Brain Health and Brain Performance with Cavin Balaster – Podcast #182

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Welcome to another functional medicine video with Dr. Justin Marchegiani and the author of the book, “Feed a Brain,” Cavin Balaster! In this video, they talk about brain health and brain performance. They delve on healing from brain injuries and neurotherapies. They also talk about improving neuroplasticity and optimal nutrition for the brain in helping your brain work better.

Stay tuned for more knowledge bombs!

Cavin Balaster

Cavin Balaster

In this episode, we cover:

01:00   TBI: Severe Diffuse Axonal Injury

07:30   Videonystagmography and Vestibular Ocular Reflex

23:44   Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Gyrus Stem, Low-level Light Therapy

27:00   Ketogenic Diet and Brain Health

40:30   DHA and EPA for Neurological Health




Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani with Calvin Balaster. Really excited. Today’s all gonna be about brain health. Not only brain health and brain performance— Uh— Calvin’s got a very unique hi— history where he’s healed from brain— a brain injury himself, personally. So, we’re gonna get the nitty gritty of what he’s been able to do to heal, techniques. He also has a book that’s out called, “Feed a Brain,” and you can go to to check out his book, where he talks about optimal nutrition for brain and neurological health, increasing neuroplasticity, helping your brain work better. Calvin, welcome to the show, man.

Cavin Balaster: Thanks so much, Justin. I had to correct you, it’s Cavin, without the l—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I’m sorry. [crosstalk] Cavin. I alread— I want to go Calvin. It’s like calvin. It’s like…

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] Everybody does it. It’s a common fault. That is totally wrong.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …that missing— Yeah. Totally.

Cavin Balaster: [laughs] I’d had people be like, “Hey. Yo— You misspelled your name.” I’m like, “Oh, man!”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [laughs]

Cavin Balaster: “I’ve been doing that all my [crosstalk] life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If you’re so smart— [laughs]

Cavin Balaster: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know.

Cavin Balaster: I know. Totally, man.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I knew it was Cavin. It’s just that like— you know. [crosstalk] Got it. Thanks for the correction. So, yeah, Cavin Balaster here. So, let’s dig in, man. Let’s start out with your history. You have a really unique history. What— 2011, you had a— a TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury. Is that true?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. A Severe Diffuse Axonal Injury, and if you go on Google and type in Diffuse Axonal Injury, you get source after source that all say 90% of patients with this injury [crosstalk] never regained consciousness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. [crosstalk] I mean, yeah.

Cavin Balaster: And that the 10% that do most turn to vegetative state.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Unbelievable that you were able to thrive, and uh— I mean, you’re— you’re functioning at higher end. I mean, doing this kind of work. I mean, it takes a brain power. And to come from where you were— what, six or seven years ago, to where you are now is amazing. And you’re helping— you know— thousands of people. [crosstalk] So, that’s amazing. So, what happens? So, you had this fall, right?

Cavin Balaster: So, alright. So, I had from, like you said, like— First of all, I woke up, which is thank God. That’s the— I— I feel privileged, fortunate, lucky  uhm— purposeful-like, but additionally, I— I— I’m looking into what I was doing to protect my— my brain. And I think uh— Ketogenic style metabolism plays into it. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Huge.

Cavin Balaster: And the— And I—  I wasn’t like into nutrition at that point but I wouldn’t eat all day. You now— So, I wouldn’t eat all day. You know, so I was proba— probably enter and do a Ketogenic metabolism. But, that’s a whole nother story. Let me uhm— break down what happened. So, I…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …fell. I wake up from a coma. I didn’t eat, walk or talk for months. My left hands was totally flexed inward. I was breathing through a tube in my neck. I was…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Cavin Balaster: …receiving nutrition through a tube in my belly, and I got to put nutrition, air ports.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: We’ll come back to that, but yeah. The— the foods they give you are just loaded with corn syrup and soy…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …for protein.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Play out GMO too, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yes, exactly. Exactly. So, uhm— [pause] So, [pause] a lot played into my recovery. Uhm— As I regained my— my everyday in my normal abilities—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And when you fell, you fell head first, right?

Cavin Balaster: I hit my head on steel scaffolding. I was on the rooftop water tower…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …and I hit my head on the steel scaffolding on the way down.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uuh!

Cavin Balaster: And. I hit the back of my head on the concrete rooftop.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh my gosh!

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. [crosstalk] I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] Yo— You— You’re coming to, you’ve mentioned— Or say, so now like what? Walk us through like when were you like, “Okay. Here’s the conventional physical therapy path.” Like, when did you start to deviate and…

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …starting to discover these natural therapies.

Cavin Balaster: Awesome. Well, I— Actually, my— my aunt was getting into functional neurology. She is nurse practi— or, sorry…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …non-neurology functional medicine. She’s a— She’s a nurse practitioner, and she asked one of her colleagues. She told her that— that her nephew had sustained a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. What— Where should he go? You know— And her colleague was like, I— I— you know— know exactly who I had to take you to. It was my loved one, but he lives all the way in Austin, Texas. And uh— my mother lives in Austin. My mom was like by my side within hours and stuck me through— through my five months hot— months hospitalization. And then, brought me to her home in Austin to recover.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Cavin Balaster: So, I was in Austin. And so, that’s where I started seeing a functional neurologist uhm— and he introduced me to a…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] What was his name?

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] …a special protocol. His name’s Dr. Thomas [crosstalk] Culleton.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Culleton, right? Yeah, I know Culleton. He’s great.

Cavin Balaster: I love Culleton. Yeah, he’s great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I see.

