Weight Loss Tips and Supplements to Boost Fat Burning – Podcast #41

Dr. Justin Marchegiani talks about weight loss tips and supplements to boost fat burning in this podcast. Listen and find out about what food you should be eating to help with detoxification and that will aid in your weight loss journey.fat burning and weight loss

Know more about diet and lifestyle strategies to help shift your hormones to burn more fat. There are some supplements to help improve fat burning and balance your stress hormones. Listen to this interview to learn more about what you can do to lose fat with diet, lifestyle, and supplements.

In this episode, we cover:

19:35   What foods will help your burn the most fat

33:04   How sleep can help you accelerate your fat burning ability.

33:18   What supplements can help accelerate your fat burning.

38:12   What exercises help burn the most fast.

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Baris Harvey:  Welcome to another amazing episode of Beyond Wellness Radio.  Before we get in today’s show, I wanna tell you guys about our newsletter. Go to BeyondWellnessRadio.com and hit the button that says Newsletter Sign-up.  By doing this, you will never miss out on another episode.  Be the first one to hear it when we set it out to your inbox each week. If you want even more, click on Just In Health link to go to Dr. Justin’s page and get direct access to the doctor.

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So how’s it going today, Dr. Justin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, Baris!  It’s going great.  Today’s a nice little Monday here in Austin.  The weather is great.  Woke up this morning, did some sprinting, some visualizations, some affirmations, got my metabolism revved up, and I’m ready to go here.  How are you doing?

Baris Harvey:  Oh, doing well.  I like that we’re doing a Monday show.  We usually always do our shows and record on Fridays but today is Monday so a nice change of pace, but yeah, it’s going really well this morning and it’s also nice and sunny outside, too.  For me, it’s almost kinda glaring in my eyes as I look into the computer, but no, like I couldn’t be mad.  So at today’s show we wanted to–to kinda give everybody an overview of a natural support for weight loss and that’s probably the biggest reason why people even consider being healthy in the first place is because they need to lose weight or maybe they don’t necessarily–they need to lose weight, but they want to feel better.  They wanna have that peace of mind when it comes to their physical physique and that kick starts the journey to finding natural ways of getting weight loss and the way that we do it here is a holistic view.  So we’re not just gonna tell you, “Hey, you just gotta exercise more and stop being lazy,” because that just kinda reaffirms that you’re being lazy and we know that everyone who really wants to lose weight like tries like real hard but maybe they’re just not given the right information.  So we’re here today to help you guys with that.  So I know Dr. Justin’s excited about this and he’s probably–he has worked with many clients that have had weight issue and have been very successful at helping them, isn’t that right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I mean, when we deal with people with weight issues, there’s a couple of different underlying causes, and we have to look at weight as being a symptom that the body systems aren’t working, right?  Basically, when we see extra weight storage, right?  We wanna always differentiate that between fat and muscle.  Because when we’re trying to lose weight, we’re really trying to lose fat.  That’s really our goal.  And as people become more anti-inflammatory, we’re lessening the inflammation, we’re lessening the natural breakdown of the body, we want to work on our–that natural shift will drive putting muscle on, especially if we’re doing the right kinds of exercise.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So one of the first things we see is when we’re reducing inflammation is we’re seeing fat reduction, but we’re also seeing a lot of fluid reduction.  Again, inflammation drives extra cellular fluid loss.  The fluid outside of the cell becomes reduced.  I mean, think about it if you bumped your head or get a black eye, it swells up.  That’s inflammation and that’s part of a lot of what’s happening with a lot of people–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That are overweight.  They’re inflamed.  They’re holding on to more fluid, right?  You see their face looks–looks very like rounded.  You can see some women or even men may have cankles, you know, where you can’t really even see the ankle joint.  You’re gonna see fat deposits in certain areas of the body.  So depending on how the fat, you know, deposits can tell us what hormones are off.  So I’ll just give you a second there, Baris, to follow up on that.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, definitely.  So one big thing that I’m hearing underlying the–is that we wanna get our–our body more in a state of balance between anabolic and being catabolic and it’s–it’s funny because we seem to only want to break down, and we say, “Well, hey, look, you’re too big.  You need to break down all these fat so you need to run more, more, more, more.”  But what I hear that you’re saying is, “Hey, you’re pretty broken down.  I can see what you need is to eat better, not more, and maybe you might actually have to eat more if you have a lot of, you know, broken parts.  You need to sleep better.  You need to exercise better.  Not necessarily more, because you wanna recover more.  You wanna rec–those are the things that you might need more of.”  And that’s what I’m hearing, so–and you mentioned inflammation, kind of being that–that main signifier to weight loss and I’m pretty sure that you’ve been able to–without trying sometimes probably change someone’s diet because of some kind of infection and maybe all of a sudden they–they’d lose weight as a by-product of that or maybe they had a chiropractic adjustment and they were holding on so much stress somewhere that they were gaining weight, and you know, I’m not saying that you know, cracking all those bones is the cure-all, but maybe for certain people they might be holding so much stress and inflammation somewhere that they might hold on extra weight.  So let’s dive more into the inflammation portion.  What are–?  Yeah, go ahead.  I feel like you already know my question before I ask it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, so when we look at inflammation, fat cells are almost one of the number one producers of inflammation.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right?  One of the things we can do by just getting rid of fat cells, we decrease specific interleukins that are actually produced by the fat cells.  That’s number one.  That’s–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You know, one of the most important things.  And number two is fat cells are the largest producer of estrogen.  So as a man, estrogen is gonna destroy the feedback loop that produces testosterone.  We have this LH, this luteinizing hormone feedback loop that’s gonna get all messed up if we’re over-secreting estrogen from our fat cells.  So just by working on and doing things to reduce our fat cells is gonna be huge–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  To reduce inflammation in general.  So then we always have to ask what’s driving fat gain, right?  And Diana Schwarzbein, she’s an endocrinologist out of the LA-Santa Barbara area, she has a great quote that I’ve used my whole career which is you get healthy, then you lose weight.  You don’t lose weight to get healthy.  So we always wanna have the causal in sequential terms, meaning the causal element is getting healthy and then what does that mean?  That’s really up, basically, to you and your functional doctor to look at what body systems aren’t working.  So most of the patient are inflamed, so the first thing we can do is we can just stop inflammation, by working on sleep.  We can stop inflammation by dialing in blood sugar, right?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We can work on inflammation by cutting out food allergens.  We can cut out inflammation by adding in extra anti-inflammatory support like fish and grass-fed meat.  These are all things that can help knock down the inflammation, and then from there, it’s just a matter of looking at what other body systems are damaged.  Again, females tend to be a little harder because they have about 90%–I should say, men have about 50% of their fat tends to come from fluid, from intercellular–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Just water, where women it’s only 10%.  So they have a lot of more fat gain they have to work on than men, so they don’t quite that rapid gain.  And a lot of women get discouraged because they see their husband or they see their significant other or a friend who’s male lose weight really fast and you may not see that in females because of the intricate hormonal balance.  And a lot of women–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They’re estrogen-dominant.  So the estrogen dominance basically becomes a way in which their fats kinda lock down, if you will.  So, estrogen dominance is nothing more than having your estrogen to progesterone ratio, typically our normal about 23 to 25 times more progesterone to estrogen.  So once we start going below 20 times, we have 20 times progesterone to estrogen, 10 times, 15 times.  Once we start dropping beneath 20, we’re starting to become progressively more estrogen-dominant and it becomes harder to lose the weight.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.  Definitely.  One thing that I wanted to bring up, because I know that this is something that you might find people struggling with and it depends on their level of how much high quality vegetables or fruit that they’re eating because when you start eating real food, you start to get a lot of the water and kinda let go of things that you don’t need.  I find a lot of my clients personally have, you know, I’m not saying any names you guys, so don’t get embarrassed, they don’t know who you are, but they might have like constipation issue because, you know, their body’s like trying to hold on to every little bit of water that they have in their cells or dying for nourishment and the best thing we can do is give our self clean water.  A lot of people don’t–their water is not actually even clean.  And how could making sure that we have a diet fresh in whole foods because a lot of the fake foods that we have now are so void of nourishment but also like even hydration, how could simply hydrating correctly help with losing weight?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, again, the solution to pollution is dissolution says that Dr. Robert Rickowski–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We had on the show a couple of weeks ago.  Essentially our fat cells are–tend to be a toxic reserve, because a lot of toxins in our environment are fat-soluble.  So as we start running phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification, these are our cytochrome P450 oxidase pathway that our big jeopardy were there, there’s just certain enzymes that get run that take our fat and start turning it into water-soluble toxins and then we excrete it via the skin, via the lymph, via the stool, via the urine.  So we wanna make sure these pathways are upregulated and again, amino acids, primarily sulfur-based amino acids run these pathways.  So if we don’t have the extra detoxification support and the extra sulfur and we don’t have adequate digestion of these amino acids because we’re on a proton pump inhibitor or we have all kinds of digestive issues, well, we’re not gonna be able our detoxification pathways appropriately.  And again, there’s many studies that we release a lot of interleukins and inflammatory cytokines due to fat loss.  So we wanna make sure if there’s stubborn fat loss that we are supporting detoxification.  So I always recommend a good organic acid test with my patients especially when we’re struggling with fat loss because we can see how the carious detoxification pathways are running.  And that’s super important so we can get specific in supporting this reduction.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.  Definitely.  Now I don’t wanna get all conspiracy theory over here, I mean, I don’t think it’s a conspiracy, I think it just, you know, this is where money goes and people don’t wanna waste money that have a lot of money, but the flora in our water probably isn’t helping those you–or just most tap water, I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s cleaner than, you know, dirty water, but should we make sure that we’re filtering our water or getting a fresh source of water, and because it’s water, if we’re–our bodies are 70% water, wouldn’t it be wise to make sure that our cells are getting fresh water or maybe even what–like a pinch of like some sea salts in it?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I mean, there’s a great book out there called Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by Dr. Batmanghelidj.  They call him Dr. Batman for short.  He lectured about drinking about half your body weight in water.  Half your body in ounces of water.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So if you weight–I’m, I weigh 200 pounds, I would drink roughly about 100 ounces of water a day.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And this is helpful because it’s gonna dilute the toxin–it’s gonna dilute these toxins.  So if you have, let’s say, you have some cranberry juice in a jar, right?  It’s bright red.  We just start adding a little bit of water to it, you notice the color of that cranberry juice lessens, right?  The potency–

