Detoxification Issues – Mary Vance – Podcast #19

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In this podcast, Dr. Justin and Mary Vance, a holistic nutritionist and wellness coach talked about the importance of functional nutrition and how by determining and addressing the underlying causes of one’s disease rather than simply dealing with it symptomatically can greatly provide relief and make a huge difference in one’s health.

Learn the proper approach to detox and how proteins and amino acids play a vital role in making our detoxification channels run properly.  Also find out what the top three stressors in our detox system and how to avoid it.  Discover the different herbs for detox as well as the healing benefits of essential oils.


In this episode we cover:

06:25   SIBO

09:33   3 Weeks To Vitality

14:18   3 Detox Stressors

19:28   Detoxification pathways

25:12   Herbs for detoxification

43:17   Resistance Starch

43:17   Essential Oils Benefits








Justin Marchegiani:  Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio.  This is Dr. Justin Marchegiani here.  Baris Harvey will not be here today but we have an awesome guest in our studio, Mary Vance, NC.  Mary is a Certified Nutritional Consultant in Bauman College.  She has also gone through Dr. Daniel Kalish’s Functional Medicine program.  And Mary has worked with patients; I want to say, for the last five to ten years, Mary?

Mary Vance:  It’s actually been almost 10 years now.  I finished school in 2006.  I started kind of mentoring and working with people, around 2005-ish, so almost 10 years, yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.  That’s great.

Mary Vance:  Yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  Well, I would love for you to be able to share your story, kind of how you got into the health field with our listeners.

Mary Vance:  Sure.  And you can read kind of a more detailed information on my site which is

Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Mary Vance:  But the short story is that I grew up an animal lover and was raising and training show horses and dogs.  And I attended some animal rights workshops and learned about the really deplorable conditions behind factory farming.  And that really horrified me so I became a vegetarian.  And I was about fifteen and I lived essentially on rice and ramen noodles and I became severely anemic.

Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, man.

Mary Vance:  Yes, right.  (Laughs)

Justin Marchegiani:  (Laughs)

Mary Vance:  I mean they were delicious but I became really severely anemic.  And that was kind of the first connection I made that, “Wow! What you eat really dictates the status of your health.”  So you know now, since you and I are working with clients and patients all the time it is kind of a no-brainer for us.  But I think a lot of people still do not really make that connection.  And so that is how it really hit home for me and I started really studying how to be a healthy vegetarian.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  You know, if there is such a thing.  And I just read everything that I can get my hands on.  I was really interested in the connection between nutrition and health.  But then of course, I was eating a lot of soy and thought that I was super healthy because I was a vegetarian.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  And all of the processed soy food obviously kind of messed up my hormones and thyroid.  And that is when I really kind of started pursuing this as a career.   Went back to school and got my education and training and then you know just learned how to rebalance my hormones on my own.  And it all kind of took off from there.

Justin Marchegiani:  Wow! That is great.  Now because you mentioned animals I am going to go into it.  I got a scratch from my cat maybe four days ago and it is kind of swollen up.  And I have done some research it’s a bartonella infection.

Mary Vance:  Oh, wow!

Justin Marchegiani:  I am actually treating it right now with some herbs, with silver, with noni, with neem, cordyceps, a couple of herbal formulas and its actually going down really nicely.  So I may get to avoid the antibiotics.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  I want to keep my gut flora as healthy as possible.

Mary Vance:  Yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  I know you have the experience working with a lot of people with gut infections.  And I am just curious, people that have animals, do you see a lot of people that are around animals come up with infections?

Mary Vance:  Now that is really an interesting question because one of my closest friend is a naturalist and works with tons of animals and his was the worst parasite test I ever saw.  (Laughs)

Justin Marchegiani:  Gosh.

Mary Vance:  Riddled with stuff and have a lot of GI issues.  And yes, actually one of the more common thing I see and I know you do too is really H. pylori.  And then if you test one person, if they have a partner you always want to run a test on the partner.  And 9 times out of 10, the partner comes up with it, too.  So aside from animals, the moral of the story is check your partners as well.  (Laughs)

Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, absolutely.  My cat gave my fiancée cryptosporidium infection.

Mary Vance:  Oh my gosh!

Justin Marchegiani:  I know.  And speaking of cats, are you familiar with toxoplasmosis?

Mary Vance:  Oh yes.  Yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  So that is an infection that literally changes the person’s brain chemistry to like, I think to actually like urine, like the cat urine.

Mary Vance:  Oh, my God!

Justin Marchegiani:  Isn’t that crazy that it can like change your urges and kind of desires around something like that?  Isn’t that crazy?

Mary Vance:  That is really scary.  I think pigeons carry that, too.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, yes exactly.  So when you deal with these people that have chronic infections, what is the best way to do it?  Do you find going out knocking out the infection right away tend to be the best thing or is there some type of foundation that has to be worked on with these patients before they get to the infections?

Mary Vance:  Well, that is a really good question, too.  And as you know, kind of my favorite repeatable mantra that I tell everyone is that there is never a one-size-fits all approach to any of this stuff.  So if anyone comes to you and they have a bunch of different gut infections or pathogenic infections or parasites going on, I mean sometimes if they are also super toxic, you know when their liver is not working properly because they are super overwhelmed with all the toxins that are admitted due to these gut infections and they are not digesting well and that creates kind of a toxic environment.  And then if you give them herbs or even sometimes the antibiotics or whatever if they have a really severe infection and that can overwhelm their detox system.  And overwhelm them to the point where they would crash and feel incredibly ill.  

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  And if their adrenals are not supported, it is really important to make sure that whoever you are working with has the detox channels working properly and they are not super stressed out and their adrenals are kind of working before you can really knock out a lot of the GITs.  And make sure that their diet is pretty stable, too.  Don’t you find that common in your practice, too?  

