Investigating Your Adrenal and Hormones With a DUTCH Test | Podcast #327

In this video, Dr. J and Evan talk about the adrenal glands in our body – to produce certain hormones directly into the bloodstream. These hormones will respond to stress and other necessities to our existence. Also, they are discussing the detailed test needed to identify the root cause of problems and what other materials and hormones are essential to keep our adrenals and body healthy.

To support the body naturally, Dr. J recommends using herbs such as maca and ashwagandha. Progesterone, estrogen, and estriol may be fit for a patient. However, it is essential to know that protocols may be different for every patient since presentations and lab results may differ.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

0:20     Labs At Home

5:07     Low Cortisols

9:37     Hormones

11:09   Dutch Tests

28:19   Useful Herbs

34:47   Healthy Estrogens

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Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And we are live. It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani in the house with Evan Brand. Today we’re going to be talking about hormone and adrenal lab testing what we’re actually using in our virtual clinic to assess our hormone imbalances in our patients and different things that we’re doing to address those imbalances. Evan, how are we doing, man? 

Evan Brand: Good, excited to get back in the saddle here and talk about something that we can test at home, which is amazing. I think that’s the first benefit to point out about some of the testing you and I are utilizing is that many people now they care more about their health than ever obviously, the state of the world has convinced people that health does matter. You need to prioritize this stuff. And so we can send these labs to your door. And so the test that you’re going to be showing people today will be something that you can do if you’re listening via audio, you might miss the visual, you can go to Justin health YouTube channel and see the video, but we’ll be sure to make sure we talk about it in a way that you can still understand even if you’re just audio only today.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, if you’re listening to the audio, we’ll put a link down below for the video so you can see it. And also if you’re listening, you can go to Justin slash YouTube and hit subscribe. Alright, so let’s dive in. And so we deal with patients from all over the world virtually that have all kinds of different hormonal imbalances. It can range from a menopausal woman with lots of hot flashes, mood issues, vaginal dryness, depression, skin elasticity, hair loss issues, it could be a cycling woman that has a lot of PMS. pmdd breast tenderness, cramping, back pain, mood issues, irritability, also infertility as well. And then it was a lot of different imbalances in between excess androgen issues like we see in pcls, polycystic ovarian syndrome, we may even see estrogen dominant issues just like which could be PMS as well. Could be infertility, could be fibroids could be endometriosis could be fibrocystic breast issues, all of these things are on the table and of course, even manage a male issues to could have men could have excess estrogen and or low androgen and or low or high cortisol and or low or high Da, da all these imbalances are potential, I always tell my patients, you have the right to have more than one issue at the same time. And you can also have a hormone imbalance and also have multiple gut infections too. Of course, it’s all possible, right?

Evan Brand: Yeah, people hearing that too. They’re like, what the heck kind of mumbo jumbo? Did he just say, and how does that manifest? Well, you know, low libido, too. I mean, that’s one that I’d say at least 90% of the people I’m working with, that’s a question we always ask is, you know how you drive. And sex drive is always terrible for people. I was actually a study that came out. And the vast majority of people surveyed said that they would rather scroll on their smartphone on social media than have sex with their partner. And I thought, Oh, God, is that where we are in the technology world that the phone is more desirable than our partners? That’s no good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, definitely not good. 100%. So I just kind of laid out a couple of potential patterns there, we’ll kind of dive into them one by one will actually show you a real live patient lab here for y’all to kind of look at obviously, it’ll be centered regarding who the patient is. But we’ll put all that information out there for y’all. So you can kind of see how a lab looks out of the gate. So one of the first things that we do when we look at a patient, male or female, we’re going to look at adrenal function. And adrenal function is very important because your adrenals make cortisol. Cortisol is an anti inflammatory hormone. Most people in today’s day and age, they’re not under inflamed, they’re over inflamed. So having your body’s natural anti inflammatory system on board is vital, very, very important. Second is cortisol rhythm. Cortisol rhythm plays a major role in your circadian rhythm, which is waking up energy in the morning. Having good rhythm helps a lot with mood, and also lower cortisol at night. And that nice gentle taper of cortisol. So cortisol starts, it starts mid range, when you wake up, and in that first 30 minutes to an hour, it almost doubles. And then from there, it tapers down throughout the whole day. And we want a nice lower cortisol rhythm, lower cortisol level at nighttime, so we can wind down and relax not too low, when we start having maybe blood sugar issues, which could wake us up at night and not too high, where we could have problems going to bed because we’re too wired right, or not a reverse pattern, we’re lower in the morning, which means low energy and higher at night, relatively speaking, which could cause us to have too much energy at night and then we don’t get good sleep. So the adrenals play a really big role because of cortisol and its effects on anti inflammatory mood, rhythm, sleep, and then also especially for women listening men too, but da da da da sulfate is a precursor to a lot of our sex hormones, that helps with our female hormones. And that plays a big role in healthy, healthy reproduction. people. People think when they talk about female hormones or just thinking about having babies no your hormones there to reproduce you Yeah, reproduce the baby but also reproduce you which means healthy aging, healing recovery as a man to healing recovery. Healthy libido, good muscle building. In good building the ability to turn over your tendons and ligaments and bones, all these things require good healthy anabolic metabolism.

Evan Brand: Yeah, great point. You know, one thing you pointed out, which I think a lot of people miss with cortisol is you mentioned cortisol being too low at night and that impairing your sleep. See most people just a buzzword, or if they’ve ever heard of cortisol, they’ve heard of adrenal testing and things like that. They think, okay, high cortisol at night equals poor sleep. But you mentioned low cortisol at night or too low cortisol at night could also be an issue because of that blood sugar. And then what can happen is you and I’ve covered this before, but there’s some sort of a spike, right? Maybe an adrenaline cortisol spike in the middle of the night, is that what you think is happening?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so with sleep issues, you could definitely see a low cortisol kind of going into nighttime or low cortisol during the night. And that can cause a drop in blood sugar, and that drop in blood sugar can then signal a increase in adrenaline. So adrenaline tends to come to the scene first, cortisol tends to come to the scene 1020 minutes later, or so. So you get this spike of adrenaline that’s very stimulatory, that increases cortisol. And then now you’re alert and you’re waking up, right? So we want to make sure higher cortisol, lower cortisol at night that’s causing a increase in cortisol is not happening due to blood sugar regulation. So we want good blood sugar, good healthy protein, and fats, maybe work on amino acids and melatonin production at around bedtime, and maybe have something by your nightstand to help stabilize blood sugar before in your end. Or if you get up like a nice simple college and smoothie, or a really good protein and fat base, simple bar by your nightstand to stabilize blood sugar, those are all really really good options to help you on the sleep side.