Baris Harvey:   Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The taste of it lessens.  It’s the same thing with toxins, folks.  When we put water in the system, it’s gonna basically decrease the toxicity.  But also our blood is primarily water-based.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So do you want good clean blood that’s allowing to flush these toxins out?  We need good clean water there to provide some of the building blocks for blood and just diluting a lot of these toxins down, but again if we’re not–if we don’t have the amino acids in place to help run these pathways then we’re still not gonna be able to flush them out.  So one of the great things is running an organic acid test and we can look at 2-methylhippurate or take glucarate, alpha-hydroxybutyrate, pyroglutamate, sulfate.  These are just markers for sulfur amino acids–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And basically, just to kinda recap, we have phase 1 detoxification and my analogy that I give patients is, it’s like taking an apple core or maybe some orange rinds and throwing it down the garbage disposal.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We’re taking that solid plant matter and we’re grinding it up.  That’s phase 1.  We’re taking something that’s solid or fat-soluble and we’re making it water-soluble.  That’s phase 1.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Phase 2 is we gotta turn on that water and flush it out.  Anyone knows if they just put their plant matter, they’re apple cores and their orange rinds in there and just let them sit after they grind it up and they walk away for a few hours, what happens when you turn the water on a few hours later?

Baris Harvey:   Oh, man, you got flies flying outta there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You got flies, but not only that, it tends to congeal and becomes more solid and it actually clogs–

Baris Harvey:   Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The drain, right?

Baris Harvey:   It gets all sludgy, I guess all sticky.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, it clogs up.