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  I mean, I find that a lot of people for instance a lot of toxins are eliminated via the hepatobiliary channel system.  So if your gut is backed up then when your liver and gallbladder dump all these stuff up you are just going to reabsorb it.

Mary Vance:  Totally.

Justin Marchegiani:  So definitely making sure like digestion is there, transit time is there.  Getting rid of the dysbiosis and SIBO.

Mary Vance:  Oh yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  That is like, I find that really important.

Mary Vance:  Yes, SIBO is so funny because all of a sudden you hear about SIBO everywhere and its only years ago no one was really talking about it.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  And now it’s… I mean I see it’s a really common cause of constipation and almost everyone I am working with that has GI problems have the tendency towards constipation.  And of course that makes, you know, detox issues much worse if you are backed up but SIBO is really huge right now.  I see a lot of those cases.

Justin Marchegiani:  And what is your opinion with SIBO?  Because I find with some patients that it is just SIBO that is causing the problem.  And then you have other patients where SIBO is kind of a sign of a deeper infection that is like underneath.

Mary Vance:  Oh, yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  And that is kind of like making the outer environment in the gut like more, you know, dysbiotic, if you will.  So what is your take?  Are you seeing more of just SIBO being the problem or SIBO and other infections?

Mary Vance:  Well, I find that with candida most often.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  You know.  If you always see yeast as kind of a secondary infection to other stuff.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, candida.

Mary Vance:  And it seems that way with SIBO as well.  Because yes, obviously the gut terrain is totally altered with these infections and then it causes the secondary infections to crop up.  But it is kind of baffling to me right now.  I don’t know if you have come across this but I will have people that go to their doctors get breath tests for SIBO and they come back negative but they still have all the signs.  And then they start eating you know, according to FODMAP and kind of addressing that, they feel better.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  So I wonder what do you think about the accuracy of those breath tests? 

Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, basically we are on the exact same page.  I tell my patients, one if we see it in the stool test that is great.  But if they see any resolution of going on a Low FODMAP diet and their gas and bloating improves that is diagnostic to me.

Mary Vance:  Oh yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  And then also if adding in a little bit of resistant starch makes the problem worse, I tell them it is like throwing a rock in the beehive and that is diagnostic for SIBO in my ballgame as well.  Because some of these tests can be expensive so we can do objective/subjective testing.  When we add these things and then we see if symptoms go one way or the other.  That can be huge at moving forward and knowing that we have this issue.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  So do you just use the Metametrix tests to see if there’s an overgrowth of good bacteria and that is how you use stool testing to diagnose SIBO?

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, like that or like if you are doing a 401H from BioHealth you will see like Enterobacter or you will see Citrobacter and things like that up in the abundance of the gut bacteria.  So you can see it that way, too.

Mary Vance:  Yes, yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  And then, you know, sometimes just any breath test and you will see it more of an H. pylori.  But I have just been doing the PODMAP thing and I think it is really diagnostic for patients.

Mary Vance:  Yes, I think so too.  Yes exactly.  If that works right away off the bat it kind of save some people money if they cannot afford a stool test right away.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  And right now you are doing a lot of stuff with detox.  I think you have an e-book and a specific product on your website that you are really kind of putting out there right now.  Can you tell us more about that detoxification product?

Mary Vance:  Yes, so I wrote a book called “Three Weeks To Vitality” and my main goal for writing this book is that one of my colleagues when I used to teach detox workshops which are really fun.  And we would do them right before spring and right before fall because those are kind of the ideal times according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  That is when the liver and the large intestines are the most active and the weather is warm and those are the best times to detox.  But one of my main things in teaching these workshops and I noticed was that people were doing just these crazy fad cleanses that are really unhealthy.  And using or drinking all kinds of stuff and doing the Master Cleanse for 3 weeks and you know, some people can feel great doing some juice fasting.  But again, if you have underlying hypoglycemia or some other type of issues going on then that can again be really kind of dangerous.  And a lot of people have ended up in the hospital from doing the Master Cleanse because it severely alters their electrolyte level.  So I kind of wanted to educate people on just using food and herbs for safe holistic detoxification and that is kind of the basis for my book.  It gives you a three-week plan.  And week one is the pre-cleanse where you are kind of cleaning up your diet and getting rid of all the junk like gluten and dairy and potential food allergens, soy foods.   

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  The other benefit of it aside from all the education that I kind of provide and the guidelines on this 21-day program is that it is also a great way to test yourself for food allergies. You know, by eliminating potential allergenic foods for a period of time and then adding them back in at the end.  You can tell you know if you start to get symptoms that you might have food allergy issues going on.  And the same thing with coffee and alcohol.  A lot of people are drinking coffee every morning and drinking wine at night and they do not realize the impact that it has until they get rid of it.  And then you know it helps them really identify which habits are not serving them well.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, I think you said some really important things there.  Now you talked about detoxification.  So you are kind of eliminating a lot of the environmental stuff, a lot of the dietary stressors that are coming in your body, is that correct?

Mary Vance:  Yes for sure.  Because our environment is so toxic these days it is really scary.   You know a lot of people say, “Oh, our liver is our own natural detoxifier.”  And you will hear naysayers basically saying you do not need to do detox because your liver does that for you.  But obviously we are bombarded with so many toxins.  And like what we have been talking about if your gut is now working properly, if there are other factors going on.  We have those endogenous toxins, internal and then external.  So just by getting rid of all of the junky stuff that you are eating for 21 days and really eat… There are foods that you can eat to support your liver and herbs you can take.  You know, kind of healing elixirs you can drink to really support liver detox.  So yes, definitely what you are intaking day to day is really important for that but also just kind of making over your life.  That is kind of a whole holistic model, right?  Is that we identify not only just what we are eating but our lifestyle, stress and sleep and all these other factors involved, too.  And kind of look at what are some toxic patterns in your life that are not serving you well.  That is kind of the true path for healing is really looking at all the factors and not just focusing on just diet or just protocol.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  But they are addressing all those factors for health.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  And I think a lot of cleanses out there they miss the internal toxins.  You said endotoxins or internal toxins.  Endogenous was the work you used.

