Detox with the Correct Binders | Podcast #324

Dealing with toxic substances can be an overwhelming experience. With that in mind, it helps when things are simplified and made into relatable terms. Intestinal binders are a crucial part of any detox protocol. When the liver processes toxins, they get excreted through bile and into the small intestine. If the toxins are not bound to anything, most of them will get reabsorbed in the gut.

It is important to note that certain health conditions may make binder types more or less desirable. Having a good practitioner help determine those choices for you is always advisable. Also, there are some circumstances, such as in autoimmune disease and infectious conditions, that require the use of precaution and targeted choices with binders. Proper sourcing is critical as with all supplements, as each of them can come with unnecessary risks if they are not high-grade/quality. 

Binders are like free hall passes! In using a binder, your body is spared the work required to process a toxin through the liver and gallbladder and is, instead, excrete from the body. Check out this podcast to know more about what suits you!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

0:18      How Binders Work

8:38      Binders’ Mechanism

15:11     Detoxifying

21:20    Different Kinds of Binders

29:44    Detox as a Side Effect

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is itune-1.png


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We are live. It’s Dr. J here in the house with Evan brand. Today we’re gonna be talking about using binders to help detoxify, exciting podcast because we are utilizing all the things that we are chatting about with our patients every week. And we’re excited to share with everyone else, some of our natural strategies, Evan, how you doing, man? 

Evan Brand: I’m doing really well excited to dive into this. This is something that you and I got into several years ago. And it’s been really helpful for our practice, because we’ve been able to take people that were not tolerating protocols, and then we were able to get them to tolerate the protocol. And so when you’re coming in and working on something like gut infections, whether it’s h pylori parasites, bacterial overgrowth, Candida, sometimes, if people have been sick for a really long time, they may not tolerate the protocol we’re giving them. And that doesn’t mean the protocol that we’re giving them is incorrect, or there’s something wrong with it, or there’s an herb reaction or I don’t know, like a, you know, a supplement, it’s not working well for them. That’s not usually the case. In fact, that’s extremely rare. But what rather is happening is that the process of killing off these toxins, I kind of use the analogy of like a bad breakup. And when you’re kicking out the girlfriend, she’s taking off the pictures off the wall, and she’s breaking them and there’s a bunch of glass shards in the hallway as you kick her out. It’s not a clean breakup. And so when you’re killing off these bugs, they don’t want to die, they don’t want to leave. And so they may release toxins that make you feel bad in an effort to get you to stop killing them. Hence, that’s where binders will come in, and they’re acting as the janitor, and they’re going to come sweep up the glass shards that the bugs left behind. interesting way of looking at it. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I like it, like the analogy that I typically give is imagine you got a trash barrel right in your home, well, it may not be a big deal until you go buy a whole bunch of groceries. Now imagine you got a smaller trash barrel. Well, once you throw it away the egg carton and all the other trash from everything else it’s going to overflow. And that overflowing is where you start dealing with die off. And a lot of people, people that are more sick tend to have smaller trash baskets to begin with. And so essentially giving yourself a bigger trash basket or increasing the frequency that we take it out, right, empty it out, is going to help. So I think either analogy works. So in general, I think the first thing I want to highlight off the bat is well, I like to prepare patients to get there you know, to get killing done in the right way. So I’m always working on hormones and adrenals and diet and blood sugar indigestion first, I find that is the most important component to all this. So an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So before you go in and start having to do all this killing and and use binders, first, get yourself ready for it. And most people do not like that they want to go in there and Kill Kill, kill, kill, kill, but preparations and be really important. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, and it sounds really attractive. And people, they get really excited when they find pathogens on a test. So we’re going to run a comprehensive stool panel, we’re going to run an organic acids test. And we’re going to be jumping on a call with someone to discuss the lab results. And then they’re going to say, Oh my god, I have to get this stuff out of me. I knew I had parasites. I knew I had this. I knew I had that. And then they’re ready. But we kind of have to pace people, you know, when we’ve done this thousand plus times between the both of us. So we know that, hey, based on their constitution, how do you pick up on that as a practitioner? Well, it all goes into stress management? What’s in their bucket of stress? Are they going through a divorce? Are they moving cross country? Are they a teacher? Are they working overtime? Are they a CEO? Are they not sleeping? Well? Are they doing too much alcohol? Those things are going to make us say, Hmm, well, you know what, we probably can’t go full strength with this person. Or if we do, we’re going to need to come in and bring in the binders. And the binders are these tools that they can be used in isolation. And we often use those in isolation. However, the majority of time we’re going to be using them as just part of a protocol, meaning maybe during the day, we’re going to be killing bugs. And then maybe at night, we’re going to be using binders or maybe first thing in the morning when they’re fasted and we know fasting increases the excretion of toxins, including mold and mycotoxins. Maybe we have someone do a binder first thing in the morning at six or 7am when they wake up, and they don’t eat until eight or nine when they take their killing or something like that. So there’s a lot of ways to work these into the protocol. And that kind of depends on the person. It depends on the Constitution. It depends on whether it’s a kid or an adult. But these are amazing tools. And we’ll break it down here in a minute.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep, I like that. I think it makes a lot of sense. So one of the first things we can do to help it die off as decrease inflammation. We know agglutination happens or cells become really sticky when there’s a strong inflammatory environment. So like imagine walking in your kitchen and like the floor is really sticky. It’s like you’re like creeping around that icky feeling on your feet. That’s kind of what happens when you’re inflamed and you start doing detoxification, your body is just all inflamed, things aren’t moving, things are sticky. And we want to keep things loose and flowing and slippery. So the first thing kind of in preparation For all this is getting the inflammation down. So one of the things that I love doing for die off support, we talked about it before. One we’ve already worked on the diet, right inflammations down food allergens, our digestion is better. We’re working on sleep, we’re working on hydration. Getting your hydration up is super important, right? Every time you consume water, you’re diluting the amount of toxins in your body, alright significantly. And so solution to pollution is dilution, high quality, filtered water, reverse osmosis or some kind of really good filter spring water, maybe add some extra minerals in so that you’re getting some minerals to add in some ginger tea. Ginger is natural anti inflammatory, and it’s also a natural anticoagulant. So prevents things from sticking, you could do ginger tea, burdock teas also really good, that’s a good starting place. And then things are moving, your cells aren’t clumping up and sticking together. And then from there, that’s where it’s a good place to maybe add in some binders. So a good first binder would be a really good activated charcoal, especially ones that are kind of more coconut shell based at bedtime, two hours after food and supplements. So it’s kind of in your bloodstream, it’s kind of filtering things out. It’s not getting binding up to all your food and all the nutrients in your food, unless you want to because you’re eating some bad food. That’s a good first starting point to kind of get you moving. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, let’s break down charcoal just a little bit. So people understand what it is they hear it but they’re picturing maybe the charcoal, you know, petroleum based block that your dad used to put lighter fluid on and burn them down and put them in the grill. And then you cook some hot dogs as a kid or something.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, totally. 

Evan Brand: That’s not the charcoal we’re talking about. So basically, what they’re going to do is they’re going to heat these coconut shells, that’s going to be the best. And that basically, they’re decomposed coconut shells. So they’re at a very, very, very high temperature. And then they’re going to combine it with oxygen to, quote, activate the charcoal. And then what happens is, if you were to look at it under a microscope, you’ve got millions and millions and millions of what they would call micro pores on the surface of the charcoal. And it’s when people say bind, it sounds like a magnet, but it’s really not, you know, it’s called an adsorbent agent. And so you’ve got just make sure you had it right. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So it’s not like a sponge. It’s more like a magnet. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, right. So it’s like you’ve got but it’s a weak magnet is my point about the magnet is, is it’s weak, meaning that you actually can create a hurts if you do too much charcoal, for example. So I did it personally, when I went really high dose like 810 capsules, several times a day of charcoal, I actually, I started to get just a little off like I was detoxing too much. And so I found Yes, it is kind of a magnet, but it’s a weak one. Meaning that if you picture like the lava rock, that’s probably the best example in in a big form that people can visualize as those lava rocks. Maybe you had though, that was like old school landscaping. I know as a kid, we had lava rocks in the front of our house. Yep. And so the lava rock, you saw these tiny little holes in it. And that’s kind of the charcoal but but at a bigger level. And so let’s say it’s mycotoxins or heavy metals or pesticide, whatever else is kind of in those little holes. But remember, you still have to move this microscopic lava rock with the, with the toxins on through the intestinal tract. And if you have a leaky gut, some of those things can kind of fall off the law of rock and then go back into the bloodstream, which is why you can hurt even from binders alone. And so this is a really important point I want people to know because more is not always better when it comes to binders. So sometimes you can only handle one cap of charcoal three times a day, some people can handle more than that. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% so you kind of highlight a couple things. What’s the mechanism? Well, there’s gonna be an adsorbent mechanism thing absorbed more magnet absorbed more like a sponge, right? absorbent sponge adsorbent more magnet. Again, we want to take it after food and supplements. We don’t bind up nutrition. I like starting in a bedtime. So it’s working overnight because a lot of how we detoxify happens around one to 3am. So I like having it in the intestinal tract when the liver and gallbladder dump. That way, it’s there binding stuff up and we can excrete it better. Now, one of the big side effects of activated charcoal on binders is constipation. So I always tell my patients Make sure your bowel movements are regular before you go into killing and use any binders because if we’re adding things that could slow down the motility more well that’s that’s a problem. Now, it’ll at least help pull toxins in but it’s still going to be slowing down your body’s ability to get toxins out of your intestinal tract. So that’s not good. So if that’s the case, we’re going to be adding in things to help move our intestinal tract and make sure we’re passing all of our bowel movement out in 24 hours or less 18 to 24 hours. So we have that effective mechanism of elimination working. So first thing is first check is like hydration. Second check is making sure your bowel movements are working and then if they’re not, we’re going to be adding things in to make sure our intestinal intestinal tract is moving appropriately before we add in binders. And if we have Side effects of constipation with the binders, we’re going to be adding more support to keep the bowels moving. 

Evan Brand: And it’s honestly pretty easy. I mean, it’s a very common kind of gut reaction, oh my god, charcoal, constipation. But I’ll be honest with you, it’s rare that it’s something that requires special attention. Because a lot of times we’re doing extra vitamin C, because most people are low in that most people are deficient in magnesium. So we’re doing extra of that already. A lot of times the herb formulas that you are using for gut infections, those may have some extra bow moving support in those and just by clearing out infections you and I’ve talked about, in the past how bacterial overgrowth can create certain gases that will slow the transit time down, just by eradicating those infections, the bowels can return to normal. So yes, constipation can happen. But it’s usually not a huge wrench in the gears. And we can overcome it pretty easily with minor tweaks if needed.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, exactly. So it can go either way. Some people when they get inflamed, they’re pulling a whole bunch of water in to flush things out. If you’re more prone to be constipated, you just have to be mindful of it. That’s why when we’re adding in binders, we’re doing it like one capsule at a time. So there’s no big jump, where people get into trouble is they just kind of come in there with a higher dose or they jump too fast. And that’s where the problem comes in. And again, like Evan mentioned us some of the herbs that we give may have a really, you know, good laxative effects are really healthy intestinal migrating motor complex work well, if not, I’ll be using special special things like magnesium and things like that to keep the intestinal tract moving. Ginger is a really good pro kinetics. So we’ll be adding that in and really just helping to support the natural migrating motor complex of the intestinal tract while adding some binders now, once we start adding some binders at nighttime, we may do it sometime midday as well that way we kind of have coverage within a 12 hour timeframe. So we have some coverage at night, some coverage during the day. But I always start at night first, partly because that’s when we were dumping a lot of toxins at night. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, let me just address this concern real quick. And then we’ll move on to my next favorite binder, which is chlorella. So just like oh, charcoal, constipation, people go Oh, charcoal mineral depletion. I’ve talked with a guy named Neil Nathan, who wrote a great book called toxic. I often recommend people buy that to look into binders. He has worked alongside a guy named Dr. Michael gray, who’s a toxicologist, I believe he’s out of Arizona, he’s a guy who’s been working on treating mold. For decades, this guy has been using, I’ve heard insane numbers like 50 to 100 grams of charcoal per day, we’re talking literally 8090 100 capsules of charcoal a day for years. And there’s never been an issue of mineral depletion, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever. So his kind of argument after I probed him on that question was, well, what about mineral depletion? He goes well, so what if you lose one or 2% of minerals? If you’re getting 98% of your nutrition and minerals, still, the the pros outweigh the cons in the sense that you’re removing toxins that are affecting hormones, the brain, the liver, the kidney, so he’s like, yeah, maybe you lose a couple percent. But it’s never been something that’s called like a heart attack. Because you’ve lost so much potassium or anything crazy like that. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you’re just going to be taking it away, you’re going to be just taking it away from it. So that’s going to mitigate most of it. If you’re taking activated charcoal with your food all the time. Yeah, maybe you have a problem. But you’re going to be one you’re going to be kept getting a lot of minerals in your water and food throughout the day. And then you’re going to start by taking it at night when you’re not, like overly hydrating anyway, and to at least two hours after you eat and so it’s not that big of a deal. And so yeah, as long as you time it up, right. I just think that’s a moot point for sure. 

Evan Brand: Yeah. All right. So let’s let’s go into chlorella, because I really love chlorella, and I didn’t know too much about it. Besides that you’d see like little chlorella tablets, it always comes in these little green looks like a little Pez or something and they’re kind of hard to chew, but they’re a little awkward to swallow. And then Luckily, I found a couple companies that make micronized liquid chlorella, and that’s what I often use. chlorella is an algae. But it works amazing as a broad spectrum. So a lot of people kind of market it as a heavy metal detox because it has a really unique ability to bind on to heavy metals like mercury and lead and cadmium and arsenic and aluminum things that every modern human has, whether it’s from breathing and car exhaust, to having amalgam fillings in their mouth, but it’s awesome. And I’ve seen I could show you several case studies on pesticides, herbicides, and mold toxins, and chlorella being used to pull those out. We’ve got in fact before and after results of seeing even little kids, 234 year olds that I’ve worked with where they had major, major major pesticides. These were kids that were diagnosed autistic, are on the spectrum. We give them as high doses we can go with chlorella, we retest after three to six months and guess what the pesticides herbicides are gone. And oh my god. I mean, sometimes it just almost makes you cry because it’s like, wow, how is something like this so beneficial, but you’re not hearing about this on the nightly news?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, absolutely. So the first thing we can do to detoxify I always tell patients is stop adding toxins in. So first stop adding toxins in so look at your pesticides right? Look at the food that you’re eating, make sure it’s organic, no GMOs, you know, make note, no added hormones, don’t consume foods and plastics. If you use plastic, you know, try to keep it in the fridge out of the sunlight out of heat out of the microwave. Excellent clean water, filtered water, clean water, if it’s aro, no big deal, add some minerals back in there, I see a lot of people complaining about our water, hey, I rather have my water cleaner, and then add minerals back in and have water that’s more toxic, because you can’t, you can’t add things into the water that make it more or less toxic. It’s either got to be filtered from toxins, and then you can add minerals back in on the flip side. And that’s totally okay. And then from there. And then from there, that’s going to kind of give you that the first foundation because your food’s good, your water is good. And then all your hygiene products make sure deodorants and skincare and soaps were free of toxins there. And that way when we add in binders, there’s going to be just less things that have to be binded. So our body can work on binding up more things that are released from our tissues that are more stored toxins versus toxins that are coming in every day from our environment. 

Evan Brand: That’s a great point. I even forgot to mention that which is duh. Why did people have to get into the situation where they need binders in the first place? Well, it’s they’ve been exposed to toxins. Now, some people they weren’t exposed to toxins on purpose, it was just they ate organic, but then they, you know, stayed a month in a moldy Airbnb or something and they got exposed that way. So it’s not always your fault. But you’re right, you got to empower people and say, hey, look, you can make a choice, you can either eat organic, and not get exposed, or you can eat conventional. But now you’ve got to do the cleanup work. And it’s much better to stop it before it gets in than having to remove it once it’s already in.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. Now, outside of that we can do things that help our livers function better, we can work on phase one detoxification support, which will take a lot of these fat soluble toxins and convert them into water soluble. Now these toxins are mobile. So the activated charcoal really works great when toxins are now mobilized, if they’re not mobilized, these binders aren’t going to really work well because everything’s kind of be in the tissue kind of stored up so to speak. So it’s gonna be hard to really grab it. So getting phase one detoxification support dialed in B vitamins, antioxidants, these are going to be key nutrients, maybe liver tona fine herbs like milk thistle, or dandelion or artichoke root. I have a supplement called liver supreme or antioxidant supreme are both my phase one detoxification support that gets things mobilized. Now if they’re mobilized now we can come in there with binders and we can soak it up a little bit. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, phase two is important to now a little involved, I would suppose with the with the binder conversation, because if phase two is not working, you know, phase one can be up regulated. But if phase two is not working, it’s like you’ve got a fire hose going into a garden hose and the backup can happen there. And I’ll tell you personally, and clinically, when I start to use nutrients to fuel phase to like some of the amino acids. I’ve taken it too far like with everything, you know, because I’m a guinea pig. But I’ve noticed massive, massive improvements just by helping out phase two. And then if I ramp up phase two too much, I’ll throw in binders and then the binders will kind of help mitigate the hurdles from up regulating phase two. So it’s a it can be a little bit of a seesaw sometimes. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. 