Baris Harvey:   It gets stuck.  Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So when you grind it up, you wanna be running that water so we can flush out right away, right while it gets liquefied.  You don’t wanna give it a chance to congeal.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So we’re flushing it out.  That’s phase 2.  And phase 2 involves all of these different amino acids, from methionine to all your sulfur compounds, like N-acetylcysteine.  We can use some taurine in here, some cyanine–

Baris Harvey:   And let me ask you real quick, too.  Because I know some people–I’ve had some people on the internet almost kinda say, “Oh, you know, there’s a–it’s a big, you know, myth, you know, out there they are saying, ‘Oh, toxins! They’re always talking about toxins.’ And how are toxins associated with fat loss?  It’s about calories.  It’s about calories, it’s not toxins.”  And then–but my questions is–this is and because people are saying, “Oh well, prove it.”  So these are markers that actually test that your body is eliminating those toxins correctly.  This is proof right there.  There are scientifical proof that they want to hear.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, I mean, you have to understand first, right?  We have–people are talking about this, what toxins are we talking about?  Because the majority of toxins that are out there–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are xenoestrogens, right?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Fluoride, right?  Fluoride, the compound in our water is xenoestrogenic, right?  Our pesticides are xenoestrogens.  Xeno means foreign.  Estrogen means the hormone estrogen.  Pesticides is xenoestrogenic.  The hormones in our meats are xenoestrogenic.  The GMOs are gonna have some xenoestrogen compounds to it.  Also, let’s see here, we talked–oh the plastics that we’re storing our food in–

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are gonna be xenoestrogenic.  So estrogens have a fat storage-like effect and that’s part of the reason why women are so estrogenic.  This balance of progesterone is dropping because our environment is estrogenic.  Just go Google the documentary, The Disappearing Male, and they talk about why the male population has been dropping and a lot of it has to do with the xenoestrogens.  Go look at the 2000 study in, I think, the Animal Journal of the Journal of Reproductive Endocrinology.  They did a study looking at alligators in the Everglades and they wanted to see why the reproductive population was dropping.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now what they found was the women alligators didn’t want to mate with the male alligators and they pulled some of the male alligators up and they measured their reproductive anatomy, i.e, their penis, and they found significant abnor–in the journal, they talked about it, abnormal reproductive anatomy growth.  What they meant to say was their–the alligators, the male alligators’ penises significantly shrunk in size.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the female alligators, they didn’t want to mate with them.  But what they really found was the deeper underlying cause was the reason why there was major shrinkage in the reproductive anatomy department, of course, because their estrogen levels were off the chart.  They ran blood samples of the male alligators and they found their estrogen levels were the same.  They were comparable to their female counterparts.

Baris Harvey:   Wow!  Yeah, that’s big.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So, that’s huge.  At anytime, a real simple marker for estrogen.  Go look at any person that has gynecomastia or man boobs if you will, any abnormal fatty tissue in the chest, that’s estrogen right there.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And getting an estrogen detox done, really opting a lot of these higher dose sulfur amino acids, and cutting out all of the potential sources for your diet where these things could be in, right?  Don’t drink out of plastic water bottles.  Don’t put your food in plastics.  Plastics are okay at cooler temperatures but once you start getting warmer, it’s gonna leech out.  Get Pyrex, right?  Get your good Klean Kanteen.  Avoid all pesticides and chemicals.  These things are paramount.  And get a good high-quality water filter.  I have a whole house water filter and I also have an under the counter water filter from my sink that filters it twice and it re-infuses minerals back in.  So I filter–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  My water out twice.  One systemically and one right at the source.  So these are really important things that we can do to help promote weight loss is just get the estrogens out of our diet.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.  And for someone who like–a male who may be already has some like gynecomastia issues, maybe has–doesn’t have enough aromatase or has an inhibition, what are some of the things that you might advise that person to do?  Besides what we just mentioned like the removal of that, alright.  What can they add in to help?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So a couple things that we can add in is we can add in a lot of–we can add concentrated amounts of the cruciferous family.  The cruciferous family is high in compounds called diindolylmethane or indole-3-carbinol.  These are based–these are the sulfur-based amino acids that will help with detoxification.  Maybe not amino acids, they’re more compounds, but they’re more detoxifying estrogenic compounds.  These are really, really helpful.  I would just work on getting your protein levels up using a high-quality protein support product that has sulfur amino acids in it that helps run your phase 2 pathways, even add in tonifying herbs that will help support your liver as well, like milk thistle and artichoke extract, turmeric, and dandelion and fringe tree, really making sure your digestion is working because again, a lot of these toxins come out of the liver into the gallbladder, and the gallbladder gets released when we eat fat.  So eating good clean fats is also like a stimulus.  You can imagine as a good stimulus–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  For changing the oil and imagine that oil getting all mucked up with estrogens if we don’t have good clean fats in our diet–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And fats tend to concentrate toxins.  We want to make sure we’re eating fats if we’re doing it ideally from like grass-fed meat or good organic sources because they’ll be higher in toxins.  So good clean fats–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Will stimulate the gallbladder to release bile which will then have a lot of our nasty stuff in it and a lot of our nasty estrogens, and if we have good digestion we can poop out a lot of those estrogens and if we support it with some of those products I mentioned, we’ll be able to excrete a lot of those estrogens as well and they won’t have as much of an effect on stimulating our fat growth.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, definitely.  I couldn’t agree with you more and one other things that I was thinking about was you know, because you mentioned like the gallbladder, I know like even working with a professional, it’s–it could be beneficial.  I wanna just advice on possibly doing this on their own, unless they have really a lot of experience with the natural health or like even a gallbladder flush and they kinda jump start–trying to jump start that car from being like, you know, really broken to getting back into things, but you mentioned eating good fats and I know, you know, even during this flush, you know, you eat like you drink a certain amount of olive oil or even if you have too much MCT you almost have like this purge of like, you gotta get rid of all this bad stuff and it kinda pushes things out a little quicker which is somewhat uncomfortable for people to go through.  People like to get eased into it, but I know one that specifically, that is very beneficial at helping people burn fat, it’s the fat people often say, it’s the fat that burns fat, and CLA and a lot of people supplement with this and they spend a lot of money on supplements, but I know that there are certain food items that if you get it from the right source, you can get a lot of CLA into your diet naturally.  So could you mention how we can im–get some CLA which is the–it’s a fat that helps us burn fat through our diet?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, absolutely.  So CLA, conjugated linolenic acids is gonna be found at high amounts of grass-fed meat.  So getting good quality–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Grass-fed meat in your diet is gonna be important.  You can even have it in grass-fed butter, and this is kinda whole idea of putting good quality MCT oil and butter in your coffee.  And again things like MCT and coconut oil, they don’t typically stimulate as much of a gallbladder release because they don’t require enterohepatic uptake meaning they don’t require bile salts–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  To break them down as much, so again the biggest problem with a lot of these gallbladder flushes is if you have a gallstone in there and you do this whole grapefruit or apple juice with the whole olive oil and kinda gig, you’re gonna really stimulate your gallbladder to seriously contract.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And if there’s a gallstone in there, you can create significant inflammation.  It’s like imagine you have a porcupine, a little baby porcupine in your hand.  If you start squeezing that porcupine tight, well, those quills are gonna dig into your fingers and puncture and potentially draw blood.  Well, it’s the same thing with your gallbladder because your gallbladder will contract in order to spit out bile salts into your duodenum, into the first part of your small intestine to break down fat.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And if there’s some little porcupine hiding in that gallbladder, it’s gonna squeeze down on it and it’s gonna create inflammation.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And you’ll get something called cholecystitis where there’s an inflamed gallbladder and nine times out of ten conventional medicines are gonna wanna take it out, and that’s not the right move.

