Natural Solutions For Dandruff Fungal Overgrowth – Dr. J Live Podcast #162
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand talk about dandruff in today’s podcast. Learn what causes it and explore other possible underlying health conditions like gut infections involving bacteria, yeast, fungus or parasites.
Gain an understanding on how functional medicine practitioners approach this kind of problem including their clinical strategies and the testing involved. Get very helpful information regarding the products that they have found effective to address dandruff and the supplements they recommend to improve health conditions related to dandruff issues.
In this episode, we cover:
06:32 Antibiotics and Dandruff
07:27 Fungus and Refined Sugar
14:25 Birth Control Pills Effect and Dandruff
23:03 Hair Loss and Thrush Issues
32:16 Glutamine and Leaky Gut
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. My wife and I brought our new baby to his first wedding. That was pretty exciting. First wedding with the new one was fun and he did a great job.
Evan Brand: Oh, good. Ain’t it great when you go out on public and the baby is good, isn’t that great?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally. How’s your baby doing?
Evan Brand: Oh, she’s great. She’s actually— she’s got her molars coming in.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, wow!
Evan Brand: So she’s very incessantly crying this morning. Uh— but wife texted me and said the baby knocked out. So naptime is a good time. That’s great, man. Very cool. Well, we chatted kinda in our early part of the show talking about what we’re gonna talk about today, really. And we kinda discuss that dandruff is a big issue that’s been coming up in our clinical practice. We want to talk about kinda what is and just some of the clinical strategies that we utilize to approach it and to help address it from a root cause functional medicine perspective.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Something I think we should hit on first is what’s the conventional approach is? Is it dermatologist that people are getting refer to? Like what’s the rabbit hole would you say that people end up on with the dandruff problem?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So dandruff typically uses excessive shedding of kinda the skin on the scalp. And it tends to be fungal driven. Of course, there are natural diet things that help, right? Good fats, good proteins, like the digestive, the hydration component. All those things are important, but the infection component is really important because you can have the diet stuff all dialed in and that may not be enough to get rid of that infection component. And sometimes the— the fungal overgrowth that—that’s there could be there from a deeper infection. It could be there from H. pylori or blasto or deeper parasite infection. So, it’s important we keep our eye on what could be there in the scalp area, but also what other bigger infections could be promoting that overgrowth.
Evan Brand: Yup. So, if you go to conventional doc and you just happened to bring up dandruff, what are they going to do? You think they’ll just refer you out to a dermatologist in then they’ll give you some steroids for it? What would the conventional approach be? That way we have something to contrast it to our functional medicine approach.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So your conventional approach is gonna be head and shoulders or sell some blow. That’s gonna be the general conventional approach. They may give you uh—a uh—you know, systemic antifungal medication that they see other kinds of things happening there. That’s gonna be the general consensus.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So the first thing that we’re gonna look at is we would probably lean more towards a anti-fungal kind of shampoo that’s herbally-based like tea tree or lavender or uhm—neem. These are some of the really good antifungal shampoos that are out. We’ll put some of the links below couple of the ones that I like are Art Naturals and Purely Northwest. We’ll put some links below here, so people can access them. We—I use those in my clinic a lot. You can also just get some pure you know, apple cider vinegar. You can mix a little bit of coconut oil. You can even do a little bit a tea tree and put it straight and kind just gonna do a little scalp massage and get right there in the scalp. That can be helpful, too. Uhm—but some other shampoos that are out there that already to go. So that’s another good option for you. Just, if you don’t want to have to deal that.
Evan Brand: Cool. So let’s talk about testing. I mean this is always our philosophy. “You’ve got to test, don’t guess.” If you’ve got a fungal issue, we talked about parasites. So we want to look into the gut and in the organic acids testing. Wouldn’t you say that be an important one for this, too?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I like the organic acids because because you can kinda look at fungus that may be more systemic. So when we look at a gut test, we may see various species of fungus in the gut. We may see Candida. We may see geotrichum yeast. We may see other types of Candida species. These are different species of yeast. And again, yeast is like the big umbrella. Fungus is the big umbrella and then we have some species of yeast there kinda under that big umbrella of fungus. So fungus is the big umbrella, yeast is the— the smaller kind of umbrella. And again,s mold like different molds that you may see like aflatoxin mold or ochre toxin. These different compounds are also kinda under that fungus mold umbrella as well, right?
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So getting to your question—Those are some of the big ones that you may see. Now, the benefit of the organic acid test is we have some markers that are more systemic base. So we have the D-rabanose. It’s an interesting marker that looks at fungal overgrowth from a systemic perspective. So, sometimes we see people to get the stool test back and they’re maybe okay from a fungal perspective, but when we look at the organic acid urine, we may see that the D-rabanose is on the higher side which tells us there maybe some kinda fungal thing going on at a systemic level and sometimes we may see it systemically but not on the gut. So that’s a good marker, too, for treatment.
Evan Brand: Yep, cool. Yes, so, Justin and I, between us both, we run thousands and thousands and thousands of stool and organic acids testing. I would say, Justin, tell me if your assumption is different. Nine out of every 10 people have a yeast and/or a fungal problem. Whether it’s to the level which can cause extreme issues or not. Maybe it’s not nine out of 10 that have an extreme problem, but someone somewhere, nine out of 10 is gonna pop up with something that needs to be addressed in that category
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. 100%. I think there’s some –there’s always some gut component. I would say the majority is a gut component. And most people with a gut component, uh—yeast is gonna be present. I find that yeast as the primary issue isn’t more common—it’s—actually less common, I should say. Where it’s more common is there’s a deeper, infection like a parasite or bacterial infection that’s of a higher level.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And yeast is kinda there, kinda like you see these sharks and you see these underlings that kinda suck to the shark’s belly.
Evan Brand: Yup, right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They’re kinda like that. They’re just there as the underling and you get these bigger, stronger kind of critter that is the primary focus.
Evan Brand: Oh, by the way, I don’t know if this is true, I heard from a client of mine last week, supposedly, diagnostic solutions is coming out with a new panel that can be added to the GI-MAP where we can actually test for worms including pin worms.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s awesome! I’m really excited. Worms are definitely a concern. I know we’ve talked about, you know, we use –we add in worm wood. We added mimosa pudica, various herbs like that to help with a lot of these worms as well.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So, that’s true. We’re gonna have some really good extra clinical nuggets in our hand.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent.
Evan Brand: So—I wanted—I wanted to mention antibiotics. So, somebody does have dandruff and we could also convey that message to other issues with the hair, the skin, the nails.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: There’s probably a history of like a urinary tract infection, right? So like these yeast and fungus that you’re talking about. If that’s affecting the vaginal area for a female and they get put on some type of natural antifungal or probably a conventional anti fungal. That stuff’s gonna come back with a vengeance. They may end up doing antibiotics therapy, too. And that’s not good. That’s gonna create a lot of room for the yeast and fungus to overgrow and all of a sudden, you’ve got the clean up crew that has to come post-antibiotics.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent.