Evan Brand: All right, what else what else should we hit on? We should hit on the the Clay’s a little bit as well. You and I love clays that are awesome. You’ve got zeolite you’ve got bentonite clays, those are kind of your top big ones you’ve got like green clays and such clays are awesome. I find that they are really good at heavy metals and molds and will often use it in a blend. So we’ll use a little bit of clay a little bit of charcoal a little bit of chlorella all at once. And they’re well tolerated. I haven’t seen that many people who works from clay so I don’t have any, you know, evidence beyond clinical with this, but I would say that you seem to have less hurting with clays than you do like chlorella or charcoal. I find you can go too much with the others.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, yeah. So just to highlight a couple of things here regarding the sulfur. NAC. glutathione glutathione is a tri peptide anyway. So that’s made from glutamine, glycine, cysteine, right, taurine, MSM, alpha lipoic acid, just getting a lot of our sulfur nutrients on board is going to be huge. That’s going to help provide a lot of the building blocks for phase two. And that way we’re going to be able to, you know, and acetylation, glutathione, conjugation, methylation, right, these are going to involve a lot of our phase two nutrients and so Phase One, like methylation will evolve, like b 12. And full eight, right? So we want to make sure all those things are working if we need Now, some people, we’re not going to be pushing the toxification directly, we’re going to just be, it’s gonna be there more to help pick up the dead debris from things that are being killed in the gut. But if the activated charcoal still not enough, we may have to push more of those phase one and phase two, just to make sure those toxins are releasing, and then the binders will be there to catch things a little bit as well. So a little bit of a push catch, if necessary. If not, we’ll just be doing more of a catch and the push will be more from the killing side. So everyone’s a little bit different. And I tend to a lot of times this isn’t a problem when you have the foundation built in first. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, the funny thing is going into this podcast, I thought, oh, wow, this will be you know, pretty easy to explain. But the more we dive into it, the more this thing gets a little tricky. And so case specific because some people, they don’t tolerate up regulating phase two that much, and other people they have trouble with the binders. So we try to make this stuff as simple as we can. But keep in mind people this is not This podcast is not designed to replace one on one functional medicine care. So if you really want to get to the bottom of these issues, you need help you need us to help guide you through this because I don’t want you to go in and just pop in a bunch of charcoal and you feel bad. You don’t know why. And then you’re confused about what you’re going to do next. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100% So let’s talk about some binders. So activated charcoal, you mentioned the heating like that the you know the which is going to really have a big binding effect. It’s also going to help with mold as well. We have things like bamboo, bamboo binders are excellent as well. We have things like citrus pectin, which are shown to be very helpful for lead. We have zeolite binders which are very helpful for mold. I think activated charcoal is also very helpful for mold. We have things like beetroot powder, which has some natural binding effects for mold as well. Obviously, we have the medication coolest I mean, which is a really good mole binder. There’s some side effects, though, which can lower your sex hormones fulvic minerals, which have some mold and some binding effects to any comments on the different kinds of binders having chlorella, more on the metal side more for Mercury, though more in the intestinal tract. Anything else?

Evan Brand: Yeah, the colas. darmian is strong stuff. I used it. And, man, I tell you it works. But I do believe that it affected my gut negatively. I do believe that. Now I don’t know if I don’t know if that’s a direct influence, or is it a byproduct of dragging mycotoxins out of the system? I’m not too sure. But I would try to tell people don’t use the prescription binder unless you absolutely have to. And you’re just so miserable. You can’t get yourself out of the rabbit hole with it. Because for me necessary for most. Yeah, for me, I just I really struggled. And I was doing the natural binders for months. And I needed a little extra help. So I did it short term. But I would try to stray most people away the natural binders can be really good if you have enough patience and time to resolve the issues.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you’ve like for you it’s more of a mold thing. So we’re kind of talking for binders for most people is more in the killing side. Right. So for that you had no problems with it. Right? It was more on the mold side, correct? 

Evan Brand: Yeah, yeah, that’s right. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then you find you fit on the mold binding side, you found that which is better for you when you had what more glutathione and more so for support in along with the binders? Was that true? 

Evan Brand: Yeah, yeah, the glutathione definitely helped as long as I didn’t do too much. And then also helping the glucuronidation pathway that’s also part of this whole conversation. And so calcium D glucose rate did great things for me. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, calcium to glucose. It’s good. And that’s a estrogen binder as well as a mole binder. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, yeah, it really helps with z, what’s called [inaudible], which is something we test for on the urine. So, you know, like we’ve talked about today, you can have a kind of a broad spectrum approach, but we really try to dial it in if we can, if we see specific mycotoxins, we’ll try to give a little more specific. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. So I think that’s really important. Anything else you wanted to highlight on that?

Evan Brand: I think that’s it. I would just say the first step is really trying to get the data, right, because, you know, people hear the word detox and like, yep, I need some of that. And it’s kind of trendy, which is, I guess, good, but also bad because people just jump into detox not knowing why or what they’re doing or what they’re after. So my recommendation as always our philosophies test, don’t guess and figure out what do you have that you’re detoxing? Do you have a heavy metal burden? Let’s find out. Do you have a mycotoxin burden? Do you have pesticides and chemicals? Do you have all that? Okay, great. Now, let’s make a plan to go after these things. So, like I said, Don’t just run to Whole Foods, buy coconut charcoal and take it if you don’t know why you need it. I prefer people have a reason. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 110% I totally agree. So a couple things, right. So number one, people say toxification. Right? Well, number one, you’re always detoxifying. The question is, are you detoxifying at 100%? Are there enough toxins and stressors in the environment that are impairing your detoxification? where certain toxins are accumulating in your body more than are being eliminated. So number one, you’re always detoxify. Number two, it’s more optimizing your detox vacation systems. Also number three people that talk about cellular detox. That’s marketing garbage. Okay. detoxification is happening at a cellular level. It’s called their cytochrome p 450 oxidase pathways that’s happening biochemically at a cellular level. amino acids, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, these pathways are being upregulated all the time that’s happening at a cellular level. So when people talk about cellular detox, that’s just marketing hooey. Anything you do to help detoxification just drinking more water, guess what you’re enhancing, so detoxification just by you, decreasing inflammation. You having really good nutrition in your food, you’re enhancing the certification. Okay, so don’t get don’t get caught up with a lot of these marketing buzzwords. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, unfortunately, detox is probably the most what would you say? Maybe sleazy snake oily type part of functional medicine? 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it is for sure. I think a lot of the time it is because people come at it from that’s the first step. So they’re taking people and they’re just trying to upregulate these pathways right out of the gates. And people have gut issues, and they’re being nutritionally deficient for a while. And there have a lot of toxins that they’re consuming food wise, or in their life. Yeah, they can really feel crappy and sick. So it’s probably the last thing I do out of the gates again, specifically, right, we’re always detoxifying. So if I see a patient and I don’t hit the toxification, specifically with those nutrients, but I get them drinking better, cleaner water, and get them going organic, and get them pooping every day. I am enhancing their detoxification, like, tenfold just doing that alone. Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s just funny, I guess, it gets a little-

Evan Brand: Cheesy, because that’s one of the few things that your average person who knows nothing about functional medicine knows about is the word detox. They probably heard it before their friend drinking detox tea or something silly like that. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right? And then you have like the master cleanse detox, right, which is, hey, that’s cool. You’re giving your digestive system a break, and you’re not necessarily detoxifying. When you when you do that, I mean, you’re not enhancing nutrition, you’re enhancing fasting and autophagy. And, and that can help with stem cells. And that can help detoxify a little bit, because you’re, you’re fasting. So detoxification is a little bit higher there, but you’re not specifically pushing those pathways. Most of those benefits happen because you’re not consuming a whole bunch of food allergens. People feel better doing a Master Cleanse, it’s typically because their diet usually isn’t that great. So when they go on a Master Cleanse, they’re avoiding a lot of those foods that are inflaming them all the time. The more healthy Your food is, when you go to a cleanse, you’re kind of like, Oh, well, it isn’t that big of a deal, because your food’s already really high quality. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, yeah. silica is on the list, too. There are small nutrients. I mean, there’s there’s boron, there’s trace minerals. Or you may be helpful. Yeah, molybdenum can be helpful. So I think we hit on a lot of the big ones, though, a lot of the big tools that you mentioned the pack, then I’ve done packed and I’ll be honest, I haven’t noticed much from it. I do use it in combination with some other binders. But I’ve never done just like a pectin trial by itself and notice any significant difference, meaning I haven’t taken it. And my head’s clear, like with charcoal, if I’m kind of fuzzy, I’ll take a little charcoal and then boom, you know, I’ll notice the clarity. I don’t know if it’s pectins different maybe it’s not binding on to the type of toxin that’s causing the head drunkenness in the first place. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s better for lead I think and Merc, okay, yeah, we’re for the heavy metals, but it’s still helpful, you know, ya know, if you’re gonna be detoxifying, it’s not gonna hurt having that in there. It just wouldn’t be the only thing you’d have in there.

Evan Brand: Right, right. Yeah. And so, and maybe heavy metals, they don’t have as much of a quick turnaround time on your symptoms, whereas mold does, like, I know, if I’ve taken a mold hit, it’s like, Whoa, it’s a pretty quick symptom reaction. Whereas, hey, I breathe in a little car exhaust, I’m probably not going to feel anything right away from that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Exactly. Yeah, totally. So anything else you want to add? And I think we really went to town on all this stuff. I mean, I think the key thing I want to highlight for everyone listening, if you’re having a lot of issues or hormone issues of detoxification issues, you know, do the foundation’s out of the gates. But if you’re still struggling, you want to reach out to someone like myself, and Evan, so we can help you all out. We’re available worldwide, and Evan’s at EvanBrand com. I’m at, you can click on our schedule buttons, and we can support you and help you during the process. If you need that extra help. We’ve helped thousands of patients together. So we have a lot of experience. And a lot of people have other issues going on, like gut infections, like hormone imbalances, like inflammation issues like other thyroid or autoimmune issues that are part of the issue. And just supporting detoxification by itself won’t be the fix for that. It’s part of a bigger broader plan. Yeah, on the fence. Feel free to reach out guys. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, good point. And some of our mentors that said you really have to kind of market to people for what they think they need, but give them what they truly need. So a woman may say, Oh, I need detox. Okay, so I’m like, Okay, yeah, we can help with that. But hey, guess what, detox is not your number one priority based on these labs, we really need to do this. And as a side effect of working through this, yep, we’ll detox you as well. So, don’t always assume in your head, you’ve got it all figured out. Because there may be a different set or of priorities or a different order of operations. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it’s always interesting when patients come in, and they kind of have an idea what they want. But then the question is, I’m gonna try to give you what you need. And I’ll try to connect the dots. Because if your goal is to get better and address these issues, then we’re totally in alignment, you just may be, you may think this is what you have to do to get there. But as long as you’re open to guidance, then hey, we can adjust that for sure. 

Evan Brand: Yeah, it’s always a fun process. So Justin mention the links I mentioned a moment of time, Dr. J at available online. And me, And that’s it. So we’ll be back next week. take great care. If you have questions, concerns, comments, you know, write us a review and tell us what kind of topics do you do you want us to cover we’re happy to dive into all of it. We live we eat, we breathe this stuff every day, all day. I mean, this is our life. So we’re very passionate and we would love to hear what you want to hear about. 

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. And we’ll put a link down below under references for products that we specifically use and formulate to help support some of the pathways and the objectives that we chatted about in today’s podcast. So if you want to support the show, you can also purchase those products that which we believe in personally use for ourselves, patients and family. Awesome, everyone. You guys have a phenomenal day. It was great chatting with y’all. Take care now. Take care.

Evan Brand: Bye bye.


Audio Podcast:

Autoimmune Disease and the Gut | Podcast #224

With conventional medical doctors, most solutions are geared to a pharmaceutical, surgical-based outcome protocol to fix autoimmune issues. With medical practitioners, it’s gonna be gut permeability, addressing the root cause, stress bucket. Watch the video and learn more!

In today’s podcast, Dr. J. and Evan Brand goes in depth with autoimmune gut disease, the root cause of most autoimmune conditions, how it tends to emanate in the gut, and many other conditions that will happen because of it: Hashimoto’s, type-1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other types of autoimmune issues. Continue for more and don’t forget to share. Sharing is caring!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

00:27    Irritable Bile Disease

04:34    Conventional Doctors and Practitioners

13:55    Genetic Predisposition

20:33    Epigenetics and Stress Bucket

24:48    Dirty Dozen and Clean 15

26:58    The 6-R Approach

31:22    Getting Everyone Involved


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Welcome back to the podcast. Today we’re gonna be doing a chat all about autoimmune gut disease, talking about the root cause of most autoimmune conditions, tends to emanate in the gut, and using other many other conditions that will happen because of it: Hashimoto’s, type-1 diabetes, uh multiple sclerosis, other types of autoimmune issues, even type-1 diabetes, so, let’s dive in. Evan, how we doing today man?

Evan Brand: Hey man, happy Monday to ya! I’ve got some statistics. So, why don’t we start out this podcast with some statistics from the Center for Disease Control. In 2015, that’s the latest research I can find, 3 million people are reported being diagnosed. Now here’s the important part: 3 million people are being reported diagnosed. So how many people are having these issues, and they are not diagnosed. But this was with irritable bile disease which would either be crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. We’re not even talking about all the different flavors of gut, we’re not talking just IBS that doesn’t have an official diagnosis, we’re talking literally crohn’s and ulcerative colitis which are not good, 3 million people. And so, uh, the- of course it says here that compared with adults without IBD, those with IBD are more likely to have chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease, liver disease. So we know, ’cause we’ve talked about it all the time, once you get autoimmune disease, you’re- several times- depending on what study you look at, several to 5, to 10 times more like to get another autoimmune disease. So it’s very likely that if someone’s listening to this and they have let’s say Sjogren’s, or Hashimoto’s, or uh rheumatoid arthritis, they’re more prone to get IBD of some sort.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. So, with irritable bile disease, you have your two main ones which are gonna be like crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. These are like inflammatory conditions where we see potential ulceration, like in crohn’s we see these various skip lesions in ulcerative colitis, it’s primarily in the colon, we see bleeding, right, ulcerations and blood in the stool. We may see high levels of calprotectin, we may see immune markers of the charts like either high IGA ’cause the immune reaction is acute and- or- or very low and depleted immune system because we have uhm, a chronic immune issue, and we also may see low ferritin and low iron levels because we’re not able to absorb and- and digest a lot of our iron, we may even see wasting issue, we’re not able to gain weight. May- may see lower protein markers too, like c- like uhm, creatinine and BUN, and just sort of proteins. So these may be other markers we see. Now there are other types of issues in the gut like microscopic colitis, those type of things that are like inflammation but they’re not irritable. They’re not- they’re not like inflammatory like you would see with ulcerative colitis. There- there’s issues with the gut, but they’re not at that uhm let’s just say full onboard inflammatory presentation.

Evan Brand: You made a good point. So like low ferritin, uh low iron, there’s-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -certain type of anemia, so in these people, they may be presenting with other symptoms like hair loss, fatigue, uh, you mentioned the- the muscle wasting-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -essentially, uh, so loss of muscle mass could be happening, and then uhm- did I say hair loss already ’cause hair loss is gonna be huge too ’cause-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, we’re not breaking down protein and minerals, right? We’re not gonna have the building blocks for hair.