Baris Harvey:   That’s not the right move.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You’re forever altering digestion, yeah.

Baris Harvey:    Yeah, and that’s why I said, unless you’ve done it before or you’re already in the health, like space and you–you know, you live in Santa Cruz or Berkeley and you invented the method, you know, make sure that you’re working with a functional medicine doctor who is the one advising you to do that or things that, you know, that would be a good step for you just because I know some people they see like a blog might write it down, and they’ll go “Okay, they put the recipe out,” and it’s like it’s not just supposed to be out there for like that.  It’s supposed–it’s more supposed to be used therapeutically.  And there’s appropriate time and place to do it and you should be guided by someone who knows what, how to do it, and what they’re talking about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly, so regarding with that, get the diet kinda dialed in first, right?  Make sure you’re digesting foods–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Properly, making sure you’re have a good bowel movement every day, at least 12 inches of stool every day.  Make sure you’re breaking down your food.  That’s the first thought, because if we’re not breaking our food down and excreting it in the toilet, well, we’re gonna be re-absorbing a lot of those toxins and that could include the estrogen.  So increase the water, make sure we’re getting the sulfur amino acids on board and that can come from high quality animal meats, whey protein, collagen.  These are all really good sources of sulfur amino acids.  I use specific supplements that are high in sulfur amino acids as well, so we want to supplement on top of them.  So these are really important and that’s gonna significantly reduce body fat, and that’s gonna help your body excrete a lot of these toxins off the bat for sure.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, definitely, definitely.  So you talked a little about water, about some basic food items.  We wanna make sure that we’re eating anti-inflammatory diet.  We mentioned that a lot here and being more anabolic.  But let’s dive a little bit into the–some the supplements that you think would be beneficial for someone to–what would be maybe some of the basic supplements that you would do if you were using or trying to look to lose some fat?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, let me just go back just one step here.  There’s an important–

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  hormone we forgot to talk about.  And that is insulin.

Baris Harvey:   Leptin?  Or insulin, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Insulin.  And leptin is important.  I just think of insulin as the first domino that’s gonna then respond by producing leptin.  So if we have insulin resistance, we’re gonna have leptin resistance.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So a lot of people like Jack Kruse and them, they really focus on leptin.  I don’t focus on it because I’m the 80/20 guy, right?  What’s the 20% that produces the 80% of the result?  So I see leptin as being a by-product of insulin, so if so we kinda dial insulin sensitivity, we’re gonna essentially dial in leptin sensitivity 80 to 90% of the time.  So insulin is an anabolic hormone.  It’s gonna signal your muscles and your fat cells to pull up nutrients.  Now this is important, we need that.  That’s why type 1 diabetics waste away.  Just Google image type 1 diabetics for insulin therapy, I think in the 60s or 50s, maybe the 20s was created.  Type 1 diabetics live to like the age of 30 and they literally wasted away like you’d see someone in a concentration camp.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Just wasted away.  So insulin is important because it actually brings amino acids into the cell.  It also brings sugar into the cell.  The problem is we are consuming so much sugar, we’re driving up our insulin levels and that’s throwing a lot of the sugar into the liver and after 70 grams of sugar that liver can’t hold anymore so where does the rest of that sugar go?  Well, it gets converted to palmitic acid which is fat.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So then the body will start storing that palmitic acid away, it will also–once the muscles are filled up, right?  The muscle can only hold about 300 grams of sugar–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  While the rest of that now goes in the cells and get stored away as fat, and the body has no problem converting that into fat.  So the goal is we want to keep our body insulin-sensitive and we wanna only use just as much sugar or carbohydrate as we need primarily–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  From natural sources, non-starchy resources or for healthier–healthy starchier low glycemic fruit sources are gonna be great because then we can control our insulin resistance but a lot of people are insulin-resistant and they’re driving so much of their sugar into the fat, converting it into fat.

Baris Harvey:   So wait, we shouldn’t eat Cheerios for breakfast?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well again, if you’re insulin-resistant like the majority of the population is, should primarily be getting your carbohydrate from non-starchy vegetable sources.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Again the more insulin sensitive you are, you can up the carbohydrate, right?  You can up the carbs.  There’s this fine balance because, especially if you’re exercising–exercise and especially stress will increase cortisol but insulin actually blunts the effect of cortisol.  So we have this nice balance where insulin can drive cortisol down.  So if we’re exercising hard, we may want to use insulin-stimulating foods to drive down cortisol and to shift our body into becoming more anabolic.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Again, a lot of the best bodybuilders, they’re not just using steroids but they are actually injecting in insulin.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They’re using insulin because insulin is incredibly anabolic as it puts things into your cell.  It drives amino acids into your cell and it will drive sugar and convert it into fat into your cell.  The problem is, is that we don’t have any more reserves for sugar, so all that sugar is just getting converted into fat.  And that’s the big problem and with extra insulin, especially for men, you’re gonna drive a lot of your testosterone, you’re gonna end up converting it into estrogen via the aromatase enzyme.  So once you become more insulin-resistant, you upregulate this enzyme called aromatase and that takes a lot of your testosterone and shuttles it downstream into estrogen.  So now you’re insulin-resistant and you have estrogen, so now you’re gonna start having man boobs and you’re gonna start putting on more and more fat because of how estrogen affects fat storage.  It causes you to store more, that’s why women have more adipose tissue in the breast area, in the hips, and thigh area.  It’s not just because of, you know, someone being overweight.  It’s because they have hormonal changes that drive that and they need that for healthy pregnancy, too.  Without that extra adipose tissue, there’s actually a couple of studies where the less the adipose tissue in those areas on females, they saw a less–a smaller IQ–I shouldn’t say smaller–a lower IQ in the children that were born to women that had less body fat in certain areas.

