right, you are just going to be pissing your money away on a lot of expensive stuff.
Baris Harvey: Uh-huh. Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: So like I get results with my patients because I am annoying about the foundations.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: So let us go over like some of the foundation. So if you are having brain fog, brain fog is typically a cause of inflammation. So if you are having inflammation just look at the first couple of things. Just do an audit first of physical stress. Are you over exercising? Are you not getting enough exercise? Personally, my biggest thing on exercise is the fact that it helps with brain stimulation. It helps with increasing a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor which helps increase synaptic activity, which means it helps connect brain neurons together, right?
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: If your brain neurons communicate faster and better, you are going to be able to have better brain power. You are going to be able to mile on it better. You are going to be able to create better habits faster. You are going to be able to perform better. Have better stamina, better focus. Be in the zone longer and easier. So again, I look at things like exercise is more like stimulating brain as well as hormones. Okay that is like one foundation.
Baris Harvey: Uh-huh.
Justin Marchegiani: Do not exercise too much because chronic cortisol from over exercising will eat away parts of your brain. Dr. Robert Sapolsky over at Stanford, he wrote the book, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.” He is kind of a stress doctor. He looks at the stress response from one species to another. And what he has found is that excessive levels of cortisol literally will eat away at the hippocampus.
Baris Harvey: Uh-Huh.
Justin Marchegiani: The hippocampus is there in the brain, the bottom part of the brain that helps control memory and learning. So again let us get cortisol modulated so we are not eating away our hippocampus. So on the physical stress side of things, do not over exercise. Choose smart exercise. So smart exercise could be anything depending where you are at, right? If you are obese and you are not doing much just get out walking a little bit. Get out and do some isometric movements where you are doing the isometric lunge or an isometric squat with really good form. If you are already today are on some resistance training, it will be good using functional movements, right? Squatting, pulling, pushing, bending, things like that are going to be great. And then if you are there as well, you can also add in some high intensity interval training using whatever modality you want. Whether it is rowing or biking, running or sprinting. You do not have to make exercise that complicated. Now if you are training for sport specific things because you are an athlete and you are competing, well, obviously you have to do the movement pattern that you are going to be competing in or choosing movements that are going to translate to performance on the field. So we are not getting in to sport specific stuff. We are just getting into how can you make your muscles and your body perform well, physically. But also, how can you do it so you can choose movements that will mentally allow you to perform well and make more BDNF.
Baris Harvey: Definitely. I think that is a great portion because like you said before, we have to understand that our bodies were designed to move. And not only is movement just going to help us burn fat or build muscle but there is also some brain activity that is going on. It is the communications with the neurons between your muscles. It is like you mentioned earlier, you have a stimulation thing currently running to your wrist and it is using the electricity and stimulating your muscles. And we have to understand like those are brain chemicals that kind of manipulate our muscles. And having that awareness is really a good way to stimulate our body and also not to overdo it though and not to stress your body out because it is easy to do that as well.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Like for instance, I am stimulating production or increase blood flow which will hopefully translate to additional collagen being lined down and to help build up cartilage. But I am also sleeping really well. I am also eating a very anti-inflammatory, I am eating, you know, high anti‑inflammatory fats. I am also taking extra collagen support so I have the building blocks, right? A lot of bio-hacking devices they stimulate. But the problem is if you do not have the building blocks then it is like whipping a tired horse. So if you combine the two it is almost like magical.
Baris Harvey: Yes, definitely. You just mentioned too, you are eating a really good diet and that plays a big role. And there are a lot of foods that can be beneficial. One food in particular when it comes to like fats, it is something that you often put into your coffee every day. Or even like cook with Caprylic acid from like coconut oil, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: Can you tell us about how MCTs can be beneficial to our brain?
Justin Marchegiani: Okay. So MCT is the medium chain triglycerides. You are going to get some MCTs in coconut oil. The problem is, MCTs typically consist of Capric and Caprylic acid, 8, 10 and 12 carbons in length. Those are kind of your medium chain triglycerides. The problem is most of your MCTs is going to be in the 12 carbons. So taking in supplemental MCT that is 8 to 10 carbons primarily, you are going to primarily get 8 and 10 carbons in MCT. So people say, “Oh, well you get enough MCT in coconut oil.” In my opinion, that is nonsense because you are not getting the beneficial ones, the 8 and 10 carbon ones. So using MCT is going to be awesome. Using it in your coffee is great. So there was a research done at Harvard, Dr. Veech and he has done a lot of research on ketogenic diets. And basically, ketogenic diet since your body is using various ketones whether it is acetoacetic acid, acetone or hydroxybutyrate, things like that, your brain can actually run on them. He has done research to show up to 80% of your brain can run on them. So there are a couple of ways when you think about it, right? Some people may benefit cutting their carbs super low. That is one theory. That is one approach that may work. Some people may do a cyclical ketogenic where they go low carb, you know, 20, 30, 40 grams of carbohydrates. And that is a little debatable because Ben Greenfield has done some research showing that he has been able to keep his carbs at 200 and still be in ketosis. So it really depends upon your activity level. And so we have the dietary aspect but we can also just put something like MCT which will easily shove downstream into ketones. So we can still have the benefits of ketones even if we are not going super, super, super low carb.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely.
