Seasonal Depression Solutions | Podcast #244

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Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression when there is a change of seasons. Some people are affected in this type of depression in late fall or early winter, which sometimes makes them moody or unenergetic.

Listen and read to this podcast as Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand gives abundant information on SAD, the importance of natural sunlight in our bodies, supplements to take and how to overcome this type of depression.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

01:37 What is Seasonal Depression

04:34 Importance of Sunlight and their alternatives

16:43 Supplements

33:05 Depression on Gut Health

40:07 Infrared Lights


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are live. I'm hitting the record button here now Evan for you. All right. We are live it's Dr. J here in the house. I am back off of my maternity leave for a week. I had my second son named Hudson Lee Marchegiani. He is doing great, six pounds three ounces, super healthy, feeding great got a great powerful suck my last son didn't quite have that good suck because he was born two weeks earlier so he's doing phenomenal great breast milk supply on my wife's side feeding napping routine everything's great so we are very blessed very fortunate and thanks for all the well wishes. But, Evan it's been real less than two weeks how you been man.

Evan Brand: Hey man congratulations. I've been great. I've just been kind of sitting by the wayside waiting to see your pictures and here everything's good so I'm glad it all turned out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah everything's really turned out great. Really appreciate it. So now you got two girls I got two boys and we got like the perfect tandem.

Evan Brand: I know it's a trip yin and yang.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah exactly. All right. So we talked about pre show about seasonal depression right. This is actually Labor Day. Yes we work on Labor Day and that's kind of signifying the end of summer so fall starting to come in. Then when the seasons change, especially as I was going from less sunlight or more sunlight to less some people can deal with depression and we're going to kind of break down what that looks like, causes, solutions, getting to the root cause of what you can do about it so you can have great mood all year round so why don't we dive in.

Evan Brand: Yeah. So I'll share my story with seasonal depression you know I used to work third shift to pay for my college I was working like midnight usually around anywhere between 11:00 p.m. and midnight as a starting time and I would get off at 5:00 a.m.. So by the time I'm trying to go to bed the sun is coming up it was just absolutely terrible. And the only way that I think I survived it to be honest with you was using light therapy boxes and so obviously the sunshine is the best. And you're never gonna be natural sunlight exposure in your naked eyeballs without sunglasses on. But in my situation I was using a light therapy box at night before I would go in. So I would use it around 11:00 p.m. for about 30 minutes, I'd sit next to this light therapy boxes is basically just like a sun in a box. Now it's not anywhere as close to bright but you can get him around 10000 lux, l u x, which is a measurement of brightness the sun on a sunny cloudless day. You're getting like one hundred thousand Lux. It's just extreme levels of brightness a cloudy day. You know 10000 lux to 15000 Lux something like that. So this box is trying to replicate at least the brightness of a cloudy day. And that would help to set the circadian rhythm. I was basically trying to trick my body and tell my brain to wake up at midnight and go to bed at 5:00 a.m. which is not natural and not optimal but that's how I learned about light therapy and seasonal depression and then ultimately the goal would be people who are working nightshift get them off night shift it's just not the way you're supposed to live.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. The shift work or night shift work is actually considered to be a non substance. One of the only non substance carcinogens that can increase risk of cancer in the same category as is Festus in smoking. So definitely not a good thing. It can affect your body healing recovering all those good things. Obviously between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. you're recycling and turning over a lot of your brain chemicals and neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, GABA so it's really important that we don't have that good sleep. You're not gonna be able to turn over your brain chemicals ultimately.

Evan Brand: Yeah well said. So depression could happen just based on having a bad shift. Insulin as well. I mean I noticed that there was a ton of overweight people that work nightshift if you just look up like diabetes nightshift or insulin nightshift you can see well duh. You're not supposed to be up at night but there can be some issues changing with your left ending Gremlin and insulin and some of these hunger satiety and blood sugar regulation hormones. So if you type in night shift nurses cancer you could read about that there was a popular study done on female nurses and the incidence of breast cancer in night shift and I believe it was like around a 50 percent higher incidence of breast cancer. Nurses at night versus daytime nurses.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah definitely not worth the shift differential you get a little bit bump in pay to work night. Definitely not worth it.

Evan Brand: I know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If you're on the fence with that try to have that normal day shift. It's to be much much better for your health. So in general when we look at depression right seasonal changes can make a difference. We know that's just sunlight and healthy levels of cholesterol have a big have a major effect on serotonin and serotonin receptor sites. So we know cholesterol and cholesterol is synthesized via sunlight on the skin and you can get this preform of vitamin D 3 that could make its way into the body and that can have a major effect up regulating mood and serotonin. We know there's a natural circadian rhythm. So cortisol gets kind of emphasized during the day based on lights right. Light and dark hormonal rhythms and the hormones at during the day are really emphasized and accentuated by light so healthy light stimulation can really help your cortisol rhythm and then the light dropping out at night can really help emphasize melatonin rising which is a powerful antioxidant and it's also a powerful you know it's to help you sleep throughout the night and help you regenerate and heal and melatonin is made from serotonin so serotonin that feel good neurotransmitter so the same chemicals that allow you to feel good are the same chemicals that allow you to sleep. So I'm a firm believer in the fact that there's a connection between seasonal affective disorder and the season changes and also sleep. So if we can make sure that one we're getting some light exposure during the day, and two we're deemphasize we're emphasizing we're deemphasizing light at night we're emphasizing darkness at night maybe blue blocking glasses, get dimmer switches on the core rooms you're gonna be in at night so you can drop the intensity of light in those rooms down 80 percent those are gonna be great strategies to accentuate melatonin production so you can sleep better and that better sleeping will help your natural circadian rhythm and that circadian rhythm of lower cortisol at night higher melatonin at light at night higher cortisol in the morning getting that good rhythm will will spill over and affect your mood especially during the transition into summer and fall.