Baris Harvey:   Wow! Yeah, that’s super important to maintain that balance.  So you mentioned that the fact about this it’s also–insulin is like a storage hormone–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Baris Harvey:   And of course, if you’re 200 and, you know, 57 or you know, 70-pound bodybuilder or athlete, you might have a little bit more storage space in those big muscles for more carbohydrates than a normal individual.  And if you have a higher sensitivity after you train, you know, eating starchier foods might not necessarily hurt you, but it’s funny because we know that after we train, we emptied our storage sites and that’s the perfect time because it’s driving it to the muscle.  But we wake up in the morning and it’s funny we take that same analogy, we’re gonna say, “Oh well, they’re empty or they’re empty of glucose so we’re gonna have to eat sugar in the morning,” but it seems like that’s not necessarily the case that–well, it’s okay that you’re emptying your body can make new sugars and it can focus on burning fat while you do that and have, you know, more of a fat-burning breakfast and later on in the day when you train, you can probably have more carbs but–so what’s it–what’s your take on that viewpoint?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Can you just reiterate that–those exact news, crystallize your last statement into one kinda all-sentence there for me, Baris?

Baris Harvey:   Oh yeah, no problem.  I’ve had some people view the point of eating more their carbs after they work out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yes.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.  So, yeah, absolutely.  So in the morning we’re gonna have naturally have a higher amount of cortisol.  So we’re gonna have the ability to mobilize amino acids from proteins, right?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   This is called gluconeogenesis, really important if you have a big word in medicine if you just break it up, you can kinda find out what it means.  Gluco meaning sugar, neo meaning new, genesis meaning forming.  So it’s new–forming new sugar, and it’s forming out of protein.  And we have 15 amino acids in our body that are gluconeogenic.  We can convert them to protein.  That’s good to know.  So off the bat, I recommend anyone trying to have significant weight loss to go lower, very lower carbohydrate, higher fat, and higher protein in the morning.  That’s important because then we’re gonna really force our body to tap in to fat for fuel throughout the day which is important.  But on the flip side, cortisol is lower at night, so I recommend having a little bit more of your carbs at night because you’re not gonna have the cortisol pushing up your blood sugar.  So without that blood sugar being pushed up, blood sugar can go low at night and potentially people may have a hard time or may find themselves waking up at night and this is because of the fact that their blood sugar is dropping.  So having a little bit carbs with some protein and fat at night, maybe some sweet potato, maybe some squash, maybe just a handful of berries and such, wherever, you know, is gonna be the best carbohydrate source for you, feel it out and figure out what works best.  That tends to help keep that blood sugar in a good normal range.  So that’s a good recommendation especially if you’re having sleep issues.  Now a couple of things here.  A lot of people with adrenal fatigue, if you’re going too low-carb, I know Jimmy Morris talked about this on his Twitter and blogs that he’s having a hard time losing weight because his weight is starting to go back up, I postulate with Jimmy there’s some cortisol stress-induced issues with him going potentially just too low carb for too long, potentially some adrenal and thyroid problems going on, and potentially increasing the carbs just a little bit may be beneficial for Jimmy or again, lots of people that are in his position and/or looking at the thyroid and the adrenals and supporting both of those.  Because too low carb can potentially be a stress response if we’re not producing the cortisol to create sugar out of protein.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So a little bit of carbs can be helpful and supporting the thyroid and supporting the adrenals if you’re finding that you’re going low carb for a while and you’re still not getting the results, you’re starting to plateau, start upping the carbs 5 or 10 grams a day, see if you find a spot where you feel good.  And then if you’re working out, try to have something that’s gonna be a little bit insulin-stimulating after a meal so we can blunt the effects of cortisol.  Insulin is wonderful at buffering cortisol so adding in maybe a little bit of starch, maybe some berries, maybe a quarter or a half a banana with some amino acid because you wanna utilize that insulin and drive those proteins right into the muscle.  So doing both will be excellent.  So figuring out, kinda if your low-carb diet is plateauing, this is where it can be good to start dialing up the carbs just a little bit and see what works for you.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  That was really, really well put.  I guess before we start to get closer towards the end, talk about some other supplements that you might think would be beneficial for someone.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I know.  We kind of ignored some of the supplements today because we’ve been talking about the physiology because that’s–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Super important.  If we ignore that, we’re just–we’re screwed.  But supplementation off the bat, I’m a huge fan of MCT oil.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  MCT is great.  I mean, I use conventional MCT that has primarily C8 and C10 fatty acids, this is capric and caprylic fatty acid.  This is really good stuff.  Dave Asprey has some good brain octane that I use as well.  And I do notice with Dave Asprey’s brain octane, it doesn’t really stimulate diarrhea like your conventional MCT, so there’s something to that.  And, you know, Dave claims it’s the purity factor.  It could be that he primarily has, I think, C8 fatty acid, not as much of the C10 like the other MCTs have.  So that’s really good product that I recommend adding into your supplement regimen.  On top of that, adaptogenic herbs because if–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So many people have abnormal cortisol levels, taking a high quality adaptogenic herb can be very helpful at modulating cortisol.  So if we have excessive cortisol, this could definitely cause extra fat around the tummy.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right?  But if we have too low cortisol, we may not be able to create enough energy and if we’re super tired–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, we’re not gonna be able to recover from exercise because we’re gonna feel like crap because our adrenals–remember exercise is cortisol-stimulating.

Baris Harvey:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We can do our best to cut down the duration and potentially even the intensity so we make less cortisol but there’s no but–no doubts about it, cortisol is gonna be stimulated through exercise.  So we really want to make sure that we can manage that cortisol secretion and that’s why having the right kind of post-workout meal is super helpful at blunting the effects of cortisol and also choosing the right kind of exercise.  So again, if you’re gonna have problems with fatigue and energy starting at a very shorter type of duration, maybe a Tabata or maybe just an interval fast walk to a walk type of thing can be helpful just to get moving.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.  Definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now another thing, this is pretty good, is exercising in the morning first thing on an empty stomach.

Baris Harvey:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now, not too intense.  I don’t recommend–keeping the work under a half hour is a pretty good rule of thumb if we’re–if we are working out on an empty stomach.  That’s really, really important.  So I recommend, get up, do like a Tabata, do some type of interval.  I did sprints this morning, like kind of a walk-sprint, walk-sprint kinda gig.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s important.  Again, that’s gonna stimulate these GLUT4 receptors and GLUT4 is pretty cool.  These little transporter modules that help pull blood sugar out of our bloodstream so–and bring it into the muscles.  So this is great because if we have less blood sugar in our bloodstream, well, guess what happens?  We need less insulin to bring it into the cell.  Less insulin means less insulin resistance, so our body becomes more insulin-sensitive.  And that’s great because if we’re insulin-sensitive, we’d less likely to be shuttling that fat–excuse me, we’re much less likely to be shuttling that sugar into our fat cells.  And as a guy, we’re also gonna be less likely of taking that testosterone and shuttling it downstream into our fat cells and making estrogen because of the aromatase enzyme.