Evan Brand: We’re not big fans. Like if you can avoid antibiotics, if your life is not in danger, then you could probably go ahead and say skip them and go to the natural remedies instead.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: A hundred percent. So of course, the big thing when we deal with any type of fungus is really cutting out refined sugar. So, if we could look at our carbohydrates, we kinda draw a line down the middle. We have like real food carbohydrates on one side of the fence, and then we have refined sugar carbohydrate with extra added sugar to the carbs on the other side. So, basically, draw that line, anything that’s refined sugar, we throw out, and then the left side, I kinda break it down into starchy, non –starchy, okay? So, starchy being like sweet potatoes, squash, white potatoes. Non-starchy could be our veggies, uh—broccolis, brussel sprouts cauliflower, kale. Those are our non-starchy. And then basically, we have our high sugar fruit and our low sugar fruit. High sugar fruit are gonna be more tropical things—bananas, pineapples, mangoes, right? Those kind of things. Then we have our lower sugar fruits— berries green apple, grape fruit passion fruit. Those kind of things. So we try, number one, stay on the non-starchy carbs primarily. And the low sugar fruits. So typically, 1 to 2 servings a day even on an anti-fungal approach is gonna be okay. Some people they go to the excessive and cut everything out but there’s some clinical evidence that these fungal critters may go into the spore-like state where they’re now kinda in hibernation mode. It may make it harder to kill them. So, we’ll actually have 1 to 2 servings of fruit in there. We may even actually up the carbs even more during the killing to bate them out. We want to wake up that bear so it’s not hiding in its cave all winter, uh—so we can hunt them down, so to speak.
Evan Brand: That’s a great point. So if a ketogenic— if a ketogenic diet has been the norm for someone, we may need to bump up carbs a bit, maybe add a little bit of fruit back. And there’s been a lot of demonizing of fruit lately, which I’m just not really a fan of that. I think there’s a lot of value there.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Again, it’s all individual. If you’re super over weight, you have a lot of markers for insulin resistance, your waist size is greater than 40inches for male, you know, up 20 pounds too much weight on there, then, yeah, that may make more sense to limit it or at least focus on the lower glycemic, low sugar variety, right? Low fructose variety. Maybe keep that fructose below 15g a day. That makes sense. But if you’re pretty active and pretty healthy weight, I’m fine with it. Hand—couple of handfuls about a day, that’s not a problem.
Evan Brand: Yup, good. So you mention the diet peace, now, some talk about diet as if he could cure you of these problems. I mean, I don’t really agree there where if you just follow this Candida diet, all of a sudden your problems are going to go away.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think if someone is like, you know, they’re kinda like dipping their toe in the functional medicine field like, “Is this worth it?” Well, just start with the diet stuff and see how much you get accomplished with that. If someone is having a lot of refined sugar and a lot of refined carbohydrate, right? Remember that line I drew? Refined carbs and then whole food carbs? If they’re having a lot on this side and they cut that out, they may see a significant improvement, which is great. And they may cut the grains out as well, which is great. But uhm—that maybe that last 20 or 30%. Or if there’s a deeper infection, uhm—that will have to be removed as well. So if it’s purely a fungal overgrowth that you may see a good improvement, but there may be some stuff still lingering. If that’s the case, then we got to dig deeper. Put on our clinical hats and you wanna definitely reach out to someone like myself or you, Evan.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Well said. I guess my point—I wasn’t trying to pass the diet piece. I guess my point is that a lot of people sell these books, promoting certain diets as if you can magically eradicate all of your gut problems. For me I got maybe 80% better so I dealt with IBS for probably 10 years, maybe even 15years. I mean, I had always had irritable bowel problems. Once my diet was better, my gut problems were there, but then when you first took a look at me, you said, “Evan, you’ve got parasites. And that’s something that no matter how much kale and broccoli I ate, I wasn’t going to get rid of parasites.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Or grass-fed meats. Yeah. Exactly. I get that. So, we’re kinda biased because we see a lot of people that already come to us, they got their diet on track and we got to dig deeper on top of that. So, I get where you’re coming from, for sure.
Evan Brand: Yeah. But the low hanging fruit that is the diet. And then we—we’ve, you know, Justin and I often have people that come to us that have been doing like a Paleo template or even like uh—autoimmune Paleo and they’re still sick and that’s where you say, “Okay, good. You’ve got the diet in place. It has to be in place, perfect.” Now, let’s dig deeper and that’s where we gonna find this other stuff.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent. So we hit the uh—we hit the fungal component of dandruff. We talked about the excessive shedding of the skin on the scalp. You know, a lot of babies have it. It’s called cradle cap or seborrhea dermatitis, tends to be fungal-based. Again, with my kiddo, or just really giving just real, good-quality breastmilk, but also what the mom eats has a huge effect on the breast milk.
So my wife has kinda have a good Paleo template, really on point. We give our kid probiotics as well. He gets the infant strain probiotic. I know your daughter did the same thing as well, which helps a lot, too. And surprisingly, our baby’s had you know, zero acid reflux, zero spit up. So I think that that’s really made a big difference as well.
Evan Brand: Cool. That’s awesome. Yeah. So mom’s listening, this could apply to babies, too. Now, do you have any evidence on this? Like a mom passing a yeast or a fungus overgrowth to the baby via breastmilk? I’ve heard that was Lyme’s disease and co-infections, you know, the spirochetes can pass through the breast milk but I just wonder about you know, the yeast. Could you pass a yeast through the breastmilk?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, that may or may not be the case. I’m not really sure. There may be some data on that. Uh—my biggest concern is a lot of the infants that are gonna be fed formula, if you look at a lot of the ingredients, it’s about 50% high fructose corn syrup.
Evan Brand: Oh, God.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If you look at the amount of sugar that’s in a lot of these uhm—formulas, it’s the same amount that’s in a Coke.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You just gotta be careful because that’s not really the best thing for your child. And then a lot of it is gonna be GMO, too. And there’s evidence of uh— Mercury on getting into a lot of these high fructose compounds due to the extraction process. That’s not good either.
Evan Brand: Wow. So I’ve talked with a couple practitioners who do like a microscope—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.
Evan Brand: When you look at the blood and they’ve seen little—little balls of yeast basically in the serum of the blood. So I just wonder, “Huh, wonder if any of that actually gets into the system where— where mom pass it to the baby or not.” Well, I have to keep asking, keep digging. That is just my curiosity, but—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’s a really great question here. And I’ve I think clinically, it makes sense. I see a lot of women that have poor gut issues and their child can get it. You know, they’ll get thrush with that white coating, so to speak. And they’ll get kind of a yeast issue where they get a lot of kind of a diaper rash stuff and that can happen as well. Like with our child, we’ve had no real yeast issues not even any diaper rash. We just kinda—like a couple of times, my wife will put a little bit of coconut oil there. We have some natural stuff. Yeah, we put there. But outside of that, he’s—you know, my son Aidan has been doing great on that side of the fence.