Justin Marchegiani: So that is one aspect. And he has found that the brain can run very efficiently off these MTCs and some areas of the brain actually love it. So you kind of get the same kind of physiology that you would get with fasting. So a lot of research has shown that your brain does better, you know, fasting sometimes. That is kind of where the whole school of thought of intermittent fasting or low calorie dieting has shown beneficial effects. In my opinion, you can try to tap in to some of these benefits by using MCT in your coffee to get some of these benefits that, you know, so you do not have to starve yourself. So you actually feel full and satiated and not tired and not down regulate your thyroid because low calorie diets will mess up your thyroid. Just go to PubMed and type in low calorie diets and hypothyroidism and you will see a whole bunch of studies on that. So that kind of gives you just the bird’s eye view off the top there.
Baris Harvey: Okay. Cool. So we are not going to be glucose deficient, are we?
Justin Marchegiani: Well, your brain needs about 20 grams of glucose a day to function. So if you are getting enough fat in your body and you are keto‑adapted, meaning your body is used to running off with ketones, you are not going to have a problem. Although I do recommend if you are doing more glycolytic exercise, you are probably going to feel better getting a little bit of sweet potato in your diet. A little bit of safe starch in your diet, if you are doing a CrossFit style of movement. So it really depends. Like some people who are, I would say, they are carbohydrate sensitive, they cannot tolerate much carbohydrates. You are better off starting ketogenic and not going into some of these high intense glycolytic movements for at least a long period of time because you want to get your body keto-adapted. And you can create lots of cravings if you are doing glycolytic movements for longer than 45 minutes of an hour. Like if you are someone who maybe has metabolic syndrome and you are just jumping into a CrossFit, may not be the best thing for your blood sugar and your metabolism off the bat. A good ramp up and may be a good way of doing it and starting ketogenic can be a good way to really feed the brain with those ketones that it may need.
Baris Harvey: Yes, awesome. We are talking about getting the foundation right. And you also mentioned that is only the real big reason why you are successful with your clients. It is because you harp a lot on the foundations on the basics. Make sure you remove the inflammatory foods and give them the anti-inflammatory, antioxidants foods into the diet.
Justin Marchegiani: Right.
Baris Harvey: I think one of those foods that people know that are good for the brain and like the more agriculturist I go, berries, berries are really good. They are good for your brain because of their antioxidants.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: What are some other just good foods that we should be adding to our diet like that might have really good flavonoids or other kind of brain nutrients or minerals that we might not be getting but we should?
Justin Marchegiani: So one, you know making sure you are eating foods that are going to stabilize your blood sugar. Because blood sugar dips are actually going to cause problems in your brain, right? You are going to increase your microglial cell activation with low blood sugar dips. So I would say not just what to eat but eating the right amounts of proteins, fats and carbohydrates for your body to have stable blood sugar for at least 4 or 5 hours. Because that will prevent dips in blood sugar and those dips in blood sugar will create hormonal cascades that will again, you will go into a low blood sugar dip that will activate the adrenal glands to produce adrenalin and cortisol. And that will activate the microglial cells in the brain to produce glutamate and you will basically starve the frontal cortex for blood. And then again that is why a lot people do stupid things with low blood sugar. There are actually a couple of studies on this. They have done studies of violent crimes where they find a lot of violent crimes are done with super low blood sugar, crimes of passion. Because you got about, I want to say, one tenth of a second to have the frontal cortex clamp down on the impulse of punching the guy that you are really pissed off at. So if your brain is starving because your blood sugar is dipping up and down because you are going into reactive hypoglycemic drops of blood sugar, it is just going to make you stupid and make you do stupid things.
Baris Harvey: Yes. So basically that part of your brain, your, you know, the prefrontal cortex is going to be basically turned off and your decision making, basically the things that makes us human, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: This is going to be turned off and we are just going to be a baboon, literally.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. You are like literally functioning or relying upon the brain stem, right? The reptilian brain to make very reactionary stupid decisions. So like the concept that I am referring to is reactive hypoglycemia. That is when you eat potentially too much carbs for your body to handle. Your body reacts, that is why it is called reactive. Your body reacts by spitting out a whole bunch of insulin and drops that blood sugar too low. When that blood sugar is too low the fight or flight nervous system has to turn on. And that turning on activates parts of the brain that can create glial activation which is like the immune cells in the brain. And that can activate inflammation or starve out blood flow to the frontal cortex and that can prevent you from making good decisions.
Baris Harvey: So do not eat the little chocolates when that is on the counter when you are buying a car decision or any of those kinds of things.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: And make sure you are well-fed.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, that is why I am a big thing of having breakfast in the morning. Even things like good coffee and butter and fat. If you are under a lot of stress and maybe you are exercising, too, you know have a little bit of protein and fat together in the morning. You know, not just fat but have a little bit of protein as well. Because protein you can always convert some of those amino acids into glucose via gluconeogenesis. Your liver can take some of that protein and just cleave it off and create some glucose from it. And when you go to gluconeogenesis, it is a nice time-release form of glucose. It is time released so you actually get nice slow and steady supply. So you do not get this reactive hypoglycemic drop afterwards.