Evan Brand: So like if you had a good quality protein, fat, maybe some carb starts with dinner, but let’s say I don’t know, 9:10pm, you go to have a snack and you just do. I don’t know popcorn or I don’t know, handful of strawberry, some kind of a simple sugar, you think it’s possible that your glucose could spike and then it will crash in the middle of the night if you’re doing something too simple or too high on the glycemic index?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, it depends on how blood sugar sensitive you are. I mean, the two examples you gave are two different things, right? Because grains and popcorn are going to be a little bit more higher glycemic, higher sugar stuff, strawberries, pretty low glycemic and a lot of fiber there, so probably not as much with the strawberries. But could you have some strawberries and maybe a spoonful of almond butter, right or some kind of a good fat or protein probably better, right? It just depends upon what time you’re going to bed and what time you’re eating. Usually you see people that are eating around five or six o’clock dinner, and they’re going to bed like around 11. And there’s like a five hour gap between their last meal and sleep potentially. And again, it has to do with how dysregulated their blood sugar is and how weak their adrenals are. So it really depends. But if sleeps an issue, that’s one pattern we want to look at. We talked about da da playing a big role. If you’re a female going into menopause, that means your egg follicles are being used up essentially. And you’re not going to get that hormone production from that follicle that’s now no longer there. So we require a lot of the DA DA from our adrenals to now be made. And if our adrenal reserves on da, da are low, guess what? We’re not going to have that that backup battery that we had already to go right we’re in middle of, we’re just coming out of a bunch of storms in Austin here. And if you didn’t have a generator ready to go, guess what you you went without power for a while, well, that’s kind of like going into a spa, menopause is going into a storm with a generator that’s maybe three quarters empty. And so the adrenal is play a really important role as the backup generator for sex hormones. And so the better that generator is charged up, the easier you’re going to sail into menopause and not have all the hot flashes and mood issues and sleep issues and skin issues and hormone issues and vaginal dryness issues that you may have with lower sex hormone reserves.

Evan Brand: Yep, well said you’re ready to show us this thing. I’m sure people that are on video want to see what the heck we’re talking about. We can see some of the rhythms and also da da is measure two, which is cool. So when we talk about a cortisol test, we’re getting a lot more than cortisol to right we’re getting melatonin also.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And then one last thing to look at is PCOS, which is also common. You see it more in younger women, you know, 20s and 30s. But blood sugar issues high level of insulin, this can really jack up testosterone and this can do a whole bunch of issues in regards to abnormal hair growth, you may see an increase in libido, some still go down. And then of course, weight gain is going to be another another big side effect there. Let me share my screen with you so you guys can see an actual lab test for y’all. Okay. All right. So while I get that going here, in the meantime, anything else you want to say about that, Evan?

Evan Brand: Well, you and I were talking about this before we hit record and that was the idea of retesting hormone. And so you thought well, based on a lot of people with progress, you don’t necessarily need to incur the cost again. So a lot of times you and I may run this as an initial snapshot, but depending on symptoms, you may not need to do this over and over and over again because a lot of the support We’re using a pretty broad spectrum. And they’re going to help regulate your rhythm regardless of where it’s at. Right? So initially, we may want to tweak one thing a certain direction or the other, but long term care wise, you and are using things that are pretty, would you just stay state stabilizing, not necessarily a big sledgehammer to the hormones.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It depends for me. So if someone has very, very low cortisol levels, or very, very high cortisol levels, and or significant estrogen dominance and low progesterone, the more significant the hormonal pattern, the more significant the imbalance, the more I want to retest less significant if we see corresponding symptomatic improvement, usually it becomes less necessary because the patient knows they’re getting better we can feel it, we can see it in their their physiological activation and how they’re sleeping, their mood, their energy, their libido, we can you know, their cycle, there’s just so many things that are improving that the patient is confident that we’re good. And if the imbalance isn’t major, right, they’re not a fertility case. They don’t have a major hormonal imbalance right there that may not be necessary, but I always kind of I’m on the fence always give the patient the ability to to make a decision on that. So this is my screen here, Evan, are you able to see it?

Evan Brand: Yep, we see it just fine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So here’s a Dutch test that’s done with a patient whose kind of perimenopausal menopausal, meaning their cycles kind of been on and off hasn’t really had it for six to eight months or so kind of in that area of transitioning into full menopause, which is usually not having a cycle for a full year 12 months in a row. So they’re kind of in this Peri menopausal phase, and usually perimenopause and start to hit in your, in your early to mid 40s. When you start skipping months, maybe you start having some hot flashes like symptoms, whether it’s mood or libido or a hot flash stuff. And again, it’s always tough to say because perimenopause can easily feel like PMS too, right? I think that the biggest differentiating factor is not having all the hot flashes and not having the skip cycles. When it comes to more of the PMS like stuff, that’s usually a distinguishing factor. But we look at the Dutch test a couple things here. This is our cortisol pattern, our daily free cortisol pattern. And you can see you wake up here at a and your cortisol should taper up in the morning, this isn’t within the first hour and then go down throughout the day. So this patient actually started with a here, right, this is cortisol with a pretty good rhythm out of the gates. But instead of picking up 100% or so they actually went down. So they started here that having that nice rise, they went down This is big, this is a big problem, right not going to have the energy you’re not going to have that good rhythm that good up and Adam kind of energy in the morning and they trace low the entire day, relatively low and flat the entire day. So we call this a flat cortisol rhythm relatively speaking, it’s flat, they should be starting here a peaking up at B and then gently tapering down throughout the day. And they basically start at a at their highest point. And they go down throughout the day. So very low and flat cortisol rhythm. Now when we look at their cortisol levels, they’re free cortisol, which is a+b+c+d, this is what’s represented on the graph here. And again, if you’re listening on the podcast, click down below to watch the video link if you want, if not, we’ll just try to describe it. They’re free cortisol when you add a plus b plus c plus d is 73. That’s very low. So if you see this little gauge here, imagine this is like the volume knob on your stereo, this is all the way up high this star and this on the left all the way up low. So they’re almost all the way till the to the left. It’s like their volume knob is like 5% on it’s like having a whisper out of their stereo. So 73 is very, very low. Now this is the cool part, right? So normally with a salivary test, right, the Dutch test is the dried urine for testing comprehensive hormones. The benefit of this test is we get a window into free cortisol, but also total cortisol could its urine with a salivary test, we’d only be able to see this 73 number, which is the which is the free cortisol, that’s two to 5% of all cortisol is free, and biologically available. The other total, which looks at the free, which is the two to 5% Plus, everything else that’s protein bound, is give us a window into all of our cortisol, we’re making them this is the cool thing. We never would have this number on a free cortisol test from saliva. But you can see their total cortisol, which is everything is very high. It’s 93 04. Right? It’s way off the charts. Hi. So they have very, very, very low free cortisol, very, very, very high total cortisol. So there’s not like an adrenal fatigue issue or like a low adrenal pattern. Even though the cortisol is low, their adrenals are making a lot of it right. And this is a common pattern we see when there’s HPA access dysfunction. So if you go down to this page over here, you’re gonna see what the HPA axis is. I’ll go back and I’ll just explain this in a minute. But if we go down to this page here, the HPA axis we have this feedback loop from the hypothalamus and the pituitary. This is the HP portion of the HPA axis. And this communication feedback loop talks to the adrenals where we make cortisol with We make DAGA. And we have our free cortisol, we have our total cortisol, we have our DAGA, this feedback loop from our corticotropin releasing hormone to the adrenal corticotropin releasing hormone. This feedback loop is our HPA access. And when this starts to break down, and that feedback loop that miscommunication happens, this is where we start seeing a very high amount of total cortisol and a very, very low amount of free cortisol. Does that make sense out of the gates questions they’re having?