Baris Harvey:  Yes, definitely.  Yeah, I like all of those and especially you mentioned training in the morning before you eat so you’re on an empty stomach, so that way you’re utilizing and you’re mobilizing that fat.  I think that’s great.  I enjoy doing some, sometimes even like relaxing stuff like yoga which is still–some positions are still difficult to get in and you got–you know, you’re muscle is shaking to get in the right and hold them for a certain time, but it’s also could be really refreshing and even that positive endorphin rush can be so beneficial to you as you start your day and maybe, you know, you’re less stressed out in your day and now you can go ahead and you have a better outlook on your entire day when you started day off right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, exactly, and then one thing on top of the hormone changes, it’s just kind of a cruel joke that mother nature plays on us as humans is as men increase aromatization and make more estrogen, women actually increases enzyme called 1720-lyase–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And they produce more testosterone.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then you start having this whole PCOS sequelae–and PCOS is polycystic ovarian syndrome and most women that have polycystic ovarian syndrome are insulin-resistant.  You’ll see 2 kinds of women.  You’ll see the women that are low blood sugar.  They are reactive hypoglycemic, they have very low blood sugar, and they’re also a lot of times skinny but they’re also sarcopenic meaning they have very low muscle mass.  They are skinny fat.  Right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then you have the women that are insulin-resistant and then they’ll be on the heavier side.  They may have some acne or skin issues and they may even have just a little bit of peach fuzz especially along the jawline, or they’ll start having follicles or darker color hair in their facial hair.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And that’s one of the big things we see in them that high amount of insulin does a whole bunch of things, right?  What it starts to do is it increases prolactin levels.  When prolactin starts increasing, that basically screws up a woman’s cycle.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That thing will drive off women cycles they’ll start having lots of PMS and then hormonally, they’ll feel like crap and then they’ll have sweet cravings and they eat more crap and then they’re moody, and it’s really a vicious cycle because women’s hormones are very intricate.  I also tell my patients that a man’s hormonal cycle is like a fog horn.  It’s just there.  It’s just *beep*.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Women cycle, it’s like a symphony, right?

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We got the orchestra coming in.  We have FSH and then LH and then a rise in estrogen and a drop in estrogen, and a rise in progesterone and then a subtle drop in progesterone and estrogen and then a drop, and then menstruation.  And it’s this wonderful, beautiful cycle, but again when you have more moving parts, things get messed up.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So the first cog in the wheel that I wanna just back up with is insulin.  Insulin’s gonna really messed up this cycle and cause lots of females to then put on extra weight, and that’s why one of the first line in therapy for this in conventional medicine is metformin or Glucophage.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Which is an insulin-sensitizing drug.  It causes your liver to stop producing sugar and it also causes less absorption of sugar in the intestinal tract, which actually in long-term can cause B12 problems which is definitely an issue you want to avoid.  If you’re on metformin, make sure so you take a high-quality B12.

Baris Harvey:   So, real quick, you said, it stops your liver from producing insulin you mean?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It stops your liver from producing glucose.

Baris Harvey:   Oh, okay.  You didn’t mean that.  Okay, just making sure.  So it’s not able to break it down and form glucose.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, basically your liver produces–

Baris Harvey:  It can’t do the neogenesis.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, it can’t produce gluconeogenesis, less of it.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So it’s providing–it’s making the liver make less sugar–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And it’s also creating the malabsorption of glucose as well.  But part of that malabsorption also comes with some malabsorption of B12, too.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And we need B12 to make healthy red blood cells, so then we–then we’re setup in this sequelae of potential fatigue down the road if we’re on this drug long-term.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm. Definitely.  Sounds good.  Well, let’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So, let’s kinda–

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, let’s kinda get a summary–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:   And an action plan real quick.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, so a couple things off the bat.  Add some MCT, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Add some MCT in your coffee.  That’s a really important thing.  Exercising 10 or 20 minutes on an empty stomach in the morning is gonna be really important, right?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Add in some high quality free-form amino acids and/or sulfur-based amino acids.  That’s gonna be really important.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You can add in things like berberine.  Berberine is a specific anti-microbial herb, okay?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The nice thing about berberine, it knocks out a lot of bugs in the tummy.  Like berberines are like Oregon grape or goldenseal or barberry or Chinese coptis, right?  These are all herbs that are gonna be berberines.  But they also show to be very helpful at insulin resistance.  So you kinda get 2 birds with one stone.  The berberines are gonna be really helpful at helping insulin resistance but they’re also gonna knock out a lot of the bad bacteria in the tummy, so use it.  Just make sure you follow up with probiotics, high-quality probiotics after you complete it.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And two, also add in some high quality caffeine either from a good quality coffee source like we talked about or EGCGs, right?  These are epigallocatechins.  These are the antioxidant compounds in green tea.  These are helpful at increasing free fatty acids.  This is another really, really good one.  Okay?  Also you can do some natural stimulants, I already mentioned a couple.  There’s that old one, the ephedrine one, má huáng.  That’s–can very be powerful.  You gotta be careful because it’s very stimulating.  So if you don’t have strong adrenals.  It’s something that you’d wanna–to pull out.  That wouldn’t be something that you–you’d want to have in there all the time.  Like I mentioned, cutting out all the toxins, right?  So one of the best things you can do is just really good medical grade detox with all of the–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Amino acids.  That’s gonna be super, super helpful at getting rid of a lot of the toxins as well.  So that’s a big one, too.  Now, there’s also insulin-sensitizing herbs, right?  Chromiums are gonna be really important, right?  Forskohlii or coleus forskohlii is very helpful with thyroid hormone production.  It’s also another insulin-sensitizer.  The adaptogenic herbs especially ginseng.  You can even use ashwagandha or rhodiola.  These are really good herbs that are gonna help with cortisol modulation; because if your cortisol is too high, that’s gonna bring cortisol down.  Also banaba, right?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Garcinia extract, cinnamon, these are all gonna be really helpful at stimulating the metabolism but also sensitizing insulin.  And then one of my favorites is also L-carnitine.  L-carnitine is a specific amino acid compound that shuttles fat into our mitochondria.  So L-carnitine is gonna be helpful especially if you’re–

Baris Harvey:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Vegetarian or if you have malabsorption, you’re gonna need L-carnitine to basically shovel the fat into the furnace so it can be burnt up.