Baris Harvey: Okay, perfect. So we want to make sure we are stabilizing our blood sugar. We do not want making irrational decisions. Another thing, that is probably a beneficial one that you ate this morning are eggs, right? Eggs have B vitamins and choline. You test a lot of people in your practice. Are you seeing some people you know that seems like such an easy fix. People that are B vitamin deficient then they can easily take maybe some B vitamins and making sure that they are getting some darker meats or some organ meats and making sure that they are getting the B vitamins covered and helping their neurons.
Justin Marchegiani: Right. So regarding the patients and the practice, we may see on a CBC some of their indices high. These are like the markers like the MCH, MCHC, MCV, RDW. These are key markers that are indicative of B vitamins issues like B6, B9, B12. May run organic acid test and find some of these B vitamins low. I am seeing a lot of people with methylation defects especially the MTHFR reductase defect. So we are using some specific folate that has been converted to an L-isomer form so that it can be converted better to folate.
Baris Harvey: Uh-huh.
Justin Marchegiani: Obviously we have seen a lot of people with gut issues too that have damage and they are not able to absorb B12 as well. So it really depends. I mean, people if they are eating a bad diet high in refined sugar, they are automatically going to have B vitamin issues because you need B vitamins to absorb and metabolize sugar. And if the sugar that is coming in does not have B vitamins with it you are going to become deficient. And again, most of the time the people eating good quality grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, safe carbohydrates for their metabolic demand, they are going to be okay and we will kind of follow up with a good general multivitamin, with some really good soluble B vitamins there. Or we will look at the blood work or the organic test and we may supplement with some individual ones depending on their unique deficiencies.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Interesting because it is funny too often times we were so just like just poor forms of B vitamins inside of like the five-hour ENERGY or something like that. And this is just usually like caffeine and B vitamins but it is like three or five dollars per dose.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to supplements. And I have tried to research the best companies where you are going to get the best absorption and the best bang for your buck. So going with good companies is definitely the way to go. And saving money on it I mean you are better off not taking anything, for sure. But you know, supplements they are meant to supplement a good diet. They are not called replacements. They are not designed to replace the diet. They are meant, you know, you take them with your grass-fed meat and your really good spinach salad or your safe starch. It is meant to supplement.
Baris Harvey: Uh-humm.
Justin Marchegiani: Like nails. The food is like the board and the nails are like the vitamins. So we want to use good vitamins to hold everything together.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. One thing, we should probably bring up briefly is sleep. And we have done a whole episode on sleep before. So people make sure if you guys have not heard go back into our archives and make sure that you, or just even start to go to YouTube and search Sleep Beyond Wellness Radio. When we talked about sleep and how it affects the brain and people should know this immediately but for some reason we still find ourselves or many people, not necessarily me all the time, sleeping 6 hours and then wondering why we are having this crash in the middle of the day and you know, go into Starbucks and try to get coffee. Briefly just to talk about again how important sleep is but also how it affects your mental focus.
Justin Marchegiani: Sleep is vitally important. I got an email from Ben Greenfield this week and he posted a really cool blog via WellnessFX and he also put a really cool info graphic on board too. And some really good quotes in this article and we will put it on the show notes, from athletes regarding their sleep time. So for instance, I got a couple of quotes here. Let me pull it up. So Usain Bolt, right? Fastest guy in the world says, “Sleep is extremely important to me. I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.” That is one person right there. Roger Federer gets on record 11 to 12 of sleep at night. LeBron James 12 hours of sleep at night. Again there are studies that after four days of restricted sleep athletes’ maximum bench press drops 20 pounds. Studies have shown split second decision making ability reduced by about 5%. And again tennis players with adequate sleep get about 42% boost in the accuracy of their shot. So again sleep is very, very important.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Check this out. You know I have mentioned to you before my football team, we would work out like 6 am and which means we get to the facility..
Justin Marchegiani: So the worst thing a coach can do. That is the stupidest thing. It is like you got this mindset in sports where it is like toughness comes from like crucifying yourself. It is just stupid training. It is just like, well, you can just be better by having willpower and not using our physiology to help us get better. I am sorry I interrupted.
Baris Harvey: Yes. I know, that is totally true.
Justin Marchegiani: It drives me nuts!
Baris Harvey: But check this out. I forgot why we did this. I am glad that we did. But I think we had our bye-week. Last week we decided not have our 6 am lift in the morning and basically I got to sleep in a little bit. And we instead worked out in the afternoon around 3 o’clock when your body is most prime to do so. This was the first week in about six weeks that I remember being like physically sore. When my legs felt sore in a good way it is as if like, “Oh, okay I am building muscle because all my other workouts were pretty inefficient because I am tired. How am I supposed to perform this way?” So I just thought it was interesting. Sleep is vitally important when it comes to not just training but your mental performance and almost every aspect in life. So sometimes people you want to push harder, push harder but if you are not sleeping I mean, you are kind of wasting your time and you could even be hurting yourself.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. It is just trying to work harder not smarter. I mean, I remember in high school because I play football and I remember doing conditioning at the very end of practice. It is like the stupidest thing. It is like let us just ingrain in our body poor motor patterns, right? Let us just work on and develop our skills and poor motor pattern. It is just like silly. You much rather keep the conditioning separate and the fine tune motor skills when you are prime so you can really build up those motor pathways. Especially in certain sports, I remember in football for instance, we have linemen and linebackers running you know 30, 40, and 50 yards sprints. But it is like wait a minute, each play, what are you running on average? 5 to 10 yards? I mean the lineman is running 2 or 3 yards. So it is like, why are we not doing sport specific movement that actually carries over? And so much of these coaches, they are just doing things to do it not because it correlates and actually really makes sense.