Mary Vance:  Yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  And I think it is really important because a lot of infections like for instance we have H. pylori or bacterial issues we are going to see endotoxin which is hepatotoxic.

Mary Vance:  Oh yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  We see a compound known as lithocholic acid which is produced by SIBO.  We see mycotoxins which are produced by fungus. For instance, if we like to do this awesome cleanse and we get all of these nice nutrients and herbs, if we do not get rid of these infections though we are not really getting to the root.  Is that correct?  Is that what I am hearing you say?

Mary Vance:  Yes, totally.  And obviously this cleanse is just designed for people to be able to do this at home.  But I do get a lot of emails from people that say, “Yes, I felt better by cleaning out my diet but is still do not feel great.”  You know, then that is a sign that there is still something going on that you have to test for.  So yes, that was a major issue.  People have adrenal fatigue and they are not going to totally get better until you really resolve some of these underlying, other factors that might be going on that are a huge stress on the body.    

Justin Marchegiani:  So what do you think are the three habits, out of your experience with thousands of patients what are the three biggest habits that are putting stress on our detoxification systems?

Mary Vance:  Well, the biggest one I think and that you would probably agree with I would not say necessarily for the detox system, in general.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance: But one of the biggest things that people do not realize and just a factor of our health is sleep.  I mean, we are still programmed in our society that if we sleep 8 to 10 hours at night that we are lazy and we are not productive.  I was just reading an article the other day that said our ancestors were sleeping 10 to 12 sometimes more hours at night.  And we gradually whittled that down.  And that is one of the gateway first wrongs in the ladder for stress which causes inflammation which then you are kind of off and running.  That is how the disease state begins.   

Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Mary Vance:  So sleeping is a huge one.  And then for detox, a lot of it are really focusing on cleaning up your products.  Things that you are slathering on your skin and chemical-filled cleaning products that you are inhaling when you are cleaning your house.  There are just so many chemicals that are used in our lives day to day.  And cleaning all that stuff, just remember anything that you are rubbing on your skin is absorbed and has to be detoxed.  And that includes on your food, pesticides that you are eating or herbicides from non-organic produce and factory farm meat.  Those have a huge impact.  And then of course, people are just like popping pain relievers and drinking alcohol and using over the counter drugs.  And all of those kind of really add up. And your body has this total load threshold and when that is exceeded then these toxins back up in your system and that is when problems start.   

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, those are really, really good points.  Now on top of that you have talked about the Master Cleanse.  I think you were dropping a serious big knowledge bomb back there.  Like that is like blasphemy in the detox world.  Can you go more into the Master Cleanse, if you will?  And just talk about kind of what your take on in this?

Mary Vance:  Yes. The Master Cleanse is very polarizing.  Some people are like they get super upset if you talk about leaving out the Master Cleanse.   

Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yes.

Mary Vance:  But the idea that you drink this lemon water which in and of itself hot water with lemon can be a great detoxifying agent.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  How it like stimulates peristalsis and it really does kind of help bile production.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, it is very alkaline, too.  Right?  Alkalinizing.

Mary Vance:  It is very alkalinizing, yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  So this Master Cleanse they drink that and cayenne pepper which can be thermogenic and help boost fat burning.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  And increase circulation.  And maple syrup and sometimes Epson salt or something, I do not even know.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  But you know if you are drinking this 6 -7 times a day, again like I was saying earlier, if you have underlying health issues you are not aware of or if you have a tendency to hypoglycemia, I mean you are going to really crash and burn.  And people are doing this mostly in my experience when I work with clients and taught these workshops, it is not that people really care so much about being healthier or cleansing their liver.  Specifically, they just want to lose weight.

Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Mary Vance:  So you are really going to lose weight but you are mostly losing muscle mass.  You are not burning fat when you are doing the Master Cleanse.  It can really have detrimental effects on some.  And people would be like “Oh, but, I felt amazing!”  And I think that is kind of a false sense of your body’s being stressed out and you are kind of running on adrenalin for a few days and then you just crash.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, it is very addicting to be running on adrenalin, like it feels good.

Mary Vance:  Oh yes, yes totally.  Yes those are some scary stuff.  And some of these cleanses that people are buying on the store they have like really harsh laxative stimulant herbs.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  So there is pooping all the time and they are like, “Oh, I am cleansing, I am on the toilet all day.  But really that is not focusing on liver support at all.  You are just pooping a lot.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right, right.  And I find with my patients or just people in general, the main benefit that people get from doing a Master Cleanse is they are cutting out food allergens but there is no protein in their diet.

Mary Vance:  Oh yes.  Exactly, yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  Like they are just getting a total break from eggs, beef, and chicken.  Even foods that are like Paleo but they are just getting a break from it and their immune system kind of like de-stresses, right?