Cavin Balaster: So, uhm— see— Yeah, well, I’m seeing Culleton, and he uhm— he puts me on a— on nutritional protocol. And, uhm— again, nutrition wasn’t on my RADAR at that point, but I was like, “I’m doing whatever it takes to get better.” And if— you know— if I’ve been steered here, and he says, “Change your diet,” guess what I’m doing— you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.

Cavin Balaster: And then I began seeing how much of a difference nutrition was making, and I was like, “Whoah! Alright.” And so, I dove into study. I began research. First, I was learning what had happened ‘cause I’d been a fog for almost a year since my injury— Total Brain Fog. And so I started going through medical records, text messages, emails like, deciphering what happened. And then, at the same time, why did nutrition makes such a big difference, and how could I optimize my recovery. So, that’s where I went down the a rabbit hole. I— I was studying like my life depended on it because it did. And this is a common story with anybody who w— who was uhm— hit with a— with a debilitating condition, where with something that just changes everything, guess what you do. You study like your life depends on it, right? And so, here I am studying, and then at the same ti— like I’m learning how to walk at this point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: But, we have the internet, and I’m able to reach people all over the globe that are doing things like you’re doing, and— and reaching people all over the place from their homes when they’re unable to go outside— you know. And— and that— So, I’m so thankful of what you’re doing, Dr. J. And—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I appreciate that. I appreciate it…

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …and i love the stories, the inspiration, because there’s always someone out there, whether it’s someone that got a TBI from a car accident or a fall like yourself, or sports, or just they’re in a Chronic Brain Fog because of their diet and inflammation. I think the principles that you used to help you recover are gonna be at least a starting point for everyone. So, you hook uh— hooked up with— with Cullerton. He did some of the neurological work with you.

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Was he doing some exercises and was there any adjusting? What kind of— kind of therapies was he adding to his uh— to your protocol to help get you healed up? And then, we’ll deal with some of the nutrition and supplement stuff later on.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. He was doing— He was doing a lot of stuff up…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …particularly with my eyes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— And I was seeing a Neuro-Optometrist. So, one of the main things he did was uh— [stutter] One of them, like most pivotal things, to my understanding, that he did was that he put me in a uh— he gave me a VNG, which is Videonystagmography. Big words. Basically, you put on these goggles…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …that videotape your eyeballs. And then, he spun me in a chair. Because what happens when you’re spun in the chair is you have what’s called the Vestibular Ocular Reflex. So, your Vestibular System and your Visual System are very connected. So, if I— if like— If I look at you and I shake my head but I keep my I on you, I’m able to do that. Because, essentially, when you turn your head one way, the Vestibular Ocular Reflex automatically tails your eyes to move the other way. Even if your eyes are closed with no visual stimuli, right? So— So, it was really interesting. When I spun in the chair, my eyes barely moved. They slowly moved the other way, and then what would suppose to happen is, your eyes go the other way, then they kind of bounce back and forth while you have like two reflexes sort of battling it out. You have the Vestibular Ocular Reflex, which wants to move in the opposite direction that you’re moving, and then you have uh— you— You want to look straight, like your eyes want to continue looking straight. So, itt kind of boobles back and forth. Mine slowly moved over the one side and didn’t move. And so, there was— there was a problem with this— this very primitive uh— neurological reflex. I mean…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Cavin Balaster: …every mammal has this reflex. [crosstalk] And I don’t have it anymore.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] So, what happened next? So he saw this reflex was missing. What was the next step?

Cavin Balaster: So, we started doing Vestibular Therapy, right? I— I actually began uhm— doing his— I have a— Have you ever seen a Gyrus stem?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: Or uh— some of the— some of the functional neurology equipment? So, he didn’t have a Gyrus stem but this is what’s cool. We can— We can mimic a lot of the— the same effects uhm— because I— I got to the point where I was in much better health, nutritionally. And I was able to do— I was doing Aquatic therapy, and I was able to do a backflip in the pool. So, i— he— it was— I mean, he told me. It’s like, “You do Aquatic therapy. Do you think you could do a backflip in the pool?” Not a backflip like out of the water. Into the pool…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: Although I do that now, but at the time like I would do it underwater, like just spin myself. Because I would activate the uh— semicircular canals, uhm— and affect my— my brain and affect my eyes, which affects your brain. Like, in fact, you have 12 cranial nerves.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: Four of those are dedicated to your Visual system. One-third of your cranial nerves— one-third of the nerves that are— that make up the output from your brain to your body are dedicated to these two little peepers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: That’s amazing. So, that’s why your eyes are the window to your brain. We’ve heard, “The eyes are the window to the soul,” right? The eyes are— From a neurological perspective, you can see so much about how the brain is functioning, and how well it’s uh— interpreting the world through vision.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. we have our number six (6) cranial nerve. That’s uh— basically, controls the lateral rectus, eyes going out this way and this way. Abducens, right? We have the Superior Oblique…

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …which is gonna be down and in. [crosstalk] —the Oculomotor.  

Cavin Balaster: So, yeah. The Trochlear nerve, what you’re talking about, the— it’s a superior oblique.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep.

Cavin Balaster: That was what was partially damaged with me, and it’s very common with Brain Injury, uh— Fourth Nerve Injuries are very common because that…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …that cranial nerve actually wraps around your brain stem, whereas the other ones just kind of straight shot. So, it has more surface area to be damaged.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [breathes]

Cavin Balaster: And it’s pretty common.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, what were the top three exercises that— that Culleton worked on with you that really had the best bang for your buck? Like, you started doing these. These become part of your routine. What really moved the needle for you on uh—exercise stimulation standpoint?

Cavin Balaster: Uh— E— I mean, it’s— It’s very specific to—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …to different patients. I’m actually toured Revive Treatment Centers in Denver, which is a Functional Neurology uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, awesome!