Baris Harvey: Yes. I probably should not be doing the same thing my 290 pound teammate is doing. He is probably lifting stuff super heavy and maybe 10 yards sprints at the most for him. Whereas I can probably go a little bit farther, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.
Baris Harvey: So super important.
Justin Marchegiani: And I do not want to burst anyone’s bubble but I have treated a handful of college athletes, professional football players and such and that is one sport I would more than likely, I could change my mind, but I will not allow my kid to play. I see lots of neurological deficits. I think you are going to be seeing an epidemic in the next 10 or 20 years of massive amounts of brain injuries. So if you are an athlete, man! Especially football, you need to be on magnesium. You need to be getting lots of ketones being produced. So ideally either lower carb. But if it is glycolytic stuff, you want to get some MCTs in there, PQQ, CoQ10, magnesium is really important. Again if you ever get head injury, one of the best things you can do is to go low calorie the next day or two to help increase cellular autophagy, to help clean up the damage. And those are a couple of things sleep is used. Like the last week, I have been going to bed at 10 o’clock and getting up at 7:30 to 8 o’clock and I have been feeling so much better because I have been listening to my body.
Baris Harvey: Yes. I mean the past week I had to take a nap in the middle of the day because I was so exhausted. But, man, I just felt so much better and so much more productive. And this will mean l will listen to my body and say, “Hey, you need to, you know, shut it.” And I mean that is what it feels like and what happens sometimes when people end up getting sick because they are evading sleep. They are not giving anything back to their body and their body just does not know it. I am going to have to shut you down for you. And when you get sick and then we are going to force ourselves to stay in bed, you know what I mean?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: So, I just felt like I did not get to that point but I was like, “You know what? It is the middle of the day but I am going to take an hour nap before I go back to school.” And I felt like so much better. Yes, so sleep is super important. It is no wonder why you might be cranky or grumpy, you cannot even focus. And also like we talked about like the blood sugar regulation and how that throws off your decision making, your mood and your focus. If you are not sleeping that is also going to mess with your metabolism and you are going to crave more of those things. So it just makes it so much harder.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: So you eat the right foods, you eat some more fat. You want to balance it and make it balance per who you are individually. But if you go to sleep more and you eat the right foods and preferably if you can some more fat it makes it a lot easier to regulate those cravings.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Exactly. So kind of my thing is, we have macronutrient quality. I am macronutrient agnostic, meaning you just change the ratios up and down according to your needs. Now my bias is low carbohydrate, high fat, moderate protein. That is my bias because I kick ass there. And I find a lot of people who are metabolically damaged kick ass there. And a lot of people have been on a low fat movement so they just do so much better getting high quality fat in their diet. But from there, there are some people that are athletes that are super, you know, healthy already and they may be able to handle a little bit of white rice or some sweet potatoes or a little bit of glucose from other safe starch sources. So again, it is to figure out what works for you. I ran people low carb, super low and then we ramp up and we will taper up exercise and we will see how we feel. We may find that we do not want exercise that much and we just go super low ketogenic and then cycle in and out every three or four days. And figure out kind of where you feel your best.
Baris Harvey: Definitely.
Justin Marchegiani: So what do you think? Are you ready to talk some supplements a little more?
Baris Harvey: Let us talk some supplements. Let us get to the fun part. We always got to make sure that we will do the right things first. Because like we said supplement is a supplement. That is the whole point of it.
Justin Marchegiani: Okay.
Baris Harvey: But they are fun and that is why, you know, that is what we shoot at and keep at. Let us talk some supplements. Of course you talked about vitamin B12 as one of those basic things that should be covered. You know, make sure that you are getting that. Also you want to talk about this, it is not necessarily that new but it is starting to get a lot more coverage, the PQQ.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: Let us talk about that and how it affects mitochondrial health and overall brain function.
Justin Marchegiani: Right. So PQQ is Pyrroloquinoline quinone PQQ. It was created in the 80’s I want to say or discovered in the 80’s basically through like a fermentation reducts reaction of a certain B vitamin in the gut bacteria. There are a couple of things. It helps with the regeneration of the mitochondria. And mitochondria are like these little powerhouses of your cells. They are like little furnaces that help create energy or ATP which is like the cellular currency that your body runs on. It also helps regenerate mitochondria and that is important because guess what? A lot of the medications that people are on, yes, they actually damage their mitochondria. And a lot of the drugs and the pesticides and the environmental chemicals that are out there, yes, they also damage your mitochondria, too. So a little bit of PQQ will be something that could be very helpful. It is typically combined with CoQ10. There are a couple of brands that are out there. Dave Asprey has got a good one. I have used his. Typically the dose is between 10 to 40 mg depending on where you are at. Like today I am already on 20 mg. I will take another 10 hits after here just to keep me really focused and plowing through my day. Let me think here. My train of thought was just lost for a second. I need some more PQQ. (Laughs)
Baris Harvey: Uh-huhh.