Evan Brand: -Your nails, your skin, your-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -hair, all that could be affected, you may be short of breath because we see a lot of women, and when their ferritin levels are below 40, we start to see that they can’t catch their breath ’cause you don’t have enough oxygen in your body, because now you’re gonna be low on your red blood cells, too. So the whole thing can get nasty pretty quick and the conventional medical route is just not pretty with this whole IBD category. It’s just uh, basically biologic drugs, right, if something trying to modify the immune system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, you have your biologic drugs, you have your immunosuppressant medications, right? Uh, your methotrexate or even your- like your essen- essentially your chemotherapy. As usual, a lot of time for a lot of these irritable bile diseases, and then you have your high dose steroids, your prednisone. So kinda only have a couple of options, right? This thing is like lialda or mesalamine, which are kind of in that anti-inflammatory gut category. And then some of these things maybe acceptable for an acute period. The problem is, a lot of patients, they’re on these things for their life. So then, what do you do? ‘Cause there’s other side effects like high blood sugar and adrenal issues, and even uhm, bone loss, and other issues from these medications, obviously suppressing your immune system is in good- that could uh, allow you to be susceptible to other types of issues, maybe even cancers and such, right?

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, with a lot of problems that are happening because of the medications, and then maybe acceptable for an acute time frame but, they’re not addressing the root cause. And we always have to look at the root cause and not to mention, not really even talking about the standard American diet. I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve seen that have crohn’s or ulcerative colitis that I’ve helped get into our mission. And there- you know, their gastroenterologist just didn’t even- they didn’t even really cared to ask like- as like, lesions were here, healing and fistulas were healing, and inflammation is going down. There wasn’t even like sense of like, “Hey, what are you doing?”, “Hey, are you making diet change?”, ’cause there wasn’t really this sense of curiosity of like, “What are you doing?”, even though they were seeing objective improvements in the mucosa in their intestines, and their inflammatory markers, and also their B12 levels. B12 is another type of anemia, you have your macrocytic anemia where low B12 causes big uhm- big blood cells, and then you have your macrocytic anemia where low iron can cause really weak anemic, small, tiny blood cells. So B12, big blood cells, low iron, uh, small blood cells.

Evan Brand: When I had uh, Dr. Nasha Winters on my podcast, and we were talking about natural approaches to cancer, she said that she had worked with people using Mistletoe and several other herbs to address cancer. And the- and sometimes these cases of cancer would just spontaneously disappear and going to remission, tumors would shrink, tumors would disappear, people were off of chemotherapy, they no longer need the medication, and the oncologist had 0% interest in figuring out what these patients did, they just said, “Well, I don’t know what you did but you don’t have cancer anymore, you know, get out of my office”, and that was the end of it, it was just mind blowing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it’s tuff, I mean you gotta put yourself in the doctor’s position, right? You spent anywhere between a quarter to a half a million dollars over 10 to 12 years of your life studying something, and how could you not have been taught this? How is this missing from your curricula? So even if it is right, there has to be this intellectual open-mindedness to say, “Hey, I wasn’t taught all the most cutting edge is really important things in medical school or residency train”. There was this kinda come to Jesus moment where you’re like, “Man, did they-“, like, “-why didn’t I learn it?”, like, “I thought my s- my education was the best”, “I thought doctors and medical doctors know it all”, and it’s really hard because some people, they either have that moment, and a lot of times, in my opinion, the doctors really have the moment, are the ones that experience it personally, where they have a personal health challenge, and then they overcome it and they feel it themselves personally, or a very close loved one. It’s really hard for most doctors to wake up through their patients. It’s a little bit harder just ’cause you can- you’re a little more of attached, you can excuse things, you can say spontaneous remission, “yadi-yadi-yada”, but when it’s you or a really closed person that maybe you lived with and then you can see, then I think you’re a little bit more open-minded to it.

Evan Brand: Yeah that’s- I think that’s what makes us good practitioners, is that you and I both had our own journey of suffering, you know, I doubt with so many gut issues myself and mood issues through college and, you know-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: I just had prescription drugs written for me like really high strength ibuprofen and anti-spasmatic drugs and acid blocking medications, and I didn’t take any of ’em.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And it’s tough because you gotta look at like your conventional medical doctor, right? A lot of conventional medical doctors, they may not be the best communicators from like a sales and marketing standpoint, so, if you’re going outside of the insurance or hospital model, you have to really be able to communicate with the public to be able to help people, to engage people and to get patients. It’s really easy to just sit there, you know, kinda in the handout line in the insurance model and having patients just drop off of your office. That’s really convenient and easy, and it’s hard to do that especially maybe if you don’t have the best skill set to go out there and communicate like we do to hundreds of thousands of people every week, so it’s tough.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If people get into this path or they may- their whole livelihood is invested, so it’s just really difficult situation that they’re in, so, uhm-

Evan Brand: A little bit of a tan [crosstalk]- a little bit of a tangent but a very important tangent.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh yeah, I think it’s important because number 1, why aren’t these doctors able to confront people that are getting better? That’s number 1. And then number 2, uhm, bet your doctor may not know at all and this is the reason why, it’s because of the education is geared to a pharmaceutical, surgical-based kinda outcome protocol, and everything we’re doing to fix autoimmune issues doesn’t exist in that realm. So, what’s the big mechanism that we’re seeing here with autoimmune issues, it’s gonna be gut permeability, right? Being able to separate the outside from the inside of the gut is- is very, very, very important. Uhm, and it’s- and it’s actually really important to think too, when you swallow something, and it’s in your intestinal tract, it’s actually still outside of your body. That’s kinda hard to wrap your head around, ’cause then it gets absorbed into the- to microvilli, into the bloodstream, now it’s inside of your body. So even though you swallowed it, it’s still technically outside of your gut tract or outside of your- your digestive system, outside of your body, but then it goes into your body through absorption. And that gut permeability is one of the big factors that can create autoimmune issues. So, if we have undigested food proteins, undigested bacteria and endotoxins that can get through the bloodstream and really exacerbate and flare up the immune response.

Evan Brand: So, get this, this is gonna blow your mind here. I’m looking at a study right now, which is about EMF and gut permeability. And it’s a- it’s a- it is a study uh from 2017 titled, “Evaluation of the Effect of Radio Frequency Radiation Emitted from WiFi Router and Mobile Phone Simulator” and it just talks about the 2.4GHz WiFi connection and the 900 uh MHz mobile phone connection, and how this can affect the gut barrier. So when we talk about diet, it’s a piece of the puzzle but then I think about all these women, you know, especially you and I, we work with a lot of teenagers too like I’ve had. You know, women that are 17, 18, 19 years old and they wear their yoga pants and then they’ve got their cell phone right on their hip of their- of their yoga pants, but they have a perfect diet, like they’re already on like a paleo diet or an autoimmune diet, we get the gut- the gut testing done, maybe they don’t have many infections but all the sudden they’ve got this major gut problem. I’m not gonna say all of it, it’s tied into EMF, but you can measure using a little portable EMF meter, I’ve got one called the Safe and Sound that I use, little RF meter, you can measure that. And so, I think RF radiation, if you’ve got your phone on your hip all day, or if you talk with our friend Jack Wolfson, you’ve got guys with the chest pocket on their shirt with the cellphone over their heart, and-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -this thing like atrial flutter and afib and all these other gut issues form EMF. So, I think if you’re trying to heal your gut, and you’ve got your smartphone on your stomach all day, that’s probably not a good thing to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, you definitely don’t wanna near any sensitive neurological tissue in it. If it’s- if you’re at a desk all day, keep it on your desk, alright? I have it on a little tripod 5- you know, 3, 4 feet away from you at least all day.

Evan Brand: Yeah that’s what I’ve got. [Crosstalk]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then from walking around, I keep it on my- I keep it on the whole strobe on my hip, uhm, if I’m walking around. I don’t- I don’t keep it in my pocket. And again, the radiation is- is the highest to the first inch of the phone.

Evan Brand: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So wherever that tissue is, within the first inch that’s gonna be the most important. So some girls, they’ll have it like right in- on clipped right on top of their breast tissue, be careful. A lot of guys will have it in their front pockets, I mean, I think having it in your back pockets probably is pretty safe just because there’s a lot of thick tissue, dense tissue there and is not really sensitive on the neurological side. So, but in general, like a good holster, uhm ideally if- if you can gonna line it with something, I put a EMF neutralizer on my phone. But, I think, you know, don’t put it up against your head, try to keep it away from your body. But in general, I think it’s one minor stressor in the stress bucket, and I think there’s a lot of other things that will come- be a- even be a higher priority above that. But, definitely don’t talk against it, get a headset and keep it out of your pockets for sure.

Evan Brand: I would still say if you have to pick and choose your battles, you know, it you had your diet dialed in and you use your phone, that’s- that’s okay like you still gotta use your phone. So like if you’re still a bunch of dairy, conventional dairy, you’re eating a lot of grains, especially non-organic grains that are sprayed, you know, people talk about the levels of glyphosate in grains, it’s insanely high. And we know that glyphosate kills off beneficial bacteria in the gut. So, when we’re trying to find mechanisms, you know, how did someone end up in this situation, you know, the gastro doctor doesn’t ask you how much percent of your diet, like, you could have a paleo diet that is not organic, and then you can have a paleo-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -diet that’s organic, and then you can have an autoimmune paleo diet that’s organic. And that’s gonna be like your highest tier, because if you eat a bunch of conventional meats, all those meats can have the chemicals from the grains. So if you’re doing like a straight corn-fed- GMO corn, 98% of corn-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Evan Brand: -in America is GMO, maybe 99%. All of it is contaminated with mycotoxins, just google it for yourself, corn, mycotoxins study, all corn in the U.S. has mycotoxins which are mold, uh basically the off-gassing of mold. That damages your gut barrier too. Just type in mycotoxin intestinal permeability. We know that mold exposure creates leaky gut too. So if you’re eating a corn-fed burger, that’s damaging your gut barrier, even if you think, “Hey, this is paleo, this is meat”. Not necessarily, there’s a caveat to that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. So, what’s- how does this work? So, there’s a genetic predisposition, right? When you may have a genetic predisposition, the genes that may predispose it but, a lot of times people are confusing genetic predisposition as genetic uh- [Crosstalk]- what’s that?

Evan Brand: I would call it genetic destiny.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes. Genetic destiny. I mean when you have these genes, err- you’re destined for this. But it’s like, hey, you know, you may have- uhm let’s say your genes are like a variou- like various light switches. You may have all these various light switches, that if that light switches flipped on, you may develop cancer or some kind of autoimmune gut issue like we’re talking about. But you have the ability to not flip it on. And you do that by keeping inflammation down, by keeping nutrient density up, by keeping toxins down. And we know toxins play huge role in gut permeability. Uhm, that round up case down in L.A., I think Bayer boughts uh Monsanto and Roundup basically again, I think the appeal process went through- there’s another trial that went through saying that Roundup did cause cancer in this patient according to the jury trial, I think we’ve known this for a long time, there’s been a lot of studies over in Italy showing a lot of these tumor growth. But in general, what we know is that, Roundup, if you look at some of the studies where they look at the gut lining, they can really rip up the gut lining. I think S- Dr. Stephanie Seneff talks about this in MIT. So the gut component permeability component is really important. And then of course just the pesticides as well can disrupt the gut bacteria, and that can create more dysbiotic kind of overgrowth. So you can see more of this prevotella, citrobacter, klabsie- uh klebsiella, pseudomonas, a lot of these dysbiotic strains really start to go up. And of course, then- are beneficial probiotics strains are gonna start to go down. So we get this dysbiotic overgrowth that can really predispose a lot of issues as well. And that- there’s a lot of studies looking at these dysbiotic bacterias and correlating with the- with autoimmune conditions. So we know there’s with, you know, all these autoimmune conditions whether it’s RA, whether it’s rheumatoid- uhm- whether there’s ulcerative colitis, whether it’s type-1 diabetes or crohn’s, or celiac, there’s a- a big connection with a lot of these microbiome, dysbiotic overgrowths.

Evan Brand: Yeah, I’m gonna restate- I’m gonna restate that in a different way just to make sure it gets through people’s head-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -’cause what’s your saying is very important for people to understand, and you’re not gonna hear this from your doctor. Pesticides, whether this is something you’re spraying on your yard, whether this is something that’s in your food because you’re eating non-organic food, whether this is- you live in farm country and you have people like, you’re in the valley California and you see this plains, at an Amon Farms, spraying overhead, they’re spraying the pesticides, that stuff kills good bacteria at the parts per billion level, ppb. So if you kill the good bacteria in your gut, these bad bacteria that Justin’s mentioned, your pseudomona, your klebsiella, your proteus, all your autoimmune bacteria, those autoimmune triggering bacteria thrive and flourish because the good guys got killed off-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Evan Brand: -due to pesticide, then you develop the leaky gut, and then the leaky gut leads to the autoimmune condition. So it can all be linked back to your environment. You living in farm country, and your neighbor spraying tons of glyphosate, or you use this crap which I have a picture of on my phone, this is uh, I went to home depot over the weekend which is a local, uh, not local but it’s a corporate store. People probably can’t see the picture on my camera but it’s Scott’s brand, Scotts turf builder, it’s called weed and feed. And oh, Justin, listen to how gentle it sounds, “Weed Grip Technology. It cleans-“, no, I’m sorry, “-it clears out dandelion and clover”. So it doesn’t kill ’em, by using toxic things that destroy your gut barrier and lead to autoimmune disease, no it doesn’t do that, it clears out the dandelion, and then you look at here at the active ingredients, 2,4-D is the active ingredient. And 2,4-D is the agent orange chemical that Justin and I test for on urine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Evan Brand: And this 2,4-D is, oh, “let’s just- let me just scoop this up on my hand, and let me put this in my little grass-eater and I’m just gonna have a smile on my face as I spread this crap all over my lawn. And then let my dog come play in the yard, and then I’m gonna let my children play in the grass”, and it’s covered in 2,4-D, and then the kid gets juvenile rheumatoid arthritis which is the new term that didn’t even used to exist, it used to just be rheumatoid arthritis, now they have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, it could all be linked back to this crap, you’re buying grass seed at home depot, with pesticide in. So pay attention. Just use regular grass seed, don’t be using this crap, dandelions are good for you, stop killing them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: A hundred percent man. Yup, we gotta look at the root underlying mechanisms. So I think we hit the toxin mechanism, and then also, just forget the fact that a lot of the pesticides, especially the Roundups, they’re gonna hug away beneficial minerals. Part of the reason why they work is they kind of- they bind and they culate or they hug away all these beneficial minerals. So then, let’s say you’re growing or you’re buying food, growing in that soil, it’s gonna be significantly more nutrient deficient, so you’re gonna have less minerals, less manganese, magnesium, zinc, we know, if we’re low in certain minerals, those plants are also gonna express deficiencies in vitamins, right? We know like low manganese in the soil correlates with lower vitamin-C in that various plant. So, I mean, this, more than likely correlation with every mineral in the soil, correlating to lower vitamins in that plant. So that’s gonna mean lower minerals for you, and lower vitamins, as well in the plants, and then if you’re eating animals as well, and they’re eating that soil, then guess what, low vitamins and minerals and the animal protein too.

Evan Brand: Well, let’s take that a step further, okay. So now you’re saying we’re gonna be low in minerals, so then what’s gonna happen then? Well, we know if you’re gonna be low in magnesium, you may get heart palpitations, you may get anxiety, you may get restless legs syndrome where your lying in bed and you’re just tapping your little foot in your bed, you may have like a trimmer, or twitching, you may have shaking, uhm, you may have headaches because you’re deficient in minerals, you may have more neurological stuff like you could have forgetfulness, you could have brain fog, you could have chronic fatigue because now you don’t have minerals to fuel your energy cycles in the body. So I mean, if people, you know, people don’t just have one symptom like if they have a diagnosis like crohn’s disease, it’s not just gonna be their gut, it’s gonna be everything. They could be depressed, they could have anxiety, they could have bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and that could all traced back to this deficiency in minerals, you mentioned the whole zinc thing, you know, zinc deficiencies’ huge. You could have zinc-copper imbalance, so now you’ve got neurological problems and then the conventional doctor, what are they gonna do, with your neurological or anxiety complaints or depression complaint, they refer you out to the psychiatrist, and then what do they do? Well, butrin, zotroft, paxil, prozac, that’s their treatment, which is still not root cause.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. And again, there’s been twin studies out there that look at various twins who have the exact, same, genetic code, right? Except, 50% of them don’t get the same condition, autoimmune disease as their twin counterparts. So this is not just a genetic issue, it’s the epigenetics that happen, kind of above the genes. Remember the initial, the analogy I gave up, flipping the switch on, so we look at it, what’s the underlying stressors, here’s our stress bucket, physical, chemical, emotional stressors all go in that bucket, emotional stressors being, you know, friends, family, relationships, work, all that stuff, the chem- the uh chemical stressors are gonna be gluten sensitivity, gut bacteria, parasites and infections. Infections are another component, we talked about bacterial overgrowth, this fungal overgrowth, and even parasitic infections which can increase autoimmunity as well, and then obviously heavy metals, pesticides, Roundup fits in that same category, and nutrient deficiencies, poor digestion, low stomach acid, low enzymes, food allergens. And of course-

Evan Brand: Yeah, this is why you need a practitioner.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. And of course all of the other hormonal imbalances like low thyroid, low adrenals, uhm female hormone, estrogen dominance is a big one, that’s part of the reason why women tend to be 4, 5 times more likely to have an autoimmune condition, compared to men is because estrogen tends to upregulate the various CD4 cells, uhm, a little bit more than you see with men, so, estrogen dominance is a big driving factor. And then of course the physical stressors like I mentioned. Uhm, exercising too much, you’re not doing enough movement, and then of course just not getting good sleep. So these kinda fit into our stress bucket, these cause our body systems to break down, hormone, gut, digestion, infections or- or hormones- hormones essentially in system one, digestion, infection, system 2, detox and nutrients in system 3, these systems start to break down, and then we have symptoms downstream over here whether it’s blood in your stool, and p- pain in your gut, bloating, gas, constipation, most doctors here would say, “Okay you have a consolation of symptoms that may be ulcerative colitis, we’re gonna give you mesalamine, we’re gonna give you lialda, we’re gonna give you prednisone, we’re gonna give you immunosuppressants, we’re gonna give you all these things, but they’re not getting to the root cause in the systems, and they’re not looking at the underlying stressors that caused the whole issue and begin with. So we wanna- we really wanna be looking upstream and not myopically focus downstream.