Cavin Balaster: …Treatment Center. It’s awesome. I love it here. That’s where we got the uh— the spine over there. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. And uhm— So— So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I— And just a caveat for everyone, I know it’s gonna be 100% individualized for you…

Cavin Balaster: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …with your testing. But just— just for the listeners. We’re not gonna like lis— you know— people who are d— having a brain injury, go see someone and get tested…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …specifically. But I just want to know your pattern. What really moved the needle for you?

Cavin Balaster: I know. Honestly, if you want to learn more, about Functional Neurology…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …check out my podcast. I interviewed all sorts of brilliant Functional Neurologists. Uhm— It’s the Adventures in Brain Injury Podcast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We’ll put the link below, We’ll put the URL below.

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We’ll put it in the show notes. We’re also gonna put So, if you guys are listening and you want to access it, just click below in the description, ether on YouTube or the podcast, and you’ll see it there.

Cavin Balaster: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hope you—

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. And again, the Adventures in Brain Injury podcasts— I came into this from a brain injury, but we are going way beyond brain injury. Brain—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Alright. So, uhm— Some of the exercises I did, first of all, the backflips in the pool. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: That— That really helped uhm— get my vision back together to a large degree so, I still have Diplopia or Double Vision but to a much lesser degree than what I did have. And my— my eyes teemed better in my best ability, like, the reflex is better, and all that seems like, “Yeah. It’s your vision.” You know, like uhm— I mean, what I said is like when— when my mom started taking me to a vision therapy, I was like, “So, I’ll have to wear glasses for the rest of my life, big deal? It’s not like other people don’t have to do that.” She’s like, “We’re doing it.” And then, I was like, “I— I need to re— I need to learn how to run and— and— and relearn how to walk and balance, and all these stuff.” And she’s like, “We’re on a vision therapy.” And I am so glad she took me there because, again, your eyes lend so much to everything else when it comes to your brain. So uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: So, there’s a gem for you, like Neuro-Optometry and— and uh— Functional Neurology have to do with the Vestibular Rehabilitation, uhm— Balance, and then— and then, affecting different uhm— different uhm— modes and— and uh— [hisses inward] How do I say this? So, do you know Vibration Platforms?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Are you familiar with using ones?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. One right to my— right over here in the corner…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …of my gym.

Cavin Balaster: Nice. Nice. Yep. I have one as well. I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent.

Cavin Balaster: I actually got a Vibration Platform so that I could work with it everyday, because uhm— your balance is so important as well. That’s vestibular, right? And, for many brain injury uhm— Many people that have brain injury or any nerve degeneration, or anything, they have trouble telling where they are in space and time. So, for example, me. Uh— Dr. Culleton said, “Put your feet together, stand up and then, close your eyes.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: And I did, and I like, “Tuub!” Toppled over. Right? Like, just started falling. And he caught me and all that, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: But then, he uhm— and— and he’s like, “Yep. Let’s try putting you on a Vibration Platform and do it.” And did there, and I was able to stand. And, the reason why is because—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: More input.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, more input, right? And your body keeps on getting, like everything is firing…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …and telling your brain like, “Okay. This is happening over here.” So, that was part of the rehabilitation that was really important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, the Whole Body Vibration stuff. Are there any specific exercises you’re doing daily that— Do you do any Cardinal gay stuff? Were you following Effinger? Or do you do any of the— Were you following the red and white strips, the— the OPQ—

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …kind of O— OPK Strip? [crosstalk] Uhm—- Is there anything else that you’re doing? What’s your daily routine looking like from an exercise, a neurological exercise standpoint?

Cavin Balaster: I really love that you know uhm— of— of most of these uhm— most of these [crosstalk] modalities.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Techniques.

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] A lot of…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That’s great.

Cavin Balaster: …functional medicine doctors are not aware. I was like, when I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’s important. Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: I think it is so important, and I really love like how ahead, of uh— of a lot of times, you are, and I’m— I’m hopeful that a lot of your listeners are as well. And I— I love being able to promote and then spread this information so that we can help more people…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it.

Cavin Balaster: …in our lives, positively. [crosstalk] Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it.

Cavin Balaster: So, all of it was great. Uhm— I— I tend to be extremely busy with things so uhm— So, I— I tried to consolidate my therapy exercises.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s hear it. [crosstalk] How did it look?

Cavin Balaster: So, one of the things I do is a Brock string…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep.

Cavin Balaster: …which basically, you tie a string, you have some beads on it, and you bring it to your nose and you look at the beads. And what happens is your eyes focus on a spot. And, it’s so hard to explain this. And you see like two strings. They go into the dot you’re focusing on, and then go out. And uhm— May— Maybe, you put that in the notes or something because uh— I have been trying to explain that in the way that like most people understand, but most people look at me like, “What the hell are you talking about?” So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I get it.

Cavin Balaster: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. I do that uhm— some uh— you know— and then the rest of the— of uh— and no nose as well. Like as I’m going down on that. As I’m like going up and down on the beads so that I’m testing these different gazes, and I change my gaze a little bit. The whole point is if I didn’t keep my gaze, if I didn’t keep uhm— things single uhm— wh— where I— from whatever gaze, which I am unable to do. But, that’s what I’m working to be able to do because vision lends so much to attention. And attention is everything.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You may benefit from I actually got—

Cavin Balaster: I’ve heard of BrainHQ.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I got this website from a— from Tom Brady, not personally, but in his book. Tom…

Cavin Balaster: Cool

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …was a— you know— famous quarterback from the New England Patriots. Huge Brady fan.