Evan Brand: Makes perfect sense. So what do you do?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so let me continue to roll with that. Let me go back up here a little bit more.

Evan Brand: DAGA production look good there, though. That was nice to see.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s kind of break it down. So I always hit things like this. I might order of doing things that way. I don’t miss anything. So the first thing I look at is cortisol rhythm. How’s the cortisol rhythm? Good in the morning. A and then B, C, and D morning after night are low, low, low. So normal, low, low, low. So definitely poor cortisol rhythm. How’s the cortisol amount? Well, free cortisol is low. Okay, total cortisol is high. Now, so I tend to treat someone more in the middle in regards to their adrenal support, I won’t over support their cortisol too much, because we know they’re making a lot. So we’re really going to focus on an in between amount of cortisol and more HPA access support in regards to adaptogenic herbs, we really have to support good adaptogens. This being a menopausal woman, or Peri menopausal, we’re going to support the adrenals. We’re going to support HPA access. And we’re also going to use herbs to support the estrogen and progesterone receptor sites, we’re going to do both Okay, so you can see her now the next part is sex hormones. So we talked about the total cortisol right free cortisol, low total cortisol high strong HPA access pattern, and then the sex hormone wise, estrogen Astra diawl is low. This is primarily the hormone that’s going to be used in cycling women, progesterone is low, they’re both equally low, you see how they fall in the same place in the dial. So if you’re looking at the volume knob, they’re both in the same place, they’re both low on the volume knob. Usually with estrogen dominance, we’ll start to see the estrogen knob higher up relative to progesterone. So that tends to give us a good ratio if we’re intact. So estrogen to progesterone ratio is good. But the hormones are just low altogether. And then testosterone for a perimenopausal woman it’s in the bottom 25% of the range. Not bad. For a perimenopausal woman, you know, top 25 or top third to half is ideal. Not bad at all.

Evan Brand: And this woman was not doing anything correct. She wasn’t doing any dapa or testosterone support-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. And then I ignore total da da, I look at these numbers individually here, I look at da da sulfate, eat a clan alone and I look at them all separately. Her total da da number it looks okay. But that can give you a false interpretation. And again, I’ve been doing labs like this lab for six years, I’ve been looking at hormone labs for over a decade. So I mean, I’ve done 1000s of these things. So I always try to boil it down to the to the patterns and the data that matters and ignore the fluff.

Evan Brand: So how would this woman feel I think important to mention, you know, all these numbers, people may look at this and think okay, this looks like Greek so can you just explain how would a woman with that pattern be feeling we’re seeing that cortisol was okay?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Peri menopausal symptoms, a lot of Peri menopausal symptoms, libido, mood, hot flush stuff, skipping cycles, of course, low energy, mood stuff, all of those things are present for sure. And then look at her DAGA sulfate here, right? This is the backup generator of the sex hormones to the bottom 25% of the range. So this is the dial here, right? 170 she’s definitely on the lower part here that bottom 25% I like to group things based off a percentage, then the actual numbers don’t matter as much like I just say, hey, you’re in the bottom 25% of the reference range. I like my patience in the top half the top 25% or so. So I always look at things as a percentage. That way you don’t get overly infatuated on the numbers, the numbers can kind of confuse things testosterones in the bottom 25% not as bad there. But I mean, if we get the DAGA to the mid range, that testosterone should take care of itself because that’s gonna trickle downstream from DAGA to Android to testosterone. All of her androgens are okay, they’re all mid to upper 25% no problem. They’re her hormones are pretty balanced in regards to five alpha reductase. This is kind of the enzyme is very important to things going down a less androgenic pathway versus like DHT, which can be more associated with hair loss and prostate issues. And then if we go look at her estrogen levels over here, so this is progesterone, progesterone is calculated by pregnant a dial press plus alpha prineta dial so alpha and beta combined and we already saw her levels here. This is 1.9. I don’t know why the lab doesn’t show that number here. It should it’s like an error, but it’s 1.9 should be the progesterone number Now go look at the estrogen and that’s low. I mean from a cycling female we want at least 10 ideally 15 on the progesterone and then if we go look on the estrogens right, she’s low across the board. So estrogen is he one you know how you know it’s you want it has plenty in it, right? And that’s how we know it’s a one. And then Astra dial, this is your primary cycling estrogen. And it’s easy to because it’s got the prefix di and their di meanings two right, like two sets of dice die. And then we have estria, which is e three and the TRI prefix is how we know it’s e three. So for short e one e two, e three, or estrone estradiol estriol. And again, Esther dial will predominate when you’re cycling more, and estriol we should shift when you’re more menopausal, okay. And we tend to support more estria when they’re men appointment, women are menopausal. So her estrogens are pretty low across the board, you can see that you know, it’s gonna, these are all the metabolites downstream. But you can see, and again, if we want healthy estrogen metabolism, right, we have e to e4 and e 16, which are a different estrogen metabolites. And then you can see here, it goes down this protective pathway from a one to two hydroxy astone. And then that goes down into it and gets methylated into two methoxy. estrogen. And you can see here, right to keep it really simple. This 2.5 number on the estrogen metabolite should go down this pathway, at least half of that should be metabolized. It’s not so you can look at this at this methylation gauge. Don’t look at the numbers, just look at the gauge. So her methylation activity for metabolizing. Estrogen is actually low. So this is not getting fully metabolized. Now, why is that a problem? Well, one, she’s not metabolizing estrogen to her estrogen levels are low to begin with. So it just tells me that there’s some methylation detoxification issues that are a problem. Why could that be a bigger problem? Well, if we start supporting more da, da, maybe start supporting hormones better, this could cause a backup in regards to her hormones being metabolized, we may want to really work on supporting extra sulfur groups extra methylating nutrients, so there’s not a clog in these hormones getting metabolized. So, in general, we want to see at least half of this getting metabolized downstream. So if we look at two hydroxy, one, we want at least 1.25 there. And again, forget the numbers, it’s all represented in the gauge. So I want this gauge at least mid range. If the gauge is not mid range, and it’s on the lower side, it tells me we’re not metabolizing or methylating, our hormones actively, you know, as optimally as possible, and we may want to provide supporting nutrients to help that.