Evan Brand: Yup. Yup. So, I mean, that’s the- that’s the crazy about this is you can’t- I mean you- so- so if you wanna be a good practitioner, you have to focus on symptoms, but you always gotta trace it back. So I’m glad you did that because I was like going on a rant there, and you- you did a great job of like reeling it back in. Okay, so, the symptom, you gotta trace that symptom back to a body system that’s dysfunctioning. Okay, so it’s a detoxification issue. Like, with estrogen dominance, it’s a detoxification problem. So the liver could be overburdened due to all these pesticides, so now the liver can’t do its process to get rid of excess estrogen. So, then the estrogen dominance problem grows because the liver has so much stress because you’re eating a bunch of corn fed meat that’s sprayed, or you’ve eaten a bunch of strawberries, or you’re doing uh sweet potatoes, everybody loves sweet potatoes but the average sweet potato that’s not organic has 20 pesticides on it, the average strawberry, according to the environmental working group, has 22 pesticides on it. So you put all that crap in that toxin bucket. And then you mentioned the emotional piece too, so let’s say, you know, you’ve got a bad boss, a bad spouse, a bad family member, I mean, that stuff is all part of our problem too. So, this stuff gets complicated but we do break it down into the body systems. So, this is why… you know, I get frustrated when people say, “Well I bought this probiotic and it didn’t helped me”, or “I bought this glutamine for my gut ’cause I heard glutamine can heal leaky gut”, or “I bought…” uhm, “…this gut healing mineral online ’cause I saw this guy did a podcast on it…”-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Evan Brand: -“…and he said this- this supplement is gonna c- clear up my gut” well, you can’t just pick one little tiny piece if this puzzle and expect that to fix you. You’ve really gotta get the systems tested, addressed, and then you retest. So if you’ll look at adrenals, maybe you have really high cortisol because you hate your boss, and your high cortisol all day at work is damaging your gut barrier. Maybe you ar organic with your diet but maybe it’s the cortisol, so we have to test it, right? So, this is why you can’t just go buy a random supplement in whole foods and expect to-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.

Evan Brand: -get your gut better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 100%. Now, off the bat, of course we can eat organic and definitely hormone-free. If we’re out of budget, let’s look at the dirty dozen, right, these are the foods that are gonna have the highest pesticides residue. Strawberry, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, bell- bell peppers, I’ll put links in the progra- in the uh reference sheet, here for the notes on the podcast transcriptions, so look at it there, and [Crosstalk…]. Yup, and then we’ll the put the link and image in the podcast notes. And then the clean 15, these are the ones that have the lowest uh, pesticide residues. So, avocado, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangos, eggplants, honeydew, and then maybe one more- then there’s uhm, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and broccoli. [Crosstalk]

Evan Brand: Here’s- here’s what’s crazy to me, that broccoli is on the clean 15, ’cause when I grow broccoli in my garden, you’ve got the leaves that come out of it and then you’ve got the broccoli head just sitting in the middle of it, it seems like how could that be clean 15 it seems like they would just spray it on top of the surface of the broccoli. I’m- I’m- I’m so grateful that it’s on the clean 15 ’cause if I go to restaurant and they have broccoli I’ll order it. But it seems like, how could broccoli be supposedly clean even though it’s so exposed to the open air, it always blows my mind.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I don’t want to say it, it could just be that it’s- it’s got a little bit more thicker of a fibrous coating, ’cause if you look at a lot of the uhm, dirty dozen, they tend to have a thinner coating, right? Strawberries, you could eat strawberries raw, you could eat spinach raw, nectarines raw, apples raw, pears raw, cherries raw, so it seems like it maybe just a thicker membrane on the- a lot of the other vegetables, right? So, clean 15, avocados, right, skin, uh pineapples skin, peas, there’s a pot over it, right, mangos, where you gotta peel it. So it seems like it’s more of a thicker fibrous kind of peel that maybe associated with the clean 15.

Evan Brand: That’s- that’s true. That’s true. Well, where- where should we go from here, I mean, I can just rant all day about pesticide-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -but you mentioned the stress piece, we talked about adrenals, so testing for adrenals, we talked about grains, pulling out grains, getting people on a- autoimmune diet, likely pulling out the dairy, uhm making sure the meats are grass fed and not GMO corn-fed meats, and- and-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -and then- and then we going to testing the gut because you mentioned the infections. You and I-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -see so many cases of parasites.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think number 1, that when you work with a good functional medicine practitioner, there’s a certain kind of protocol that you wanna work through so you don’t miss anything. And the problem is a lot of patients that come through doing one offs. And you just- just thing right or that thing right, and they haven’t done everything together, and that kind of makes them a little bit jaded to pull the trigger doing certain things in the future. So, when we work with patients, there’s a 6-R approach. We’re removing the bad foods, and again, that maybe a little bit different for everyone, like I mentioned, we may need to do more autoimmune, or specific carbohydrate or gaps or low fodmap templates, depending on how bad or damaged someone’s gut is, maybe even an elemental diet. We may even- number 2, we’re gonna be replacing enzymes and acids. If we have a hard time breaking that food down, we may have a problem. We may even have to do elemental diet if someone has severe crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, ’cause their gut is just bleeding on the inside. And then number 3, we’re gonna be repairing the hormones and we’re gonna be working on nutrients to help the gut lining. And we talked about some of the nutrients but in general, we may do things that have L-glutamine in it, uh, collagen, we may do things that have uhm, various probiotics in there, we may uhm colostrum, we may do other anti-inflammatory compounds, aloe, ginger, slippery elm, zinc carnosine, other really good healing nutrients. Then on the remove side, se- the second remove which are to remove the infections. And sometimes with ulcerative colitis and crohn’s and- and irritable bowel disease we have to wait longer because the gut is so ripped up and so shredded, coming in there and doing a whole bunch of killing could be very inflammatory. So if you’re listening to this, and you’re on that category, you wanna work with someone and you really wanna make sure those first 3 R’s get 100% dialed in before we progress to that 4th R. And then 5th R, we’ll work on repopulating and re-inoculating with a lot of good bacteria, and if you’re really sensitive to probiotics, maybe spore biotic or soil based strains we have to use instead. And then the 6th R, is retest. ‘Cause sometimes there’s a new infections-

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: -and then you really- if you have a partner or spouse, you really have to make sure that person is addressed as well if there aren’t chronic infections ’cause you guys can hop potato and pass things back and forth, that’s really important.

Evan Brand: Yeah, I love the hop potato analogy-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: And we’ve seen that time and time again right, where we’ll fix a woman’s gut and then we retest her stool, and then all of the sudden, she’s got an H-Pylori infection again and I’m like, “Okay…”, like, “…how did you get rid of it…”, like, “…we got rid of this and how did you pick this up again, and then finally we get the stubborn husband onboard, maybe he’s not stubborn, maybe he’s awesome and he was too- too busy or he was out of town or whatever, but a lot of times the hubber- the husband is stubborn and says, “Well, I don’t have symptoms, why do I need to test my gut? My wife is the one complaining, I don’t have complaints, I don’t have skin issues like her, I’m not tired like she is, I don’t have autoimmune disease”, it’s like, well, you could be the vector. You could be the one passing her the infections, so we don’t care that you feel amazing, congratulations, but we still gotta make sure you’re not the problem and you’re not the one re-infecting your wife and making her sick because she’s susceptible.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and I- I tell patients sometimes, you know, talk to their spouse about it, it’s not an STD but sometimes we gotta treat it like an STD because people, well, treat the STD a little bit more respectfully, no one’s gonna say, “Well, just ’cause I’m the carrier of herpes and I don’t have it, like, whatever, it’s not a big deal, no!”, you gotta address it, same thing with any other STD. It’s not in that category but it can still be transmitted via intimacy, so we wanna make sure we address that, and it doesn’t go back and forth. And then of course, there’s even things like H-Pylori, which could even spread via saliva which may not even be- you know, obvi- obvious- that’s not even gonna be a sexual thing. You could just kissing your kid on the- on the cheek, or on the lips, uhm, or sharing cup. [Crosstalk] silverware, knives, those kinds of things, and ho- honestly, if someone’s not even washing their hands appropriately after to the bathroom, you know, you may be able to spread a parasite via that way too, that’s very common.

Evan Brand: We- I- I would say anything is possible, right? I mean, we’ve tested thousands of people, we see worms that the whole family can have. We’ve seen parasites that the whole family can have. That’s why I really love working with families because if we got mom and dad tested and then we get the kids tested too-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -we got to compare the gut, that is my favorite part of my- my job is- is- is, “Okay, mom has this, daughter has this, husband has this”. So we get to pin the pieces together, “Oh, daughter goes to a school, or daughter goes to a daycare, so she might have picked up that there, and then dad have this, and mom had that”, so they pass it to each other, it- it’s just- it’s fun to make the connections like that with the family.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh, 100%. Anything else you wanted to address here today? We have any questions you wanna dive into Evan?

Evan Brand: Uh, while- while you’re looking at questions, I’ll just say that, you know, since I brought up the whole family thing, it’s much easier to do this as a family. So if you are someone struggling, and you have a husband who’s not onboard with your diet. So, here you are eating your grass fed steak and broccoli and he wants to eat pizza, or, you know, the- or you are divorced family and you’re taking care of a child that’s sick with an autoimmune disease or a gut disease, and- and the kid eats really good at your house but then you send them over to dad’s house, or you send them over to grandma’s house, and then they get sick because they’re eating foods over there, that- that’s a huge thing. So make sure that you have the whole family onboard, because, err- when you get to this level of gut problems, there is not any room for cheating. So, your kid can’t eat autoimmune paleo 5 days a week, and then the kid goes somewhere else on the weekend and go eats pizza and like cheese sticks and waffles on the weekend, and then they come back to you and then they’re recovering, and they get sent- sent back again, right? So, you can’t be- you can’t just be picking and choosing when you wanna be healthy, this has to become a lifestyle change for the whole family. And if your family members are not onboard, uh, babysitters, nannies, grandmas, grandpas, dads, cousins, whoever, taking care of your children, or you if you’ve got friends or family that are saying, “Hey, Justin, eat this piece of cake, I promise, it’s just a little bit of gluten, it’s not gonna hurt you”, no! You gotta say “No”, if you’re not gonna support me, you gotta get away, you can’t be pushing this crap on to me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and of course, we draw a line, right? If you have autoimmune issues, there- there’s a zero tolerance, maybe if you- if you don’t have an autoimmune issue, there’s a little bit more flexibility. I always tell patients, always try to go gluten-grain-free when you have an opportunity, but if there’s something really special occasion, fine, uhm, you know, just do your best on that. So we- we really gotta draw that line though. But for sure, when there’s- when there’s no autoimmune issues, 100%

Evan Brand: Yeah. Oh, somebody said they love my rants. Did you see that one?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I saw it, that’s great. That’s excellent, really cool. And then also, someone says, “Opinion on methotrexate for 13-year-old with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis”. So, yeah, I mean, number 1, you gotta work with someone that’s talking about all the things that we’re talking about. So, feel free and check out Evan or my site an- and dive in, but yeah, you do not want that to be the long-term solution to address this issue, okay? I know-

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: -that’s gonna be the conventional standard of care, uhm, and that may be fine acutely but, not in the long run for sure. It’s just not addressing the root cause. That’s-

Evan Brand: No, it’s not. And- and there was a second part of the question, “How do you feel about red-light therapy to treat juvenile rheumatoid arthritis?”, well, red light therapy would be considered a –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Palliative.

Evan Brand: -uh, palliative care-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: -maybe it will help, uh far better than a drug, but it’s still not root cause. That kid needs to get a stool test, figure out what kind of infections are going on, make sure the diet is dialed in, start looking at mineral deficiencies and all the stuff Justin hit on earlier.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup, 100%. And then someone asked a question about… I think a certain about iron here, let me see if I can find that question.

Evan Brand: Yeah I saw- I saw a question, there was a couple questions about iron.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so they talked about, well, how to test your iron. So, first thing is, we’re looking at iron serum, that’s gonna kinda give you a window of what’s in the engine, ‘kay? Then we’ll look at ferritin, that’s the equivalent of what’s in the gas tank. And then we’ll look at TIBC and UIC, which give us a window into uhm, essentially, the receptor sites, the binding proteins. The- the higher they are, it’s like, you know, for instance, the hungrier I am, the more I’m- I’m grabbing, right, the more I’m grabbing. So think of it, the more I’m grabbing, the more fingers, the more hands reaching, that’s like the binding proteins being higher, it’s gonna grab more of that iron, and then or course we have the iron saturation, think of that as like the- the uhm gasoline in the carburetor – is it fully saturated, is it- is it- all the way up in there? So we look at all those markers to get a window unto what’s going on.

Evan Brand: Yeah, blood testing can be good for these types of problems. Blood testing from a functional perspective, is- is helpful, but, if someone’s not where they already have a full-blown diagnosis, we may not need blood work right away on someone, we may go straight to the stool testing, organic acids testing, look at that first and if we need further information. And at least how that’s a- how- uh- how that’s I approach. I don’t know Justin of you do blood right in the beginning, but sometimes I don’t. I’ll go stool, urine first and then do blood later if we feel like we’re missing the piece.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it depends. If someone- if I see IBD, irritable bile disease, I’ll definitely do some blood work just to see where they’re at with the iron and the ferritin and all that.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then we’ll definitely run organic acids to see how the methylmalonic acid looks, so we can see how the B Vitamins and B12 looks. So that’s- we definitely wanna get a window on those if we see those kinds of problems.

Evan Brand: Yeah, but if they’re not in gut disease level, there just some complaints about gut, you may not go straight into blood right away.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve had to have some history that- that would screen that for me.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right? And then a lot of patients, they come in with a lot of blood to begin with. So, true, you know, I can- maybe see like, “Hey, maybe the RBC is in the very low 4’s”, maybe that hematocrit and hemoglobin are- are creeping into the, you know, in the mid-11’s for hemoglobin or hematocrit like the upper 30. So, depending on what comes back, I may- I may wanna run more tests than what I see from their previous labs.

Evan Brand: Yeah. There was someone who said, uhm, a future topics suggestion, interpreting the O-test, your doctor ordered the test for you, but then doesn’t know how to interpret it. That’s so funny, I’m sorry. There’s a lot of doctors out there that run testing because they hear about it from people like us and then they don’t know what to do with the test. So then you have this like 75 marker information which is just a pot of gold for Justin and I, but then other practitioners don’t know what to do about it, I would say hang tight, eventually, Justin and I both will have a training course, all about organic acid testing. That’s like our bread and butter, we love it. Uh, but in terms of a podcast on interpreting the O, that’s- that’s not really a good podcast thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve done a couple of videos on it. So if you go and just google “Dr. Justin, organic acids”, you’ll find a couple of things where I really got a little bit more in-depth on that.

Evan Brand: I’ve done a few videos too about like looking at candida overgrowth and bacterial overgrowth so some interpretation, but I’m hesitant to say “Hey, if you see these problems and you need this herb, because it’s not ever black and white like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, yup. And then tbone writes in, “What’s your take on doing elemental formula the first half of the day?”, I love that. I do that with lot of my gut inflamed patients where- there’s that first 6 hours of the day, maybe even 8 hours, we’ll have ’em on elemental formula with some good like Odo’s oil or good fat in there. And they just sip it throughout the day and it just kind of gives their gut a break while they still get good anti-inflammatory nutrients in their body, too.