Evan Brand: Yeah it's crazy. We have to have this conversation but with the invention of electricity and light bulbs we've taken a very natural well regulated rhythm and thrown it out of rhythm I mean you just look at some of the indigenous people now let's just you know take some Indigenous person in the Amazon rainforest. They don't have any screens they're getting 100 percent natural light during the day. Tons and tons of Lux just insane levels of brightness. The body knows hey it's daytime. Let's wake up versus you take the person in the morning who has their blinds halfway open in their house it's down in their bedroom they're kind of you know tiptoeing over to the coffee machine and then they get in their car and they put their sunglasses on normally sunglasses are about an 18 percent lens meaning 78 percent or more is gonna be blocked. So like a ray band for example sunglasses are typically 18 percent lens so if you look at like a car's window 10 20 percent means only 20 percent of light gets hand. So 18 percent means 18 percent of that sunlight coming into your eyeballs and then you go into your office and you sit under fake lighting and maybe you're lucky and have a window or maybe you don't. I've taken measurements when I used to work in an office setting and I was only getting around seven hundred and fifty Lux. I mean that is just dark. So your brain the whole hypo filmic pituitary adrenal this whole thing helps. It's generated by light. So when you're sitting there in a dark office or a dimly lit office under fake lighting you really don't ever get the signal that it's daytime. So these people including me would have these midday crashes of just cortisol. But you could measure it to a sliver but you would just feel it right. You'd get tired and then you're thinking oh I need a snack and then you eat something to try to pick yourself up but it's not an it wasn't a lack of food that was causing that midday fatigue. It was a lack of sunlight. So the only way I was able to maintain my sanity was in the middle of the day. Take my shirt off on my lunch break and go out and just find it. Find a field behind the office and sit in the field bare feet with my shirt off and just trying to act like a solar panel and absorb as much sun as I could. That was the only way I could do it luckily now I'm in between calls. I'll just jump out my window and run outside and get a few minutes of sunlight and then come back in.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's smart. I think it's really important, especially this time of the year. You know some may not quite be as intense. So now you may need to get out there midday or maybe in the summer. It was a little too intense so it's a good time to actually go out more during the midday especially as fall transitions because you know the axis tilts a little bit or a little bit further away from the sun this time of year. So the sun's rays are a little bit less intense so that's important.

Evan Brand: There's an app called D minder like Vitamin D D minder you can get where it'll tell you your vitamin D window so people think oh just because the sun's up I can get vitamin D. No you really can't especially in the wintertime. I mean you're literally like 30 minutes like I know in Kentucky isn't your higher north latitude than me. So when your winter comes it's gonna be like 20 minutes or something crazy in the middle of the day from like 12 to 12:20 PM. You know that's it. So if you're a super high north like New York level latitude there are parts of the day. Well there actually there are weeks at a time where you literally can't make vitamin D regardless of whether the sun was out just because the angle of the Earth is tilted so far away from the Sun that the rays get scattered too much and you can't make vitamin D versus if you're at the equator you know you can make vitamin D year round then there's no change in seasonal daylight or nighttime you have 12 hours a day and 12 hours a night at the at the equator get around which is pretty cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. So big strategy no one is really accentuate light during the prime time. The middle part of the day you can get 15 20 minutes and expose yourself to some sun at night or at lunchtime. That's great. Number two really utilizing blue blocking glasses is fine at nighttime. I think I mean like some people like I can do pretty go to even looking at my screen right up before bed. It doesn't affect me at all winding down or relaxing. I do feel like I can definitely go into parasympathetic a little bit faster. So I mean I'm still really good. Like it's not a huge noticeable thing. I'll find if I have blue blocking glasses on I will literally be like falling asleep while watching a show or on my phone. So it's just like it's almost like if I don't have some guys the blue blocking glasses off because I'm just falling asleep so easily. And so some people may get overstimulated and it really whines them up. So you kind of have to feel it out. The healthier your nervous system the more you can adapt to it if it's affecting your sleep winding down or relaxing. Then go with the blue blocking glasses at night but do your best to create a really good environment you know lights on dimmers which is keep that at least down. You can at least get like on my phone. I have a blue light app on there so it killed it and then I have a setup here on my iPhone where if I tap it three times, book it goes pure red. Nice with your light so then I'll use this as like a night light at night like walking up to my bedroom getting ready and I'll just kind of use that or from my son's room I have to go in there or put him down or read a book I'll use it as a as a nightlight which is pure red light so there's no blue coming out of there at all. I have it on night shift all the time so there's actually a significant reduction in blue light on this phone. So those are some good strategies with your tech so you can at least get blue light reduced and then you can also do the setting where you knock a blue light out all together I'll put a post up on how to do that it's a little bit technical but you can knock out 100 percent of the blue light which is pretty cool.