Justin Marchegiani: So yes, 20 to 40 mg tends to be a really good place. There have been some studies in the show that helps with Parkinson’s. It is also neuroprotective and helps with oxidative stress. And oxidative stress is kind of, you know, the damage from free radicals which are little guys that come around and knock off little pieces of your DNA. So that can be a good compound that is helpful.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Talk a little bit about CoQ10 and maybe why that is linked up with it or even why that can be beneficial itself.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. So CoQ10 is a fuel used by the mitochondria as well. It is basically kind of the coal in the mitochondrial furnace, if you will. Very helpful. A lot of people specially people that are on statins for instance, they are going to have problems with production of CoQ10 because the mevalonate pathway is blocked by the HMG-CoA reductase enzyme of the statin. So just basically when the statin blocks the production of cholesterol downstream a couple of steps you are going to see CoQ10 produced. So if you are on a statin definitely a no-no for your brain. CoQ10 again is a cellular currency. So if you are eating good grass-fed meats, you are having a little bit of glandular meat, you are going to do really, really well in that department. If you are getting over 50 years old and/or you are on statin, you need to supplement with some CoQ10. That is going to be very helpful.
Baris Harvey: Okay. Definitely. Another kind of basic one that people might not forget or something that people should probably be taking anyway, let us talk about some omega 3 or like a DHA supplement.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, so omega 3 you have two kinds of, well actually there are three more, there are three facets. Alpha-linoleic acid which is the parent omega 3 comes from like flax. Not a big fan of it because only about 10 or 20% of it gets converted into your 20 carbon and 22 carbon DHA and EPA. So not a big fan. If you are insulin resistant or you have inflammation you will not be able to make any conversion. So getting some quality EPA. EPA is going to be great to tune down inflammation. DHA is going to be a better building block for the brain. So getting high quality EPA and DHA in will feed your prostaglandin one and three pathways. And these pathways are your natural anti-inflammatory. They activate certain enzymes known as the cyclooxygenase enzymes or the COX enzymes. These are the same enzymes that Vioxx knocked too much and it caused heart and stroke problems. But when you take natural compounds they tend to have a modulating effect not a drug effect so you do not get all the side effects.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Another one that is good for the brain and anti-inflammation is curcumin.
Justin Marchegiani: Curcumin is excellent. If you look at a lot of what the drug companies are doing today they are trying to create drugs that have derivative effects of turmeric or curcumin. They are trying to create compounds that have the same effect. Because if you look at what they are doing turmeric is having a massive effect at blocking various inflammatory mediating compounds, nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kB), TNF alpha (TNF-a), C‑reactive protein, so very helpful. Again if you are just taking turmeric and you have all these bad lifestyle habits, they are driving inflammation, again we kind of already addressed that. But if you are doing your best to knock down inflammation and you are taking turmeric, it is just another way to just kick butt better.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely.
Justin Marchegiani: And I strongly recommend if you are going to do turmeric, I find that people do a little bit better with a liposomal turmeric. There is a patented one by a company over at Italy; I want to say the company is Indena. The compound is trademarked as Meriva. Yes, Mereva is great.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: Liposomal better absorption. Again a lot of turmeric does not get absorbed to the gut. So liposomal tend to be a better way to go.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Liposomal is usually really good. You said Meriva. I know there are other ones that might have Meriva. And they might have black pepper in it as well because black pepper is supposed to help with the absorption. So these are the things that you should be looking for in your curcumin supplement.
Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And also, the CoQ10 I use is liposomal as well. I just see too many people that have gut issues so we want to use things that have a liposome, if possible because you are just going to maximize absorption, so CoQ10 with the liposome. One of the brands that I use is called Q‑Best.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely.
Justin Marchegiani: I will try to put it on my store in my site so if people want to support the show they can go to the justinhealth.com/shop and they can check it out there, too.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Another one that you can find like in your breakfast, like the eggs and maybe liver, is choline. How about maybe choline or even things that are kind of other nutrients like Alpha GPC and Huperzine?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, these are just awesome compounds that are going to help with brain repair. There was a study in Italy using Alpha GPC to reduce oxidative stress post-stroke. Excellent stuff there. There are actually some products that I have used that combined the Alpha GPC with the PQQ. Those worked very well. We also have compounds like Piracetam or Aniracetam. These are from the nootropic or racetam category. Piracetam is water soluble. Aniracetam is fat soluble. You take the aniracetam with your butter and coffee is a good what to do it. But that is going to up regulate and have an effect with GABA. It is going to have an effect with GABA. The mechanism really is not known too well but has effects in increasing vascularity, blood flow and also somewhat acting as a stimulant but also having a calming effect. Because GABA has that like inhibitory relaxation effect, too. So you get this steady relaxation yet you are very focused at the same time.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely.
Justin Marchegiani: And you will see things like Modafinil or a compound known as Deprenyl, also Provigil. I think Modafinil and Provigil are the same names.
Baris Harvey: Yes. They are the same.