Evan Brand: So let me ask you this, if a woman, maybe she had run this and got the analysis from you, but then she just went to her conventional hormone doctor down the street, and he goes and puts her on some estrogen and maybe some progesterone, maybe some testosterone, how would that differ in terms of outcome based on this versus what you’re going to do?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, number one is they’re going to look at your extra dial just via the blood. And that’s okay. But it may not be able to look at free SSL dial as well. And most of the time, they’re not going to time it up at the right time of the cycle, you really want to time some of these things up around day 20 of the cycle to get a window of where progesterone is at. And then of course, you have to compare it to where in the cycle it is. And the next thing is no one’s going to look at how it’s being metabolized downstream. So we get a window into our total estrogen. All of our estrogens e one, e two e three, not just extra dial, we’re getting a window of progesterone as well. We’re getting a window into our androgens, we’re getting a window into d h, EA and our testosterone. And then we’re also looking at how it metabolizes downstream from 16 hydroxy from four hydroxy and to two hydroxy to four and 16.

Evan Brand: And then what’s the protocol? What’s the protocol for this woman?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So it depends. So off the bat, we may want to support estrogen metabolism a little bit better. That could be giving something like NAC it could be giving something like glutathione, it could be doing something like indole, three carbinol DIMM, or calcium to glucose, they could all be really good options. Even just giving some extra fiber could also be really helpful. Just to help out of the gates just to make sure there’s no bottlenecks there. Number two, we would support the adrenals accordingly, okay, we would support sex hormones as well. So depending on if she’s cycling or not, because remember, this woman kind of was skipping cycles. We would definitely do herbs like different kinds of phenotypes of Makkah that we use I use a product called feminine essence menopause as a special phenotype of Makkah. You can get that adjusted slash shop and the female hormone section that’s wonderful because it works on upstream HPA axis. We may work on the in different herbs to help the HPA access to like ashwagandha which is wonderful at modulating that hi level of cortisol. And then depending on hormones, we may want to throw in some progesterone, especially if she’s cycling in the last half of the month. And we may want to throw in a little bit of estriol. It depending on if she’s cycling or not, if she’s transitioning into menopause at her age, right 52, I think is the age of this patient. Well, the average age of menopause is 4852. So she’s definitely on the later side. So she may be transitioning into menopause. And if she has no cycles for a period of time, we may want to throw a little bit of estriol in, but if she’s not, if she’s still cycling, we don’t want to do any sgl. Right now, we want to focus on good healthy herbal support for astron production, we want to focus on good da ta support, we want to focus on progesterone, the last half of the month, we want to also focus on good estrogen metabolism. We want to focus on really, really, really good HPA access, support, all of those things are going to be really, really important. I’m not going to give like an exact protocol on dosing, just because it’s you know, this is a very general kind of thing right now, I don’t have the patient in front of me, but it just kind of gives you a good idea. What what I’m looking at there.

Evan Brand: Totally. So someone may think, oh, they saw that high metabolized cortisol and they may need, they may think they need to come in and do something like relora, which a lot of people talk about to lower cortisol, that is not the right choice to do because her total, or the free cortisol is already on the low end. Correct. So like at nighttime, like if this woman says, Hey, I’m not sleeping good at night, you’re not going to come in and use relora are you because that would take the low situation and make it lower? Is that right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I wouldn’t give something that would lower the free cortisol more like something like a phosphatidylcholine or serine. Right. But I would do some things to calm down the HPA axis for sure. So things that really can help calm it down. Because that total cortisol being really high is what’s telling me that there’s definitely HPA access issues. But I mean, you know, it’s possible some of these symptoms could could kind of conflict because our free cortisol so low and our total cortisol so high, but I wouldn’t overly lower the free cortisol, I would just focus more on adaptogens to help modulate over cortisol. Just the the overactivity, the overstimulation of the adrenals the whole, and that would still come in there and support with some pregnenolone and dapa as well. I wouldn’t overdo it either, though, because her cortisol is total on the higher side. So this is where it’s really important. Like, it’d be really easy to want to give this woman a lot of licorice and a lot of pregnenolone. Some of that may be necessary, but you may want to just take the fact take into consideration that she has a total cortisol level that’s very high. And we may want to have some kind of in between those. So we got to really look at that total cortisol production in relationship to the free not overdo it.

Evan Brand: Yeah, what you’re saying is because she’s desperate to feel better, right? And you want to give her more energy and you’re going to look at that rhythm and say, Okay, yeah, it’d be great to give her a boost here some licorice at breakfast time and maybe some lunchtime dose to perk her up. But you’re saying you can overdo it because of how high the total is in this case.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, very easy to do that.

Evan Brand: Yeah. And so then that would manifest how maybe anxiety heart palpitations, insomnia.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If we overdo it, yes, harpy, potentially heart pals, potentially insomnia, potentially, anxiety, all of those things are potential issues that you may see a problem with.

Evan Brand: Yeah, and this is why we love to to mix herbs to right you’re rarely going to be using an urban isolation, right? You’re going to be coming in possibly with ashwagandha. But you may come in possibly morning. Maybe she could benefit from something like some eleuthero. Some holy basil, maybe some other more stimulating things. If you don’t want to go too high on the licorice. Is that what you would do?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct. Yep. 100%. Cool. Any other questions there so far? It’s great to see it.

Evan Brand: I think this should should help a lot of people.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, in general, you really want to make sure you kind of clearly delineate where the patient is in their in their hormonal pattern. I think it’s really tough. The hardest part is when you have a woman who’s perimenopausal who’s still cycling, but is starting to not cycle and starting to switch into menopause. Because you’re kind of you kind of have two ways to handle a woman if they’re still cycling versus they’re not because hormones have a rhythm, rhythmic fashion, and you want to add them in, pull them out. And if a woman is more menopausal, you can keep hormones really in throughout the month, you’ll have to cycle them as much. And so I always err on the side of treating a woman like they’re cycling until they clearly delineate that they aren’t cycling, because if I start getting hormones monthly, daily, and that could throw off their their cycling pattern. I don’t want to do that right first, do no harm. Let the body clearly delineate where it’s at in regards to its natural hormonal patterns. So the hardest part in dealing with women, is if they’re perimenopausal transitioning to menopause, I really want their bodies to clearly show me that they’re ready to stop cycling and that’s why I always treat them like they’re cycling until it’s crystal clear they aren’t.