Evan Brand: That's beautiful. Yeah we use the salt lamps at night so there's a couple of good ones that you could buy like on Amazon like salt lamp night lights where you just plug it in there's just a little switch on it and some of the Himalayan salt some of them are really dark pink and so it just barely generates any light just enough for me to read a book to my daughter at night. So that's kind of a cool strategy I haven't used like a spectrometer to measure the color frequency or anything like that to see how much blue is still coming through. But it's an incandescent bulb inside of those night lights and those are like five watts or something. So I mean they're pretty pretty pretty low. Same thing as you. That's great. Just trying to minimize not flipping a light switch on to go brush your teeth, not flipping a light on to get your bed ready. You know just try to live like your ancestors would have done even just a hundred years ago they would have had a baby just a couple lanterns or candles on and there would have been no option to crank up the bright light. So you know women like taking off their makeup at night if you have to wear makeup then just try to do it in the dim light if you miss it. Get some get some extra makeup off in the morning that you missed the night before. It's just not worth sacrificing it because when you do when you shift that circadian rhythm you know it may take you forty five minutes to two hours just based on some of the readings I've done of the hormone laboratories we use. They say you can shift that melatonin production by an hour plus just by that one flash of bright light. It's like daytime, tricks your brain your brain thinks oh today let's make cortisol not melatonin actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I have little blue light bulbs and I have been all the rooms. And so that's one of the big things that I'll use them in the wrong kind of brushing teeth or do anything at night that light bulb gets flicked on. I'll have it in my son's room if we need it. It's going to be off during the night. It doesn't sleep with it on. But if we need to see something in my hands or whatever our fall I we use those. So the low blue light night bulbs are phenomenal. I try to put a link in the show notes to the ones that I've been using for the last five years. They work phenomenal.

Evan Brand: Sweet. Yeah. Richard Handler. He's got that company and nice dude.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:I didn't know that.

Evan Brand: Yeah. He's like in his 90s I hope he's still alive. I interviewed him like in 2012 when I first started my podcast. So what's I've been seven years ago. So he's by. I don't know. Almost 100 years old now. But he was a very nice guy and you know he had so much guilt about working at G.E. developing brighter and more blue light bulbs. So now he's like anti Blue. So that was kind of his motivation to work on getting rid of blue at nighttime. He wrote books about you know pregnant women and how important it is for pregnant women to pay attention to what we're saying to, you know if you're up in the middle of the night nursing a kid for example with a new baby you know making sure the mom is avoiding blue light as well because the melatonin goes through the breast milk to the baby. I'm pretty sure, don't quote me but I'm pretty sure infants and young children don't make melatonin maybe as effectively or efficiently as adults and they depend on some of that breastmilk transfer rather than making it on their own.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah I can just tell you with my previous sons in the past you just getting extra high quality protein before bed makes a big difference. So we would up you know a lot of the high tryptophan rich animal products and that would make a big difference that really make a big difference with the sleep component.

Evan Brand: That's that's great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And a lot of sleep hormones right melatonin comes from Chip different amino acids essentially the more you consume them as the mom you're going to have a greater chance of passing that through to the baby. So you can only give what you got so high quality animal proteins and to be the best source to pass down those amino acids that are going to have the precursor building blocks for serotonin which is gonna allow you to feel good but also serotonin the precursor to melatonin which will allow you to sleep well too. And you gotta be careful with taking an end stage hormone like melatonin while you're breastfeeding so you're much better off getting the building blocks and if you're having a hard time with just getting it from meat you may want to look at tryptophan first and then five HDP with B6 second because B6 was a really important factor to converting those amino acids upstream and helping them to synthesize into serotonin and melatonin B6 is that rate limiting nutrient.