Justin Marchegiani: And they have a similar effect. People do not know exactly how they worked. But they activate some of these acetylcholine cholinergic ACh receptors that again affect the memory. So, these are good things to try. I always recommend using more of the nutrients before you go into some of these things. Because you may find just using things like fish oil and turmeric and also one that everyone should have in their diet is magnesium. Because our diets are so deficient in magnesium. Just go to PubMed and type in incidence of magnesium deficiency and you will see like almost a 50% reduction in the last 50 or 60 years in our food. So, getting a magnesium dimalate or a magnesium glycinate or if you have some brain issues you can use magnesium threonate and do a topical and have it go right to the brain and have a dampening anti-inflammatory effect. Fair amount of studies on using magnesium to help with brain inflammation, there has been studies on rats, studies on people. Dr. Russell Blaylock has found that when he put patients after brain surgery on magnesium, they recovered and did so much better than patients that were not put on magnesium. And he was just looking at all of these counterparts that were not doing it. And his patients would just get better faster just using things like turmeric, magnesium, fish oil and avoiding a lot of the oxidative stress compounds like glutamate and MSG and aspartame and Splenda. Things that cause microglial activation, these are the white blood cells of the brain.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Definitely makes a big difference. Now you mentioned the racetams and these are kind of like weird category of like not really a hundred percent sure if they are supplements or they are pharmaceuticals. They are kind of in between. And always of course people need to be smart out there when it comes to these pharmaceuticals. But how have you gotten a chance to use some of the racetams? And give something like your experience about it.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. I have done well with Piracetam. I pretty much top out about 800 mg. I do well with that in my coffee. Well, not in my coffee but I take it with my coffee. I like PQQ 20 to 40 mg tends to do awesome. Also a big fan of adrenal glandulars, you know. Taking adrenal glandulars that have adrenal support tend to be helpful. I am a big fan of adaptogenic herbs. And these are a family of herbs that can help modulate their stress response up or down. So if you are feeling low and you need that extra kick it will help bring you up. If you are overly stressed it will help bring you down. One of the biggest ones that I am just a huge fan of and then it also has a nice profile to help with sleep is Ashwagandha or withania somnifera. Ashwagandha is actually Sanskrit, means something like to impart the strength of the horse. So it is a pretty cool little translation. But they did a study here. I will kind of reiterate the study; it was double blind placebo control study. And in 64 subjects and they were giving about 300 mg of Ashwagandha twice a day for 60 days. So they started off the study giving people this General Health Questionnaire 28. It is basically a questionnaire that has been kind of certified and assessed. And it looks at anxiety. It looks at insomnia. It looks at social dysfunction and depression. And then it also had an anxiety stress scale or the DASS along with it. They looked at these various scales. We can put it in the show notes. But you are going to see the placebo and you will see the actual study where the groups that used the Ashwagandha right afterwards, massive, massive improvement in stress reduction with the group that were actually using the Ashwagandha. Every single category improved. The PSS questionnaire improved. The GHQ questionnaire improved. The Social Anxiety questionnaire improved. And there was a significant difference in the modulation of the salivary cortisol as well, which is really cool. And it was the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. Again, you are not going to see much of these studies here in the US because of the competition with the pharmaceutical companies. You are just not going to see it but you will see it in other journals.
Baris Harvey: Yes. And you know it is funny about that too, you mentioned a lot of these adaptogenic herbs. But even if you go to the like the natural food store and you go the vitamin section and you grab a lot of these like brain boosting stacks. A lot of them are going to have amino acids that kind of influence the mood, right? Like L-tyrosine and L-theanine and GABA and all these different amino acids that are kind of like mood regulators. And we notice that when we are in a good mood we are able to function better. Like we mentioned before if you are grumpy if you are stuck in traffic and you are starting to yell, you are probably not going to make the best decisions. You are not going to focus. But when you are in a good mood, you are relaxed and you are able to focus. And you feel better and you will make better decisions and you would eat better. If your emotionally distressed and you have lower EQ you might end up like, “Oh, okay. Well, maybe I am just going to eat like way too much dark chocolate and just eat a thing of ice cream and sit on my couch and watch a movie or something.” Right? So our mood is really important too. And like you mentioned, there are a lot of drugs out there to cover up and change the mood. So it is going to be hard competition in the US to kind of fight with the pharmaceutical mood enhancers.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, exactly. And let me just read the conclusion of the study. So again, this was a double blind placebo control study. 60 days with all the various questionnaires that assessed everything and all the salivary cortisol but also looked at the physiological stress response. The conclusion was the finding of this study suggest that a high concentration of full spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves the individual’s decisions towards stress thereby improves self-assessed quality of life. And that is the Journal of Indian Psychology and Medicine, 2012 July. And I will shoot you over that link here, Baris and we will put it in the show notes. But this is important. Getting a high quality herb and again using the whole herb. I find people tend to do better with the whole herb not just like a standardized extract but the whole herb. And I try to make sure that the herbs that I procure are all organic and independently tested to make sure that there is no concentration of chemicals, arsenic or metal or things like that.
Baris Harvey: Definitely. Now one thing that we did not mention yet which is probably one that I think a lot of people use is caffeine. So talk about caffeine real quick.