Evan Brand: Yeah, Matt White uh left a comment, “There is an interpretation guide by Organix”. Yeah, so like Genova Great Plains, these companies do produce like an- an interpretation guide of some of the markers, and but once again, that doesn’t always lead you in the direction of what you do ’cause they’re- they’re, uh, recommendations are very cookie cutter. You may look at one particular marker, and they- and they’ll say, it may be carnitine deficiency. So you may supplement carnitine, but it could be 20 other causes too. So-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. And like you’ll see with, I think picolinate will be like, “Oh, you need more omega-3s”, but it- it’s a sign of inflammation. So then you gotta say, where is the inflammation coming from, right?

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They’re coming from the gut, so you gotta look- you gotta know, “Okay, what does that mean, what’s the next thing I gotta pivot to?”.

Evan Brand: Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [Clears throat] Exactly. And Lambros came in, “Dr. J., I just got back from my new thyroid labs, TSH, Free T4 , Free T3, should I further adjust the dose?”. Yeah, I mean, I would say your T3 is in the bottom- it’s- it’s in the bottom 5% of the reference range. So, looking where you’re at, I would definitely adjust your dose based on, you know, one equivalent based on your protocol sheet.

Evan Brand: Yeah, there’s person here, they- they uh, so people listening, they’re going back, well, what’s Justin talking about, this person put their free T3 as a 2.1, uh, that’s too low. We want free T3 closer to 3.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. Exactly. 100%. Anything else you wanted to address here? Uh, one- one of the person talked about the uhm, carnivore diet. And I find with some patients that really do have ulcerative colitis or crohn’s, a carnivore template can be really helpful just ’cause you’re cutting out all of these anti-nutrients in plants. And Dr. uhm, Gundry has talked about this in the book the plant paradox, where he’s talked about some of the- some of these anti nutrients, and lectins and mineral blockers, and protein blockers, and sometimes they can really be a disrupting factor. And believe me, I get some hate email from vegetarians and vegans, they’re like, “How dare you recommend meats, it’s so bad”, I’m like, “Hey, I don’t have a dog in the fight”. And then says, you know, if- unless you’re a clinician and you’ve seen people do- do- you know, do things and improve and be successful, just be quiet. Because you don’t have any clinical experience to speak from, you’re talking like it’s a religion, this is not, this is science, and I’ve seen many patients with ulcerative colitis issues and they have s- they’ve serious resolution, I mean, feel free and just google Michaela Peterson, and she’d had serious autoimmune issues that destroyed her bones, and a carnivore template was huge for her healing. Check out my podcast with uhm Caitlin Weeks, I’ve had handful of uh patients that really have done amazing with carnivore templates that have severe, more autoimmune issues. But some, don’t, and some an autoimmune paleo templates, fine. So, that’s why you need a customized approach, you need to be non-dogmatic. It’s like if I have a whole two belt full of tools, and I gotta- is a nail on that wall? I’m not gonna use my monkey wrench to whack in that nail, no matter how much I love this monkey wrench, I’m gonna pull out the right tool for it, called the hammer, right? Same thing as a clinician, with recommending diets. I don’t care, I just want the right tool do- do the right job.

Evan Brand: Yup. At the end of the day, if you get better, that’s what we want. It doesn’t matter the path to get you there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nutrition though has become like politics. People have a really hard time-

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: -talking about it, it’s a very emotional issue, and it’s not, it’s very scientific for me, and uhm, you know, a course that I think there are common things like you shouldn’t have sugar, you know, organic, hormone-free, that those things I think are foundational no matter what template on the spectrum you- you’re adjusting your diet to, of course, right? All foods don’t cost new disease, and it gets a good starting point and then you can adjust from there. And obviously looking at the inflammatory value of a lot of these foods too. And, if we didn’t highlight enough, gluten-sensitivity, gluten is a big issue with autoimmune guys, even if you’re not- you’re not silly-ack, there’s still a lot of research by Dr. Alessio Fasano at Harvard that gluten- even if you’re not reacting can increase gut permeability, which increases things getting into the bloodstream that can exacerbate the immune system and attack other tissue that may be an innocent bystander.

Evan Brand: Absolutely. We can go on a whole rant about that. Maybe we’ll do a show on non uh silly-ack gluten sensitivity, that’d be cool to give Fasano on here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, that’d be really good. Uh, the problem with these research guys, they’re- you know, I wanna- I wanna keep it actionable and down to earth-

Evan Brand: That is true.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We’ll just take the research and we’ll just summarize it but yeah, I think that’d be great, that’d be really cool.

Evan Brand: That does make it more fun. Yeah, the research it does get- it does get dry.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It- it gets boring. You can take a 5 hours study and you could summarize it in 2 minutes.

Evan Brand: That’s right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm, but yeah, I- I appreciate it, I think it’s great feedback. Anything else Evan you wanna address?

Evan Brand: Uh, no, let’s wrap this up for today. Uh, well we could- I mean we can do a part 2, part 3, part 4-

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Evan Brand: -you can never talk enough about stress and how the different mechanisms of stress affect gut barrier function and all that. But for now, let’s wrap it up. If people wanna reach out to Justin or myself, we can work with you around the world. So go to Justin’s website, justinhealth-, and you can reach out, schedule a call with him or his staff. Me, it’s evanbrand- And we’ll be back next week.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Thanks guys. Put your comments below, I want your feedback of new topics, thumbs up and share. You guys have a phenomenal day and we’ll talk soon.

Evan Brand: Take care.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care Evan. Bye.


Evaluation of the Effect of Radio Frequency Radiation Emitted from WiFi Router and Mobile Phone Simulator Study

The Plant Paradox by Dr. Gundry

Leaky Gut and Autoimmunity – Dr. J. Podcast #161

Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand dive into a discussion about the link between gut infections and autoimmunity. Gain knowledge about leaky gut, how it occurs in the body and it’s connection to Hashimoto’s.

Explore the different stressors which affect gut health and contribute to a weakened immune system. Learn about Dr. Justin’s 6-hour template, which includes his expert recommendation regarding healing, nutrient and supplements.

In this episode, we cover:Leaky gut and autoimmunity

00:34   Leaky Gut and Autoimmunity Connection

04:05   GABA and the Blood Brain Barrier

06:48   Hashimoto’s and Gut Health

12:23   6-hour Template

22:40   Thyroid Health: T3, T4




Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hello, ladies and germs! Dr. J in the house. Evan, how we doing, man? How was your Holidays? How’s your Thanksgiving?

Evan Brand: Holidays were great. Let’s dive in. I know we’ve got a short limited of time. But we’re doing this on the fly because this conversation of gut health and gut infections and autoimmunity is huge and hardly anyone is talking about this. Conventional doctors don’t have a clue about the link between gut infections and autoimmunity, so dude, let’s dive right in.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That sounds phenomenal. So we talked about in the show, kinda chatting about leaky gut and autoimmunity, which is really important because leaky gut is kind of like one of the primary mechanisms of autoimmunity kinda starting, which is kind of gastrointestinal permeability cells in the gut called the tight junctions. They start to unzip, kinda like you unzip your coat on a hot day and undigested food particles can get in there in this kind of creates this uhm— cascade of reactions call molecular mimicry, where certain food proteins— the surface proteins on these foods are similar to surface proteins of the thyroid or the brain or the pancreas, the beta—the beta cells of the pancreas, whatever. So you have this kind of immune system getting primed to similar proteins in foods which then prime the immune reaction for the immune system. It starts attacking these tissues in the body. So that’s kinda one of the first defenses is this autoimmunity leaky gut, molecular mimicry and that while they gut’s leaky, you have undigested bacterial compounds also getting in there, too. And then kinda just perpetuate and windup that immune system. And then also make it prime to—for other infections that kind of slip in there because the immune system now has weaken. Other infections can slip in. And typically, we’re gonna have a lower stomach acid environment so you’re gonna have less sterility in the stomach coz that low pH really prevents a lot of bacterial and critters from growing. But now that pH is like, you know, it’s like walking over to the dirty picnic tables and normally you spray it down with maybe some bleach. Or let’s say in a healthy version, maybe a really good antimicrobial essential oil. But now, we don’t have that because of the stress from the gut.

Evan Brand: Yup. Well said. Now, Hashimoto’s for example, is probably most common autoimmune condition that we’re going to see and deal with and that probably you guys listening are aware of. Leaky gut has to take place for Hashimoto’s to happen. That’s one of the dominoes that happens. So you’ve got the leaky gut situation. You possibly got the gluten in the diet. You got the immune stress, which could be internal or external. So bad boss, bad spouse, bad relationships, bad job— those are kind of the big dominoes we see. And when you all those up together, that’s how you get autoimmune disease. It’s really just that simple.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And then we have people on the live chat here. And again, this is a great reason why you should subscribe to our YouTube channel—justinhealth. Uhm because we have these podcast going live as well and we’ve also incorporated other technology in the background to get a higher quality audio versions. So if you want better audio, you can subscribe to Youtube, but also check out our podcast uhm—Evan Brand, notjustpaleo and then beyond wellness radio myself. So just keep that in the back of your head. And then your question was—I just missed it. We talked about—Oh, yeah! Leaky brain. Leaky brain is connected as well coz we have these live questions coming in. And so we are multitasking like it’s no tomorrow. So leaky brain’s important because we have these called astrocytes or the brain blood or the blood brain barrier which is kind of the interplay between systemic blood and then the passing over to the brain. And we have the cells called astrocytes. And again, same thing, when we have gut lining integrity, it tends to affect integrity of the lungs, integrity of the sinuses, integrity of you know, vaginal wall area, urinary tract. So you have people that have gut issues—gut integrity issues. It almost always can cause sinus issues, brain fog, brain issues, UTI issues, bladder issues, right? So you have all of that mucous membrane barrier, it’s gonna be compromised throughout the body not just the gut. But the guts kind of that first major domino that falls and then everything else tends to follow along with it.

Evan Brand: What you think about the GABA test for the blood brain barrier, where you take like a 500 mg GABA and if it works and you get relaxed, that says you have a leaky brain. Do you agree with that?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m not sure I buy that because I’ve seen people that do—that are really healthy and that do well with GABA.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And they, you know, symptomatically, they’re doing pretty good. They’re eating well. Again, certain supplement companies have kinda put that out where they have a GABA challenge. They say, “Hey, GABA is this really big amino acid compound and it shouldn’t go through that blood brain barrier; therefore if it does, that means your major blood brain barrier is permeable.” I’m not sure I buy that. I think it’s something to keep in mind, something to try. I have a lot of patient that have gut issues and they’re sick and that use GABA or will only give them GABA and they don’t notice much benefit either.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, you know, how do you sparse that? That’s hard.

Evan Brand: I know. Who knows, man. That’s a good question.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Everyone tries to be a little bit trendy and nuance in this functional medicine field.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Because they wanna make a name for themselves.

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I get that from a marketing perspective, but just looking at the clinical application, I’m not sure there’s ton.  But, heck, if you have GABA and you want to try it and you get uh—benefits, that’s great. I notice a little bit of improvement with GABA. Like when I take it, I feel little but relax. I also do that with Ashwagandha as well. I feel it with magnesium. Someone chimed in and asked if magnesium can be taken with Ashwagandha. Yeah, sure. I’ve no problem with that.

Evan Brand: Works great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hope everyone’s listening had a great Thanksgiving, too.

Evan Brand: Yeah. Tesa wants to know, “Have you reversed your Hashimoto’s, Dr. J, by healing the gut?”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, so we have to be careful when we say reversed, right? So have we decrease the inflammation? Have we address underlying issues that made people susceptible to having autoimmune attack? And we—can we lessen those and decrease them to the point where we are no longer symptomatic because we have the inflammation down or quench enough? Yes. I’m just very careful because you know, eyes in the skies and people listening in they’re— they’re looking for that the cure the cure-all word, right? We just got to be careful. We don’t cure anything. We support the body’s ability to—we support the underlying stressors that cause the issue to begin with. And we support the underlying systems that weren’t functioning well. And then the body can start to get these symptoms under control because the symptoms are just a manifestation of the symptoms— the systems not working. Symptoms occur because systems aren’t working. Systems breakdown because of underlying stressors. As functional medicine doctors, we come in, we fixed the underlying stressors, we support the systems that aren’t working and then the body starts to heal itself, right? The body’s on autopilot. We just got to get the stressors in the systems work. If the system’s working, then get the stressors out of the way.

Evan Brand: Yup. Well said. So you had some— you had some gut bugs and things going on, do you care to talk about your story for a minute with the – Hashimoto’s?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I have—I have a low level of Hashimoto’s kinda in the background, I had elevation antibodies TPO and thyroglobulin antibodies and you know, I had some adrenal stress going on. And I just really worked on fixing the gut issues, which I had a handful parasites—Blasto, uhm— yeast, significant yeast overgrowth and H. pylori. Addressing those, fixing nutrient issues to help with the antibodies, fixing the digestion, fixing gut bacteria balance is of course working on stress reduction, sleep, all those important diet and lifestyle things. And again, the antibodies for me are just still slightly elevated, but there they’re in a range where you know, functionally my thyroid is not beaten up to the point where I need any thyroid hormone. My TSH is in a pretty good place and my T3 levels are pretty good. I actually have to go on for test real soon. So, yeah, I mean it’s possible to—to address the stressors and the system dysfunction to the point where you may not— you can call yourself cure. We just won’t call you cure for me, a functional medicine perspective.

Evan Brand: Yeah. Agreed. I need to get my thyroid panel run to. You’ve been pushing me to do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. You should.

Evan Brand: I need to do it. I mean you and I both have had these infections. I had H. pylori as well. I had a Crypto, Giardia and yeast and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.  So, you know, that’s a fun thing about Justin and I. We both had all the things that we deal with in the clinic. So when you guys are looking to work with somebody, it’s— to me it’s a lot more honorable if you’ve had somebody that’s been in the trenches themselves, where we had to fix us to keep going to help other people. I think that’s always pretty cool. Uhm— what else I know we would have limited time, but what else should we mention here about kinda this autoimmunity piece, the gut piece. We mentioned the leaky gut, we mentioned some of the triggers just in a roundabout way. So Candida, bacterial infections, parasites, H. pylori, low stomach acid, gluten in the diet, dairy, possibly eggs, other food sensitivities. These could all contribute to that permeation of the gut barrier; therefore, causing the situation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred Percent. So, let me just kind of answer some of the things that you’re talking about while injecting some of the live questions we get. That’s the reason why the show is so unique compared to other shows coz we are off-the-cuff. This is the real deal here. So some patients are talking about having a lot of mucusy stools, right? And uhm— wanting to know where they should go for help, right? Of course, I recommend coming to see either myself or Evan, but typically one, we want to make sure food allergens aren’t driving this, right? Number two, we want to make sure we have enough digestive support on board to help those foods be broken down enough. So if there’s fat maldigestion issues, of course, adding in more bile salts or more lipolytic enzyme, right? Lipase— things like that. Uh— protease—proteolytic enzymes, right? These are all really important. And then, of course, once we can have the deck kinda dialed in, if foods are still a problem even with that, we may make them more palatable. We may go with more crockpot kinda GAP specific carbohydrate kind of eating template, where the foods are just easy—more processed via cooking, they aren’t raw, they are peeled or mashed. We’re decreasing salicylates and phenols and potential gut irritants so those foods can be consumed better. And then, of course, we’re gonna look deeper at the hormones because hormones have a major effect on inflammation and energy. And a lot of people that have gut issues, their guts are inflamed, we have to support the inflammation of the gut lining. And then, the big one is getting rid of the infections.

Evan Brand: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And that’s where you know, we’re probably go next.