Evan Brand: Yeah that's that's a good point you don't want to have to depend on melatonin you actually down regulate your body you know, Justin and I we give people supplements to help fix issues and we get a lot of questions like well, am I going to get dependent on this, for example like digestive enzymes people will say what is my body going to get lazy and I will not be making enzymes and acids anymore because you all are giving me digestive enzymes supplements the answer is no, that doesn't happen, you're only feeding the fire and adding to the fire you're not replacing the fire, versus with melatonin that does happen you do replace the fire in your body will down regulate production just like if you use Gaba supplements to help yourself sleep you can become dependent on that. I've seen people take 10 20 30 milligrams of melatonin at night which is just crazy. You try to get those people off of it. It can be difficult. So we would prefer to let your body make it rather than supplementing. There's this phenomenon where it's like a seesaw and if you throw too much melatonin in you know that can give you that hangover the next morning partially because your cortisol will not peak as much as it's supposed to and Justin and I measure that on salivary cortisol panels will measure an average melatonin level and also we'll look at cortisol. We'll see people that supplement too much melatonin, their morning spike let's just make up a number and say their morning cortisol should be 20 units they've been doing too much melatonin in their morning spike may be only 10 units and so now all of the sudden it's the equivalent of you charged your smartphone to 50 percent battery in the morning and that's it. And now you're going to try to make phone calls all day. It's gonna be difficult. So that court us all. It's not fully peaking when it should in the morning what that bright light stimulation. Now you're gonna crash out at noon and your cortisol level will be like a 1 or 2 units which is what it's supposed to be around midnight and we measure this right. That's not something we're just making up. We see this on a piece of paper, we look at these labs, we live in and breathe these labs all day every day. So I can tell you with confidence that just by getting yourself off melatonin if you're hooked on it, working with somebody like Justin or I to help regulate your hormone levels and circadian rhythm better. That alone is going to pay dividends and you won't have to depend on coffee. Coffee can be a good part of your day but it's not going to be like whipping the tired horse like many people do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah I mean coffee is great. I'm sipping on some great coffee right now. Just try to do it before before noon time maybe even before 10:00 11:00 o'clock. That way it's done. It's in your system. Coffee can have a great way to emphasize that cortisol in the morning. We don't want to do more than typically two cups or so and putting all this use it as a crutch.

Evan Brand:That's all I was trying to point out is like people like—.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:They'll do in the afternoon they'll do it late afternoon that's putting out the best because then one it's got a half life of about eight to 10 hours so that means it's gonna be in your system at bedtime. So the benefit of doing it in the morning it's going gonna be for the most part out of your system and not impeding sleep. So and also you're not going to be overly stimulating your adrenal throughout the day kind of a nice little bump in the mornings OK because I consider coffee a superfood the alkaloids in it have major anti aging benefits but they also can be a little bit stimulating. So once in the morning it's fine but not in the afternoon or nighttime because at overstimulated and also it will spill into your nighttime and affect sleep and melatonin production, more your sleep and your rhythm is off like I was saying earlier a greater chance that you're going to be affected by seasonal affective disorder, SAD or seasonal depression. So the more we can keep let's just say your night rhythm kind of untouched unencumbered the better chance that your mood and energy will be the next.

Evan Brand: Let's talk about supplements and labs. So lab testing you know I have mentioned and alluded to salivary hormone testing we can also measure melatonin via saliva. We can use urine for looking at cortisol and melatonin as well. But you got to get to the root cause of what the seasonal depression is. So in my case I was working third shift , the root cause is third shift. You're trying to work when humans should be sleeping. So but I you and I kind of talked about this before we got on air which is that I think seasonal depression after going through it for you know 10 15 years of my life I think seasonal depression is more pronounced when you have other health issues going on. I don't think if if you're an optimally healthy person I don't think you should have seasonal depression. I think it's if you're toxin bucket or your stress bucket is already so full and you're already so dysfunctional that seasonal loss of life affects you way more like the past couple of years. I felt great I wasn't depressed it was weird because I'd have these gray cloudy cold days where normally I just want to curl up in a ball and wrap myself in a blanket. I didn't have those I was like out hiking in the woods you know in a foot of snow with wet snow boots on having fun. So exercises is huge for seasonal depression but my main point here is that I think if you do have seasonal depression there's price something going on underlying that you just haven't found yet. So it could be gut infections robbing your nutrition you mentioned trip the fan and having good animal products in the diet. Well if you've got gut infections for example you're not digesting those animal proteins as well. Now you're not getting that trip defense. So now you can't manufacture brain chemicals like you should be. So it could be a gut issue leading to the seasonal depression. It could be relationship problems, it could be you're not getting enough bright light because you're stuck in a dark office. It could be lack of exercise. It could be that you're just not getting enough fresh air you've got kind of this cabin fever syndrome going on. So I think you still have to consider other options and then I'll let you comment on that and then I do want to mention some supplements that have helped too.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: One hundred percent. So in general what you said is kind of the take home here is the healthier you are the more adaptive. So the things like changing of the seasons especially as you've like drops and things get colder is going to affect you less. That's really important. So we have our metaphorical stress bucket right in that bucket holds our physical chemical and emotional stressors that we may dump into it. So we could probably look at the season changing maybe as a chemical stress or maybe less UV light. There also could be some emotional stressors because maybe you can't jump in your pool or or do the fun things you used to do when it was warmer so maybe there's a chemical component there because of the light and maybe there's the emotional component cause you're missing activities or you're cooped up inside right. So those are kind of some stresses we put into our stress bucket right there. The healthier we are and the more those buckets are those balls and our buckets are managed well we can adapt. That's number one. OK. Number two on top of that you highlighted various stressors you hit. Well let me just go back one big component one big nutritional component are gonna be healthy nutrients. Now one big nutrient that's important for brain health and neurological health. I saw a study on this the other day looking at like vegans versus meat eaters and they're talking about one important nutrient that they're it's kind of it's underrated but it's really important for brain and neurological health. It's Colin is primarily going to be found in abundance and egg yolks and grass fed beef high quality animal products maybe even in some full fat dairy. So colin vital for healthy neurological brain formation healthy neurological health in general. So Colin is a vital and people who are plant based or vegan or vegetarian are not going to be getting enough of this nutrient. So if you are vegan or vegetarian may want to look at a fast food related surgery phosphate related coli or phosphate title calling some extra holing support in your diet to supplement what you may not be getting from some of these animal products that actually push you to start eating maybe at least some egg yolks something like that to get that good colin. That's really important. And then of course we already talked about all of the amino acids which are vital because those amino acids are going to convert downstream into serotonin and melatonin. And those are going to be primarily found in animal based sources as well. You can also do supplemental chip the fan and or five HTP with B6 on top of that. And like Evan said if this is kind of a longer term pattern with your health we will look at gut function to make sure there's not an absorption component or a digestive component. I mean we'll look at kind of how your nutrients look we may run certain panels that will run plasma based amino acids so we can see how all your amino acids look and how all your downstream B vitamins look in the Krebs cycle of mitochondria see how they're functioning well that way we can get to the root cause while at the same time we can spot treat some of these nutrients that you could feel better faster too.