Mary Vance:  Yes, that is really an excellent point.  And a lot of people if they are feeling really poorly going into it and they are having lots of digestive issues then yes, and that is where people get confused, too.  Is that it is hard for them to determine if they have food allergy or if they are just not digesting food that they are eating well because their digestive system is not working and they are not producing enough enzymes or hydrochloric acid.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  And then they remove all those foods or they remove all food and they are like, “Oh, I feel amazing!”  It is probably like you said they are removing allergens or foods that they are not digesting well.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, that is really a good point.  And also I want you touch upon our cytochrome P450 oxidase pathways.  Phase 1, phase 2, some people say phase 3.  I want you to touch upon that because if I remember correctly from school, it takes protein and amino acids to run those pathways.  So you look at the Master Cleanse you are like wait a minute!  There is no amino acids coming in so how does that actually run our detoxification?  So can you go down and talk about our detoxification pathways?

Mary Vance:  I am really glad you brought that up actually because I think I even mentioned that on my website.  Is that when people are just doing this kind of raw vegan cleanses or whatever like you said, your body synthesizes these potent detoxifier.   And you know these detoxifying agents like glutathione for instance break by it through protein.  By breaking down protein and through amino acids and then the liver synthesizes these really potent N‑acetyl-cysteine and glutathione specifically antioxidants that it uses to boost detoxification.  And if you are deficient in those, you are not going to be detoxing.  And that is why a lot of these combination herbal products or nutrients they contain a lot of these amino acids and glutathione, N‑acetyl-cysteine specifically.  And so many people are deficient in those because again if they are vegetarians, and they are not eating much protein or they are not digesting or breaking down these proteins…

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  Then that is one way that you are shortchanging your liver and you are not getting your full detox capacity met. 

Justin Marchegiani:  That is really important.  And I want to just underline one thing you said for the listeners.  Glutathione, our master antioxidant made from proteins, cysteine, glutamine and glycine.  So I think that is really, really important.  So in your detoxification program, do you have some type of general detoxification support that is amino acid based to help push that phase 1 and phase 2 pathways?

Mary Vance:  Oh yes, totally.  So I give people options.  They can remove the food that I suggest and you know there’s protein involved and then if they want to use the supplements, there are a lot of great functional food, the kind of smoothie mixes out there that can be used for detox programs.  And a lot of them, you know, we are talking about heavy metals earlier.  So a lot of them can help chelate some heavy metals out of the body.  They are from any of these companies but you know we use like Designs for Health.  And some of these companies, they have already put together packets that have antioxidants and the herbs in them and then the vitamins and minerals you need for detox and the amino acids.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  Designs for Health have one of those called Amino-D-Tox which is full of amino acids.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  So it is really easy to find a great deal of detox support packets that you can use alongside your cleanse.   And that is when you are really kind of, you know, the food part is great to address of course but if you are also doing the supplemental support and getting fiber and making sure that you are pooping regularly then you have kind of the full spectrum in place there.

Justin Marchegiani:  A very interesting.  So if I am a patient and I want to work with you and want to do a really good cleanse.  Let us say, that my diet is already good.  How would we work together doing this cleanse?  How do we move forward?

Mary Vance:  Yes.  Well, again if you are working with me or a practitioner then you can really personalize it based on what your particular health concerns are.  And sometimes, I know you use the Organix Profile probably in your practice from Metametrix.  And these are really cool test because it gives you an idea exactly if your detox pathways are congested, you know, it will tell you specifically what imbalances you have.  So sometimes, I will recommend that to see exactly what is going on or working with them in terms of any deficiencies or that test can kind of reveal if you have SIBO issues or some gut stuff going on.  Because a lot of times, people think they want to do detox because they are like, “Oh, I am tired and I am bloated, etc.”  But really they need more specialized gut work and maybe do the gut works first and then the detox.  So it really, you know, again kind of depends on the person.  And then you can recommend any testing that might reveal some underlying issues going on and then kind of really personalize it based on what they need.     

Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.  So you have like your general support and then you might customize it based off some lab testing as well to see kind of what pathways maybe are not working.  Is that what you are saying?

Mary Vance:  Yes, exactly.  Or if I kind of flag them as being a potential digestive case then, I recommend some stool testing alongside the Organix Profile and see exactly what is going on and then maybe the detox is not the place to start.  Maybe back up a little bit farther down the road until you clean up the gut or maybe they need some detox and then clean up the gut, you know.  It really depends on what is going on.  

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, yes.  And just for the listeners at home, organic acid testing is the new cutting edge testing that involves looking at these metabolites in our body.  And essentially if we have metabolite A it gets converted to metabolites B, we know there are certain nutrients that are required to help make that A to B conversion.  And if we see a whole lot of A and a small amount of B then we are basically indirectly knowing that the nutrients that convert A to B are low.  And so we are able to come in there. We can look at all the different pathways that our body needs to detoxify and we can really customize things.  And that is kind of what Mary is talking about how she customizes her detoxification programs.

Mary Vance:  Yes, I love that test.  It is really cool.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, yes.  So talk to me about some of your favorite herbs to use when you detoxify patients. 

Mary Vance:  There are a lot of combinations out there.  There are tinctures as well.   And sometimes, if someone is not digesting food well then liquid herbal tinctures are the way to go.  But you will see combination herbal formulas with like Oregon Grape root and milk thistle.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  Of course, those are really great antioxidants and have some liver healing capacity.  Those two are my favorite.  Then you will find like burdock root or ginger sometimes. But what is interesting is some of those herbs are kind of more liver protective and liver regenerative and some of them actually help the cleansing process.  And it helps to actually strengthen detox.  So a lot of people are just buying milk thistle because they have heard that they are great for detox but milk thistle is actually the best detox support.  It is incredibly good in healing for the liver.  But if you combine it with some of these other herbs then you get kind of the liver protective, regenerative and the detoxing herbs.

Justin Marchegiani:  Hmmm, very interesting.  So I am going to switch gears a little bit away from detoxification.