Baris Harvey:   Yes.  Definitely, definitely, I agree, I’ve used–I used L-carnitine before and I’ve seen my official results on myself and clients and again men, make sure we don’t forget these are wonderful supplements and then of course, sulfur-rich foods.  They’re so important.  I remember when I first started eating paleo, one of the best things that I did was I would always buy, you know, I was just starting out–you know, I wasn’t necessarily going to the Farmer’s Market yet, but I remember buying pre-chopped up broccoli and I was always eating broccoli and cauliflower and asparagus and, you know, these various sulfur-rich foods and it really helped me.  It sparked my modeling career.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, there you go.

Baris Harvey:  It helps.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  There you go, man.  Baris, I think you’re the only male model that I know.

Baris Harvey:   Well, I’m glad, you know one then.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, you know, what?  Then next time I see you in person, I wanna see your Zoolander impression, if you don’t mind.

Baris Harvey:   Oh, I got you.  I always have a little bit of acting in me, so.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I love it.  I love it, Baris.  Great.

Baris Harvey:   Well, thank you so much for all the awesome information that you provided here on the show.  Everybody listening, make sure you give us a rating on iTunes, it helps.  If any of this resonated with you or you know someone who would love to hear this, share this with them and it really helps spread our message and, you know, ask us a question and you want any more info about the topic.  Did you want to add anything else, Dr. Justin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I just think anyone that’s really trying to lose weight here, just remember if you’re having a hard time especially if you had longer term thyroid or adrenal issues, weight loss can take time especially if you’ve really fatigued these body systems.  So make sure you have the diet right, make sure you’re working with a good functional medicine doctor to support the detoxification process because sometimes detoxing too soon can cause a healing crisis and just make sure you’re doing a lot of the foundational diet and lifestyle things first before you add any supplements.  But that’s gonna be just a waste of money if you’re not doing all the other things first and then once you’re doing everything else, pick 1 to 3 of these things that I talked about.  Try the adaptogens, try some of the L-carnitine, try some of the MCT in your coffee, add in some of the extra nutrients like L-carnitine or some of the herbs like coleus forskohlii or some of the berberines and see how that works for you and just test it and then go back to the drawing board.  Just make sure you have the foundations dialed in first before you add some of these cool supplements in in the rotation.

Baris Harvey:  Definitely, Dr. Justin.  Thank you everybody for listening and you guys, I hope that–I kinda wanted to start a new phrase, I realize I didn’t have a really good ending.  Now I was thinking, you know what?  What can I wish to our listeners?  I want them to be well.  And I said, “You know what?  Forget that, I don’t want them to be well. I want them to be beyond well.”  So for our listeners out there, thank you for listening and be beyond well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it, Baris.  You’re the man!

Baris Harvey:   Uh-huh.  Have a good one!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You, too, Baris!

Recommended product:

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Adrenal Fatigue Treatment and Symptoms | A Brain Problem

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Adrenal fatigue is one of those catch-all terms in the functional medicine and paleo community. Let’s dig a little deeper into adrenal fatigue and adrenal-fatigue treatment.

Adrenal-fatigue symptoms include the following:

  • Dizzy when standing up fast
  • Sweet cravings
  • Weight gain
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Low thyroid symptoms (cold hands/feet, thinning hair, and low body temp)
  • Low immune function (gets sick easily)
  • Chronic pain/fibromyalgia-like symptoms
  • PMS/menopausal symptoms (your adrenals produce a significant portion of sex hormones)

When the term adrenal fatigue is used today, it is used inappropriately most of the time. Most people don’t have a gland that is fatigued like you may see in a long-term type II diabetic’s pancreas that now needs to rely on insulin to stabilize the blood sugar.

The adrenal gland’s lack of output is mainly occurring due to HPA-axis dysfunction; in other words, the brain is not communicating to the gland appropriately.

It’s like a thermostat that talks back and forth to the heater and the AC unit in someone’s house. As the temperature outside increases, the AC would kick on and vice versa; if the temperature would drop, the heat would turn on.

This intimate back-and-forth communication happens because the brain and adrenals cross-talk back and forth. This is how we as human beings adapt to stress. The better our brain can communicate back and forth, the more resilient we are.

hormonal stressors

Adrenal Fatigue Means Our Body Breaks Down Faster

Our adrenal produces a balance of various hormones:

Catabolic hormones:  Hormones that break us down, deal with inflammation, and liberate energy.

Anabolic hormones: Hormones that build us up and keep our body reproducing in a healthy fashion.

When our body deals with stress acutely, our cortisol and adrenaline increases to help mobilize energy and put out the fire of inflammation. Yet at the same time, our anabolic hormones (DHEA, progesterone, and estrogen) stay at healthy levels so we can adapt.

The more frequently our body has to deal with stressful situations like these throughout the years/decades, you will start to see the body breaking down faster because the catabolic hormones outnumber the anabolic hormones.

The Cortisol-DHEA Ratio

Our body shouldn’t be producing cortisol at a level of greater than 6 units of cortisol to 1 unit of DHEA. As our cortisol becomes >6, our body is shifting into a catabolic state (breaking down faster or accelerating the aging process).

adrenal ratio

Below is a lab test from one of my patients showing the elevated cortisol-to-DHEA ratio, signifying this accelerating aging process.

The lab markers are important indicators for the stress the body is under and can be a great marker to revisit to assess how patients’ improve various areas of stress in their life, regarding diet, lifestyle, infection removal, and detoxification.

Click here to get your adrenals checked!

Testing the Adrenal Glands

Assessing the glands that help control and regulate stress is very important to your health. Your body is designed to be healthy, and part of being healthy means adapting to stress. Your adrenals are instrumental at producing hormones throughout the day that are designed to do just that.


stress patterns

Cortisol is secreted in a pulsatile fashion, higher in the morning and then tapering off throughout the day. Cortisol is designed to help stabilize blood sugar and help deal with stress and inflammation.

The more dysfunctional our adrenals become, we start progressing into deeper stages of adrenal fatigue where our brain (the master controller) isn’t able to communicate with our adrenals properly. Thus, we develop HPA-axis dysfunction.

This is nothing more than communicational breakdown that can be fixed with proper diet, lifestyle, stress management, and a properly prescribed adrenal program (specific to your pattern of adrenal fatigue).