Evan Brand: That’s great. All right, so we hit the diet piece, we talked about antibiotics as a potential problem leading up to this. I would say birth control pills could be a factor, too. I’ve have had a lot of women— I don’t know the exact correlation or causation. I don’t know if that’s doing something with progesterone and estrogen that—that’s causing the dandruff for what it is. Do you have a take on that of why birth control pills could be a factor?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Birth control pills have an effect of alkalizing. So we can alkalize the urinary track. It has effect in alkalizing the guts and fungus likes to be more in an alkaline environment. And now everyone’s like “alkalize your diet” right? Well, a lot of these bacteria and we’ll just say fungus’s and bacteria, they like more alkaline environments. If you look at what probiotics do, probiotics actually add acidic load to the intestines. Like if you look at acidophilus, it literally translates to acid loving or acid producing. If you look at a lot of the really good fermentable drinks, a lot of them are very high in various acids, whether it’s glucuronic acid or uhm—
Evan Brand: Acetic acid.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Acetic acid, which is the main acid in apple cider vinegar and it’s not a surprise that acids like apple cider vinegar are used to treat fungal issues in the hair or they’re used to treat UTI issues as well. People will then utilize the Apple cider vinegar before meal to help with digestion and also acidify the urinary tract, too. So, a lot of these things are very helpful to decrease the critters and it changes the environment in the gut. So, good probiotics actually spit out more CO2, right? They spit out more of these really good acids to help get the gut into an environment PH wise with these critters can’t thrive, so to speak.
Evan Brand: Ahh. Okay, got it. Yes. So birth control pills, the antibiotics, maybe the prescription Diflucan’s or other prescription antifungals that you could’ve been on before making these strains more resistant. We talked about the sugar in the diet we talked about the gun infections, looking into those for bacteria and yeast fungus, parasites, getting your gut check with functional testing, not conventional testing. We talked about getting the urine organic acids for looking into the yeast and measuring it that way because stool test often gives us a false negative.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We may even look at blood, too. We may look at candida antibodies like IgA, IgG, IgM. We may see those on the higher side, which could just mean there’s more of a systemic issue. And it’s nice to know because if we don’t have any gut stuff going on or we don’t even see any organic acids stuff, you know, typically, you’ll see some organic acid. You’ll see the D-arabinose there.
Evan Brand: Yeah. So what do you say to a person when they say, “Oh, Justin, can I just go buy a bunch of herbs and just start randomly throwing stuff from the kitchen sink at this problem and see if it works?”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, the bigger issue is most people that have these symptoms, they have a whole bunch of other things, too. It’s very rare that you’re like, “Oh, my only chief issue is dandruff.” Or some kind of fungal issue, right? It’s mood, energy, sleep. If you’re female, there’s probably some cycle imbalances, whether it’s menstruation issues or mood issues or breast tenderness, back pain. Whatever’s happening there and then you have this. So there’s a constellation of the different things happening. And body systems, they function and dysfunction together. So, imagine a beautiful orchestra going, right? And one instrument starts going off. Let’s call that one instrument our fungal overgrowth or uhm— our scalp kind of a dandruff issue, right? That’s our one symptom. That’s our one imbalance. Well, it doesn’t take long before the rest of the orchestra starts singing out of tune as well.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that’s what I’m referring to when we talk about the other hormonal issues that go out of balance. And then when we start having gut issues, then we can start having more leaky gut, which then can create more immune stress, then we can have more malabsorption and low stomach acid and enzymes and nutrient deficiencies, which then affect neurotransmitters and other hormone pathways. So you can see how this thing can really spiral out of control pretty fast. So, that’s why it’s good always digging deeper to really get a good body system audit of all the other things that are happening.
Evan Brand: Yup. Well said. I’m so glad you—you said it so eloquently. I did a rant at the end of my podcast that I put up last week and I just told people like, “Look, please, don’t wait until you hit rock bottom. Don’t wait until every body system is falling apart and then you reach out.” Like you and I work with those complex cases all the time. But if you’ve got one thing like it’s anxiety or little bit of depression or little bitt of gut issues or little bit of skin issues, it’s so much better to start getting tested and start digging deep then, as opposed to waiting until you’re symptoms list is 20 pages long. You’ve been suffering for 20 years, then you hit rock bottom, then you decide you want to get better. I’ll tell you, it will save people a lot of money and a lot of suffering if once you see these problems a little tip the iceberg poking out, address it, then don’t wait until like you said you’ve got anxiety, depression, PMS, irritability, mood swings, rage, poor sleep and dandruff to top it all off.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent.
Evan Brand: Please. And that’s not even to benefit us. It’s to benefit you. You know, we’ve been so booked up that we aren’t necessarily begging you, “Hey, please come see us.” It’s not like that. It’s the fact that, “Hey, look, I just want to save you some suffering and save you some time.” Justin and I came from our own health journeys as well and if we could just give you one piece of advice and maybe I’m not speaking for him, so I’ll let Justin give his— his feedback, too. But If I could say one thing, it would be if you’ve got a weird symptom, there’s probably some other stuff going on that you just have to find and fix.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent.
Evan Brand: Like me, I had to wait until I’d lost about 25 pounds. I had terrible sleep. I woke up, I wasn’t feeling rested. I had a lot of stress. I had some anxiety problems even to the point of a panic attack. I called Justin up one day, “man, my heart’s beating out of my chest. I can’t stop my heart.” You’re like, “Well, how much stress do you got going on? I was like, “ a lot” And he’s like, “how are you sleeping?” I’m like, “haven’t been sleeping very well” and then he’s like, “what’s going on with your gut?” and I was like, “Oh my Lord, every body system is affected” My gut has been affected, my brain, my stress response is broken. I was like, “this ain’t even me, I’m even an anxious person. What’s going on?” And you go, “Oh, it’s parasites, Evan.” So, for me, I had to learn the hard way. I had to wait until my symptoms piled up so much that I was falling apart to then fix it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred percent agreed. I think we’re at that the point in our careers where we realize that there’s probably uh— more people out there that we see online with the you know, the millions of downloads we get every few months, that were not gonna be able to help anyone— everyone, so to speak. And there’s just too many people out there to help that— you know, we really want to put as much free content out there and if we can just get most of the people to just apply the free stuff, that is going to be huge. And we’re gonna make a huge difference in the world just by itself.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think we’re really just getting really good actionable information and I think the key thing I want to push to everyone listening, if you can walk away with just one action item, “Hey, I’m gonna do this.” or “I’m gonna add this component.” or “I’m gonna add this diet shift or this lifestyle change, or this supplement change” I think that you’re gonna make yourself better and healthier after every podcast.
Evan Brand: Agreed. Cool. Do you want to hit some questions for a few minutes?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. We’ve got some questions.
Evan Brand: Okay, cool.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Everyone writing questions, if you can kinda keep the questions framed towards the conversation, I mean, you know, you can kinda do a little politician pivot where you’re like, “Hey, dandruff” and then you’re on adrenals, right? We could kinda do that, so to speak. But I’m just trying to keep it connected to what we’re talking about as possible. If it’s so disconnected, we’re just gonna have to skip over the question.