Cavin Balaster: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: —is this for Visual Acuity, looking off receivers, you know— being able to look…

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …across the field. So, it’s basically computer program that involves things moving. And you look in the center and then you pick up and you count.

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh— You can download the app for [crosstalk] your own—

Cavin Balaster: I had actually— I just remembered, I’ve used BrainHQ. Uhm— I was part of a uh— a study for the University of Pittsburgh, where I had my brain scanned with High-definition Fiber Tracking, uhm— which is just an amazing technology. Basically breaks down the uh— neurons and axons fibers into 2.4 millimeter cubed voxels or three-dimensional pixels.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Cavin Balaster: So, we can see where neurons start, where they ends, or where were these groupings of neurons. Because, who want a 4-millimeter cube to super uhm— it’s— it’s super high-definition. However, we have 86 billion neurons in our brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: So, each one of those has like thousands. But, you know, they get damaged in groups so we cannot— We can see so much with them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] So, I’m just listening to some of the things you’re saying right now. Just to kind of break it off the people at home, I think Vibration Therapy I think is great. Have you had access to a Vibration plate? I think using some of the BrainHQ applications uh— are doing similar with some of the exercises you’re doing at home. So, that’s just two off the bat. Exercises that I’m just trying to give people that are listening at home, things that they could do…

Cavin Balaster: Hm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …maybe just help. Uh—Anything else you want to add, or do you want to add to the BrainHQ stuff?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. So, BrainHQ, I used it for a bit. It was cool, uhm— but it’s also a— It wasn’t very specialized and it wasn’t uhm— It wasn’t as useful as some of the— the tools that I’ve seen out there, and that I’ve actually uhm— used uhm— myself, like, even apps that you can download for free. I used [crosstalk] one.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Which ones _____[20:15]?

Cavin Balaster: So, I— I used one called Elevate…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …which is great. Uhm— Also, just to keep my brain sharp after my injury, I began doing uhm— Khan Academy type things, where— So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Khan Academy was great because it walks you through Math from whatever place you are, and then moving up and up and up. And uh— And I began taking like SAT Questions on my phone as well. So, there’s different aspects of neurological recovery because the thing is, what you want to do to— to keep your brain sharp or to improve your brain— Yeah. To improve your brain or to rehabilitate your brain is basically if something’s difficult, that’s what you need to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct.

Cavin Balaster: And I— I think of it like uh— like— you know— What you’ve been doing all your life, you’ve— you’ve basically— It’s a pathway that you’ve been do— using for so long that that pathway is now like a six-lane highway. And when you want to do something else, if you want to choose a different route, you need to go through the woods, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: And so, it’s— [stutter] You need some like motivation to go through the woods as well. And with that uh— That‘s a whole nother uhm— a whole nother book that I’m working at actually. It’s about finding motivation and the— the mindset, you need beyond recovery. But to like, for an optimal mind, uhm— using— using your— your brain and your tension, and your uhm— emotions to your benefit, to bring about the outcome you earn for.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it. And what are some of the things that you’re trying to accomplish at the Neurological Center up in Colorado…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …this weekend?

Cavin Balaster: So, I’m actually out here uhm— on my way to L.A. to speak for the World Congress on Brain Mapping and Therapeutics.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cool.

Cavin Balaster: And I’m actually going to be bringing up some of the neuroimaging that I did in the University of Pittsburgh, uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, great.

Cavin Balaster: …because they skin my brain uhm— in October 2016 and then again in uuuh— Ma— May? Yeah, May of two thousand— No, July of 2017. And so uhm— And so— We have a company.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s okay.

Cavin Balaster: So, uhm— [laughs] So, yes uuuh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 2016, you got the mapping done. And then what kind of uh— plasticity changes uhm— have you seen since then?

Cavin Balaster: Well, so Dr. Okonkwo over at uhm— uh— University of Pittsburgh, he said to me— He was like— you know— “We saw— There were places in your brain that felt out of normal range on— in the first scan. And here in the next scan, we see them within the nerve— the— the normal range.” So, I’m really excited. I’m actually working on getting the actual like scans to present. And it’s kind of been a little uh— a little tricky but remember…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cause I— I remember— We— We talked, like maybe three years ago, one of the PaleoFX’s and I can see over the years you continue to improve. I can see with the eye [crosstalk] and then with the speech, it continues to…

Cavin Balaster: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …get better and better and better  so, there’s definitely neuroplasticity that’s happening year after year. So, that must be really exciting for you huh?

Cavin Balaster: It’s great. It’s awesome. You know uhm— So, what I’m doing that revived is— is TMS, which is Transcranial…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …Magnetic Stimulation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— HBOT so I prepared Oxygen therapy, uhm— Gyrus stem. So, like the backflips on the like on steroids with the adult-sized Gyrus Scope. Uhm— We’re doing a Low-Level Light Therapy uhm— so— so, Cold lasers. Stimula—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We do it over the area here you hit?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, and over the area that’s damaged. What’s really cool is that I— I— I have neuroimaging to actually see where there’s— where there’s structural damage uhm— and— And so, it’s— it’s really cool to be able to affect change with this.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Have you done any SPECT Scans at all, like— like Dr. [stutters] Dr. Ayman [crosstalk] does?

Cavin Balaster: Right. No, I haven’t, actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Have you done any of the uhm— any of the Neurofeedback Scans that Dr. Andrew Hill does?

Cavin Balaster: I have not. No.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve been curious. [crosstalk] I’m really capable of— imagine those probably on your list. You got a lot of things…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …that— that are really queue, right?

Cavin Balaster: If you want to uh— make an introduction or anything, that’d be great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh!