If cortisol is too high, this can affect thyroid conversion and disrupt TSH levels. The reason why TSH levels become effected is because if the body is stressed (a sign is excess cortisol), the body doesn’t want to raise its metabolic rate and break down faster. The next easiest step is to start lowering the metabolism or body temperature by dialing down thyroid function a few notches.


thyroid conversion


Most doctors may think the problem originates from the thyroid gland and put the patient on Synthroid. The problem could very well be attributed to the elevated cortisol production from the adrenal glands. This commonly happens in stage 1 adrenal fatigue and can be fixed with the right dietary changes, lifestyle, and supplementation.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Adrenal Fatigue!

As you can see in the various patterns of adrenal fatigue above, the worst of them is the extreme adrenal fatigue pattern. This pattern is flat throughout the day with cortisol being relatively low across the day, and even a slight raise in cortisol at night can throw off your sleep, too.

What makes this cortisol rhythm so devastating to most individuals is that it can cause low energy, prevent restful sleep, and decrease DHEA levels, which prevents them from healing and repairing optimally.

One study showed a flat cortisol rhythm was a major predictor of cardiovascular disease, even more than smoking!

When I discovered this study, it almost knocked my socks off. So essentially the closer your morning and nighttime cortisol are (a flatter slope in the cortisol rhythm), the greater your risk factor for the #1 killer, cardiovascular disease.

Early Detection of Adrenal and Brain Communication Problems

Getting a cortisol saliva test that can measure your cortisol throughout the day is essential to diagnosing exactly what stage of adrenal fatigue you have and if HPA-axis dysfunction is occurring.

There are some good telltale symptoms that help shed some light on how much adrenal dysfunction is present.

Count how many of the adrenal symptoms are present in your life.

Give yourself one point for each adrenal fatigue symptom you have:

  • Sweet cravings
  • Carries more fat in abdominal area
  • Dizzy when standing up from a laying position
  • Drinks more than 2 caffeinated beverages throughout the day
  • Blurry vision
  • Forgetful
  • Moody or agitate easily
  • Gets jittery, eating relieves jitteriness
  • Fatigue

If you have two or more symptoms, there is good chance your adrenals are under some stress and could use some support.

To get more customized information on how to address your fatigue, click here!

Blood Sugar and Hormone Stress

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

More than one-third of the country has a condition known as metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome has some important features that are seen in nearly all cases, and these are blood-sugar imbalances and insulin resistance.

When blood sugar or insulin becomes elevated, it can create inflammatory cascades that can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Metabolic syndrome or blood-sugar imbalances is one of the biggest public health concerns of today. And if left unaddressed, it could bankrupt our economy.

Most conventional treatments to address metabolic syndrome and blood-sugar imbalances do not address the root causes. Essentially, people with the condition can live longer with the symptoms; yet nothing is done to address the root cause of what’s driving the condition in the first place.

Below are some of the typical treatments that are used.

Conventional Treatments: 

  • Statins
  • Blood-pressure medications
  • Metformin or Glucophage
  • Surgeries to remove gangrenous limbs (this happens in most long-term diabetics if their blood sugar isn’t addressed)
  • ADA or food-pyramid diet (this actually makes the problem worse)

Below are some functional-medicine tests that can help detect early signs of blood-sugar imbalances or metabolic syndrome.

Functional Tests:

waist to hip ratio chart

  • Waist-hip ratio
  • Elevate triglyceride to HDL ratio >2
  • CRP >1
  • Elevated in LDL particle size B vs LDL particle size A (FYI: Statins do not have an effect on the particle size of cholesterol.)
  • Low thyroid levels TSH >3.0 or free T3 <3.0 (these markers are designed for early detection of a healthy imbalance)

Did you know that blood-sugar imbalances are one of the biggest stressors on your endocrine system?

If you are suffering from any type of hormonal imbalance, whether it be hypothyroidism, PMS, menopause, or even fatigue and weight gain, your blood sugar needs to be addressed.

Blood-sugar issues are almost guaranteed to be a foundational part of any hormonal problem. Every time your blood sugar ebbs and flows up and down, your adrenals and pancreas have to come to the rescue. When your blood sugar goes up, your pancreas has to produce insulin to help lower your blood sugar. While at the opposite end, your adrenals have to spit out adrenaline and cortisol to bring your blood sugar back up. Oh, and did I mention when cortisol goes out of balance it causes belly fat!


blood sugar out of balance

The more your blood-sugar handling system is stressed, the more it predisposes your body to hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue!

The typical pattern tends to be this: Eat a meal with excess refined carbohydrates, and your blood sugar spikes very high. Your body responds by producing a whole bunch of insulin to knock that blood sugar down! The pancreas overshoots, and produces too much insulin. Now, our blood sugar is super low, and we may start to feel anxious or jittery. Also, we may crave lots of sugar and sweets. The next thing we do is eat more carbohydrates and start the cycle all over again.  This is the cycle of death that is common with most patients who have hormonal issues. It may not be quite so blatant for most people, but at some level it is happening, and it’s very addicting!


Low blood sugar really makes you stupid!

When blood sugar drops (hypoglycemia), your body also increases production of an excitotoxin called glutamate. The combination of low blood sugar and high levels of glutamate decrease activation of the frontal cortex. The frontal cortex is the part of our brain that allows us to have higher levels of thinking and brain function;  it differentiates us from almost all other mammals. When we lose activation to our frontal cortex, it’s common for us to make stupid decisions, act irrational, and eat more unhealthy food. When we eat poorly, we literally lose our brain, and it’s so easy for this vicious cycle to perpetuate itself again and again and again (1).


hormonal balance

The same type of excitotoxin response can happen when you consume aspartame, food dyes, and MSG. Avoiding these food additives can have a tremendous effect on lowering your glutamate levels and thus not allow you to use your frontal cortex as efficiently. If it’s your goal to perform at the highest level, you want to make sure you are using your head!

blood sugar in balance


Excitotoxins also excite your brain neurons to death, another great reason why you want to avoid them.

If you’re having hormonal issues, one of the best things you can do is stabilize your blood sugar. Eating high-quality protein and fat first thing in the morning, within the first 30 to 60 minutes of waking, is very helpful. The more your blood sugar is stable, the more your endocrine glands can focus on helping you have energy and healthy sex-hormone balance.

If you’re having problems with your blood sugar, click here for more help!


1. The Effect of Acute Hypoglycemia on Brain Function and Activation A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Justin Marchegiani unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Justin and his community. Dr. Justin encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Marchegiani’s products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using any products.