Evan Brand: Yup, yup. Well said. Okay. Yes. So a lot of those were like off-subject questions. Let’s see.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got one here about—let me see, I’ve got Gerald’s question here. Gerald was on my G.I. Clear 2, positive for H. pylori. I feel like it’s returned. If add Masika to the G.I. Clear 2 what dose should I take per day? Typically, two caps TID, two caps, three times a day and we need to retest, Gerald. Make sure the infection is gone. Make sure there’s no residual infections. We want to look a little bit deeper to at your partner or any dogs or pets in the house. Uhm— partner for sure is the easy one because that can, you know, you can go get that reinfected back and forth. So we need you to retest and then do GI Clear2 and the pure Masika, 2 caps TID and get that retested.
Evan Brand: Well said. Yeah. I had that a few weeks ago. A lady, she said, “I feel like my—my gut’s backtracked. I got off your herb. So, what’s going on?” and I said, “Well, now it’s time to test your partner. And sure enough, there is the H. pylori.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.
Evan Brand: That’s why she’s been getting re-infected. It took three rounds to get rid of it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.
Evan Brand: Alright, let’s go over to the next one here. There was one from Ovi. We’ll call it uh—I don’t know how to pronounce that full name. “Any tips on reducing hair loss and thrush when coming off of HRT as a female?”
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So— that would be helpful to know. I mean, imagine, I’m just coming guessing this is menopausal female, okay? So, you know 53-54 and up. So depending on kinda where the hormonal imbalance is, it’d be good to know if there is an estrogen dominance present or if we’re just having low estrogen and low progesterone and everything’s kinda in the tank. So, typically, when I think hair loss, though, I’m leaning more on the thyroid side. So, I’d want to know where the female hormones are at or if you’re cycling or not. So, if you want to comment on that, that’d be helpful. Uh— number two, really looking at the thyroid component because the thyroid has a huge effect on the hair follicles, stimulating the hair follicle to grow. And then number three is the gut component because that’s where we digest and break down a lot of the nutrients and amino acids and fatty acids that become the building blocks for our hair. So I want to look at those three places first.
Evan Brand: Well said. So I’d also add on looking at ferritin levels, too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: See if there’s some type of anemia problem. You hit the thyroid so in—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And when I say thyroid, though, that includes all that consolation because iron is very important for making thyroid hormone, so if you have a history, if it’s menopausal female and she’s not vegetarian or vegan, doesn’t have a history of endometriosis or fibroids or excessive menses, it’s probably not an iron issue.
Evan Brand: Good. Good. And then when you talk about the thyroids, too, so this is also including the antibody. So make it sure that there’s no Hashimoto’s at play coz we see that a lot. Justin and I find that many people with autoimmune thyroid, the hair, like nine times out of 10 it’s a problem.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. Exactly. We’ll add in collagen peptides, too. Just this collagen is uh—it’s just great. It’s a great building block and then if it’s in peptide form, it’s already super easy to digest. So, give a little plug for my Tru Collagen on that one.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Check it out. Alright. Gerald had a follow-up question for second round of H. pylori eradication, should it be a 30 day protocol or 60 days?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Typically, a minimum 30. You can’t go wrong with just a 30. It just depends on what other infections were present along with that, but if it’s just the H. pylori, let’s say 30—30 to 45 is typically good.
Evan Brand: Yup. Nice. Alright. Mossimo had a question here, “Are sustained-release essential oils and herbs necessary as opposed to the liquid oil taken internally? It’s kind of a confusing question. I didn’t know there was such thing as a sustained-release essential oil, but what were talking about for this conversation would’ve been like a topical. So like Justin mentioned about those brands of the tea tree oil shampoos and such—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: That would just be a couple of drops on the scalp. Use some type of Jojoba or avocado or coconut oil.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: And try to dilute that so it doesn’t burn your scalp.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. In my line, we have GI Clear5, which is an emulsified form of oregano. That is more enterically coated. So it does open up more in the small intestine than the stomach. A lot of the fungal issues tend to be more on the stomach. I’m sorry—
Evan Brand: Oh, yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It tends to be more in the small intestine. H. pylori more in the stomach. Evan Brand: Yeah. I forgot about the—the oregano oils.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: I guess when I read essential oils, I was thinking just like your standard oils that you diffuse.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s why I’d like to have some of my, you know, oils or some of my herbs taken on an empty stomach just so it can get fully out of the stomach into the small intestine where it can really help. It and really help can be little more effective.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Alright. So, Samuel had a question. “What’s your take on taking CBD with no THC for inflammation? I take it for the first time and noticed a huge difference in relaxation.” I’ll hit this one.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: I’m a huge fan. I just posted a YouTube video. If you haven’t checked it out, look it up, Samuel. I went to uh—a hemp form here in Kentucky one of the very few hemp programs that has been approved by the state government. And the guys making super high quality CBD and the guy is— so he used it on his son who is having hundreds of seizures per month and now the kid is like 12 years old and hasn’t had seizures in years just from CBD no THC. I think the THC does have benefit. I hope that there’s a couple of bills that are trying to get through for 2018. I hope we can federally just decriminalize cannabis across the board because I have talked with people, especially in the pain department, where when they add a little bit it of THC in, all the sudden their fibromyalgia or chronic pain does get better, which isn’t achieved just by the CBD by itself. So I think both would be awesome.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I’m not a huge fan of the THC side uhm— I think it can have some really good benefits if you’re going through cancer treatment and have extreme nausea and/or extreme pain and the CBD is not helping enough. I think it can be helpful like if we’re choosing you know, THC over chronic dose of the pain medication or opiate or like a lot ibuprofen, I will definitely reach for the THC component you know, over—over the rest. My biggest thing is just uhm— number one, there’s some potential memory side effects, cognitive side effects. Number two, I would say making sure that you’re not having to incinerate every time, right? Trying to do of a vaporizer or some kind of other medium that’s not involving the incineration, which exposes the poly aromatic hydrocarbons, the heterocyclic ABGs, the carcinogens that are produced. And uh—the CBD obviously is better just because it’s a less psychoactive, but if you can you know— epileptic stuff, autoimmune stuff, anxiety, mood stuff, the CBD for sure. THC more on the—if the CBD is not working and you need the pain or you have a lot of the nausea stuff that may be better.
Evan Brand: Yup. I mean with the THC, I don’t—I mean I’m sure there’s tons of people that still combust, but you really don’t even have to anymore. There are so many different drops and tinctures and potions and such that you don’t have to burn. You don’t have to burn the herbs anymore. And people don’t want to get high, too. So you could do like a 20% CBD like a 1% THC and you’d probably feel really good.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I hate the feeling of being high. I’ve only done it a few times in my life, but I’m tired and I just get the munchies. I’m fatigued and I just get really hungry. It’s like I don’t need that. I want to be energized and alert. And I think a lot of the negative studies on marijuana, too, is number one, you really have to make sure you’re not getting pesticide exposure.
Evan Brand: Exactly.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you have to kind of faired out the burning and the incineration of the leaf.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think if you pick, take those two components out, I think you’ll see a lot of those confounding variables showing negative results in those studies in proof.
Evan Brand: For me, a vaporizer change my life. When I had IBS, the only thing before I knew about by diet changes that help me was a vaporizer. It would slow down my bowels since I was having so much loose stool. It would regulate the bowels better stomach cramps, stomach pains would go away so I had a lot of hands-on experience— super helpful.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Go ahead, I’m sorry.