Mary Vance:  Uh-hum. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Now because you worked with so many patients, tell me about the three biggest mistakes most patients, let us say they are Paleo literate.  Let us say that they already know about Paleo.  They already studied it or maybe are already doing some Paleo things like cutting gluten out of their diets and such.  What are the three biggest mistakes you are seeing with patients?

Mary Vance:  Oh, this is a good one.  This is a fun topic.  Well, number one, like I have said earlier, it is always sleep.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  It is so incredibly rare that I find someone who is either sleeping well or sleeping enough or has good sleeping habits.  And my podcast partner Caitlin “Grass Fed Girl” and I have done several podcast just on sleep alone and good sleep hygiene.  And you know people are sleeping with their IPhones next to their head and sleeping with their Wi-Fi routers next to their heads and the TV on.  And you know, there are street noise and their rooms are not dark for their staying up too late, etc.  And that really alters your circadian rhythm and alters your adrenal function and it affects your cortisol levels.  We are just now reading a lot about how lack of sleep can really contribute to weight gain and causes a lot of hormone imbalance.  So that is a huge one.  And people, you still tell them, “Listen, you really have to work on sleep.” And they still do not believe you.  And then some people are really relieved and finally like, “Wow! Okay, great!  I have permission to get more sleep.  But the other big one, especially with the Paleo community, this is really, really common.  I get this a lot with women especially.  It seems to be really more predominantly women.  But they will say, “Oh my neighbor lost 50 pounds in Paleo.  I have gained 20 pounds.  What is going on?        

Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yes, I hear that a lot.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  And then they are completely baffled because they have read all the amazing testimonials for Paleo online and how it is a panacea, it cures everything, or GI issues, too.  I get that a lot.  But often times again, like I was saying earlier, there is never a one-size-fits-all approach.  So your neighbor’s Paleo diet is not going to be your Paleo Diet.  And often times they are just eating too much of a particular macronutrient for them.  They are eating tons of meat or maybe too much fat for their particular physiology.  Or if they are not digesting it well that can be another issue.  And I still tell people you know, I mean you need a lot of plant.  And obviously there are exceptions to that.  Again, sometimes too much fiber can be irritating to people if they have gut problems.

Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hum.

Mary Vance:  But it is usually, in their cross fitting, they are working out really intensely and that can be an issue, too.  If they have hormonal imbalances and severe adrenal fatigue and they are cross fitting themselves to death then you are going to have some weight loss resistance issues, too.  So sometimes people are not exercising, sometimes they are exercising too much.  They are not sleeping enough.  Or they might be eating Paleo but they have not adjusted their particular macronutrient ratio.  Though they are eating super low carb, you know, they are not getting enough carbohydrates and that can actually affect hormone balance especially for women.  Like I was saying, women have really delicate endocrine system.

Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hum.

Mary Vance:  So if they are eating way too low carbs and that can prevent weight loss and contributes to some hormonal imbalances, too.  Especially, it is seemingly thyroid related.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  Then talk to be about going too low carb.  Now how are you customizing the macronutrients?  Because I would see some people that they do really well doing low carb.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  But others don’t.  So how are you customizing that?  How are looking into adjusting it?

Mary Vance:  Well, yes.  Another thing that is kind of hot right now as everyone wants to try is ketogenic diet.  And again, that seems to work really well with people who have like 50 or more pounds of weight to lose.  And that is as you know is kind of low protein and high fat and really low carb.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  But it is kind of a pain but it is really important information for everyone to track exactly what they are eating everyday and get their macronutrient ratio break down and see, “Okay, well I am only getting 10% of my calories from carbohydrates and that is really low.”  That might be too low for some people.  So it is really kind of takes all the fun out of eating basically to have to like count your carbs and track your percentages of how much protein, fat and carbs you are getting.   But I have people do that at least for a little while just to get a ballpark.  But most people I think for weight loss tend to do well with under a 100 grams of carbohydrates and then again it totally depends on the person. And if they are working to resolve some hormonal imbalances or other issues going on and then again with the ketogenic diet that everyone is kind of hopping on that bandwagon right now.  Like I said, for some reason it seems like people who have not very much weight to lose do not do well on that.  It can really make them feel poorly and people with a lot of weight to lose seem to do well.  What has been your experience with that working with people?

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  I mean, I see men always tend to do very well.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And then some women will come in and they won’t do as well and there’s typically an underlying thyroid or female hormone issue that tends to, need to be addressed.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And then also, I think people get the wrong mindset.   They are under the impression that all right, “Well, we are going to lose weight because then we get healthy.”

Mary Vance:  Oh yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And I think, I think the causality is reversed, is you get healthy then you lose weight.  And women they just have these beautiful, intricate cycle that is kind of like a symphony that is up then down.  For men, just constant, a straight line like an eeehhh, that is a straight hormone line throughout them hormonally.

Mary Vance:  Laughs. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And then the women have the symphony going on.  So you just take off one instrument out of the symphony or time it up wrong that symphony just sounds like noise.  Or like men just have this fog horn going the whole month.

Mary Vance:  Laughs 

Justin Marchegiani:  So definitely that is one of the big things I see, the hormones.

Mary Vance:  Yes, that is a really great point, too.  Because as you know, I know you specialize and work with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroid cases. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  Another thing that really gets me is that I will ask every woman who is either struggling with weight loss or I suspect hormonal imbalance, “when did you have blood work done?”  And then they will always say, “Oh my lab work is normal.  My lab work is normal.”  But you look at the lab work and there’s a huge range for your TSH which is what doctors use to primarily diagnose.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  And let us say their TSH is 4 and you know that is not flagged as abnormal on the lab test.  And as you know, there is an ideal range and then there is this huge range in the lab test.   So you get a lot of people who are like kind of they are flying into the radar and they have T4, T3, TSH imbalances going on.  And that is when you want to do the more sophisticated panels and sometimes that is what some people do.  (Laughs)   

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  Yes, and you want to scratch your head even more because you can take a blood test on the East Coast and your TSH is 5 and you are considered normal because 5.5 is the normal for the East Coast.  And then you go to the West Coast and then it is 4.5 and now you are suddenly hypothyroid.  So I say the easiest cure for hypothyroid is just a plane flight, you know?