Cavin Balaster: Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, man. I think with your podcast and everything— you know— it’d be great promotion to get you in there, and it’d be— you know— be awesome to share your experience on the show. So, yeah. I mean if— Let me know. I can get you connected with Dr. Andrew Hill. That’s awesome. I would love…

Cavin Balaster: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …to see that. Uhm— Whichever collea— uhm— Oh, what’s his name? Ben Greenfield…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …just did something with Dr. Andrew Hill last year with some of the brain mapping stuff. So, I would love to see you connect because I think, with your injury and then the healing process, I think it’s great to see the healing happen over time.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. And uh— I was just on uh— uh— Ben’s podcast, not too long ago.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, cool.

Cavin Balaster: And it was— It was fantastic. Yeah. I really like that guy. And thank you so much for what you said about— about uhm— seeing my improvement.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh.

Cavin Balaster: You know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s— It’s night and day.

Cavin Balaster: Nice. That’s exactly what Michelle uh— Norris says.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh.

Cavin Balaster: She—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: To—

Cavin Balaster: She—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally night and day.

Cavin Balaster: Then, yeah. She’s seen— seen me going through all this. And what uh— you know— As far as the diet goes, like I was troubleshooting my dietary protocol for a long time, trying to find what was going to optimize my recovery. And uhm— [coughs] And, you know— As— As I figured it out, they were definitely bad days where I’d be like, “Oh, that didn’t work.” And like for…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: …example, PaleoFX. Like I’m totally guilty of getting a bunch of Paleo junk food.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, totally.

Cavin Balaster: Ain’t going at it, right? Uhm— And I think that’s— that’s like uh— a piece of the whole like— you know— People thinking, “Well, this is healthy because Paleo.” Well, no, not necessarily. Well, this is— uh— not necessarily, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Uh—

Cavin Balaster: —for you if it’s healthy…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Uh— Paleo tree is definitely better than going full-on out Gluten and stuff, but yeah. We got…

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …to keep it within the 80-20 or 90-10, you know— what— whatever that percentage is for you. So, what’s your diet looking like right now? Are you kind of a Keto, Paleo, really trying to get the therapeutic levels of ketones up?

Cavin Balaster: So, yes. I think ketones are awesome.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: However, my book does not require a Ketogenic diet at all because, really, ketones— Well, Ketogenic metabolism— a lot of people aren’t prepared [crosstalk] to metabolize ketones, and to go on a strict Ketogenic diet, it will screw up their adrenals, it can screw up their thyroid…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …like— There’s a lot of things that— There’s— There’s some new ones that you need to be careful of.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: So, the Feet-to-Brain Protocol makes room for Ketogenic diet and helps you like move into it, because, essentially, what I did is I learned about a Ketogenic diet and I tiptoed into it, and slowly moved and saw how it felt like got my body used to metabolizing fat, bit by bit. And, when I was able to get to a therapeutic uhm— ketone level. Like, now— now, it’s like I very, very, very rarely eat grains. Like, I only eat grains uhm— as a treat like you were saying, right? Uhm— I— I keep an eye on my blood sugar— you know— what— But I pretty much know what my blood sugar is like, based on how I feel…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …because I’ve measured so many times. So, actually, I want to tell your listeners like, that one of the best things you can do for your health is monitor your blood sugar.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmhm—

Cavin Balaster: And uhm— I— I have an article on my website—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got my Blood Sugar Meter right here.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] You tell me you have over there too.

Cavin Balaster: Nice. So, uhm— lays out like what the deal is with blood sugar, and yeah, I— I— I uhm— level. I actually used a level device uhm— for breath uh— ketone analysis. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, cool.

Cavin Balaster: And that things like medical grade uhm— and— and— They had me testing it out. I actually brought it here to revive, and we’re— we’re testing the ketones and seeing how— how uh— how my metabolism is doing as we go through things. So, yeah. Uhm— But as far as— As far as Ketogenic goes, it’s extremely neuroprotective, but your brain health is so dependent on your overall health. So, you— So— So, when transitioning to a Ketogenic diet, it’s not healthy for your brain to just— to— to be super [pause] Ke— m— Keto when your adrenals are shutting down, you know. Uhm— So— So, be careful tiptoeing into it, but yeah. I’m a huge, huge proponent of— of Ketogenic metabolism.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, give us a rundown. What’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner looking like? And I also want to dive into of how you apply fasting or intermittent fasting.

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know there’s some great benefits with the Cellular Autophagy, which is kind of cleaning up some of those damaged cells. So, let’s go into your diet. What’s breakfast, lunch and dinner? And then, how are you applying fasting if you are?

Cavin Balaster: Nice. So, breakfast is— Breakfast means “break fast.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Break fasting.

Cavin Balaster: So when— It’s really— So, every night, we’re fasting, right? We fast for at least however long we sleep uhm— and usually longer, like hopefully, eight hours at least, right? Uhm— And then we break that fast. A lot of people are so caught up on that breakfast foods need  to be break— or breakfast needs to be breakfast foods. So, it got to be uh— So, it got to be cereal or oatmeal, or pancakes, or bacon…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Peptides.

Cavin Balaster: …or eggs, or pop-tarts— Right! Or whatever— you know— fruit salad or whatever uh— general meals says I should be eating for breakfast, right? And uh— [pause] uhm— [pause] And so, yeah. My breakfast is usually— It’s usually grains with uhm— with proteins like uh— fish or like a coldwater fatty fish…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …hopefully, live-caught, uhm— or steak. I’ll often have steak for breakfast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, really good protein and fat, and you really jumped— [crosstalk] You’re really getting the fat in there, too?

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely, yeah. Protein—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, full fat meats?