Evan Brand: I just have to say, I don’t vape anymore currently. One is it’s impossible to find a good source in Kentucky. Now, if I go to Colorado and I could find some good organic, high-quality, I’m gonna take a sample, that’s for sure. But for me, I just— I can’t find a good source here. So I do stick with the—the CBD drops, which is legal, too. You know, it’s another thing. It’s— it’s legal in all 50 states, the CBD is.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And uhm—just kinda –I think a lot of marijuana, maybe not the CBD, because that’s more the— the non-psychoactive. I think a lot of marijuana is used you know, to cover-up emotional stress uhmm—you know to the kind of numb yourself out from whatever’s happening in your life. So we just gotta make sure that you’re not using it to avoid reality, so to speak. But there is a lot of drugs out there that are very dangerous and have a lot of side effects and kill a lot of people. So if we’re choosing marijuana over these drugs that kill a lot, I will always choose the drug that doesn’t have the profile of killing people, right?
Evan Brand: I’ll pick it over alcohol, too.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.
Evan Brand: If I had somebody say, “I wanted to drink a bottle wine every night” or “hit the vaporizer, do a couple of drops of a tincture” The alcohol for me is gonna be a bigger problem coz it’s gonna create the leaky gut situation.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean if you’re drinking excessively, if you’re having a glass or two and it’s organic, you know, you’re probably fine with that on the alcohol side. But if you’re going you know, four glasses a night and then it’s consistent, yeah, they’ve done studies. I think it was a Giuliani report they looked at like the highest ranked college students in the country and they say you know, what do you prefer, alcohol or marijuana as a drug of choice? And the kids that have the highest grades were choosing the marijuana and their main reason was the hangover. They could wake up the next day and studying, get their work done.
Evan Brand: Makes sense. Let’s see if we have any other on-topic questions here. Do you see any others?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: See here—see, we can find some things that we can connect to our little politician side stepped here.
Evan Brand: Gerald had one, about how do you know if you’re eating too many starchy carbs per week? I— I cycle like it depends on the week and depends on activity level how much I’m gonna do.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I mean it—I think 50 to 150 is a pretty good place for most people to be. And if you’re doing a lot of lifting or a lot of CrossFit, then you may need to go up to 250. So I think, look at your height and weight. If you’re at a really good height and weight, you’re gonna have more latitude. If you’re lifting a lot of weights, I think you can go up to 150 to 200. If you’re doing Ironmans or like you know, those, then you may have to go way higher than that. So I think you really just figure out where your activity level is at. Figure out where your height and weight is right now. 50 to 150’s pretty good. And you earn your carbs. So you exercise more, you—and you’re lifting more weights, you can up your carbs a little more and just try to keep it whole food, you’re gonna be fine.
Evan Brand: Here’s another question about glutamine. Should you take glutamine by itself to repair leaky gut or is it okay to combine with protein?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean glutamine is an amino acid, but if you mean like glutamine and then have real whole food protein, yeah, that’s fine. I mean in my line, we use GI Restore, which has glutamine and a bunch of their healing things and glucosamine and we’ll mix that and add in a drink, take it on an empty stomach and then patients will still have you know, a really good whole foods meal. Or we’ll add in the collagen as well which is very high in glycine. And glycine’s really good for the enterosite healing as well. So you can do either glutamine. I’ll typically only do L-glutamine by itself for patients that are very, very sensitive. We’ll typically add the healing compound in there, you know, the GI Restore, the all the other, licorice, aloe, slippery elm, glucosamine, right? Modify—We’ll all those in together and if that’s causing too much sensitivity, then we will do L-glutamine by itself. But they gotta really be sensitive if that’s the case.
Evan Brand: Yeah. And that’s— I find that pretty rare. The glutamine by itself to me, it just doesn’t move the needle as quick as the combo products like you talk about.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Only if there’s an allergy issue. And then, the collagen is great. Glycine’s a really big building block for healthy gut function, too.
Evan Brand: Nice. Bone broth, too. I think that’s another—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That is very high in glycine, too. Yup.
Evan Brand: Cool. I think that was it. There were bunch of other questions, but a lot of these were super off subjects, so I don’t want to distract from the convo too much.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So—
Evan Brand: The others—
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think we kinda hit everything. I want to go off to— you know, off to uhm the kind of the __ James here talks about this just kind of the cost regarding the organic acid test and keeping it low. Typically, if— if you’re trying to keep the cost down with the organics, let’s do the test once a year. You know, do it once a year. Ideally, if you can do it uhm— twice a year, that’s ideal, but if not, you can just do it once a year. That’s kinda your—your best bet kinda just fine-tune your program once a year with the organics. That’s probably the best way to make it more cost-effective.
Evan Brand: Yup. Well said. Gerald said that we guys are the best. Change his life. Hey, Gerald, thanks. We appreciate it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm—Gerald is actually a patient. Glad we could help, Gerald. That’s very good. And one last question, too. Diana talks about doing a podcast on estrogen dominance and progesterone therapy. Hey, you’re kinda—you’re too late. Check out the podcast’s show notes. We did a podcast on estrogence dominance and we talked about progesterone and __ augmentation programs that we do with progesterone therapy, too. So check out that podcast, Diana.
Evan Brand: Yeah. Go on either uh—Go on Justin’s YouTube. That’s probably the best if it’s posted there or to check out his site Justinhealth and just type in estrogen. You should find it either way.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And if you guys enjoy this right now, the best way you can thank us is give us a thumbs up, post, share on your twitter and/or uhm— Facebook. We love it. We just want to help more people and you notice, it’s a lot of people that are out there podcast people, they either hold information back or all they do is spend oh, you know, 90% of the time promoting their products and affiliates. I think 95% of our time is just free intel. Of course, we got a little plug here and there, but we’re 95% free information because we know there’s too many people out there that need all this info and we’re just gonna be an open book to everyone.
Evan Brand: Yup. Totally. So, we hope it helps. And if you need to reach out, schedule a consult with either of us. For Justin, check out his site. Justinhealth.com You can look up and click the book an appointment button. Myself, same thing. Evanbrand.com Check us out. Stalk us. Study us. Look under every crevice and corner. Read our reviews. We’re here for you. We’re happy to help if you got this issue going on.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Leave us comments below. Tell us what you like about the podcast and tell us about future podcast that you want to hear. We’re reading them and we get inspired by those comments below. So say, “Hey, I like this about this podcast and I want to hear something about” And tell us that topic we’ll add it to the queue.
Evan Brand: Yes, sir. Good chatting with you.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Everyone, have a great day. Take care.
Evan Brand: Take Care.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.
Natural Birth Control Options – Prevent Pregnancy Naturally
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Learn all about the different methods and approaches to preventing pregnancy naturally. Gain information about the ovulation cycle of women and how it is affected by different methods such as the rhythm method, barrier method which includes use of condoms, cervical cap, IUD, and the chemical method which is by use of the birth control pill. Find out about the pros and cons of each and combination of approaches and determine which one works for you.