Justin Marchegiani: So caffeine can be an awesome source, an awesome boost because it is going to help. One, it is going to increase free fatty acid oxidation so your body is going to mobilize more free fatty acid and hopefully start to burn them for fuel. Hence, if we are doing a little bit of caffeine in our coffee, right? Caffeine also has same various alkaloids that are antioxidants. If you are choosing good quality, clean coffee that is better without the pesticides and chemicals. If we add in the butter, the butter is going to make the caffeine more time released. Time release is good so we do not get the massive bolus of caffeine which is going to shoot up our blood sugar. So we get more of a magic carpet caffeine ride, if you will. And then we add in the MCT which is going to increase more fatty acid precursors in our blood stream. It is like we got it made. We are set. We are stimulating more fat burning. We are time releasing the caffeine so we are not getting a punctuated stress response but more of a time released. And then we have the MCT which drives that precursor for ketones so our brains have a steady source of fuel for like 3 to 6 hours, it is great.
Baris Harvey: Yes. I have only used Piracetam before but meaning to try some of the others. But I heard that caffeine actually helps with the racetam. It actually helps basically make it work in a synergistic way. So if you are taking one of those, having that Bulletproof Coffee might be even more beneficial. So it is kind of neuroprotective and will help your brain function very well and then making sure that you are eating the right diet. So maybe if you can pick and choose some of these other different stack that you might want to add in to try to up your performance.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. And again like you got some studies here like the Cochrane Collaboration. That is like a big review on collaborative that looks at studies and looks at med analysis. They found like Piracetam, there was no evidence to support it. But there are others studies out there that show positive effects with post-stroke. There were studies out there that show positive effects following heart and brain surgery. Positive effects with epilepsy and aphasia. There were also positive effects with learning disability people. So again, like why is the Cochrane Collaboration seeing a bad result? I mean you got some studies and not all studies are created the same way. So I think if you looked at some of the studies that were producing positive effects, you probably are going to see something different in the dosaging that it is there with the studies that were having negative effects. And you see that a lot with herbs and nutrients where they are just using either bad quality nutrients or herbs or they are not using the therapeutic dose to get the right response.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Exactly. Definitely. Anything else that you want to add in?
Justin Marchegiani: So with Piracetam I kind of topped out at 800 mg. Figure out kind of where you are at.
Baris Harvey: Same here. Uh-humm.
Justin Marchegiani: I could not go higher. I just felt like crap if I went higher. So the big ones for me are going to be Ashwagandha, magnesium, let us see here, PQQ, CoQ10. These are all simple ones. You can add in the Piracetam. The foundational stuff like MCT, good quality fat in your coffee, stabilizing blood sugar and sleep. But I also said there are other families of adaptogenic herbs that work very well. Some like Eleuthero or Siberian ginseng works excellent. There is a protocol and is a Russian protocol that is used in a way to allow Eleuthero to have anabolic effects in increasing sex hormones like DHEA dehydroepiandrosterone. And that is an anabolic sex hormone that if you look in the research, it is going to have a neuroprotective effect. Just google DHEA and neuroprotective effects and you are going to have really good support there.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: So using that, yes, that is another great way to boost up your anabolic sex hormones that will help repair your brain. Even some people if they are adrenally stressed, taking a little bit sublingual bio-identical DHEA can be very helpful too, to protect your neurons.
Baris Harvey: Uh-huh. Definitely. Same thing here.
Justin Marchegiani: Now one more thing, too. If you are like a female who is menopausal with that sudden drop in estrogen come menopause, because your ovaries are not spitting it out like you used to when you were cycling, that sudden drop can actually cause brain inflammation. And estrogen tends to be very anti-inflammatory. The estriol especially tends to be very anti‑inflammatory for the brain. So if you are menopausal and you are starting to have some issues, look at getting your adrenals looked at as well as getting your female hormone supported to help prevent that brain stress. And also female hormones in women who are cycling low progesterone or estrogen dominance can also create brain stress. And if you look at progesterone, that tends to also be very neuroprotective. You just want to make sure you take it in an appropriate way so it does not screw up your cycle. And in my opinion, I find cycling females do not do better with progesterone cream because you cannot time it right in their cycle and its spills over the follicular phase and just messes up the timing.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. And make sure that you are balancing it right.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Same thing here. Doing a lot of the MCT. Doing the different adaptogenic herbs on a daily basis. I take turmeric.
Justin Marchegiani: That is another good one. Green tea.
Baris Harvey: Turmeric and green tea. Bacopa.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: On a daily basis. So all of those are very beneficial and I am making sure that I am getting a lot of fats in my diet. Usually when I am making a smoothie, my sweetener is usually going to be berries. Like frozen wild berries. So I am making sure that they are not like super-duper sweet. But I am getting a lot of the lower glycemic type fruits that have more of the antioxidants. And then at the end I might dump a couple of you know, three raw eggs in there and I am getting some of the B vitamins and choline and different parts of each of that bringing a lot of those brain nutrients in there.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, there was a study looking at blueberries because of the OPCs in the blueberry, the oligomeric proanthocyanidins. They are the various anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids. They did a study looking at blueberries and it having a reduced neurological inflammatory effect. So that is pretty cool. Just a handful of blueberries.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Exactly. Let food be thy medicine. And it is so crazy that we are looking at food right here and how it can be beneficial but somehow we are just like, “Oh, yes we will just wait for people to have Alzheimer’s and just give them drugs.” Or we can just eat really, really good food.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, yes. And then also I forgot to even mention one last thing, gut infections can definitely cause brain inflammation.
Baris Harvey: Yes.