Evan Brand: (laughs) Yes. You’re right. So uh—Cent50 here, who asked the question. Yeah, the loose, mushy stools, I mean that was me. I had Cryptosporidium, I had Giardia, I had H. Pylori, I had bacterial overgrowth. Until my gut issues were addressed, just FYI, I had IBS for 10 or 15 years of my life and conventional doctors had no solutions for my—my stools. And it wasn’t until actually cleared out the infections that my bowels and my stools became normal again. And so, yeah, you got to get yourself tested. Justin and I run several different companies. Uh—stool testing just depending on you know what—what we’re looking at. But, yeah, get a comprehensive stool test. Your conventional doctor may be able to order through your insurance, if you tell them you want diagnostic solutions Lab, it’s unlikely. You probably have a functional medicine guy like us to run it for you. But either way, once you get the diagnostic tool, you can fix this pretty quick.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: There’s a lot of healing nutrients. So like, when we work with the patient, we kinda follow that 6-hour template— template that I’ve created over the last decade or so. There’s a lot of ones that are out there— three hours, four hours. In my opinion, a lot of them stink and they’re the wrong order. So the six that I’ve created and began to follow as well, in my opinion, is the exact clinical order which I follow things. So the first hour is removing the bad foods. And again, it’s not cookie-cutter because that maybe just getting someone from a standard American diet to a Paleo template. That may be taking someone from a Paleo template to an autoimmune template. Maybe someone on an autoimmune template and the Paleo template taking them to a GAPs or specific carbohydrate diet or low FODMAP template. I had patient last week who’s been Paleo for three or four years—chronic pain, chronic issues, chronic mood issues, chronic sleep issues. We took him from a Paleo template to an autoimmune-Paleo template and all of the symptoms went away in one week.

Evan Brand: That’s it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: This is someone that’s like already been on point for a long time and we just pulled out a few foods. So we have those— that kind of progression because you’d be surprised, the smallest things that we do have a huge effect. And it’s like, whoa! you would’ve thought I would have created the awesomeness protocol ever and found a you know, this hidden infection that everyone missed and got rid of it for that kind of improvement to happen. But sometimes it happens, we’re just removing some food. So, first, I remove the foods, second, I replace enzymes, acids, digestive support, bile salts, too. Third hour is gonna be repairing the gut lining. It could be also repairing the thyroid and adrenals and sex hormones, too. Fourth hour is removing infections. That’s where we go after— bacteria, parasites, uhm—fungal overgrowth. Those kinda things. We may even go after co-infections future podcast on that soon enough. Fifth hour, repopulating or reinoculating probotics. Some of these nice and beneficial bacteria. They’re transient. They only hang out for a month or so and pass on. So, getting some of that it in there periodically is helpful. Sixth hour is retest. We want to make sure infections are gone. And maybe even address family members too to make sure they are not being passed back and forth you know, playing hot potato.

Evan Brand: Yup. Well said. Riley asked a question about—he said, “Evan is your IBS completely healed now after addressing anything?” Uhmm—kind of a confusing question about addressing anything. Yeah, I don’t have IBS anymore. I’m infection free, no more H. pylori, no more parasites, no more bacterial overgrowth, no more yeast overgrowth and I feel good and feel completely normal, which was an amazing thing because after so long, you know, it took me to be so long to get here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And with your situation, right? Like if you start eating bad foods again and your immune system got compromised, you may have another critter or two that pops back. You may have some inflammation from the food and such. And then those symptoms, they start coming back, right? So it’s not like a cure, like, “Hey, you have scurvy. Here’s vitamin C.” And then as long as the vitamin C is there, you’re good forever, right? It’s like, “Hey, there may be other stressors that may cause the systems to weaken again and those IBS symptoms start to occur, right?”

Evan Brand: Oh, Totally! Yeah. I mean I could go— I could go out to a restaurant and get some type of contaminated food and all the sudden creates a leaky gut situation. Maybe I pick up a gut bug, maybe I was eating while stressed during a week and I didn’t chew my food good. And then I picked up a parasite and have to start all over again. So, yeah, definitely, you know, you could always backtrack. You’re—you’re never permanently in a good place.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And again, one thing I see out there on Facebook, and I see it marketed, and it’s–  I have to call—I’m not  gonna call anyone out directly—

Evan Brand: No, come on. Do it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ll call out the concept. But lots of people, they’re like, “You gotta heal leaky gut. Here’s a gut healing program.”

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And if you look at it, a lot of times, you know, it’s bone broth or just a lot of healing nutrients and a lot of probiotics, right? And maybe a little diet change. But if we go look at the six hours, what are they really doing? They’re doing the third hour, maybe a little bit of the first, maybe a little bit of the second, maybe a little bit of the fifth, right? They’re kinda skipping around. They don’t have a system and how it’s being integrated a lot of times. And I would say 99% of the time, it ignores going after and getting the infections fixed. Totally ignores it. Because you know, these people are recommending a general program to like thousand people at once in a huge kind of a webinar kind of style, right? Well, how do you get all the types of testing and customize everything in that format? You can’t. So it’s a very general kinda overview approach. And in my opinion, it’s going help some people, which I think is great. It’s admirable. But it’s also gonna  a miss a lot of people and those people that don’t get help may lose faith in functional medicine or say, “This is not for me.” So I’m just kinda calling that out because think about it, right? If the root cause of what’s going on is an infection component and you’re doing let’s say the first, second, third, fifth alright but you’re not getting rid of the infection. Well that’s like me giving you this healing aloe, right? You get a sunburn, you come back from the beach, I give you this aloe, right? The underlying cause of the sunburn is the— is the sun. And then you go back out the next day and you get sunburned again and I just give you more aloe. That’s the equivalent of what a lot of these people are doing. Well, just have some more bone broth, have some more of glutamine, have some more of this healing compound for your gut lining. So we got to get to the root cause. A lot of people are just being very general out there. And you know, the listeners of our show will get it and say, “Hey, I see that the missing piece there.” And that’s why we have those six hours that way coz then you can look at it and you can say, “Hey, this is a really specific way we go about addressing things here.”

Evan Brand: Yeah. Well said, man. And that’s the food is medicine, people. And we love the food as medicine people, but that’s why you know, we pursued functional medicine because the food is just the first step, right? It’s just one pillar of the house. It’s not gonna hold the house by itself as a single column. And also, I want to mention the order—the order of operations. If somebody just go straight to bone broth and probiotics and L-glutamine, that’s the wrong order. And sometimes people get worse. They’ll come to us and say, “Oh, Justin and Evan—“

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Evan Brand: “I took XYZ probiotics coz I heard it on a podcast or a blog and I felt terrible and I had a flare up of my condition. Can you explain what happened?” Yes, if things are just terrible in the gut,. sometimes you have to hit the reset button. You can’t immediately just add in all these probiotics and expect it to work. Sometimes we have to fix the balance first and eradicate the bad guys before the good guys can come back in.  So that’s why the order of operation is just a second when Justin said it’s so important. And this may explain why you’re spinning your wheels even though you’re all—you’re doing everything about the Paleo gurus are saying to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. We just want to make sure everyone’s educated. I mean, we have some people out here, they’re chiming about, “Hey, I really want a functional medicine doctor but I don’t have the—the money for it.” Well, guess what? The best thing that you can do right now is be listening to our podcast coz all this information is free.

Evan Brand: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We’re providing tens and thousands of dollars for free information off of people and I get messages all the time. “Hey, made a couple of these changes or recommendations and my autoimmune condition for 10 years is gone.” Right? I didn’t cure him.  I promise. I didn’t cure him, right? The body just heals itself, right? We got to say that as our disclaimer. But that’s you know, what’s that worth. When someone is you know, seeing a rheumatologist for 20 years on lots of expensive medication that’s tearing up their gut and their body and creating more symptoms than they’re actually helping. What’s that worth? So just utilize the pickup as much of the free intel as much as possible. And then you know, allocate some savings or HSA or flex spending. So if you want to dig in deeper, that’s an option. But utilize as much of the free stuff as possible because the diet is the foundation.

Evan Brand: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 50% is gonna be the diet so work on that first. Once you max that out, and you’re seeing some decent results, then you’d want to go in deeper. You can reach out, for sure.

Evan Brand: Yeah. And you can contact likely so. You can contact your conventional doc and try to get some stuff run through insurance. But it’s likely that they don’t have accounts with these functional labs and they likely just aren’t going to do it. Fut if you’re really lucky, you’ve got a really good M.D., you may be able to push push push push at least get the lab so you have the data. Now what you do with the data? Well then maybe that’s where you come to a functional medicine guy that can help in terms of creating a protocol. But getting the data should not be impossible.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And a lot of functional medicine docs that do a podcast or websites, I find that they take information, they wrap it up and they try to make people feel so confused where they walk away from the podcast or the video, being like, “What the hell just happened? What I do now ?” And they walk away feeling less certain. I want to make sure no one walks away from any podcast or video I do, gaining more certainty. And at least walking away with one action item that they can add into the repertoire of whether it’s a lifestyle or a supplement or just a different perspective on the6 hoir healing so they get better and they feel more confident.

Evan Brand: Yeah. I watch a couple of functional medicine videos like over the weekend and they were like hour-long videos I made it through 10 minutes. And I thought, “This is not gonna help me at all.” So I decided to turn it off. So let’s do it, let’s do our action steps and summary here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So of course, we have our six hours, right? So everyone listening kind of our general feedback is gonna be a Paleo autoimmune template to start. And again, depending on where you’re at, that maybe really a lot of— really overwhelming for you, cutting out grains, legumes, dairy and primarily having healthy fats, proteins, uhm more veggies and fruit instead of starch. And having healthy fats like you know, if we’re doing a Paleo, maybe a little butter or ghee. If we’re going fully AIP, no nuts, no seeds, no dairy. Just coconut, Olive oil, may be avocado oil, some healthy animal fats. And that will be a good starting point for people. And then again, an AIP or an SCD or autoimmune diet, again, I’m just kinda laying out the Paleo template to start coz that’s probably the easiest buy in without pre qualifying anyone. I would say that after that, at least getting some digestive support going there. And again, you know, the ones that we formulated, we recommend the most coz we’ve put our stamp of approval. High-quality HCl or enzymes. In my line, it’s HCl supreme or enzyme synergy or I’ll add in the liver supreme for extra bile support for digest energy. And Evans line—Evan has a similar products as well. Uhm— so that’s a good starting point there. And then seeing where you’re at, I think is the next step coz there may be infections, there may be other testing that has to go in deeper. So I think if you can get that, that’s number one. And then I think if you can just make sure the hydration component and the sleep component is dialed in next, that’s a good second step. And that gives most people of really good you know, path to go down and if people are listening, they’ve already done that and they’re like, “what’s next?” well, that’s where I think you’d want to reach out and do a little bit more testing because that’s what I think the infection component and/or the hormone component and/or the nutriend malabsorption component from the infection could be the next vector we’d really have to put up in our sites, so to speak.

Evan Brand: I’m gonna address one comment here and then I’ll bring up a question then we could uh—we could wrap it up. Leslie mentioned the diet’s the foundation which kinda sucks no more pigging out in the middle of the night. The good thing is that could be related to infections. I mean for me, for example, when I had parasites, I would get these food cravings that just didn’t make sense and it wasn’t me. It’s these bugs. They are stealing your nutrients, they want food so they’re cannibalizing your muscle tissue and when you’re eating, they’re messing up your ability to digest especially coz I had H. pylori. My stomach acid levels were lower. I was basically hungry all the time and I was losing weight. Getting to like a scary point of weight loss. So really, the diet is not too hard once you just address your gut bugs, that— the whole like binging type thing on food, it really doesn’t happen once your gut is healed, once your adrenals and your thyroid are helped out and your blood sugar’s more stable. It’s not an issue. I mean you could fasted for a long time and feel stable. You shouldn’t have to get hungry or go on a crisis stage. Justin, a question for you. Uh—some doctors say T3 doesn’t matter; they don’t test it on Thyroid labs. The person’s taking T3 now slowly increasing. Would you be lowering T4 when adding this?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, I would typically be adding more than likely a T4, T3 put together so there’s gonna be a combination of both. Most doctors don’t care about uhm—T3 because the major pharmaceutical companies, Abbott’s the big one, that has a patent on Synthroid is a synthetic T4. It’s easier to monitor uhm— giving a T4 the half-life’s five days, so it’s really easy. It’s not like a T3, which could potentially have more side effects. Uhm—and it’s patentable, right? It’s the basically tetraiodothyronine with the sodium salt on it. So that’s how they get the patent to it. Uhm—again, they don’t m__ it because that’s just not what they do. They give you the T4, they get the TSH back in range. All your thyroid symptoms could still be present. Cold hands, cold feet, anxiety, mood issues, hair thinning, you know, gut here fitting things you know, gut stuff, constipation all could still be there, but if the TSH is in range, they’re happy. They checked off the list, you’re gone. So that’s where you got a dig in deeper. You got a look at the T4, T3 conversion. You got to look at the autoimmunity. You got a look at the nutrients. You gotta look at the adrenal conversion, the gut conversion connection and the liver detox conversion connection, too.

Evan Brand: Yup. Yup. Should you ignore TSH? No. It’s definitely worth factoring TSH in. You just don’t want to use that as the end-all be-all only marker. But you— but when you have the free T3 and the reverse T3, the TPO, the TG antibodies kinda all the stuff we run, the TSH makes a lot more sense when you got a full picture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. We like to keep TSH in the equation and look at sometimes people come in with the TSH that’s perfect, but their T4 T3 conversion sucks. And then what do you do? You know when you’re treating the TSH or are you treating the actual patient? So we’ll try to increase thyroid hormones, see if symptoms change and we’ll try to support HPT access communication with specific herbs. And of course, stress modulation and getting infections— getting rid of infections coz that can really mess up the HPT access, the Hypothalamus Pituitary Thyroid connection.

Evan Brand: Yup. For sure. Uh—Leslie and a couple other comments about you know, where to go next? Well, I mean, you know, if people may say, “Oh, we’re biased.” But the answer is get tested. Our philosophy is “Test, don’t guess.” So if you’re confused, you’ve got symptoms that don’t make sense, get tested. That’s the first step. You can look at adrenals, thyroid, gut, get all the puzzle pieces laid on the table. That way you’re not just buying random supplements that you might not actually need. We’ve seen so many people with 20 and 30 supplements that they’re taking and they still feel terrible. And we cut that down to five supplements because it’s based on labs and all of a sudden people get better. So you know, save up your money for that. Maybe you don’t go buy the next newest supplement you hear about. Maybe you— you focus on investing into some testing first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.

Evan Brand: And you can check it out on Justin’s site. It’s You can look at the supplements, the labs on there. Same thing on my site, and we’re happy to help. So, feel free to reach out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And also, couple of people asked about Dr. Gundry’s The Low Lectin Protocol. I think it’s the plant paradox. Again, my thing is if you’re just going to a Paleo template, you’re gonna cut a lot of those lectins out. If you actually cook some of the plants, some of the starches,  some of the vegetables and lower the lectins even more, if you still have a lot of gut issues, upgrading it to an autoimmune protocol, you decrease lectins more. If we still have issues and we can move to a specific carbohydrate or GAPS protocol and we decrease lectins even more. So it just depends on where you’re at cooking knocks a great chunk of that out and just going to a Paleo template, where we’re cutting out grains, legumes, dairy and focusing more on non-starchy veg, uhm— lower glycemic, low sugar fruits and safe starches that aren’t grain-based, you’re gonna have a huge effect and grains, where most of the lectins and irritants come from. So again, that— my opinion matches people making things a little bit more complicated than they have to be.

Evan Brand: Marketing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand: I mean, he’s done a good job that book is spread.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. It has gone viral. Everyone asked me about it all the time. I can’t get a go of a— one day without a patient asking me about it. So I have to follow it. I think I found it on fast reads on Amazon. So I got a—like uhm—abridged version of it that I’m siphoning through.

Evan Brand: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve got a couple of services where they do these summaries. And it’a great.  I mean I get 90% of the information.

Evan Brand: Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Suck it up in a half hour and I’m like, “Oop, got it!” That’s it. On to the next one. Well, any other questions you wanted to answer here, Evan?

Evan Brand: I think that’s everything. I think that’s all we can—we can chat on today and we’re gonna do a podcast soon on co-infections. We’re gonna talk about Lyme, Bartonella and Babesia Uh—Justin and I, I mean, we’ve literally got the books like right here that we’re—we’re diving into.  We wanna make sure we’re the most educated and current up-to-date with our information before we broadcast to you guys. So make sure you hit subscribe on Justin’s YouTube channel while you’re at, hit subscribe. And uh—we’ll be back again soon.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. And one last thing. Patient asked here—person asked here on the chat list, uhm—“How do you—how do you choose your functional medicine doctor? How do you trust them?” He said, “I can’t trust them. How do I choose them?” Well, number one, I think they should have some kind of content out there whether its video, audio and/or blog post where you resonate with their information. Like their philosophy, their information, you should resonate. I find most patients are the biggest reason why they don’t get better is because, number one, compliance, and number two, they’ve been burnt and the past or they failed in the past and therefore they’re kind of priming their subconscious to fail again. So they don’t follow through and they’re off to the next one other, you know, they’re making a 180 move in can’t see someone else because some little thing happened. They’re not following through enough. So I think keeping—one, making sure you choose someone based on their philosophy and the information and making sure you resonate at an emotional level and just a logical level. Here’s the plan, generally speaking, right? And then number two, making sure you’ve given enough time and then follow through uh—for it to work.