Evan Brand: Yeah, and then that The most common time for symptoms, right? So that’s probably the majority of what what people are going to feel in that stage of their life, they’re going to feel the most symptomatic in that transition time, or at least in what you and I’ve seen, this is probably the most common time a woman’s going to reach out for help.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 110% Yep. So it’s really, really important to kind of take a look at that and make sure that we keep that in mind. Absolutely. And then also, you know, we have different estrogen metabolism risks, right, we have different estrogen metabolites. So if we look over here, we have e one, e two, and E three. And when you look at these different metabolites, you know, he one tends to be a little bit more, you know, safer, right? He one tends to be a little bit more safer in regards to his to his detoxification, okay. And then when you look at e4, or sorry, two hydroxy, estrogen, right, or Astra dial here, this can go down pathways as well, are four that could be a little bit more damaging to DNA. So our four hydroxy, could be a little bit more damaging, as you can see.

Evan Brand: Let me ask you this real quick. So if you scroll down a little, it’s showing how on that pathway, you can get DNA damage, it’s showing reactive there. So we have to factor in what we learned from the stool test into this also, right, because if we see like a high beta glucuronidation problem due to bacterial overgrowth, isn’t that going to mess up this same pathway or my..?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep, it definitely can. And you can see here with the different, you know, metabolites, right, your four is going to be a problem area, right? So you’re for your your two hydroxy. Your two hydroxy going into the this four hydroxy right here could be a problem. Two hydroxy tends to be a little bit less damaging right here, especially if you have good CMT and methylation, when you go when you because all these things can can conglomerate. So you can see how e one e two and E three can all go side by side, they can all transition. But then you can see they can go down to 16 pathway, which tends to be a little bit more gentler. It can go down the four pathway, which can go into reactive oxygen species, it can also get methylated, right? What’s methylation, full eight, B six, right? b 12 really helps support methylation, Coleen, and then also gluta phi m can help decrease a lot of this too. So healthy gluten diet and healthy sulfur, healthy cruciferous vegetables, healthy digestion of our animal products. And that can help a lot of this, this methylation issue, and detoxification. And then of course, we have our E, two hydroxy. Over here, which again, methylation is very important, full A B 12. b six, Coleen, right, healthy cruciferous vegetables are going to be really important if you’re here. And we can even if it’s really high, we can even do things like dim, we can do things like calcium to glucose, we can do extra fiber, things like that to help bind it up.

Evan Brand: And the reason you’re saying this is so important is because we need to get out these excess hormones, right, we don’t want them just sitting in the tank, so to speak, after they’ve gone through this process. So you’re saying the gluco rate, the Bluetooth ion, the methylation, these are all the processes in the body to get rid of these, once they’re done is I don’t know what the right word is. But once they’ve been used by the body-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: -agreed, though, your body will conjugate them bind that proteins to them and excrete them. And so we’re gonna really focus on a lot more gluta phone support more sulfur amino acids. If we see this guy over here, the four hydroxy ones higher. And then of course, you know, you can always give sulfur support methylation as well, which is going to be the B six, b 12, full eight, Coleen all of that as well. And this will support both of these two methoxy, two hydroxy, as well as four hydroxy. One, all of these are going to be very helpful, you can’t hurt to support any of those. And if we have anyone that has, you know, estrogen cancer, you know, risk? Well, we tend to if we need estrogen in someone’s more menopausal, we’re going to try to support more estria, which is going to be more cancer protective. But if someone has a previous cancer history, we probably will not do any hormones at all on the estrogen side. And just focus on progesterone as long as their their cancer is not progesterone sensitive, and good, healthy herbal support to help modulate some of the receptor sites.

Evan Brand: Yeah, awesome, awesome question there. This ties into a lot of stuff we do with the gut to which is really cool, because we’re often going to be in detox to we’re often going to be using Bluetooth ion for mold or chemical toxins, we’re going to be using calcium D glue, great to help with zero unknown or other mycotoxin removal, we’re going to be using possibly a methylated multi based on what we see with poor mitochondrial function on the organic acids test. So the cool thing that I’m seeing here, the trend is that the whole picture works together. So by working on the other body systems, we’re already really fixing the majority of stuff we’re seeing here plus the addition of some of the extra hormonal support.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, exactly. And then kind of the general ratio of healthy estrogens, is we like to see a kind of, you know, we have the, what’s called the estrogen ratio, where we look at Astra dial thrown relative to 16 hydroxy. Right? So it’s like we’re looking at basically each one. I’m sorry, e to e4 and 16. We like to see a higher level of 16 in relationship to four and two, right? 16 tends to be more cancer protective. Why? Because most of its coming from estriol. And then you can see two and four tend to be a little bit more from stronger estrogens, e two and E one are stronger estrogens, e three is a weaker estrogen. So we kind of have our two, four and 16 metabolite ratios, right. So you could say to four and 16, we want to have higher levels of 16 in relationship to lower levels of two and four. And again, it just depends upon how the metabolism is to right. If we’re metabolizing these things well, not as big of a deal, right? Because why these hormones come up higher typically is where they’re getting the hormones in our body from, from hygiene products, from plastics, from chemicals in our environment, or we’re just not metabolizing them. So we make sure the lifestyle components are dialed in, where we’re not getting them in our body and to we make sure that we’re metabolizing them as well. Does that make sense?

Evan Brand: It does it does and why we’re not metabolizing metabolizing them, I just wanted to make that clear to people that could be due to gut issues, right, there is a gut hormone component here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so the beta glucuronidaze enzyme really helps metabolize a lot of estrogens. And when beta glucuronidaze goes high, it takes the SD estrogens that would have handcuffs on them or a straitjacket on them that would be escorted out of the body. And it breaks those handcuffs and allows them to go back into general population. And so having good healthy gut levels is very important. Now, if you come down here a little bit more, this is kind of cool. We look at melatonin levels, patients mid range, not that big of a deal. These are the same markers over here. So we’re not worried. This is cortisone pattern, I don’t really care about it, it almost always is congruent. What we see on the cortisol side, you can see this kind of with more emotional stress issues. This is more like inflammatory stress. But almost always, they always tend to have a similar pattern as the other side. So I don’t really care as much, because you can see the cortisone pattern is almost the same as the cortisol pattern, right? And that’s not going to change protocol. It’s not going to change protocol. And the cortisol is the more physiological active compound, right? cortisol gets gets broken down downstream to cortisone, which is a weaker kind of metabolite, it’s the weaker sibling. So it’s not quite as it’s not going to be the stronger one we’re worried about. And these are all the same numbers on here. This test is very confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking at, because there’s a lot of repetitive data. That’s just more I think, so people don’t have to scroll around as they’re going over the labs. It’s kind of repetitive for the doctor so they can explain it to the patient. But if the patient’s looking at it, they think, wait, this is new, this is new, this is new. It’s just like this is like the third time they’re saying it not a big deal. All right, and then this is where we’re looking at some of the the markers here in regards to organic acids.