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely, yeah. Some days I’ll— I’ll also incorporate some— some uh— heavily-buttered uhm— drink, or— or…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course.

Cavin Balaster: …I— I actually use Ghee ‘cause I— I react to— to [crosstalk] low-fat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The Casein and Lactose, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Yeah. So, I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So like— Like kind of a bulletproof coffee kind of thing, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: Somewhere there. Right. And— And the whole point is just to get that to like uhm— stoke the fire with some—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Get the ketones.

Cavin Balaster: …with some like wood— with some like heavy wood…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …to— to— to build that fire, instead of throwing kindling on it, which is what general meals wants you to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That— That’s my— I’ve been using that analogy for a decade [crosstalk] with my patient—

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] It’s a great analogy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: —like you got the fire, the wood is— that’s the protein and fat. And then, the more refined the carbohydrates go, the more it goes from twigs to paper to gasoline, which is…

Cavin Balaster: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …like alcohol refined sugar.

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, yeah. I— I think that’s— I think that’s— I think that’s really good. And then, imagine uh— lunch and dinner kind of the same thing: good meats, additional fat, full fatty cut, veggies. Is that— It’s kind of the— the gist.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— And, as far as produce goes, I actually uhm— I separated to three different types of produce…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmm—

Cavin Balaster: …uhm— that— that I make sure I get. So, dark leafy greens…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …colored and sulfur-containing— the three different types of uh— of produce you get. And then, also, seaweed and organ meats and coldwater fatty fish. I— I have this like a real deal superfood and probiotics, or fermented foods.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, that sounds like you’ve been listening to— to Dr. Terry Wahls, with the— with the three areas. Is that correct?

Cavin Balaster: Yes. Dr. Wahls uh— played a huge part of what it means to feed the brain, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— I really, really, really respect her research, and just who she is as general. I love…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …her work.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I was on a— I was on a panel with her at PaleoFX, maybe…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …three years ago. He’s— She’s great. That’s awesome. Alright. So, we hit the diet, and then just kind of things like— Some people, they may have blood sugar instability, whether it’s Adrenal Dysfunction, or Thyroid issue. They may not be able to do as much fasting. Simple things for the listeners, everyone should be able to do at least the 12-hour fast. So, whether your last meal is at 8:00 PM, you can have breakfast at 8:00 AM the next day. That could be an easy 12-hour way to get some of that Cellular Autophagy recycling. I’m just curious, how are you applying fasting to your— your brain healing program?

Cavin Balaster: Perfect. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I also eat one or two meals  day. Usually, two meals. Uhm— and— you know— I— I— Breakfast and dinner, usually. So— But then, sometimes, I’ll— I’ll uh— I’ll fast. And— And here’s the deal. With— When I fast, I fast when I don’t feel like eating— you know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Like, “You know, I— I don’t think I need a meal right now.” Like, “I’m just gonna drink water.” And uh— And that’s how— That’s how I’ll fast. If I feel like eating, you better believe I’m eating, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you’re making sure you’re getting enough nutrition during the day as well. So, those meals— if you’re doing two meals a day…

Cavin Balaster: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …they have to be big meals.

Cavin Balaster: Big meal

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They’re not like— And they got to be very purposeful with— you know— lots of phytonutrients, lot of good fat, right? So, you really got to make sure you get enough calories…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …i.e., nutrients, to sustain yourself, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yes, absolutely, especially, the produce. Uhm— Produce and Protein, I mean, all that— Like, for the brain health, I will— I will have just a massive salad…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …or like two or three of them, with— with some nice healthy uhm— uh— grass-fed, pasteurized or wild-caught protein meat— you know— And then, lots of fats and oils on there…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— That’s— That’s what I’ll— I’ll— I’ll do. And, I often do a Bone Broth Fast…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great.

Cavin Balaster: Yes, it’s great. Here we got the electrolytes. We got the protein in there. And it’s just— It’s— It’s a nice uhm— nice like cleansing. Uhm— It feels great. You’ll— You’ll notice. If you do a Bone Broth Fast, especially, if you add in some— some uh— fats and oils to that, it really— it feels— it feels great. I— I have great clarity from that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s awesome. And then, do you uhm— take any extra Hydrochloric or acid or enzymes to help with the digestion, or do you feel like you’re able to process everything really well.

Cavin Balaster: I don’t, but some of my clients do. Uhm— I— I— I— I’m— I’m pretty good at this point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you working with a lot of patients now?

Cavin Balaster: I am. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, great.

Cavin Balaster: Actually, I’m out here uhm— in one of my— one of my clients uhm— Her— Her son is I revived. And so, I— I just happen to be coming through and I was like, “This is great. I’ll be able to like see you and meet your family, and hang out with you guys. And it was— [stutters] It’s so good to see them and then to see how we can optimize their— their recovery because honestly— I mean, honestly, one— Like, this is a family that is going to the best— going to the best Neurorehabilitation Clinic in— in— in the world that they could find but it happened there. Well, the— One of the best in the world, and it happened to be uh— Shirley Ryan in uhm— in Chicago. And…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …that is one of the best, according to the old model of Neurology.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: [stutters] And, what we’re doing— what I’m trying to do is— is improve the standard model in Neurorehabilitation. And—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean, the standard model of rehabilitation, it’s like you got a brain injury. I mean, uh— I mean, it’s like, sit in the corner i— you know— turn the lights off, wear some sunglasses. Like, what else is there? I mean, they don’t really do much in the mainstream medical system for brain injuries or concussions, or even that matter of fact. I mean, I’ve talked with uh— Dr. Russell Teames, who works with Dr. Brandon Brock…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. [crosstalk] Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …there probably with the Karakin. You know, we talked about the— to just comparing the two models. And you don’t have many options on the conventional side, but there’s a ton of models, where we— you know— all the neurological exercises that you mentioned, all of the diet and lifestyle strategies, and then, all of the supplementation, whether you’re doing supplements to help with— with the Nerve II pathways, whether it’s Green Tea, or Resveratrol, or— or Acetylcholine, or various antioxidant extracts to help with Mitochondrial recovery. So— S— So many more options, so many more tools in our toolbelt, right?