Evan Brand: Yup. Well said. I’ll address— address this last question, then we’ll roll here. Uh—Is it common to have to go through a few rounds of infection killing protocols? Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It can.

Evan Brand: You can. It took me a couple of rounds to go through, some herbs to knockout things coz I have multiple infections. When you’re trying to kill five or six or seven things at once, yeah. I can’t take multiple rounds. Why is that? Depends on the person’s immune system health or stress levels, how long they’ve had infections, the amount of damage that’s there, how much inflammation is there, are they sleeping well, do they have a good diet. You know, there’s million factors to answer why that— why that could be. Hope that helps.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great.

Evan Brand: Andrea is asking a question about his father’s prostate cancer. PSA levels are rising rapidly. Can we cast opinions or advice?

Evan Brand: I can’t. Justin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s about thyroid, it’s about uhm— prostate issues?

Evan Brand: Yeah. Prostate. Prostate cancer this drug—Enzalutamide had been recommended for father’s prostate cancer PSA levels are rising rapidly. Can you cast opinions or advice?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, let me describe– I have one formula here that’s been helpful. Yeah. I have one compound here that I’ve been using here, just I had a couple of supplement companies reach out and I’m using it. It’s the pomegranate extract, and the flower pollen extract and its cranberry extract. So cranberry, pomegranate and flower pollen. This is an excellent support. Lot of research behind those extracts as well. Lycopene is phenomenal, getting adequate levels of selenium 200 mics a day is phenomenal, enough zinc as well is phenomenal saw palmetto’s great. These are excellent compounds that help. Lycopene is phenomenal as well. Again, the diet has to be in place. You want to get the lifestyle things going and again, these things don’t grow overnight. They probably taken decades to kind of move. So coffee and Coffee enemas may also be helpful to kind of early push detox in a faster more acute kind of way. But some  couple of compounds that I mentioned are phenomenal and wouldn’t hurt getting them on board in the meantime.

Evan Brand: Yeah. And look at my podcast I did with the lady named Dr. Nasha Winters.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Evan Brand: She did a book that’s called, “The Metabolic Approach to Cancer” She— she had cancer herself and she’s been holistically supporting people with cancer for about 20 years. So uh— look up Nasha Winters and uh look up her book and you could implement some strategies there hopefully.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Also, get the insulin levels under control. Make sure fasting insulin is five or below at least. That’s important because insulin is gonna cause a lot of cells to grow and then also making sure xenoestrogen exposure is mitigated, right? Don’t drink out of plastic bottles, avoid pesticides and GMO’s and glyphosate and Roundup. These are chemicals that you’re gonna get from conventional foods. Obviously, eat organic, right? Pasteur-fed meats. Again, these things— I shouldn’t have to repeat them, but I just can’t assume that everyone knows these stuff.

Evan Brand: They don’t. Not everyone does. So, yeah, keep repeating it and keep preaching. And I think that’s all the questions. So we did— we did really good. That was fun.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I heard a quote back. It’s a quote from the 1940s, where Joe DiMaggio was interviewed and they said that Joe said, “We noticed that you sprint on and off the field every single time at full speed no matter what.” And he said, “Well, there may be someone coming out to see me for the first time ever that seeing me play the way I’m playing and I wanna play at 100% every time.” And then maybe some people that are coming out for the first time seeing us play here, and we want to make sure that they get that information that we may assume that other people uh— may have, right? The equivalent will be like us jogging on the field, so to speak, if we just assume that.

Evan Brand: Yup.  Well said. Well, reach out if you need help. You can schedule with Justin. if you’d like to schedule consults with us. We should have some availability in the next 3 to 6 weeks or so. So just take a look and  we’re happy to help you soon as we can.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, by the way, I’m adding in the Mimosa Pudica as well. So I’ll be reporting back on that in the next couple weeks. I think you as well Evan. So we’ll chat about that.  Again, I just got that in stock. That’s the Para-1 in my store. I think you have it in your store as well. So, we’ll put that in the show links, too. So that’s a cool new herb that we’re working on. We have a couple other herbal compounds in the mix that we’re using for different types of co-infections that we’re researching uhm—in the background, too.

Evan Brand: Awesome.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, Evan, great chatting with you, man. You have an awesome day. We’ll chat soon.

Evan Brand: You too. Take care

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.

Evan Brand: Bye.



Vitamin D and Autoimmune Disease

The connection between Vitamin D and Autoimmune disease

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Vitamin D: the “sunshine” vitamin. Over the last decade, the use of vitamin D to treat and prevent illnesses has grown exponentially, and new data is constantly being published which continues to prove the effectiveness of the sunshine vitamin.

Vitamin D is estimated to activate about 8% of our entire genome. As it is so broadly engaged in different processes throughout the body, its many properties are still only being discovered.

Vitamin D and Autoimmune Disease

Research shows a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune disease, cancer, and other serious diseases. Low vitamin D in the body is linked to a higher risk for developing chronic illnesses, both systemic disease (lupus, arthritis) and organ-specific (multiple sclerosis, diabetes).

Dementia and memory loss are directly associated with low levels of the sunshine vitamin, as are prostate and breast cancer. Studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation can help treat and prevent many of the common chronic, and sometimes life-threatening, illnesses that are on the rise.

Multiple sclerosis, thyroid disorders, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Hashimoto’s, and lupus are key autoimmune diseases modulated by Vitamin D. The Journal of Immunology cites autoimmune conditions as the number-three cause of death. However, the killer isn’t the autoimmune condition itself, rather it’s the inflammation brought on by these conditions which predisposes us to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes that lead to death.

Click here to schedule a consult to determine if autoimmune diseases are causing your health to suffer!

Impact of Inflammation and Leaky Gut

The connection between Vitamin D and Inflammation and Leaky Gut

Chronic inflammation can be argued to be the underlying mechanism for all disease. Inflammation leads to leaky gut. Leaky gut occurs when the intestinal lining becomes inflamed, and may be due to an autoimmune condition, infections, or the consumption of gluten, sugar, or other toxins. The inflamed gut lining allows food particles and other toxins to slip through into the bloodstream, creating more inflammation.

This also compromises your ability to absorb nutrients and vitamins, such as vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning your body needs to be absorbing fat to absorb the vitamin. In addition, vitamin D is necessary for the gut to produce the stem cells that help it grow thicker and seal any gaps in the intestines.

Click here to schedule a consult to determine if autoimmune diseases are causing your health to suffer!

How to Assess Your Vitamin D Levels

How To Assess Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D deficiency is at an all time high. We already knew most people were deficient, but recent research has shown that higher levels of vitamin D are necessary than were previously thought, meaning the deficiency is even more prevalent than we realized. Proper levels of vitamin D can help regulate our hormones and inflammation levels, effectively preventing disease.

You may be deficient in Vitamin D if:

  • You don’t get enough sunlight. Spending too much time indoors, or living in a place that doesn’t have much sun time, limits the amount of vitamin D your body can make.
  • You wear sunscreen with high SPF values. SPF blocks UVB rays, preventing your body from producing vitamin D. Once your skin gets a slight pinkness to it, you know you’ve had enough sun exposure for the day. Instead of reaching for heavy toxic sunscreen, opt instead for non-toxic SPF 15 lotion, seek out some time in the shade, or wear light clothing and a hat.
  • The darker your skin, the more sun your body needs in order to produce vitamin D.

The only way to know your vitamin D levels is through a Vitamin D blood test.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need?

The average adult will benefit from supplementing with about 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Children and petite women do well in the 2,000-4,000 IU range daily. People suffering from autoimmune diseases can benefit from taking super doses of around 40,000 IU a day while they heal their gut lining- however, this should only be practiced under the supervision of a medical professional. When dealing with a cold, taking 150,000 IU of vitamin D3 for three days straight will knock the sickness right out of you! 

 Emulsi D Supreme is a concentrated bioavailable source of vitamin D, containing 2000 IU in each drop!

Click here to schedule a consult and determine whether a vitamin D deficiency may be affecting your health.


Torea Rodriguez – Toxins, infections and autoimmune disease – Podcast #112

Dr. Justin Marchegiani interviews autoimmune specialist, Torea Rodriguez, in this episode where they talk about autoimmune diseases and how these can be exacerbated by toxins and infections in the body. Find out how one thing leads to another and what types of lab tests are vital in helping to get to the root cause of issues. 

Torea Rodriguez Discover what supplements can aid in fighting autoimmune conditions. Learn how important it is to deal with stress or avoid it completely to be healthy along with making diet and lifestyle changes, as well as find out about healing pathways that worked for some people which may just work for you, too.

In this episode, topics include:

13:55   Infections

16:35   Stress

24:42   Biofilms

30:58   Supplements and Herbs

36:26   Toxins







Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there, it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani. Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio. Today we have a functional medicine practitioner. Her name is Torea Rodriguez and she’s right out of Santa Cruz. Right, Torea?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, Santa Cruz is it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome! And you’re an autoimmune specialist, correct?

Torea Rodriguez:  I am. I do functional—err—functional medicine specializing in autoimmune. That’s how I got started. I got sick with autoimmune Hashimoto’s and it’s what I’m most comfortable with and it’s what I understand the most. So that’s what I focus on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What an epidemic autoimmune conditions are today, huh?

Torea Rodriguez:  Absolutely. I was reading in the Autoimmune Fix, Tom O’Bryan’s new book.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And he was explaining that, you know, most autoimmune diseases, what we know now is that it’s more of an autoimmune spectrum–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  As opposed to a specific disease, and so while there’s—I don’t know—there’s over 135 classified autoimmune diseases, it’s probably even more now and that all of those are just what’s known to us right now. Like there could be so many other ones and so it’s really the spectrum effect that happens, and yeah, it’s really prevalent.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, it’s really interesting because with autoimmune conditions. If you really look at what the conventional medical establishment has to offer, I mean, it’s not too much. I mean, they have your immunosuppressive medications, corticosteroids like prednisone. I mean, there’s not really even a diet shift or diet modality when it comes to autoimmune conditions, even though we know the research and the literature’s so, you know, rich with that type of information and also the idea of leaky gut really isn’t even talked about. What’s your take on the conventional medicine approach medicine offers—mainstream medicine for autoimmunity?

Torea Rodriguez:  I think that they are in a very unfortunate situation to be honest. They’re behind in terms of research. There’s not one doctor that I know, you tell me if I’m wrong–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  But there’s not one doctor that I know that has the time in between their 15-minute consults to also go and read the PubMed and the medical literature to stay up on what’s going on, so I think they’re in a very unfortunate situation. And then the other part about the traditional medical establishment is that they’re focused on special areas. So we’ve got the cardiologist for the heart health and we’ve got the endocrinologist for, you know, the endocrine system and the different hormone systems and all of those different things–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez:  And they’re looking at it from a very specific point of view from that organ if you will, when really autoimmunity needs to be that 30,000-ft view, big picture view because it’s the entire immune system. It’s the entire body that is having a problem. So yeah, I think that it’s just they’re in an unfortunate situation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  100%. I mean, I see that every day. It’ s like unless you have a clinical framework in which you operate in, I mean, you could skim through articles but it may not mean much to you because where do you plug that clinical piece of information into how you treat patients because typically it’s 3- to 5-minute consult, right? With the pat–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  With the patient. You have a prescription pad. For the most part you’re looking for a diagnostic code that justifies, you know, you to make money off the patient because they are—they are business and then typically that involves a prescription, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Or some type of procedure for the most part and that’s it. I mean, that’s—it’s really about managing that condition and the whole idea about addressing it or fixing a root causal issue really isn’t even there. I mean, it’s—it’s amazing that people can go to physicians where their goal really is just how can we prevent the symptoms from getting worse down the road versus let’s fix this.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It—totally different mindset.

Torea Rodriguez: Yeah. Complete different mindset and that was my exact experience when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s back in 2009 and I started working with an endocrinologist because that’s where people go who have thyroid issues. They go to an endocrinologist and start working with them and you know, he prescribed me medication after medication and it’s not working and I can’t get my labs stable and it’s still not working, so we’d switch it or we’d double the dose or, you know, we kinda got to a point where I challenged him because at that the time I needed to pass an aviation medical and I challenged him and I’m like, “Look, I need to pass this exam in a month. We’ve got a month. What do you got for me? Like we gotta do this, otherwise I have to stop flying for a living.” And he just kind of put his hands up and he was kinda like, “Well, you know, the next thing I know to do is to radiate the thyroid and cut out the rest of the tissue.” And I was just like, “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Brakes on full.” Like that’s not the path that I wanna go down.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez: And that was the real foray for me to start looking into functional medicine and to start looking at alternative solutions because I knew that it—there was something else going on. It wasn’t just the thyroid. I mean, there’s countless people out there with thyroid issues and they feel fine. So what is going on? And I wanted different answers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great. This is a great segway into kind of let the listeners know a little bit more about you. And most people, they kinda walk that, most practitioners are physicians—they walk the journey of the wounded healer. Right? They have some type of health–

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ailment themselves, they bump their head against a wall a few times—that wall being conventional medicine, and then was able to find a path that actually worked that—that really was focused on root causal health information.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So why don’t you share your story—I know you mentioned you were a pilot. I think you also have a biochemistry background, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah. Yeah, my undergrad degree is in Biochemistry–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, great.

Torea Rodriguez:  And you know—and I worked in the technology industry so I’ve kinda bounced around and cruised a little, but at the time I was a professional pilot, I wasn’t feeling good. I mean, I knew something was wrong and when it came time to really decide, “Am I gonna go under the knife to try and fix this? Or am I gonna try and find alternative solutions?” I really knew in my heart of hearts that I needed to find an alternative solution.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  By under the knife, you mean getting your thyroid removed, right?

Torea Rodriguez: Yeah. I mean–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  He wanted to give me a radiated thy–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Iodine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  And then cut out the rest of the tissue and I did not wanna have surgery to be honest.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So–

Torea Rodriguez: I just did not.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm. So it sounds like you were diagnosed with Graves’? Is that what happened?

Torea Rodriguez:  No.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Or was it something else?

Torea Rodriguez:  Hashimoto’s.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So this was Hashi—yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  This was Hashimoto’s.  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Torea Rodriguez: And most, for our listeners who don’t know, usually you take out the thyroid when it’s Graves’ which is the opposite, the hyperthyroid situation, and he just didn’t—he didn’t know where else to turn. These were the tools that he had and that’s why–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  I had so much compassion for them. It’s that they—they have the tools that are in their toolbox and they’re not necessarily applicable to the types of diseases that we are seeing right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It totally makes sense and that makes sense, too, because Hashimoto’s in the early stages can seem like Graves’ because the antibodies are different. They’re not the same kind of antibodies once thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin and TA—TSH receptor antibodies, the one for Hashi’s is TPO and thyroglobulin. So different effect–

Torea Rodriguez:  Correct.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But in the early—in the early inflammation response, thyroid hormone spills out and can create that hyper kinda symptoms, so that makes sense.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So I started searching for anybody that knew anything about thyroid and natural healing and I had stumbled across Chris Kresser’s writings–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm, yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  And this was back early in the day when he was just writing about stuff and he said something that really clicked with me–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Which was that we’re dealing with autoimmunity and we’re dealing with a disease of the immune system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Not a disease of the thyroid, not a disease of–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez:  The myelin sheath of your nerves. It’s a disease of the immune system and that we need to really focus on the immune system itself, and that just lit a lightbulb. It was an epiphany moment. It’s like, “Of course! That makes total sense.” So let’s go down that path. So I pretty much didn’t know where he was, didn’t care, was gonna get on any plane to go see him, begged myself into his clinic and he took me on as a client, and that’s when I really started to understand the multiple layers that had come into play to cause me to get sick and the work that I needed to do to start healing. Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. So with your working with Chris, I mean, he’s kind of a—a Paleo template guy. I’m a big fan of a Paleo template, right? Where we kinda can adjust the macronutrients and—and dial things in according to what works best for you, the patient. Just curious, if you could lay out just you and your experience as the patient, what worked best for you. What are those top 3 things that really were game changers in your case?

Torea Rodriguez:  I think the very first game changer was taking a different perspective on my diet. I had always felt that I was healthy and that I was eating very healthfully and to stay healthy on the road I was keeping to a vegetarian diet and with a lot of healthy whole grains, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Right? And so taking a different perspective and really taking a look at what it was that I was eating and what more importantly what I was missing in the diet. There were a lot of nutrients in my diet that were missing from that and so switching to a whole food Paleo type template was exactly what my body needed at the time and I would say that that in itself gave me a huge boost and huge stair step of healing right away.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So you were eating a lot of grains back then or were you eating any meat as well?