Evan Brand: How you can correlate to the Oh, I mean, have you-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s pretty good. It’s it’s on point, most of the time, sometimes it can be off, I always tell patients, if we have an organic acid test, like the gray plant lab or the Genova, we’re going to always listen to that one as the most important because that test is specific for organic acids. And there’s a greater sample there too, so it’s going to be more accurate. But if we have this test in by itself, we’ll still utilize it. So out of the gates, you can see here, b 12, this is for methylation looks pretty good 1.5, Santhi RNA can be six marker, kind of urinate look pretty good. glutathione is on the lower side, right? So with this patient, we may want to support either some kind of a sulfur amino acid or some kind of fluid found to help with estrogen metabolism. And again, it just depends out of the gates if we’re not providing a ton of hormone support. Her hormones are so low as well, it may not be a top priority out of the gate. If the person’s hormones were higher, definitely a top priority out of the gates. Okay. And then this is interesting. This looks at the catecholamines it looks at basically adrenaline, or catecholamine. do the exact same thing. By the way, norepinephrine, epinephrine, exact same thing. Three words that mean the same thing. I know it’s really confusing. So we have dopamine, which is the home of anolyte metabolite, and then we have vandalia Mandalay, which is a which is a metabolite of adrenaline or epinephrine. And so dopamine is a precursor to norepinephrine or epinephrine. So the more chronically stressed you you are you will pull dopamine, and so they have high levels of dopamine metabolism and high levels of adrenaline metabolism. What does that mean? It means this pathway, this pathway here is is redlined. So we’re really breaking down and metabolizing lots of dopamine, a lots of adrenaline, and that could be part of the reason why the adrenals are more depleted here, right. And so we may want to add in some amino acids to support some of the catecholamines catecholamines. Definitely stressed. Now, we just have to make sure as we add some of those support in that we’re fixing underlying issues. So we’re fixing diet, we’re fixing blood sugar, we’re trying to get sleep better. We’re not over exercising, we’re making sure all those things are, are pretty good. And then again, Melatonin is on the lower end of the range, but it’s at 24. The range is 10 to 85. So it’s not that bad. I mean, it’s in the bottom third. I only work on this if there’s sleep issues. And typically, I’m always going to be supporting melatonin with amino acid precursors. First, I’m never going to target melatonin by itself unless we absolutely have to. I rather give building blocks and let the body do with it what it’s going to do first, then force melatonin, but if we have to, we can at the lowest possible dose, like-

Evan Brand: What are you doing? What are you going to do for aminos on the homo vanolate vandal mandalay you’re mentioning there, you may come in and support aminos.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah so if you look at the range, they’re not super high. It’s six remember, this goes six point four um high end of the range four to thirteen. So i’d probably come in there with some tyrosine. Definitely i throw in some extra b vitamins, extra b6, even though b6 looks good. Just because these pathways are going to be stressed, so i really want to make sure some of the b vitamins are there. Some of the extra amino acids are there. I’m going to work on some of the adaptogens for the adrenals, i’m going to work on some of the adaptogens for the female hormones, uh we’ll throw in a little bit of DAGA, we’ll throw in a little bit of pregnanalone building blocks as well, if we go look here –

Evan Brand: So would you come in and never do dlpa over tyrosine in that situation, would you go based on symptoms like if somebody was like super weepy and crying at the drop of the hat, would you say okay we’re going to go dlpa instead or you’re just going to have tyrosine?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would just do tyrosine out of the gates. I’d only do more dlpa stuff if there’s like a lot more chronic pain because dlpa will tend to go down more of that beta endorphin pathway which could be helpful for chronic pain stuff. If not i would just hit more of the the tyrosine and the b6 and then really calm down the hpa axis. Does that make sense?

Evan Brand: Yeah it does.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then again you could see here pregnanalone is an important building block that we like to use because it’s it’s the mother of all hormones. Now i like it but you don’t want to just take it willy-nilly. I like to always use the lowest possible dose and i like to use it sublingually to bypass the gut and you can see chronic. So you can see here pregnenolone can go downstream to progesterone, right and then you can see pregnenolone, um can also go downstream to DAGA which can then go downstream to our sex hormones right, potentially some of the androgens. Potentially some of the female hormones right go right from here to andro to e1, that goes to e2 and then that can go to e3, all right and then it can also go downstream to testosterone too. Okay and then it can also go downstream to your mineral corticoids which are right here DAGA to where’s um.. Aldosterone here? Help me find aldosterone, where is it there.. Uh andro e1 let me know if you can see it but there should be a pathway where it goes downstream to aldosterone which helps hold on to our minerals.

Evan Brand: Is it at the bottom scroll down i’m seeing it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Maybe they left it out on this graph but there should be a pathway that goes down to aldosterone which is a mineral corticoid, which helps you hold on to your minerals as well. Now also too if you have progesterone right, but then you’re having a lot of like um inflammation right, you can go progesterone down to 17 hydroxy progesterone and then that can go down to cortisol right, so if you’re chronically inflamed you can create low levels of progesterone. Because progesterone is going from here right downstream to cortisol. So that’s why chronic stress and chronic inflammation could throw off your female hormone balance. Does that make sense?

Evan Brand: Yeah it does. Yeah it shows there too uh mother’s diet during pregnancy. Insulin, resistance, obesity, inflammation, hypothyroidism, licorice phthalates, I like how they put the information about what’s going to contribute to the problem that’s really cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep exactly. And then also you can see here you can go your cortisol right and then your cortisol this is your free cortisol here. Right, this is your your active cortisol. Um so this is your this is your free cortisol here, and that the free cortisol is going to be what we measure on the cortisol rhythm graph and then it can go down the um the cortisol. That’s more inactive right we have our the cortisol as well, which is part of our cortisone.