Justin Marchegiani: Because these gut infections, whether it is SIBO producing lithocholic acid or endotoxins or mycotoxins from fungus or the various biotoxins from parasites, these can create toxins and poison the brain. I mean, acetaldehyde produced from fungus can make you feel drunk and brain fogged. I find with people going on an anti-candida program, if it is candida they feel significantly better. If they have gut infections, getting rid of those infections help them feel significantly better. If they have conditions like Lyme or Lyme co-infections like ehrlichia or bartonella or babesia or things like that, getting those infections cleared out and supporting the immune system they do feel a lot better.
Baris Harvey: Yes. So just making sure that we eat right for our type. And if we can, if our body allows us, probably more fats, right? And some of these really high quality MCT fats. Making sure that we get enough sleep and treating ourselves right, just relaxation, making sure we have high quality sleep.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: Moving appropriately and making our muscles move and increasing our brain capacity. Like we interviewed, Oh, my goodness! I am losing it. The guy from… See now I am going to feel bad. I have not eaten all these beneficial foods yet this morning so my brain is not super on point. But I will remember it eventually. But he talked about…
Justin Marchegiani: Is this the guy that does the all-day energy diet?
Baris Harvey: No, no, no.
Justin Marchegiani: Not Yuri? Okay.
Baris Harvey: Not Yuri but do what you love for exercise, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: So if you can, if you want to play like basketball or tennis…
Justin Marchegiani: Are you thinking about Mark Sisson?
Baris Harvey: Not Mark Sisson.
Justin Marchegiani: Okay.
Baris Harvey: We interviewed him when we did..
Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I think you are thinking of Kevin Geary from Rebooted Body.
Baris Harvey: Kevin Geary, there you go. Rebooted Body. I was thinking of a fit life.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes. Kevin Geary, yes.
Baris Harvey: Yes, I had the K in my head but just not, yes, Kevin Geary when he talked about do what you love.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: Hiking and doing all these things. Especially if you can have like some kind of sport. You are going to be involving your brain more, right? So these are fun ways that you can do things. Go swimming, move your body and your brains is going to get activated and plus you are going to be put in a good mood. So when you are in a better mood you are more motivated to do what you need to do. I find it a lot easier when I am happy and I am in a good mood.
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: I am going to cook a really good meal that is healthy for me versus like I feel crap. It is really easy to fall right into the trap to be like, “Well, let me just order a pizza.” You know what I mean? So making sure that you get these things down. Eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, moving your body and then the cherry out on the top is once you get those foundational things put down what kind of supplement can you do to get to the next level, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Baris Harvey: And like you mentioned before if you still have, you have mentioned this analogy before, you still feel that e-break. Like you are working so hard but there are still things that are not there, you probably have some things still holding you back. And you mentioned the gut infections. You might be eating some food that you might be sensitive to, right?
Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.
Baris Harvey: So making sure that we get those out of the system.
Justin Marchegiani: Yes, making sure if you got hormonal stress, get your adrenals or thyroid looked at. If you got chronic infections or leaky gut stuff get your gut looked at. Again, if your thyroid is not working well, you need thyroid hormone to activate basically cellular metabolism in almost all cells. So if you got low thyroid hormone, you want to get that fixed because taking PQQ or even CoQ10 is not going to be the answer. It will be a Band-Aid but would not be the real true answer. So we have like things in the functional medicine hierarchy that should be in alignment before we do other things. But it is just a good starting point.
Baris Harvey: Yes, yes, yes. Definitely, it sounds awesome. Anything else that you want to add today?
Justin Marchegiani: I would say everyone or anyone listening that wants to start this out and just get their diet and their blood sugar and their sleep going first, start their day with momentum. Whether it is getting up and doing the Tabata or a high intensity interval. Having some good protein and fat to start their day, put some MCT or butter in their coffee. Take a little bit of magnesium or some adaptogenic herbs to start your day. You are going to just create momentum and momentum continues to create more momentum. And just starting your day on these upper planes so you feel like you are running downhill not running uphill is always helpful.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Definitely. Thank you guys for tuning in to another episode. Make sure that you guys go to ITunes and leave a review. So if you go to beyondwellnessradio.com there is a button right there that you just click and it will send you right to it. It makes it really easy. Continue to send in your questions. So if you guys have any questions that you want answered from any of the doctors, make sure that you send that in. If you guys have somebody that is like a great doctor that you have or a great practitioner that you have read their book and we might have not come across them, send us an email and we will go ahead and check them out and see if we might want to bring them on the show. Because there are always these awesome people that are popping up but you know sometimes they are not always on our radar for a while. So if you guys have any suggestions for a guest or someone who you want to hear on the show, let us know and we will reach out to them and see if we can get them on the show. If you guys are finding that you might have any of these e‑break like symptoms and you feel like you are not going 100% like you could be, make sure that you go to justinhealth.com and schedule yourself a consultation. So that way, Dr. Justin can do his detective work and see if there is something hidden that you have not found that could be holding you back. And again go to beyondwellnessradio.com and signup for the newsletter. That is the best way to stay updated and have all of the information available to you. So thank you guys again. Go ahead.
Justin Marchegiani: Thanks so much, Baris and everyone listening. Sharing is caring. So keep sharing the show with all of your friends and family that could benefit.
Baris Harvey: Yes. Thank you.
Justin Marchegiani: Thanks have a good one.