I have lots of female patients that are inquiring about this. Also their male counterparts who is trying to figure out ways that they can prevent pregnancy without having a whole bunch of synthetic hormones in the body. So we have the conventional approach, which we’ll talk about today and we’ll also compare that some of the natural approaches and figure out what works best for you. At least give you the options that you can make a better decision.
Three Methods to Prevent Pregnancy:
1. Rhythm method (time-based)
2. Barrier methods (condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms and IUDs)
3. Chemical methods (birth control pills)
Whether they’re a synthetic estrogen or progesterone-based, we’re going to go through this one by one. So off the bat, we have the rhythm method. First thing with the rhythm method is you have to know what your cycle is like.
A typical cycle is going to be about 28 days long, on average. If we draw this out, 28 to 0, that gives you a good frame of reference. And we’re going to use the red for the estrogen. The first half of the cycle you’re going to see, estrogen kind of pop-up a bit. Then it drops off the last half of the cycle, like so.
Progesterone is going to be blue here. You’re going to see progesterone comes up, right about here in the middle of the cycle and then falls off here at the end. So you could see here, first part of the cycle right here- the start, this part here is going to be the follicular phase- put an f and x to it. And this part over here will be the luteal phase.
Estrogen predominates in the first half. Progesterone predominates in the second half- really important. Now ovulation, the primary in which pregnancy can occur, is going to happen right here, right in the middle. This is the money right here. That’s the money shot. And that’s where the sperm and the egg have to meet at the same time. And that’s going to be where that happens.
So knowing that, what we do based on that information? If we have about 2 to 3 day window here, so about 2-3 days here, and we know sperm can live about 5 days – 5 to 7, essentially. We have a 5 to 7, plus three-day window here. Essentially, we got about 10 days a month a woman could potentially be fertile if sex happens beforehand. Because if ovulation’s already happened, it wouldn’t matter if sperm came in here because the hormonal timing is now passed. But If we have sperm in here ahead of time, they could easily get in, fertilize that egg. And a baby would be on its way, so to speak.
We have about 10 days of fertility a month – 10 days. And again, it really takes someone knowing their cycle. I recommend a female having at least six cycles, whether within at least a day or two. So they kind of know where that ovulation is.
Three things to note when using the rhythm method:
- Drop in temperature
- Increase in temperature following the drop
- Increase in cervical mucus production
A couple things you can do to figure that out is a great app called Kindara on the iPhone. And the first thing that you can do, is you can track your temperatures first thing in the morning. You will first notice a drop in temperature. And second thing you’re going to know that you’re already into ovulation, is you’re going to notice an increase in temperature following the drop.
So it’s the drop first. The increase, second. And this kind of means you’re already in the middle of ovulation here. We’re already ovulating here. And the last thing would be also noticing some cervical mucus, kind of like an egg yolk kind of consistency. So those will be the three categories that you would use while you’re in your cycle to kind of confirm that you’re moving along in the right direction. You can also do an ovulation test which measures luteinizing hormone. It’s part of the brain signaling that increases progesterone which is part of that increase in temperature there.
When to use the rhythm method
You can do the rhythm method and use it to avoid sex during this time frame here to here. The big thing is you have to make sure you don’t come in too soon after. So typically, day 10 to day 20, or day 8-18 is pretty safe. And if you’re on the fence, you can use a condom and/or various barrier methods if you’re within a day or two and you’re kind of uncertain about it. Barrier methods or as we said the rhythm method works about 88% of the time. So just be very mindful. It’s not perfect. If your cycle is inconsistent or you’re more on the unhealthy size from a hormone perspective, you may want to look at combining a condom or barrier method along with that. That’s the rhythm method there.
THE BARRIER METHOD
So with the barrier method, we have a couple standard ones here. You have your condom, which will protect you from STD’s as well. Well that’s a male counterpart, right there. The others will be all female counterparts.
There’s a pill that we’re using. It’s not quite out yet, but it’s decreasing FSH for men which then creates spermatogenesis downstream. I’m not sure how much I feel about that yet. Not an update on it, but it’s something. It’s coming out – the male version of the pill.
So condoms are going to be the first one. Again, this will actually protect against STD, which is good. The others won’t.
Cervical Cap / Diaphragm
You’re going to have your cervical cap / diaphragm, kind of similar. And that’s just the barrier. Basically, it’s blocking the cervix where the sperm would come in from the cervix into the uterine lining or into the uterus. It basically caps that off and blocks it. So you have the cervical cap and the diaphragm.
It basically sits in the uterus here and prevents the egg from implanting. That’s how the idea works. It is effective of disrupting implantation of the egg, so the egg can’t come in there and stick. We have barriers: condom, cervical cap, diaphragm, IUD. So couple things here. This is going to be something the guy can use. Also protects the STD’s there, too.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the barrier method
Cervical cap and diaphragm are great because they can be combined with the condoms. So you have a barrier method on the male side, a barrier method on the female side, which provides really good, extra coverage. The only thing is you got to put all these things in. You can’t let these things stick. You got to put them on before sexual intercourse or foreplay. So you’re going to know to do that ahead of time. 1-2-3.
The IUD is nice because it’s always there. So you don’t have to plan it ahead of time. The main one that we recommend would be the Paragard IUD. That’s going to be a copper based IUD. You have to worry about some copper issue with that. But, I mean it’s not going to be the Marina which is the progesterone, synthetic progesterone IUD. So it’ll be a copper IUD and it’s always going to be there. Some women, it can create bleeding issues. You got to figure out if it’s right for you or not. You may want to try it and see if it works well from a symptomatic standpoint, but that’s always going to be in there.
Combining IUD and Condoms
A lot of times you can do an IUD, you can combine with condoms or if you don’t want to do the IUD because of side effects or you’re worried about the copper issues, you can combine the barrier method with the condom method and then you got a really good shot. And you can also just do the condom method. That’s still going to be good, 90%+ of the time. If you combine them, obviously you get even better coverage. That gives you the barrier method there. So you have the rhythm, and again you can use all these and combine them with the rhythm method during that 10-day time frame at your hormonally sensitive for ovulation and for fertility and pregnancy. So these can be combined with the rhythm method.
THE CHEMICAL METHOD
So with the chemical method, let’s talk about the birth control pill. The birth control pill, in general, works by inhibiting ovulation by decreasing feedback loops in the brain. So real quick, we have our brain. And we have from the brain, we have our hypothalamus and our pituitary, and that produces a compound down here. We have FSH on one side and LH on the other side and that talks to the gonads. This case, that’s the ovaries. The males, it’s that the testes. So these various feedback loops here. And LH and FSH are really important.
Luteineizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
The LH in a female helps to increase progesterone levels which are responsible for cervical mucus. And FSH helps grows the follicle and also helps thicken the endometrial lining so the egg can implant. So does the LH as well. If we decrease these, we decrease them by taking the birth control pill. It’s going to increase more cervical mucus before ovulation, so it makes it harder for the egg to get in there. That’s going to be the synthetic progesterones. And then the FSH is going to make the endometrial lining thinner. The endometrial lining will get thinner with the FSH being lower and the cervical mucus will get thicker with the LH being lower. Synthetic progesterone will increase cervical mucus. These synthetic estrogen will actually thin out the uterine lining and have effects.