Mary Vance:  (Laughs)

Justin Marchegiani:  Just go to from the West Coast to the East Coast.  (Laughs)

Mary Vance:  That is pretty awesome.  And the worst thing is then they give you Synthroid and send you on your way.  And then those were the other people that I got.  They would say, “I have been taking Synthroid and absolutely nothing has happened to me.  I do not feel any better but my lab work is great.”  It is either a Hashimoto situation going on, and then it is not your thyroid’s fault, you know.  It an immune system issue.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  I do not want to talk about leaving out our conventional medical system because obviously it has its strengths.  But that is the one thing that gets me.  I have these people that are so frustrated working with endocrinologists and they never ask them how they are feeling.  They just look at their lab work and send them on their way.  And then people are still feeling really poorly and you know they have autoimmune issues then they are told, “Oh, if you have autoimmune it is still the same treatment,” you know?

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  Right.  And then like the assumption that we can look at a brain hormone, i.e. TSH.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And then we can make this general assumption that this is the same thing as thyroid hormone.  Well, we can just test thyroid hormone and we can be very accurate that way.  We can look at T3 and T4 free and total but we will just look at the brain hormone and we will base everything off of that one test, even though it is totally indirect.

Mary Vance:  Yes, exactly, exactly.  And then I have a lot of people too, they will have a full thyroid panel at hand and it say that have their antibodies are really high which indicates Hashimoto’s and no one has told them that.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  No, my endocrinologist never said anything and my doctor never said anything.  I do not know what you are talking about.  You know they have been walking around with Hashimoto’s then it is not being addressed and then it is just, you know, kind of backward.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes, and I think it is really important for anyone listening.  Like the training that I have had, the training that you have had, this is not training that is available to people in the conventional mainstream medical school setting.  You really have to go outside, kind of the conventional scope.  You have to go study from doctors that have been in the trenches for decades.  And you take classes with people that are already doing this.  It is not something that is in the conventional setting.  So I think a lot of people just think, “Oh, well my doctor went to this medical school or that medical school.”  These things are not being taught.  It is so cutting edge and for the most part, anything the doctor is learning in medical school is about 20 to 30 years old.  It is very outdated.  Most of what a doctor learns is clinical or in their residency but I think that is an important assumption that people really need to readjust that.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  Those are really good points.  They only have maybe one section that they need to require for nutrition.  And so your endocrinologist is never going to ask you what you are eating.  And many times your doctor is not either.  Or they have such ancient information about what you should be eating for health and there is still kind of the low-fat dogma and exercise more and eat less fat or whatever they are saying. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  But yes, I mean that is why this holistic health community and alternative medicine is really, you know, our whole goal here is to find the root cause as well and not just keep treating symptoms.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  And I spoke with a Stanford physician recently.  You know, Stanford is probably in the top 10 for medical schools in the US.  It is pretty renowned.  And I asked her about her nutrition training while in school.  And she had to take I think a two credit class and it was online.  And you did not even have to show up.  You could just take the test at the end.  That was your nutrition class.

Mary Vance:  I know. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And I am like, “Oh my gosh! Like how can this doctor who just studies to know and at the end takes the test, how are they going to have the same kind of knowledge that when you spend thousands of hours I imagine in your nutrition program over at the school you went to?  How can they compare?

Mary Vance:  Well, and the other thing that I just do not understand is people really, I mean disease just does not, I mean in the majority of cases, right?  And the majority of cases disease does not just kind of spontaneously occur, you know.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  There are a thousand factors that go into this and the biggest one I think, one of the biggest ones is what you are eating and what you are putting in your mouth everyday.  And that is going to also impact your stress level and inflammation.  And we know that stress and inflammation are kind of the first parts of imbalance that occur. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  You know, I do not understand why we are still going along and that connection is not really being addressed in the conventional medical world?  

Justin Marchegiani:  Well, I know hundreds of people are finding your website, reading your blogs and checking out your podcasts and buying your products so people are I think slowly changing.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  It is just a matter of time before they see five-ten doctors and you know, it is all in their heads.  Or if their hormones are out of balance here some birth control pills.  Or here is an antidepressant or it is you are just getting older.  Don’t you love that one?

Mary Vance:  Oh, my gosh! 

Justin Marchegiani:  You are just getting older.

Mary Vance:  Oh, I know you I am sure get tons of people who, I feel so bad for these people.  They have been through the ringer with like GI doctors, and endoscopies, even colonoscopies, and they have had biopsies and they say, “Yes, they just gave me an IBS diagnosis because they cannot find anything wrong with me.”     

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  And then they send them on their way and the reason that they need that diagnosis just so they can prescribe drugs.  And obviously the drugs are not necessarily going to heal the disease.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  Or the underlying cause but at least the person will be able to function.  And obviously there is something going on.  And that is what they will say, “Well, maybe you should consider an antidepressant.”