Evan Brand: Absolutely. I was going to say sometimes we even in a mediator we may need to come in and give supplemental acids and enzymes but also throwing in specific amino acids. Now I caution people to go and just buy a bunch of amino acids and start playing with them because amino acids even though they're over the counter they can be very powerful and you don't want to come in and just I heard five HDP is good so I'm going to just take a ton of five HDP. You don't necessarily want to do that because what this spider web of brain chemistry when you start to throw in one thing you can throw in you can throw something else off. So for example I've seen long term five HDP supplementation depleting or down regulating dopamine. So if you're throwing and tripped the fan or five HDP we may need to throw in a little bit of tyrosine or DLF [inaudible] to kind of balance that out to where we're bringing up not only the stimulating neurotransmitters but also kind of your Sarah tone and feel good neurotransmitters and if people just go one or the other maybe short term OK. But I've seen people make themselves quote dependent on five HDP I had one lady who was like a yoga teacher and she took five HDP for like five years like five hundred milligrams a day which is way too much. And she tried to get off of it and she had major major panic attacks trying to get off of it. And so we then had to come in and try to use GABA and CNE and passion flower and other things to help her nervous system because she had a really really messed up her neurotransmitter balance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well a lot of people that are using five HDP chronically especially if they have chronic stress they may have issues with dopamine and adrenaline. And the problem with doing five HDP by itself is you're up regulating the aromatic decoder box allays enzymes. Those are the same enzymes that are going to metabolize dopamine and adrenaline based amino acids. So then you can actually functionally create a deficiency because as you're taking five HDP over here that enzyme is upregulated and you're metabolizing dopamine and adrenaline amino acids at a higher rate. The difference is you're dumping this in at a higher rate but not this therefore over time this will start to drop as part of the reason why like with carbidopa with sentiment with Parkinson patients that are on this higher dose of dopamine they start having side effects of low serotonin because those medications actually deplete serotonin. You can have it in a functional type of way. On the reverse side when you do a whole bunch of serotonin you can kind of create deficiencies on the dopamine adrenaline side. So it's important that you're working with the practitioner that supports all the other nutrients supports the other side of the teeter totter so to speak even does some deeper testing whether it's organic acids or plasma based amino acid testing to look at what your levels are.

Evan Brand: Yeah and I'm glad we can look at it. You make great points about the drug so we don't want to create fear but we also just want to educate people. Yeah. Amino acids can change your life but they can also make you feel terrible if you mess yourself up. So I would advise you like I said reach out somebody like Justin or me to get help with this because if you don't test you've guessed. And so you don't want to say oh I feel depressed I need five HDP maybe but maybe not. We've seen tons of people to have depression and it's a dopamine based depression not a serotonin based depression C like if you're like a person who just watches mainstream TV you're going to be convinced serotonin is the happy chemical. Kind of. But dopamine depletion if you see low dopamine that'll make you feel depressed too so you may be like in the totally wrong department trying to self medicate so you really gotta get the data and that's what we love, we love and breathe these labs because it makes us look better for one, because it's like hey we actually found the problem rather than guessing we found it. We gave you the correct protocol to fix it. We retested. Now look your brain chemistry feels great. You look great. Your mood is great. Everything's great OK. Look at the piece of paper we can prove it. So I just I like the data I like to leverage the information as opposed to nothing against some natural past but I've had many many people come to me and also come to Justin that have previously been with a naturpathic doctor where it's more of a symptom supplement treatment option as opposed to a symptom lab and then a protocol option where it's like oh I don't feel good try this. And there wasn't really enough emphasis on getting the correct clinical information getting the puzzle pieces.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah so when I look at symptoms, I I look at symptoms just long enough to trace them upstream to the systems, body system whether it's digestion infections hormones adrenal thyroid female hormones. When these systems start going off symptoms happen so I only care about the symptoms just long enough so I can start to isolate what I think what the systems could be and then we'll run tests to assess the function of those systems but then we'll also look on this side of the underlying stressors that cause these systems to go out of balance. It could be gluten sensitivity, it could be mold exposure, it could be poor sleep, it could be dehydration, it could be not enough protein, not enough hydrochloric acid. So we have stressors over here physical chemical emotional that then emanate system imbalance right. Hormones, gut, detox, mitochondria that then caused symptom issues over here. So most people live here and it's drug nutrient to treat the symptoms which may be OK as long as you don't forget about the systems and the underlying stressors that got us here to begin with. So it's that's kind of the kind of model that I've created over the last decade seeing thousands of patients one it's great for patient education. Number two it keeps you focused on all right. What's the root cause and then what. Let's say what systems need a restart because sometimes some of these stressors over here that were around here when everything started may not be even active now let's just say hey someone let's just say someone had a leak in their house had a whole bunch of mold exposure. Well now they got their house all cleaned up the leak is fixed right. They change the environment in their house but they still have all these symptoms, right underlying stressor is maybe fine. But the systems are still dysfunctional and of course the symptoms are now going crazy. So we have to look at it like that sometimes these stressors may not even be an issue anymore. A lot of times there still are some but sometimes they may not have either.