So number one, it’s going to be harder for the egg to get into the uterus. Number two, it’s going to be harder for the egg to implant into the uterine lining because deep lining will be thinner. And that’s the general idea for the most part, a woman’s going to be be taking 21 days of pills.
Types of pills
Typically, it may be a combo of estrogens and progesterone and synthetic ones. So not estrogen, but synthetic estrogens and not just progesterone, but synthetic progesterone. Maybe a combo a lot of times, it’s going to be a ethanyl-estradiol like a Yasmine kind of thing. Or it may be a combo that has synthetic estrogen and progesterone.
Sometimes if there’s side effects, though, we’ll give women progestins throughout the month as well. Those got to be taken exactly at the exact time everyday. Less flexibility with those than the regular ones. But again, 21 days typically of pills, followed by seven days of reminder pills, which are basically just dummy pill, so your hormone levels can drop. Because it’s the drop in hormones that signals the uterine lining to shed and does it all again.
Again, birthcontrol pills- what is it doing? High amount of estrogen and progesterone. The high amount of estrogen and progesterone drops the LH and the FSH. And when that’s dropped, what happens is, thicker cervical mucus cap, sperm can get up there- that’s from the LH. We have a thinner uterine lining from the FSH and the estrogen’s behind which makes it hard for the egg to stick.
Some side effects of the pill
Pills can increase sex hormone binding globulin, which can actually decrease your testosterone levels. So common side effect is a lower testosterone, so lower libido.
It can also increase thyro-binding globulin, which can lower your free fraction of thyroid hormone, which can cause weight gain.
So we have decreased energy, decreased libido, and waking- the side effects there. Not to mention nutritional deficiencies ranging from B vitamins, to folate, to methylation, the calcium, magnesium and zinc. There’s a whole bunch of other things going on.
We always try to go with the most natural route possible. And I always try to suggest these things above, the barrier rhythm methods because or a combo because of their safety record.
Pills and Cancer
Again, the pill- not a fan of the synthetic hormones. Just not a fan of it. I mean, the pill has been shown to help reduce uterine cancer and ovarian cancer and thyroid cancer, but it’s been shown to increase breast cancer. And breast cancer is a far bigger killer than the first three. So you got to keep that in mind. Plus, we’re bombarded with estrogens – synthetic estrogens in our environment all the time, and we’re in this. Most females are in a constant state in various testings we do. They’re in a constant sate of estrogen dominance whether estrogen is so high in relationship to the natural estrogen-progesterone balance. And they are predisposed to fibrocystic breast conditions endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts. Mainly because of the hormones being out of balance.
Pills and Symptoms
Now a lot of people are being prescribed birth control pills off-label. So they’re being prescribed because of hirsutism or hair issues on their face, or excessive bleeding, or migraine headaches, or mood issues, or PMS. And a lot of times, the pill is not really getting to the root cause.
If your hormones during your cycle go high and low, then high-low again, then drop, it will cause symptoms. The perturbations or up-and-down fluctuations are going to create symptoms, mood issues, migraine, headaches. If it falls out early, and you have 5-7 day gap, this can drive PMS, back pain, cramping, breast tenderness, moodiness, depression.
So again, is it really fixing the underlying issue? Because all it’s doing is taking your estrogen and doing this. It’s raising a flat line, then you hit your reminder pills, and then basically goes right down. So you’re just basically raising your estrogen levels super, super high and then you’re taking your 7-days reminder pills, and it drops. So all it’s doing is, instead of the up-and-downs here, it’s covering all the deficiencies up by giving you a flat line hormone.
Again, birth control pill’s been around for 50 years or so. Some side effects are present. Pretty easy, easier than most above, so you got to figure out what works best for you. Whether you rather have a little bit more inconvenience, but less synthetic hormones; or a little more convenience for potential side effects. So you got to weigh out pros and cons.
If you’re trying to deal with hormonal issues, PNS issues and/or your hormone’s back on track, click on screen. Reach out to myself so you can get more info on how you can get your hormones back in action. Again, this is Dr. J here. Click on screen, subscribe for more videos coming your way.
The Top 5 Birth Control Pill Side Effects – Functional medicine options
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Birth control pills can have many side effects. Many times birth control pills are prescribed for reasons outside of just avoiding pregnancy. Many times birth control pills are prescribed for acne, migraines, excessive menstruation and PMS symptoms.
The problem with this type of approach is it doesn’t fix the root cause of why those symptoms are there in the first place. At some point, these old symptoms will reveal themselves again and maybe worse than they were originally.
Today’s video is going to be on birth control pills and their side effects. We’re going to break down their mechanism, how they work and the potential side effects and just things that you can do naturally to get to the root cause.
Birth Control Pills
The conventional alternative if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy is typically the chemical modality or the chemical pharmaceutical option, which is a birth control pill.
There are couple of different kinds that are out there.You have the shots, you have the ones where they insert little things under your skin, little pellets under your skin. And then you also have the typical birth control pill that you swallow. You also have IUDs, too, that are more physical deflectants of birth control pill but you have the Marina, which is a synthetic progesterone IUD that goes through and prevents pregnancy.
Outside of that, you have your birth control pill, you typically have your synthetic estrogen, like your Ethinylestradiol, like the Yaz for instance, and then you have your combinations like Yaz, which is an Ethinylestradiol and the Drospirenone. And then you have your regular estrogen-based birth control pills which are the Ethinylestradiol like the NuvaRing, etc.
The most prescribed medications out there are going to be your birth control pills, typically the combo, or the estrogen only. And sometimes you’ll even see synthetic progesterone ones that are done if you kept side effects with the combo progesterone and estrogen versions.
If you have those issues, if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy, that’s the typical avenue.
Other Uses of Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are also prescribed for other side effects like acne or mood issues like in your period, migraine headaches, excessive menstruation, and a lot of those issues are driven by other physiological imbalances. So if you have breast tenderness or PMS symptoms (moodiness, back pain, breast tenderness, headaches), typically that’s going to be caused by fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone especially in the last half of your cycle. That will be about one to two weeks before you menstruate when you start seeing imbalances.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work?
Lets talk about the organs involved when taking birth control pill. We have your cervix, vagina and uterus. So this is your vaginal area. Obviously what’s going to happen? You take a birth control pill, a few things are going to happen.
Decrease in FSH and LH
These are your pituitary hormones that talk to the ovaries to make progesterone and estrogen. When you’re taking a birth control pill, essentially you’re telling your brain that you’re pregnant. That’s why these hormones start to drop. When these hormones drop, they stopped talking to the ovaries to make estrogen and progesterone. So typically, FSH is going to then talk to the egg here and stop that egg from growing if it’s low. It’s going to stimulate the egg grow if it’s high. So the FSH is low, that egg is not going to grow. So the egg here won’t grow and then with the FSH being low and the LH being low, what tends to happen is you get a thickening of the cervical cap so it’s harder for sperm to make their way in to the uterine lining, and typically with a birth control pill, with natural cycle, estrogen start to come up in the first half of the cycle and that starts to thicken the uterine lining.