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s so much we can do. And, I mean, that— you know— they weren’t catching his hormones or pituitary function, or a l— a lot of things that we—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …we can test for to see like where we are in the pathways because, you know, all is discoursed to weak like let’s— Let’s put him in more physical therapy. Well, he’s not— And this is just an example. Like, well, this patient isn’t— isn’t producing human growth uh— hormone. Right? So, like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right

Cavin Balaster: …we need to fix that if— Well, like we’re gonna exercise until the cows come home, but we don’t have the ingredients. It doesn’t really matter.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, right? We need— We need Oxygen, we need stimulation and we need, essentially, blood flow to— to make everything work, right? And if you’re chronically inflamed, and the nervous system that read that— that connectivity is weak, then, it’s gonna hard to get all those muscles communicating, right? So, that totally makes sense, what you’re saying. And if people want to get a hold of you, Cavin, because they— you know— they have some kind of issue they want to work out and they want to work with someone that’s been on the trenches like you, how can they reach you?

Cavin Balaster: So, you can go to my website, or, uhm— and you can email me at uhm— consult at “Feed a Brain” or “Adventures in Brain Injury.” And just let me know what’s going on, and then, if uh— if I think that we can— we can uhm— We can have uh— a powerful chat together…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …you could discovery call, I’ll send you a calendar link and we’ll— we’ll schedule a free consultation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think that’s great ‘cause I think people need hope that someone’s been there before. And then, if they’ve been there before, they can help you navigate through, which I love. I think that’s great. And I want to get a sense. Number one, I want to just know what are the some of the supplements that you’ve done on the neurological side to improve your brain and performance. And last but not the least, if there’s anything else that you’ve done that we haven’t been able to touch in this conversation, what’s that next thing that you did that was a big needle mover.

Cavin Balaster: No, man. There’s a lot there. [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know.

Cavin Balaster: So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s start with supplements first. I’ll— Then, I’ll come back to you…

Cavin Balaster: So, yeah. So, supplements. I actually have a handout on like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great.

Cavin Balaster: …it’s around in the middle of the page.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Get uh— five supplements that— that uhm— I take and uhm— I’ll— I’ll tell you what they are also so we have uh— Omega-3, specifically ones high in DHA and EPA, uhm— and especially EPA, or— Sorry. It’s actually DHA, just confusing.

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, EPA’s gonna be the 20 Carbon. That’s the— The eat— That’s the one that’s gonna help with inflammation…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …and you’re saying DHA, the Docosahexaenoic, that’s for the neurological health, right?

Cavin Balaster: Right. You’re right. And I mean, if you have— if you have inflammation in our brain, you definitely want EPA. And, of course, they come together and they work synergistically. So, if you have both, it’s awesome. So, uhm— And— And that— That comes mostly from— from fish oils. I mean— But if you get a fish oil and look on the back and it doesn’t tell you what the EPA and DHA ratio uh— amounts are, that’s not what you want.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you using the one from Apex?

Cavin Balaster: I’m not. No. I’m uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Which company? Carlson’s or—

Cavin Balaster: No, I’m not. I’m using— Right now, I’m using Xymogen uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. That’s a good product.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. It’s good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent.

Cavin Balaster: The— The DHA one. I really like the ones—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s next? What’s next…

Cavin Balaster: Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …on your list?

Cavin Balaster: Next, uh— organ meat supplements.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cool. Love it.

Cavin Balaster: Because— Because organ meats are awesome if you have a taste for them. Or— you know— But ho— honestly, I travel all the time and uhm— and it’s hard to get organ meats or— or like it. I’m staying with a friend. I’m like, “Hey, I’m gonna cook some organ meats.” And they’re like, “You’re gonna do what?” [laughs] Not hear you huh? So— So, I get supplements. So, there’s this company uhm— called uh— called Ancient Nutrition uhm— or no. No. I’m sorry. Ancient supplements. Ancient Nutrition is like— is like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. [crosstalk] Ax— Access company. Yup.

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] …buy Ancient Supplements. Uhm— And, you can go there. You can use coupon codes FEEDABRAIN for, I think ten or 15% discount…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, cool.

Cavin Balaster: …on there. And then, may [stutters] They have all sorts of different organ meats because a lot of companies are— The companies that do this usually do beef liver, and that’s it. And the fact is we evolved eating all of those organs— you know— like— So, getting a variety of different organ meats is really important as well. So, I really like what they do. They have— They have different kinds for the meats and they also have one that’s like a blend. Uhm— So, that’s— That’s another one. Where— you know— if you dn’t eat organ meat every day, that’s a great option.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. And then, with the organ meats we’re getting what? We’re getting B12. We may get some extra Iron in there. We may get some fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin A in there. What other powerful nutrients are in organ meats outside of those that you said?

Cavin Balaster: You’re also getting Choline…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, Choline?

Cavin Balaster: …which is…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Cavin Balaster: …super important for— for all sorts of neurotransmitters.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Egg yolks are great for Choline. What else?

Cavin Balaster: They are. They are. Uhm— Uridine as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— And Uridine is— is— is also one of the nutrients for synaptogenesis that I’m talking about in the book uhm— because in during each created in the pathway can be created from Choline. But it’s kind of limited. Uhm— we include Uridine monophosphate. It— It just enhances neuroplasticity a great deal.   