Evan Brand: Yeah well said. Glad you brought out mold. I mean I've seen countless Mycotoxin and tests lately where people have tons of mold in their body and they say oh yeah I was in a moldy house like five years ago we do the plate testing we confirm their current environments OK. But the body holds the score the body still has the mycotoxin load which can be a huge trigger of depression and anxiety and poor sleep. I don't know the mechanism but I do know that mold suppresses melatonin. How do I know, well because when I do binders my sleep is way way better, way deeper when I'm on binder so there's probably a nervous system component and the mycotoxins doing something to adrenals to help but the bump up cortisol in stress hormone and then that down regulates melatonin because when I take binders before bed, man my sleep quality is way better. Let's let's go into supplements. So if you want to comment on that but I do want to talk about like things that you can use besides amino acids to boost yourself up if you're trying to work through this issue.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So of course you can do things that are going to be naturally kind of tranquilizing and relaxing. So Gaba, Athenian, magnesium. Excellent excellent excellent things like ashwagandha and rodeo. Because one they're going to help with their circadian rhythm they're going to just help you adapt to stress better anyway. Right. These herbs have been studied Russia in the 50s and 60s use lots of adaptogens for a long time with their military and with their their version of NASA with their astronauts doing all these space missions to help improve immune function of virility stamina. And so there's a lot of research in Russia on these things these herbs are very helpful and they can be used longer term too and they help with the immune function they help with dealing with stress to help with sleep. They help with mood so really good benefits. So I like those types of herbs ashwagandha and rodeos are my favorite fur for mood stuff mutation rate for sleep too. So I like that you can also do ginseng during the day. Schisandra,[inaudible] is great for sex hormones support as other herbs like tributaries which are really good for male sex hormones. There are ones that use more for females like macca or Peruvian ginseng. So those are excellent talked about magnesium of course the amino acids right and that we may do some testing for that but that could be five HTP with B6 that could be the tyrosines or DL allow any and those can be excellent. I mean just think what about anything can be excellent for gaba precursor and then of course you have herbs like valerian root passion flower which can be very relaxing in support of hops. Some people do very good with CBD as well. CBD could be excellent. On top of that. Anything else that comes to mind for you Evan.

Evan Brand: Yeah. So rode during the day. But don't do it at night. Rodeo will be too stimulating at nights of super effective antidepressant too which is why I love it. I'm in the same boat as you it's one of my top favorites. Holy Basil. So another big favorite of mine. I notice differences you know I used to take a lot of adaptogenic herbs in a compound like 5 6 different adaptogens together but I've started to play with isolated like a shot a rodeo. A shot of a [inaudible] a shot of ashwagandha, a shot of holy basil to see how I feel and I've noticed with holy basil I get a much much more physical boost rodeo love to me can be helpful for physical endurance but I feel holy basil is even better. I almost feel invincible when I'm on a couple shots of holy basil it's just it's really really like a powerful feeling that can overwhelm you. Maybe I'm just different but for me holy Basil's great. I'll mix them so I'll do a shot or rodeo in the morning. A shot of ashwagandha, gonna take a couple raishi capsules and then do one or two of some other like Siberian ginseng. A shot or two of those and then mix them all together in tincture form. Once I know how I feel individually then I may bump up something more so I may do two parts. Rodeo La. One part. Holy Basil one part of Luther row. And then you already hit on it a bit but like the B vitamins in general. So B is in Bravo B6 b twelve even rival flavor for example. Nice and b one I mean all these are still important. So just a good complex would be would be a good idea. And if you're under stress you're gonna be burning up B vitamins more so wouldn't hurt to have an adaptive gym blend. Plus a good trace mineral micronutrient amino acid and vitamin blend all together and then exercise Move movement. I mean it's free and it can be very effective.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. Now let's talk about some light therapy. I know you two talked about full spectrum light as well. We have some questions on the chats here about red light therapy and so there's a company out there Juve, juve Red light is a good one. What's your thoughts on red light versus full spectrum. How do you break that down in your head.