But when you’re taking like a Yaz pill for instance that has the synthetic progesterone, the Drospirenone, that actually thins out the uterine lining. It thins it out and makes it thinner, so it makes it harder for an egg if it is released to actually stick into the uterine lining. It makes it harder to stick.
Number one, it’s inhibiting ovulation by decreasing FSH and LH. That’s the first linchpin. If mechanism two and three doesn’t work and that works, we’re fine. But let’s say an egg, for some reason, does slip out. Let’s say the FSH and LH wasn’t quite low enough. Well, then maybe the egg pops out but maybe it’s still harder for the sperm to get in. So maybe number two prevents pregnancy from happening, and maybe number three, let’s say the sperm does make its way in past number two, and that’s when number two fails, maybe the egg can actually still bind into the uterine lining. But if it’s thinner, it’s going to be much harder for it to bind in.
So kind of recapping here, birth control pill works a couple different ways:
- Inhibiting ovulation.
- Preventing sperm from getting into the uterus area to begin with.
- Preventing the sperm and the egg from sticking into the uterine lining and fertilizing.
Women’s Menstrual Cycles
We typically have the first half of the cycle predominated by estrogen. So estrogen is up like this in the first half of the cycle; then we have progesterone that predominates the second half of the cycle. And you can see what happens is progesterone rises and falls and estrogen rises and falls right at the end of the cycle which triggers menses. And then we have the part here in the middle of the cycle where ovulation happens and that’s where pregnancy can occur.
Effect of Pill on the Cycle
So basically what’s happening with the birth control pill is these hormones aren’t going to fluctuate because the LH and the FSH is dropped. Because the LH and the FSH is dropped, we’re not going to have that nice, natural rhythm of hormone because essentially our brains think we’re pregnant. That’s the general gist there.
What the birth control pill is doing is, instead of there being drops in progesterone level, we are now getting a high amount of progesterone and estrogen above where we’re supposed to be at. And so, we now have a flat line. Instead of having those perturbations, now it’s flat and smooth. And then typically around Day 21 and 22, we take those five to seven days of reminder pills which then allows the hormones to drop like so and that allows menstruation to happen. With progesterone only pill, that may not happen; but on an estrogen or estrogen-progesterone combo, that’s what’s going to happen. So that gives you the general physiological mechanism of how all this stuff is working.
Side Effects of Birth Control Pills
With the birth control pill, we may have more depression. It may affect your mood and it’s one of the most common side effects of the birth control pill because you’re affecting hormones. Hormones are intimately connected to our moods. So if you’re taking hormones and bringing them above a physiological or bringing them to a super physiological level, it may affect our moods.
Again, candida and fungal overgrowth. Because the birth control pills affect the pH in the vaginal tract, it makes it a little bit alkaline so it actually raises that pH a little bit. When the pH is more alkaline above 7, that makes it more inhabitable for yeast and bacteria to grow. So when you’re stressed and when you’re on birth control pills, increased chance of a UTI or a fungal infection and then guess what happens? You’re given antibiotics and then what happens again? You’re at an increased chance for a rebound overgrowth. So you can see how one thing kind of increases your chance of intervention that drives other symptoms down the road.
Birth control pills are notorious for creating B vitamin deficiencies, folate, B9, B12, B1, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin. All these are important. B vitamins, vitamin C vitamin E, zinc, magnesium, selenium are really important for your thyroid as well. So you can see these nutrients are going to be depleted with the birth control pill. You have to be mindful that if you’re going to use the pill, you have to make sure you’re taking high-quality multivitamin. That will replete some of these missing nutrients as well as a healthy diet on top of that.
Because your birth control pill is increasing sex hormone-binding globulin, that’s going to bind up testosterone. So if here’s your testosterone compound like this, what it’s going to do is it’s going to bind the protein to it. So here’s the protein and it’s called sex hormone-binding globulin and that makes it harder for that testosterone to bind into the receptor site. Here’s the receptor site over here and because the purple guy is attached to it, it won’t quite fit. So that protein there renders your testosterone or your sex hormones to be a little bit lower functionally. So guess what happens? Libido goes downhill and also because the testosterone drops a little bit, guess what happens to women’s skin on the birth control pill? It tends to get a little better.
That’s why the birth control pill is prescribed off-label for mood. It can be prescribed for mood in the cycle because it at least levels out the hormones, so it may make it more level. A lot of women report more mood issues.
This is kind of a controversial one. A lot of places say birth control does not affect weight gain at all but if you look at the side effects on the bottle or on the drug, it’s going to say weight gain. Now some of the mechanisms of that are estrogen, synthetic estrogen increases insulin resistance. So it causes the insulin in your body to make to have to make more of it because the cells are getting numb to the insulin. You go ding dong, ditch your neighbor, after a couple times they stop opening the door. Maybe after one time if they’re smart.
So that’s kind of what happens with insulin. Your body starts to make some of it, and then it’s saying false alarm, and then stops bringing the blood sugar in. So then you need more insulin which causes the fat cells to grow. Insulin is a storage hormone and causes fat cells to grow.
Also sex hormone-binding globulin and thyroglobulin are increased. So thyroglobulin is another hormone where in my analogy over here with testosterone. This is going to be the thyroid hormone. So the T for testosterone, we have TH for thyroid, and then we have the P over here, this is the protein. This is thyrobinding globulin which is a protein compound and that’s going to make it hard for that thyroid hormone to bind into the receptor site over here, so it makes the free fraction, the bioavailable thyroid hormone to actually decrease. So we actually have less the thyroid from a functional standpoint.
Increased risk of Cancer
Birth control pills may increase cervical cancer 300%, 3 times, and increase breast cancer 2 times. This is a new study that came out in August of this year. Previous studies have said it decreases cervical cancer and ovarian cancer, but increases breast cancer. Now some other studies are showing the opposite. We’re saying breast cancer is 2 times higher; but now we’re saying cervical cancer may even be 3 times higher. And that’s from an Iranian study.
Fix the root cause. If you’re taking a birth control pill because you’re trying to prevent pregnancy. Fine, I get that. It totally makes sense. Take a look at the natural birth control pill video if you want to avoid the synthetic hormones and some of the potential side effects, I recommend using that.
We don’t want any unwanted pregnancy, so that’s your only option that you’re willing to do, or that you can be compliant with. Fine, I get it. It’s there for you. Make your choice. I just want you to be informed so you know the potential side effects. Also, you know the other natural options by watching my other natural birth control pill video options. We’ll put on screen so you can access.
And if you’re having these other symptoms like depression, or mood issues, or excessive bleeding, or you’re having weight gain, or skin issues, let’s say as an off-label prescription for the birth control pill, well, you really want to get to the root cause with functional medicine. This invovles getting the adrenals, getting your hormones, and getting your cycle looked at and balanced out.
If you’re trying to get your hormones balanced, or trying to get yourself back on track hormonally from some of the side effects of being on birth control pill, or trying to avoid it, click on screen, subscribe. You can always schedule a consult with myself.