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. I think that’s also a building block for your RNA, too. Right?

Cavin Balaster: Yes. Yes, it is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] Great. What’s next?

Cavin Balaster: alright. So, uh— Organ meats— Oh! Sea vegetables. So…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Iodine.

Cavin Balaster: …sea vegetables, yeah, for your Iodine. right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Because the majority of the Iodine Americans get are from Iodized salts, which uhm— which isn’t really an optimal. It’s— It’s not very close to food, right? Uhm— So, we can do so much better with— with uh— with sea vegetables. And switching up what sea v— what kinds of sea vegetables you get is also really cool. So, I actually suggest two different supplements. One is  a Cho— a Kelp supplement, one is a Dol supplement, and I recommend alternating between the two.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. Excellent.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anything else?

Cavin Balaster: Neeeed Probiotics. I like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Cavin Balaster: …Probiotics, as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Probiotics for gut health, right? ‘Cause remember uh— you know, right? The gut’s the second brain. I’m just curious. How much success did you have healing your brain by focusing on the gut. What did you notice?

Cavin Balaster: Extreme. Extreme. You know, when I said the nutritional protocol that Culleton put me on, that was a leaky gut protocol. So, I was supplementing with leaky gut healing uhm— compounds, like uh— Glutamine, and Marshmallow root extract.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: And then, I was also uhm— sidelines in a little bit for my brain with like Alpha-GPC and— and some other uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Cavin Balaster: …and some B, D Vitamins to support my brain health, and then, an elimination diet to heal my digestion. And that’s when I regained clarity. That’s— That would— That changed everything. It [crosstalk] changed everything. So, the—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I saw on your— on your Feed a Brain website, you interviewed Dr. Kharrazian, and…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …Dr. Kharrazian lectured before talking about how brain injuries can actually create leaky gut. So, I imagined…

Cavin Balaster: Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …by helping the brain, you also have to fix the gut, ‘cause you probably developed a leaky gut with the brain injury, right?

Cavin Balaster: Do we have time for— for me to uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …to write…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Go ahead.

Cavin Balaster: …analogy here?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: So, alright. So, what— Yeah. A— absolutely right about brain injury screwing up digestion. I mean, basically, your brain’s the puppet master, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Everything is a puppet, [laughs] right? So, your brain controls everything in your body, and so if you— if you bucked your head and you— you screw up the communication between your brain and your gut, like now we’re having some problems with digestion. So, intestinal permeability or leaky gut is extremely common with brain injuries or any neurological condition, actually. And, Alzheimer’s they said can be— can be uh— uh— what does that— Constipation is so common with— with Alzheimer’s. It’s one of the— like— biggest telltale science of— of neurodegeneration.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. Great information.

Cavin Balaster: Awesome. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is there anything else you wanted to mention? I didn’t hear you mentioned like too many like antioxidant compounds. Uh—

Cavin Balaster: Hm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s your take on those, like Curcumin, or Resveratrol, or the Green Tea Extracts? What’s your take?

Cavin Balaster: I’m a huge fan of them. Uhm— In— In stages when you need them. Uh— I— I prefer to get my antioxidants from diet at this point from my food uhm— by eating— you know— produce and antioxidant-rich foods.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course.

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— But of course, yeah. Uh— Resveratrol is great…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What moved the needle for you? ‘Cause I get there’s a lot  of theoretical things. Which things did you incorporate into your protocol that helped or that you saw maybe a palpable improvement on?

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— Well, I— I— Uh— At what point are you talking about?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would just say over the— you can just be very broad in it. You know, early on this helped but what long-term this has been better.

Cavin Balaster: Alright. Uhm— Let’s see. I mean, overall, healing my gut was fantastic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course.

Cavin Balaster: And then, moving towards Ketogenic and moving towards a healthy uhm— version of a Paleo diet, because Paleo is a great template for me. But I wanted to go further, because as we talked about there’s a lot of Paleo junk food. So, narrowing in on— on the nutrients and really writing the book uhm— really gave me an— a really clear idea. I— It helped me to solidify exactly what I was doing to optimize my brain function. And, you know, the book really— really just is— it is the resource that I wish I had— you know— as I was going through dietarily to figure out what I could do to feed my brain optimally. So— So, it’s— It’s hard to say like one or two things to the book. [laughs] Check it out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, man.

Cavin Balaster: Yup, feedabrain, first letter of the alphabet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh—, and then, we have your uhm— podcast, Adventures in Brain Injury. We’ll put the links below, everyone. Cavin, is there anything else you wanted to add before we wrap up here?

Cavin Balaster: Man, uh— You talked about my interview with Dr. Kharrazian, so that was for the Feed the Brain Interview Series, which was a dream come true for me. I get to interview the— the— like top brain nutrition experts of our time. Sorry. Some of the top brain nutrition experts…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: …of our time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: I don’t want to offend anybody.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nah, no.

Cavin Balaster: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. It’s just great information out there. Anyone listening, that— that’s dealt with any of these type of issues and wants to— to walk with someone through their journey and— and Cavin’s could be a great fit for you, so reach out to him. Cavin, amazing having you man. Are you gonna be at PaleoFX this month?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. You know it, man. I’ll be there. I’ll see you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, man. Hey, I’ll look you up. It was phenomenal chatting with  you. You have an awesome night and uh— have a safe trip back to Austin, too.

Cavin Balaster: Awesome. Thanks so much.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care, man.


David O. Okwonko, MD, PhD | Neurosurgery | University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Terry Wahls,, www.feedabrain/bloodsugar,,

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