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  Exactly and I was watching House, MD.  I am just starting the show.  The show has been on for like 10 years but I got Netflix

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And I get to go through, you know, like just back-to-back-to-back.  You are going to go on like your weekend binge of whatever show you are checking out.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  But in that show, it’s the epitome because one, there was like two really cool things that happened.  If you have not seen the episode, spoiler alert but the girl that has brain issue, it’s a parasite!  Oh, my gosh!  I could not believe it because conventional medicine, you know, their parasites only exist in the third world.  So it was a parasite and it fixed her.  But number two, the other guy that comes that is having all the problems, the fatigue, the soreness.  And he is like, “Oh, it is fibromyalgia, it is chronic fatigue.”  Well, he goes out and he gets these M&M’s, you know like candies that did not have like any, you know, they are just kind of bland looking.  Put them in a bottle and just said it was medication and said here you go.

Mary Vance:  Laughs. 

Justin Marchegiani:  So basically, the message is: if your fatigued, if you are in pain, you are tired; it is all in your head.

Mary Vance:  In your head. 

Justin Marchegiani:  And then at the very end he comes back wanting a prescription refilled, basically proving that he is right.  It is all in our heads.  But if you go on the scientific literature, like low thyroid, adrenal fatigue and gut infections can cause chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.   So it kind of supports exactly what you are saying.

Mary Vance:  Oh, yes.  And our system is kind of a disease-based model and not preventive-based model.  So those are the people that are flying into the radar because they have these subclinical imbalances or things going on that are not serious enough to prescribe drugs for, be detected and then that is how actual, real more serious diseases take hold if you do not kind of focus on these little underlying imbalances first.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  I totally agree.  Can you tell me more about like who is your ideal patient?  Like who are the people that are coming to see you from all over the world?

Mary Vance: I specialize in Women’s’ Health and hormone balance so I see a lot of digestive cases.  And I do like those cases because those like I was describing that person who has been to five different gastroenterologists and had so many of her tests done and still do not feel better.  Because even making a few dietary changes right away will give them relief while you are kind of working on healing the other stuff.  So a lot of digestive wellness.  And then like you, a lot of immune cases, Hashimoto’s, hypothyroid.  Those are all really satisfying cases to work with because people just feel so much better.  And just educating them about what is going on with them that nobody has told them about and then giving then a good protocol or trying an autoimmune diet.  So it is mostly fertility, women’s health and hormones and digestive wellness.  And of course the detox piece, too.  

Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.   And you mentioned a lot of digestive issues with these female patients.  What percent of the people that are having these infections even have digestive symptoms?

Mary Vance:  Oh, gosh!  That is scary.  If you know that there are, when you run these profiles, or they do not really realize that what they are having are kind of nagging issues that they would not even necessarily, or they can cut normal.  You know, they think they are kind of burping a lot or feeling bloated at the end of the day.  But these food allergy symptoms and digestive issues manifest as different, you know, just being tired all the time can definitely indicate a GI problem as well.  It totally depends on the person, you know?

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  So there is a lot to answer your question.

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  Yes, there is a lot of people that do not really have serious GI issues, you know but there is something going on in there and they are not aware of it until you run a test.

Justin Marchegiani:  Hmm, hmm, very interesting.  And what is your experience with resistance starch been like?  That is kind of like a big hoopla in the Paleo community.

Mary Vance:  Yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  So what is your experience?

Mary Vance:  That has really kind of taken off.    

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  And I have just started sort of researching it and reading about it.  But, obviously, you know, the resistance starches resist digestion.   

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  So you know, I think that the people are jumping on that bandwagon because it improves insulin sensitivity, it can lower blood sugar levels.  But I am kind of just starting to do more research on that and I think it can be really useful in a lot of people.  So what have you seen?

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  I mean, I think for me, it has been diagnostic for picking up SIBO.

Mary Vance:  Yes, yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  I think some people do really well because they can increase butyric acid in the gut.   And butyric acid is really beneficial at lowering the pH and preventing bad bacteria from growing, especially people that are on lower carbohydrate diets.

Mary Vance:  Uh-humm.    

Justin Marchegiani:  There are these certain bacteria called Eubacterium rectale or Roseburia bacteria.  And when you go low carb these things get like really obliterated.  But if you do a little bit of resistant starch even while you keep a low carb diet you can keep that beneficial bacteria up.  So I think there are a lot of good benefits especially if you are someone that goes super low carb and you may get constipated.  In my opinion, that is the reason why people may get constipated on low carbs.  Even if they are not on the veggies and/or that bacteria starts shifting in your colon.

Mary Vance:  Yes, yes.  And I know that people are kind of using raw potato starch. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  I definitely think that using it for diagnostic tool is really valuable for SIBO.  But again as we were talking earlier I guess off air about people are going to their doctors and getting tests for this stuff that are not showing up until you either run more sophisticated stool profiles or you are kind of doing these little experiment with their diet and that is helping and it is really going to start to show up.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  And you like potato starch over like plantains or over banana starch?  What is your take on those?

Mary Vance:  Potato starch can actually kind of mess with certain people. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-humm.

Mary Vance:  And so I do not really use that one.  I know that it is kind of a popular one and people are using Bob’s Red Mill, I think. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  Potato starch.  Yes I am more inclined to use kind of the ones you suggest and necessarily that would be my go to. But I know with a lot of the articles I read, that is one of the main ones that is recommended.  What do you see with that?   

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  I have seen the same.  Anyone who has autoimmune I always just default to the banana or plantain.

Mary Vance:  Oh yes, because that has some irritants for autoimmune issues, yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes. I mean you get the alpha-solanine in the potato but some people are like, “Oh, but it makes us better.”  I am like, “All right, well as long as you are not autoimmune then we can try it.”  So I always recommend getting both and see which you gravitate towards.

Mary Vance:  Uh-humm. 

Justin Marchegiani:  I gravitate towards the plantain now or the unripen banana for sure.

Mary Vance:  Yes, and they are also delicious.  (Laughs)  

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  You can just mix it in with your shake, too.

Mary Vance:  Yes, yes. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  That’s cool.