Evan Brand: Yeah so full spectrum when I hear that. I'm thinking more of like a full spectrum sauna that may have a near infrared light in it which is kind of like a red chicken coop type bulb that's warm but also can generate some near infrared raised to help penetrate your body. Plus a full spectrum like carbon based system that's heating your body. So when I think full spectrum that's what I think of. You could consider incandescent light bulbs to be more full spectrum. If you look at a spectrometer this basically the rainbow of colors you look at the sunlight it's got the full rainbow of colors you look at incandescent, incandescent bulbs. The closest you can get to the sun whereas LED lights have a lot of abnormal peaks especially in the blue area. So LED is not really a natural light. It's not. It doesn't mimic the sun anywhere close to to it like what I would consider. Full Spectrum really just a marketing term like if you go to like a pet store you know, they'll sell like full spectrum light bulbs for reptiles. You know if you buy a lizard you have to have like a full spectrum light to kind of replicate the sunlight. So those full spectrum bulbs they're really just incandescent. They may have a couple of changes in the wavelength but overall it's just a glorified incandescent bulb. So when we moved into this new house we actually had LED previous owner put an LED everywhere in the flicker of them is really bad. Like if you do your hand in front of your face the flicker of the LED is evident and that'll cause stress too. So we swapped them all out. We put in all incandescents and yes it uses a little more electricity but I love the look and the natural spectrum that you can get from from incandescent bulbs.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:Got it. OK. That makes a lot of sense.

Evan Brand: I didn't answer the question about the red light though so the red light I have seen the Juve people reached out to me and said hey we want to sponsor your podcast and all that. And I just didn't like the idea of the LEDs because the red light bulb that I used from sonic space. I felt much better with because it's like this chicken coop bulb it's very hot. But I felt really good it warmed you up whereas the Juve I don't believe is designed for warming it's more of just hey let's blast your body with red light which supposed to be healing. I like the feeling of feels like sunshine when you close your eyes and you're sitting in front of that near infrared bulb and it's blasting you. It feels very very good. So that's kind of my preference over the juve right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is that the sort of space that the big two hundred and fifty watt near infrared light.

Evan Brand: Exactly. Yep yep. So it's a single bulb and you could I mean if you're on a budget you could even just go on Amazon the GE brand just like what people buy to put to keep their animals warm in the winter, it's a two hundred and fifty GE bulb that's red that is almost the same exact thing as far as I know in terms of sonicscape bulb. So I can't justify the money if you get you a light bulb for 20 bucks you get one of these little like aluminum. It's like a bulb holder with a plug on it and you plug that bad boy in and you're looking at less than 50 bucks. So got it in the near end for it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That's got to be a near infrared so the wavelength on that from a nanometer perspective I think near it's somewhere between six hundred to a thousand nanometres and I think the red light bulb with sonic space is right around 8, 850 and so that's going to be helpful for what then help supercharge the mitochondria at that frequency. It's going to help with seasonal affective disorder because it's to help stimulate serotonin production. What other can are happening with that wavelength and then how does that different than like a far infrared or light. Let's say someone that has a guy. I have a combo infrared sauna vs sunlight. How would that be different in that.

Evan Brand: Yeah. So for me and I don't know, I'm sure there's some data on this to prove it but for me I noticed a reduction in pain using the near infrared so you know if I had like so re elbows from lifting too much heavy weights I would just put the near infrared bulb on my elbow kind of spot treat with it. If I had neck pain I would just put it on my neck for five minutes. If I haven't had stomach pain like I got food poisoning or something I put that near infrared bulb on my tummy and you could use it for children too if you have kids would upset tell me you could put the red light bulb on it for 30 seconds. Dr. Lawrence Wilson, he's the guy who really brought near infrared therapy into the forefront. He wrote a whole book on near infrared sauna therapy and he talks about hundreds and hundreds of different uses and benefits a near infrared. So I would look up his articles and he's got a whole book on it and you can learn.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then are you actually putting that light bulb right against your skin.

Evan Brand: No it's way too hot you burn the crap out of yourself. Now you you put it like maybe 8 to 12 inches away. It it's so hot. So yeah like a foot away is plenty. But Lawrence Wilson he's, he's the guy who really probably started the whole near infrared sauna industry. I mean he literally to me was kind of the forefather of putting this information out and he has all these like what do you call them not recipes. These online books on how to make and design your own near infrared little cubicle.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. If when I understand is there's two types of near infrared there's the halogen base one which I think is the one you were referring to with with the light and then there's the LED admitted once I think Juve is more of an LED admitted near infrared. Is that correct. That's right. Yeah. And from what I understand is that the nanometer wavelengths a little bit more in the sweet spot with the LED. So it's supposedly a 50 80 versus I think twelve hundred or so with the incandescent but I think you know it's worth trying the cheaper method first see if you feel a benefit then you can always switch to an LED version of that wavelength and see how it goes.