Evan Brand: We need to do a show. Let’s do let’s do another one on this and review our own. I’m going to get a new one. And let’s do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, absolutely. So our metabolized cortisol is thf plus th e right, this is our total cortisol and then our free cortisol which is the th the thf so f for free right, so when we look at this here when we look at this here the cortisol, right this is the free cortisol right and then the total cortisol is the free plus the e just an fyi so we’re looking at the cortisone plus the cortisol is what the total cortisol is on that on that graph above. Just so you guys kind of wrap your head around that. And they they left out the uh the aldosterone here. Let me just see if it’s there albosterone. No not there. So yeah. They left that out but that should be in there somewhere as well. I’ll put a i’ll put a graph on that all right. Anything else you want to highlight there evan?

Evan Brand: No. I would just tell people that this is a really good starting place. But i just want to make sure that if you go to just the hormone person that they don’t just treat this because i think it’s really important to understand that there is a massive issue with bacterial overgrowth messing up some of these pathways. So if you come in and you’re doing all these hormones but you’ve got the build up because of those glucuronidation pathway issues. I’m seeing that with mold too that these glucuronidation issues people are on hormones and sometimes they feel worse and i think it’s because they’re not addressing some of these other pathways. I don’t think it shows glucoronidation on this does it this this panel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No no. That’s gonna be more on the detoxification side okay. Any question there?

Evan Brand: No. I’m i’m good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cool and then just so you guys can see i’ll pull this over here real fast so if we look at this one right here just so you guys can see it so normally progesterone. Um it can go from progesterone down here into aldosterone and so in general if we look here it should go progesterone to aldosterone. So this pathway here you’d see aldosterone kind of coming down here if it really extends it all the way. Just an fyi on that all right. Anything else?

Evan Brand: I think we hit everything pretty good here. So are you saying progesterone could help aldosterone problems?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah exactly so if we support pregnenolone that could also help aldosterone issues also supporting licorice can help aldosterone there’s a basically a drug called fluorine f right there’s cortef that’s supports cortisol levels that are very low okay and there’s fluorina which supports aldosterone and licorice has a an effect of mimicking um aldosterone so that can be helpful because when your adrenals are really weak you may have a hard time holding on to your minerals and so that’s important because we need healthy blood pressure to perfuse blood to the brain oxygen to the brain and we also need good minerals to help our sodium potassium pump to work properly we need electrolytes for our nerves to work so. All these are really really important.

Evan Brand: So one last question then we should wrap it up. So if someone is taking adaptogenic herbs or doing adrenal supports they’re doing hormones they’re doing licorice. What’s the approach or protocol to doing this test if we get the test kit in their hands and they’re on let’s say an adaptogen blend. They’re Doing the ashwagandha, the licorice, and everything do you suggest taking a break or does it not matter we gonna we’re gonna see how the body’s functioning while on those herbs?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You’re talking about down the road?

Evan Brand: No i’m saying like right now they’re already on them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If they’re yeah if they’re already on them it may not be bad to take a look at kind of where they’re at with them already on them yeah for sure that i don’t see that  being a bad a bad situation if they’re taking hormone support it just depends where they’re at i usually don’t like it the day of just because you can get an artificially high reading.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If it’s if it’s in your system that day so usually maybe take 24 hours off that way it’s not overly high in the system.

Evan Brand: but you still see the trend. Yeah i’m always on the fence about it because you’ve got so many people taking blends which is great. I think you and I have really helped educate people about adaptogens but you’ve got people taking so much and it’s like well are we seeing an artificially good cortisol pattern or is this really how your cortisol pattern looks so i think maybe a day or two off sounds smart.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah if it’s herbs i’m not worried about those as much because that’s they’re going to be more modulating and it’s just where they’re at you know and if they tell me that hey i’ve been on them for the last couple of months and i’m feeling better good we’ll just have you stay on and we’ll just take that into consideration  on the test.

Evan Brand: Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: When we’re interpreting it because if they have some adrenal issues and they’re doing well with that well guess what we probably still want to make that part of their plan anyway we’re not going to change it too much right.

Evan Brand: Yeah well said.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Any questions there so far?

Evan Brand: No that no that’s it i think we should do a part two and review our own that’ll be fun i’m gonna get another one and run one on myself and you should do one too yeah i think that’s a great idea i like it a lot so.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think we hit a lot of good stuff here hope um you know anyone listening you can see that you know Evan and i are kind of the real deal when it comes to this like we actually do this we’re in the trenches a lot of people that you may see online are kind of they’re like thought leaders from a um let’s say esoteric standpoint meaning they’re not actually doing this to not actually practicing so we try to differentiate ourselves by bringing actual information so just kind of know this isn’t theoretical stuff this is Kind of the real deal and and hopefully that gives you confidence to take action and to try some of the things maybe you want to dig in. Maybe you want to get testing maybe you want to reach out to Evan or myself. We’re here to help you out, if you need more help. Of course start with all the foundations, we have thousands of hours of free content because we know 99.9 of patients that that we work with or help, they’re doing it with our free content. We’re not even seeing them now if you’re ready for that next step and you want to dive in. We’ll put links down below so you guys can reach out and reach out to Evan. Evan’s available worldwide and myself, Dr. J at to schedule with myself as well. We appreciate you guys um connecting with us all anything else you want to say Evan?

Evan Brand: No people really appreciate it and yeah we’ll make sure  to have the link if you listen on audio your mind’s probably blown right now you thought what the heck just happened we will make sure to give you the link that way you can see this thing because the screen share is great and you just want to give you kudos you’re a great teacher and you’ve taught me a lot about the dutch too so i really appreciate it and your eye to detail on this thing is awesome and most people don’t have that eye so we we really look up to it and really appreciate it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey thanks Evan really appreciate it. And if anyone has any hormone issues that are way out of balance and you want to double check it with some blood work too. I don’t have a problem with that either especially some of the androgens I always like to double check with blood if we’re seeing some chronically high stuff um feel free to do that as well. And i hope you guys enjoyed it. Feel free give us a share as well thumbs up and if you want to write us a review that gets us motivated. Um we’ll put a review link right down below if you want to write us a review on itunes. Appreciate it you guys have a phenomenal day. Take care now.

Evan Brand: Bye-bye. Take care y’all.


Audio Podcast:

Recommended products:

DUTCH Adrenal Test

DUTCH Complete Hormone Test

DUTCH Sex Hormone Metabolites


My Lab Tests Are Normal But I Still Have Symptoms

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

I see patients all the time in my practice that tell me they don’t feel right, yet their medical doctor tells them their lab tests are normal. The typical response from the average medical doctor will be something like this: “It’s all in your head. You may benefit from taking an antidepressant.” Or if you’re a woman, it may be blamed on female hormone issues, and the next solution may be to go on a birth control pill to help normalize your cycle.

Intuitively, people know something’s wrong even if their lab tests aren’t totally in the red. The most common response I hear in my practice—

“My lab tests are normal, but I still don’t feel well!”