Mary Vance:  Yes.

Justin Marchegiani:  Well, tell me about, this maybe like a little bit off topic or it maybe a little difficult for you to pull up the information.  Tell me about your most popular blog post.  Because I know you are a big blogger in the…

Mary Vance:  Uh-humm.    

Justin Marchegiani:  So what is like the things that the people there coming at, what are they looking up?

Mary Vance:  So probably the biggest post, the two biggest posts I can think of, well three, (Laughs) the biggest one is on adrenal fatigue.   

Justin Marchegiani:  Ah, yes.

Mary Vance:  Kind of healing a hormone imbalance.  And I think I even started off even in that post saying that you know most doctors won’t even address, you know, if people go to their physicians and say, their primary care doctors and say, “God I am so tired, you know.”    

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  That is not even really recognized by the conventional medical system at all.   That is a huge post.  Then treating candida.  You know, yeast overgrowth.  I got tons of hits on that blog post.  And then just 10 really easy daily detox tips.  Because after you, let us say, you have done all this work and you have cleaned up your gut and you got your liver detox pathways running smoothly again and you want to make sure, that is another huge question that I get asked.  How do I make sure my hormone levels do not tank again?

Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Mary Vance:  Well, there are daily lifestyle habits that you can do to, just daily detox like dry skin brushing or we were talking about like the hot water with lemon.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  Or including liver friendly foods, sitting in a sauna.  You know, exercise, sweating.  There are tons of ways that you can support your liver daily.  And also if you are working on healing hypothyroidism or hormone imbalances, you know just making sure that your lifestyle factors are in place in the most critical factor.  You can be doing everything right with taking your supplements everyday and eating but if you are staying up all night and chugging coffee and your stress levels up to the roof, you are not going to get well.     

Justin Marchegiani:  Right, right.  And on your site, you talked a lot about essential oil.  I know you like the Young Living Essential Oil company.  Can you tell me more about kind of like your take on essential oils?  Like the biggest three things that you would use them with in your life.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  You know while we were speaking earlier when you are talking about your cat scratch infection.  The Thieves Oil… (Laughs)

Justin Marchegiani:  Thieves, yes, yes.  Actually I have doTerra so I would do on guard.  But yes.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  And you can put that actually directly on it, too.  But I really love using essential oils.  My main caution that I tell people though is that I think that people are using a lot of these oils internally.  And you need to be kind of careful with how you are using them internally because we are still not sure exactly.  You know, there is a lot of evidence that peppermint, which is one of my favorites.  You are asking me about my favorites, peppermint is one of my favorites because it is really uplifting and cooling and it can relieve headaches pretty instantly and it can be very soothing for IBS type people.  Then there is evidence though because it is killing off certain gut bacteria.  And then if someone has SIBO for instance and they have an overgrowth of… That is what SIBO is basically bacteria in the wrong place and overgrowth of what is not considered bad bacteria.  It is just in the wrong place and there is too much of it and it can kill some of that off.  And so we do not know necessarily if it is killing off good gut flora.  So there is a lot of debate out there actually whether or not oils are safe to ingest.  And I think there are several that you can ingest safely.  But I do caution people about, you know you cannot take all these oils internally.  But I am a really big fan of some of these blends.  I have been really kind of focusing on the meditation practice and there are a lot of them that have specific oils in them to help deepen the meditation practice.  There is one that Young Living has the grounding blends and Believe.  And they have like balsam in them and different kinds of frankincense, especially.

Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Mary Vance:  So I like those blends.  And I love peppermint and lemon oil that can be good for detox.  And I do, I love frankincense and myrrh, too because those are really great for your skin.  So it is super fun to dabble with and I think that diffusing then and inhaling them it can really provide a lot of stress relief for people.  And like I said, using them alongside kind of yoga or meditation practice because they smell nice and they make you feel good.    

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.  What is your take on Valor?  You like Valor?

Mary Vance:  Oh Yes.  I love that one.  But Valor is also super popular.  I think they run out of it all the time.  People use that for kind of self-esteem and confidence and again it smelled awesome.  But I heard a lot of people who use that to reduce anxiety. And so yes, I think that they can be really good.  We reviewed this kind of like amazing testimonials about essential oil all the time.   I think that they can be a really good kind of lifestyle habit to help people when they are kind of working on healing.  And they are natural.

Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Mary Vance:  They are all plant based. 

Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yes.  Absolutely.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  They are really strong and they work pretty well.

Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool.  So is there anything else that you would like the listeners to know about you or anything on your radar screen that is really important to you right now?

Mary Vance:  Well, I would just say, you know if anyone wants to go to my website like you said,, there are tons of resources on there. And I actually recently written about my meditation practice and what I have kind of done to start help maybe get focused and grounded and centered.  And there are all my popular post listed and you can download my e-book.  So yes, I got it all in there and poke around.  It is not only just nutrition articles.  It is obviously, you know, with this holistic model like I was saying, it is lifestyle, wellness, sleep, stress, exercise, emotional well-being and there are recipes and just articles about nutrition on there, too.

Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool.  Her name is Mary Vance.  You can find her at  Feel free and check out her detox program.  Also if you need coaching, she is available as well.  And also Mary has a podcast called HealthNuts podcast.  They are on sabbatical right now while her counterpart finishes her book.

Mary Vance:  Laughs 

Justin Marchegiani:  But feel free to check out lots of great old episodes of really good interviews and check out the Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and all the good channels there.  Thank you so much, Mary for coming on the show.

Mary Vance:  Yes.  Thanks so much for having me, Justin.  It is always fun to chat about these stuff.

Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  Take care.

Mary Vance:  Okay, bye, bye.

Justin Marchegiani:  Bye.

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