Evan Brand: Yeah. There's there's a whole article that Brian Richards did. He's the head of the sonic space company. He did this whole article like coming up with all these different reasons of why he doesn't like the Juve and why he doesn't recommend it. So I don't have all the details now to bring it out but all these point people to that article because I actually spoke with him about that as a man you know Juve is promoting themselves like they're they're so awesome. But I spoke with Jack Cruz and he was like I'm not a fan of the LEDs for this and this and this reason and I felt personally better while using the near infrared halogen on myself it warmed me up so I liked that. But Brian had a good article on it so maybe people can check that out if they want to dig into the debate more. I mean here's the deal, is any red light better than no red light. Yeah probably. But you know there's always gonna be pros and cons to each system that you choose.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely and what about what about like the sunlight in the sun and it's good to have a combination of near and far.

Evan Brand: That's the best. That's the best you can do. So I've got a clear light kind of a similar competitor to the sunlight and so like in the clear light in the front. What I have it's like it looks like a big thermometer basically it's like this big red glass tube that glows hot red. That's your near infrared spectrum. And then the walls are what have the far infrared waves. It's best to have both because the near infrared really warms you up the far infrared kind of penetrates supposedly near and near infrared penetrates farther than far infrared. It gets confusing with the wavelengths but I would just tell you if you can have both near and far. That's what I feel best then and I know because I had just a far red sauna before and it did not feel nearly as good compared to the system I have now which is a combination like yours where it's a near and red hot red bulbs and the heating system in the wall.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah I'm looking at this interview with Dr. Michael Hamblin. He talks about that the near infrared don't penetrate the body as deep. Only about 10 percent on the outer kind of surface. And it's the far infrared that penetrate deeper so that's so it's just—

Evan Brand: It's confusing. I would just say get both if you can because you know I remember seeing a Merkel interview. I think Brian Richards may have done it or maybe somebody else on saunas and they said far infrared is just a term but the wavelength can't penetrate as deep so near penetrates deeper. I don't know. I don't want to confuse people but I would just say if you have access to the ability to do near and far combo that's what I do and that's what you do and we feel good with it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah I'll put some of the articles that I have here in the show notes under references so people can go look at and just kind of see some of the things that we're looking at to make our best guesses of. That's great. All right. So that's good. So we have kind of the cheaper option where we do like a sauna space incandescent light ball about that mid 800 nanometer wavelength and then we have some of the LED Juve options as well as you know a full spectrum near and far infrared which would be like us for instance like sunlight and sauna or what was the brand that you had.

Evan Brand: It's a clear light clear light.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: OK. Great. And I think I affiliate for sun lighting as well. I like the sun. I have it in my home office I think it works great if anyone is interested we'll put notes about how to get a discount on that below as well and the same thing for you. Is there anything else you want to highlight about using various light therapies to improve Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Evan Brand: I think we covered it. It works. It's a good strategy it should definitely be in your toolbox. But make sure you're trying to work the day shift and not do night shift if at all possible and get your hormones working right. Get your gut working right. Get your mitochondria supported and you should be able to thrive during winter when there's not as much sunlight.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Very good. Let me just hit a couple of questions for listeners. How much melatonin before bed if you're gonna do it. Typically you try to do five HDP and B6 first anywhere between 100 to 400 milligrams is fine with that. You know maybe divided in two doses at dinner and before bed is fine. And then melatonin I typically start off at half of a milligram, half of the milligram and then work up from there. Try to get the lowest possible dose to have the greatest effect possible on that. Couple other questions. I think we hit it. I think I'm sensitive to caffeine more than average it takes me eight to 10 hours maybe 12 to 24 to metabolize coffee just a guess but even one cup isn't safe for me. So if you're a slow coffee or caffeine metabolize or that's the C Y P snip you may just want to just do decaf coffee which only has five milligrams per cup versus the typical one hundred that would give you a ninety five percent reduction. So start with that see how you do .

Evan Brand: You could do some good organic ceremonial grade matcha. You'll get like maybe 30 40 milligrams per cup. He's probably fine with that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep. Taking magnesium bring down vitamin D. Not sure about that. Not sure.

Evan Brand: I've never heard that it doesn't make sense to me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah he ever tried to use the relaxant.

Evan Brand: No I haven't. I have not.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I have not. I think we had all the major questions guys. Anything else Evan, you want to highlight.

Evan Brand: I don't think so if people want to reach out we help people with this issue every single day so you can do at Justin's website. His website is and you could reach out. He works with clients worldwide. My website is We look forward to being on your team. We love helping people fix these issues and the things we've talked about today are far more effective and far safer than going on a depression medication because you feel depressed in the winter. It's not a deficiency of pharmaceutical drugs folks. It is something else. So you got to make sure that you're addressing everything else.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: One hundred percent and we're going to have a great link for the podcast down below us if you want to listen to the higher quality audio version. We're gonna have that as well. And then references resources down below as well. Make sure you subscribe to both our channels and we appreciate you guys giving us a comment or feedback. for a great review and same thing. for a review that we really appreciate it guys. I'll be back in a few minutes here for a live Q and A with me so if you are listening. Feel free hold tight. I'll put a reminder out for y'all and we will be in touch. Evan it was great chatting man you have an awesome day.

Evan Brand: Take care. You too.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks. Bye.

Evan Brand: Bye.


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