Blood Test Normal Range

The problem with this scenario is there are physiological, biochemical, and hormonal explanations for why patients feel the way they do. Conventional medicine typically gives these patients no answers and worst of all, can sometimes make them feel as if they’re making it up.

In the world of functional medicine, we tend to look at things differently than your conventional medical doctor. Most lab tests have originated to include 95% of the population into the normal values. So if your medical doctor tells you your labs look fine, that just means you fit into that 95% category, or two standard deviations away from the mean if you are into statistics.

Anyone that has walked around an airport for just a little bit of time will be able to tell you 95% of the population doesn’t fit into the healthy category. Conventional medicine makes a massive assumption that the absence of disease is health. This is like saying the absence of being poor on the street means you’re rich! I hope my analogies help drive the point home that these assumptions are absurd!

Why the Answers to Symptoms Get Missed by Conventional Lab Testing

As society gets sicker and sicker and sicker, we know the reference ranges get wider, and wider, and wider. So if you are someone that may have been healthy to begin with, and then have a sudden drop in your health, you may still fall within that normal reference range. Thus, being told nothing is wrong.

It’s really not your medical doctor’s fault. Conventional medicine trains physicians to look for pathologies or disease, and this is a good thing. Where this paradigm falls short is when you aren’t sick enough to fall into the category of being diagnosed with a disease. So what do you do next?

Essentially, conventional medicine is saying, “Go home, continue doing what you’re doing, get sicker, and then maybe we’ll be able to diagnose you with something in a few years.” Intuitively, that doesn’t sound right to me. We need to look at things in a more sensitive way so we can pick up this slow and steady breakdown before it becomes a major problem.

Your body is designed to adapt to stress. Maladaptation is the number-one sign that your health is starting to decline. If your body loses the ability to adapt to the various stressors in your life, you will eventually come down with some type of disease. The goal of functional medicine is to figure out where the underlying stressors are coming from. Using specific lab markers that are sensitive, we can chart your overall health function on a spectrum so as we start incorporating treatments, we have objective and subjective markers of improvement.

Functional medicine can look at the exact same labs and potentially pick up subtle things that conventional medicine may not. Click here to get your labs assessed.

Thyroid Lab Testing and the Inadequate TSH Test

Most people have low thyroid symptoms even though their thyroid lab tests are normal! The standard panels that are looked at are typically a TSH test (a brain hormone) and T4 test (a storage thyroid hormone). It always bothers me that conventional doctors very rarely look at the active thyroid hormone (T3) to assess a thyroid problem. Especially since the research over time has shown that TSH testing isn’t the best to assess thyroid function. If TSH is elevated, it’s a surefire sign of thyroid dysfunction, but it’s a marker that tends to elevate late in the game.


functional thyroid range

Above are the markers that I commonly run on my patients to assess which pattern of thyroid dysfunction they have. Thyroid antibodies are also looked at to assess if there is an autoimmune disease at play. Most conventional physicians totally ignore thyroid antibody testing completely because it doesn’t change the conventional treatment; Synthroid will be given either way. Knowing whether or not a patient has an autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) can make all the difference in the world.

When we are dealing with Hashimoto’s, it’s the immune system that is out of balance. It is destroying the thyroid gland. It doesn’t make sense to put all of our focus on the thyroid gland if the immune system is attacking it daily. Some people with Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism) may need thyroid hormone depending on how bad the damages is. I always recommend getting a full assessment like the one above before it is recommended. Hashimoto’s patients will typically respond better on a combination of T3 and T4, like in Nature-Throid, or a bioidentical thyroid glandular instead of a synthetic T4 medication.

Adrenal Testing

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.


adrenal fatigue

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. This is where our brain (the master controller) isn’t able to communicate with our adrenals properly and we develop HPA axis dysfunction. This is nothing more than communication breakdown that can be fixed with proper diet, lifestyle, stress management, and a properly prescribed adrenal program (specific to your pattern of adrenal fatigue).

Blood Test Markers for Health

Looking at blood test markers from a CBC, CMP, or lipid panel can provide a pretty good idea of how the body’s systems are functioning.


When we see digestive markers, like albumin, globulin, creatinine, BUN, or serum protein, out of balance, it can tip us off that we may be dealing with some digestive inflammation, low stomach acid, leaky gut, and/or malabsorption.

Energy systems

We can look at markers like RBC, Hgb, Hct, MCV, MCH, MCHC, and ferritin, which are markers for an anemia. An anemia typically deals with deficiencies in certain B vitamins, like folate or B12 and/or iron. Most conventional doctors tend to miss these subtle imbalances. And they can contribute to a person’s inability to transport oxygen, create energy, and convert T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone).


When we see blood sugar markers, like fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, or insulin, out of balance, it is a good sign there is inflammation. There are more specific markers that can be looked at, like C-reactive protein, ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), fibrinogen, and a triglyceride-to-HDL ratio greater than 2.


When we assess white blood cell (WBC) function, long-term low WBC can be indicative of a chronic infection, while elevated WBC can be a sign of an acute infection. This rule is the same for the WBC’s constituents as well. Below is a list of the specific components of WBCs. We are looking at the markers below in a more sensitive range than the standard lab range, so we can pick up more subtle infections.

  • Neutrophils: Potential bacterial infection including H.pylori
  • Lymphocytes: Potential viral infection
  • Monocytes: Potential parasitic infection and recovering from an infection
  • Eosinophils: More specific for a potential parasite infection
  • Basophils: Can increase due to allergies, inflammation, or parasites.
  • Alkaline phosphatase: When low, a sign of zinc deficiency, which is a key immune-system nutrient

Blood Test Normal Range

Stool Testing

Most people who are tired and moody and have weight gain and hormone imbalances tend to have an infection! I have tested hundreds of patients, and I would say, based on my experience, over 70% have a parasite, bacteria, or fungal infection.

Yet in First World countries, it still isn’t accepted, by and large, that these infections can cause a problem. But having worked with many patients with these infections and having helped to remove the infections, I can tell you I’ve seen significant changes, and my patients will tell you the same.


GI Pathogen Screen

These infections can cause classic GI symptoms, like bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux. These infections, at the same time, can cause symptoms that are more nuanced, like depression, hormone imbalances, fatigue, neurological issues, skin issues, and weight gain. It’s hard to connect the dots when these infections aren’t causing the typical symptoms you would see in Third World countries (distended bellies and such).

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So What Do I Do Next?

If you are told that your lab tests are normal but you know something deeper is wrong, you are probably correct. Most of these problems if left alone only get worse and take more time and money to fix later on.

If you need help getting to the bottom of your health challenges, click here!

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.