Torea Rodriguez:  I was not.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Torea Rodriguez:  I was trying to stay healthy on the road.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Torea Rodriguez:  So I was staying vegetarian because of course, we were eating out all the time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Torea Rodriguez:  So yeah, so I was just like, “Oh, I’ll just stay vegetarian. That’ll keep me healthy.” And then you know, in hindsight, looking back the other time I experimented with being vegetarian was in college and I got very, very sick in college. And I know now–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  That for me and my body type, I—I need to include animal proteins in there. That’s the only way I feel really great. So yeah, so I would say food was the other thing and then rest. Not really rest—how should I say this? I had to take a very serious look at my Type A hyper-overachiever lifestyle.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right, right.

Torea Rodriguez:  And that was really, really hard to do as a pilot. You are used to achieving every 6 months and passing check rides and switching to the next airplane and all of those things, and that was something that was really driving my nervous system into sympathetic fight or flight all the time.  And I had pretty much activated it all the time and I really had to take a serious look at that. So that was one of the other things that was really, really key in healing but expressly difficult to adjust to.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So you sound like you had some adrenal dysfunction there, too?

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, yeah. They were–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Pretty much—the way Chris put it—and I don’t know if he was trying to scare me or not, but he basically said that you are one step away from Addison’s disease. You need to do something different.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And were those initial tests that you ran for adrenals, were those on—on the BioHealth 201 adrenal panel?

Torea Rodriguez:  Correct.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay, cool.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Do you remember what your total–

Torea Rodriguez:  That was my first panel.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cortisol was?

Torea Rodriguez:  I think it was like 12.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow, that’s so low!

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  How about your DHEA?

Torea Rodriguez:  I don’t even remember. I’d have to go take a look. But yeah, I mean, it was pretty much tapped out. I mean, I was—I was tapped out. This was—I was sleeping 14 hours a night and feeling like I was–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Torea Rodriguez:  Hit by a Mack truck the next morning. Like I was not feeling rested ever.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And so recapping, you were eating a vegetarian diet. So I typically hear that. I think low protein, I think ex—probably excessive carbohydrate, probably lots of anti-nutrients.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, it was all carbohydrate. Because in addition to flying–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Torea Rodriguez:  The other thing that I loved to do was long distance cycling.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Running–oh yeah, there you go. So that your–

Torea Rodriguez: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You’re carb-loading, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Pretty much sugar all day long, every day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  How about fat consumption? Were you doing pretty low fat consumption? Were you doing a lot of nuts back then?

Torea Rodriguez:  Probably.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, nuts and you know, a little bit of olive oil here and there–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  But butter wasn’t in the profile at all. You know, so I was very fatphobic at that point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So we had blood sugar issues, we had nutrient density issues, you probably had a lot of anti-nutrient issues, adrenal dysfunction–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then autoimmunity which probably was exacerbated by all of the—the grains that you were consuming, too.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Torea Rodriguez:  Most definitely, and there was pretty extreme iron anemia–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, wow.

Torea Rodriguez: That we discovered and which explained a lot of the issues that I was having. I was getting hypoxic at very low altitudes at work and hypoxy is the term for when you are lacking oxygen at altitude and usually you’ll feel hypoxic anywhere between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. Everybody’s a little bit different.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  But I was feeling very hypoxic at 5,000.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Torea Rodriguez:  And the cabins are pressurized at 8,000 so I was even more fatigued at the end of my shift because I was constantly “at altitude” all day long and getting really sick from it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And so you were an airline–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Pilot where you like flying major airlines or–

Torea Rodriguez:  No, I flew charter and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Charter.

Torea Rodriguez:  Corporate aviation. Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. Now I’ve heard that—I’m not sure if this is true—but I’ve heard that pilots aren’t able to fly while consuming aspartame, is that true?

Torea Rodriguez:  I would have to double check what the regulations are with the FAA–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez:  But at the time when I was flying–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez: Aspartame was fine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It was fine. Okay, I wondered if that’s something new.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, it wasn’t a regulated substance, but I’d have to check. That’s curious.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay, alright, very cool.  And then let’s dive in. There’s one piece of your autoimmune puzzle that I think may have been an issue but you didn’t allude to it yet. You didn’t mention anything about infections. Were infections a piece of the puzzle for you getting your thyroid and your autoimmune situation under control?

Torea Rodriguez:  They were definitely a piece of the puzzle but they came later.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ahh.

Torea Rodriguez:  Like we really started with diet, lifestyle stuff first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah. Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Started focusing on healing the gut a little bit–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  And then also the adrenals, like I was just–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  So tapped out, right? Getting some–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally.

Torea Rodriguez:  Support there, but later on we started to find the GI pathogens for sure and I tested positive for H. pylori and then later on tested positive for a—another one that I can’t even remember the name of it and you know, as we started to treat those and heal those, you know, we’ve kinda talked about lingering symptoms like what’s left, what else is going on?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Torea Rodriguez: You know, and—and sure enough we found Giardia but it took–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow!

Torea Rodriguez:  A number of tests and a number of passes at that for it to finally reveal itself and that Giardia had gotten—I’ve had it for so long that it had left the intestinal tract and actually had gone into the gallbladder.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  And so I had all these crazy gallbladder attacks that I couldn’t explain and ultrasounds to make sure it’s not stones, like it was kind of a little bit of a crazy path but we finally found the Giardia and treated myself for Giardia and that was another huge stair step is to finally get rid of that pathogen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So 3 major parasitic infections—H. pylori, something in between was a Blasto? Blastocystis hominis or Crypto?

Torea Rodriguez:  No, it wasn’t Blasto. My husband’s had Blasto. It was Crypto.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Crypto. Okay.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup, yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow. That’s—that is nasty. Yeah, that’s a Blasty-Cryp—I call that the Three Amigos by the way.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, definitely felt like the Three Amigos were having a party, that’s for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right? Now when you went to go attack the Giardia, did you have to do a gallbladder flush to get the gall—to get the Giardia flushed out?

Torea Rodriguez:  I didn’t. Actually–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Torea Rodriguez:  I was pretty lucky with the anti–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez: Pathogens that we used.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Torea Rodriguez:  Actually it turned out to be fine. But yeah–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. So we have adrenal issues and that—you know, in your situation, it’s kinda unique in how it unfolds and what stressors happen in your life but how things break down is pretty consistent, right? There’s some level of–

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Dietary stress and that’s unique for person, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Whether it’s vegetarian side, whether it’s the standard American diet and lots of conventional meat and grains. You have the adrenal stressors, right? You have imbalanced amount of macronutrients, so I call that blood sugar stressors. You have infections and then you had the autoimmune—the whole immune system all revved up–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Because of everything else, because all of the—the things I already mentioned.  I see that

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I see that with most patients.

Torea Rodriguez:  There’s—there’s another thing in there that kinda added to the whole perfect storm which is what I now call acute stress events.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  There was a period of time between 2008 and 2009 when I was being diagnosed where I had lost a parent suddenly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Torea Rodriguez:  I had gotten into a cycling accident and pretty severe physical injuries and I had an emergency at altitude and was the only pilot on board to deal with that emergency, so there was a huge amount adrenalin that got pumped out that day when I was dealing with that—that actual emergency, and those 3 things all happened within months of each other.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Torea Rodriguez: And that pretty much a perfect storm on the stress side of things to completely cause additional leaky gut and cause additional food sensitivities and everything else that just kinda added to the whole picture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, you really—you really hit a point there that I wanna emphasize. You talked about the leaky gut and the food sensitivities and I think a lot of people at home, they—they hear stress but they don’t really think about how stress really impacts our digestion or impacts our gut lining.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Because the biggest thing that really revs up this autoimmune cycle is stress and what it does to the gut lining and then what that does to undigested food particles and then what that does to the immune system as they slip through the tight junctions to get into the bloodstream.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, absolutely. And you know people hear stress, stress, stress, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez: I get it, but what they don’t understand is that in the lab and I think this was Dr. Fasano’s work–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Is that in the lab one of the ways that they would introduce leaky gut is hitting these poor rats over the head and causing head trauma.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And that’s a physical injury that you know, resulted in leaky gut. So when we have a lot of stress whether it’s physical injury or not, that will cause leaky gut.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And is that mechanism through the head trauma is after decreased activation of the—the vagal nerve?

Torea Rodriguez: That’s my guess.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that’s what I think, too.

Torea Rodriguez:  That is definitely my guess. Yeah, vagal nerve is so huge in recovery and, you know, stimulating the parasympathetic side of the immune system and nervous system.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I was reading an interesting study just last week on petting animals and it stimulating the vagal nerve.

Torea Rodriguez:  Really? I definitely need a dog again.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I—you think—I know. I practice next to my dog, Butter, all day so I, you know, pet her. I’m like, “Yeah, I’m getting my vagus nerve going.” You know, I’m—I’m practicing what I preach here.

Torea Rodriguez:  Excellent.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So nice little fun fact there.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, I look for all sorts of different ways to simulate vagus nerve when trying to heal autoimmunity because so many of us get kinda stuck in the cycle of the sympathetic side of the nervous system and it’s very hard to start to retrain the body to start activating the parasympathetic side. So I’m always looking for tips like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that’s good. And now because you’ve had this history you’ve been able to effectively treat it, which is great, what are you seeing in your patients? Are you seeing similar type of events kind of cascading or what kind of infections are you seeing, too?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, so lots of GI pathogens.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  I’ve seen the gamut of them. I’m also seeing patients who are attributing some of their getting sick like how I had that perfect storm of stress events to receiving tetanus vac—vaccination—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez:  Vaccines, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  Vaccinations.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  Or you know, some other kind of trauma.  Usually it’s a trauma that can start the whole ball of wax to unravel, and so I see that quite a bit, so I pretty much apply the same technique is to let’s get an understanding of what’s going on. Let’s look for some of those co-infections and start dealing with those, so that I pretty much equate it to the immune system as pretty much over—overloaded at this point. It can’t really deal with these things effectively. So we have to help it to get rid of those things so it can become stronger to be able to keep this things at bay. So it’s, yeah–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I totally see that as well, where like the immune system is compromised. It can’t quite get rid of the infection on its own and it needs just a little bit more help with whether a specific protocol that you create to help kind of knock that infection out, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then you went—you said something about five minutes ago. I wanna kinda come back to it because I think, just through the lens of the patient right now, from a patient talking to you. The biggest thing I see patients that have chronic health issues is when they have multiple infections layered up and they—they get their stool test back or their infectious panel back and they find there is one or two infections. We treat those infections. They come back negative, but a new one comes back. And that’s a really frustrating thing that I let my patients know that there is probably a 20% chance that may happen. And we call it you know, I refer to it as crypt hyperplasia where the infection burrows deeper into the gut lining and it makes its way out as we kinda clean through all the crud if you will. What’s your take on it? How do you explain that or educate your patients about that?

Torea Rodriguez: There’s a couple different analogies that I use for that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  One is that, you know, we are basically going after the bad guys that we see in the beginning of the forest–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  But not the ones that are deeper in.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Deeper in, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  And so you have to kinda keep retesting for that and then of course, I’ll get a little technical with them and talk to them about biofilms and how biofilms –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Can get you know, resistant to things like oil of oregano and you know, that kind of thing, so you kind of have–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  To play around with some of these agents that we use to get rid of the stuff to actually get after it, and then you know, the other part, too, is that if—if they’ve done a lot of antibiotics, traditional antibiotics, or they’ve done a lot of use of these herbal antibiotics, often times what doesn’t come into play is the re-population of the gut and so basically we leave this like five-star resort open with neon signs that says, “Bad guys, move in here.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  And then they’re easy to pick up on something else. So sometimes they pick up something else–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Through their travels or whatever but sometimes it’s just really just uncovering it and exploring deeper in that forest.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And this is helpful because I think a lot of people that expect you know, let’s say they have a couple of infections, they expect that once those infections are gone that they’re gonna feel 100% better. And in your situation what percent better were you after those two infections, the H. pylori and the Crypto?

Torea Rodriguez:  At that point, you know we had done a lot of the diet-lifestyle stuff–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  So I would say 60% but getting rid of those only got me about another 10%.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then so it was the last one?

Torea Rodriguez:  Then it wasn’t until–yeah, it wasn’t until we found the—the Giardia–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  And start treating the Giardia that things really started to fall into place and then looking at my final lingering symptoms, those are all Epstein-Barr related.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And so now that’s my focus personally and like I still work on the stuff.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  I’ve been working on this since 2009, you know, so it’s—some of my clients are like, “When does it ever stop?” And it could stop now but I refuse to accept mediocrity and you know, I wanna feel good all the time so I will always pursue it, but some people choose to stop when they feel 80-90% better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right and I guess it depends, right? Because everyone, you know, when do you stop eating healthy? When do you stop exercising? When do you stop going—getting good sleep, right? It just—people, it’s very easy to get addicted to feeling great and then the potential of “Can I feel 5% better this year? What do you think? Is it possible?”

Torea Rodriguez:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So it can gets exciting, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  It totally gets exciting and you know, the thing is that that things will change. You’ll start to feel better and then you’ll decide that you wanna go travel to Nicaragua and you get a really nasty bout–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Of food poisoning. Well, guess what?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  You probably just picked up something that you should test for and see if it’s still hanging out in your gut after you get back. So, I mean, we pick up stuff like this all the time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And what are you doing right now for biofilms? You brought that up earlier with antibiotic resistance, people taking in the past. What are you doing for that with your patients?

Torea Rodriguez:  Biofilms, I mean, you can use several different agents–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  I like to use interface. There’s a couple other things–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  That I’ve used in the past. Not BiotaGen, that is a prebiotic powder.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: -Biotic, yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  It’s the Bio-Botanical Industries, do you know which one I’m talking about?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, there’s a couple out there–

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, shoot.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The big ones that I know for my biofilms are—are ginger–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Silver and cat’s claw or Samento. Those are my–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  My favorites to use for the biofilms. Ginger tea is like mandatory for all patients to sip on, you know, for the first few weeks because ginger—there’s a lot of studies on it on helping biofilm reduction.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, that’s fantastic! Yeah. Biocidin–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, Biocidin.

Torea Rodriguez:  It’s the other one that I’ve used.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup. And that seems to do a really good job with people who have been on the Interface for too long and then all of a sudden you’ve got something that’s resistant to that—but ginger is new for me. That’s really fascinating. I’d love to see those papers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah. I mean, you just go ginger and biofilms. There is just dozens of them.

Torea Rodriguez:  Excellent.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  There—there was one cool paper where it showed like a Petri dish of like all this resistant bacteria or biofilms, and then like they introduced a small bit of ginger to it and it was like gone. So a big fan of juicing–

Torea Rodriguez:  Fantastic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I’m a big fan of juicing it though, like fresh juiced ginger, like just kinda throw it in your Vitamix or Magic Bullet if you don’t like the pulp–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Which I don’t like the pulp. I strain it through a French press, and–

Torea Rodriguez:  Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  There you go. Add a teaspoon of honey especially if you don’t have any fungal issues, you could do it. A quarter of a lime and you’re good to go, and it really helps reduce those biofilms.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, ginger is amazing stuff because not only do you have biofilm disruptor, but you’ve got some really great probiotics that are on the ginger root itself.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  So yeah, pretty amazing stuff. I like it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Also anti-inflammatory and anticoagulants. So keeps the crud that gets you know–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Stuck or sludgy moving along, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup. Absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cool. So with the patient’s right now, would you say the most common autoimmune condition you’re seeing is Hashimoto’s or thyroid autoimmune disease?

Torea Rodriguez:  You know, honestly I don’t see a lot of Hashimoto’s clients–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  I just see autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  In general.

Torea Rodriguez:  They’re all over the place. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What—what are the big five for you?

Torea Rodriguez:  Rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  Hashimoto’s is definitely in there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  But then I’ve gotten some really strange ones that, you know, that are skin-related.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup, scleroderma or–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, that sclerodermas and those kinds of things.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Psoriasis.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup, psoriasis for sure. Those are the big majors really.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  I don’t see a lot of people with MS and I don’t see a lot of people with Crohn’s. I thought I would. I had one client with Crohn’s, but that was it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are you seeing a lot of multi-glandular autoimmune syndromes like more than one autoimmune condition with the same patient?

Torea Rodriguez:  Almost everybody–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  I’ve known that’s been diagnosed with our immune has been diagnosed with two if not more.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  I—I’ve two that I know about. I’ve had psoriasis in the past–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  That’s been healed and I know that’s autoimmune. It was never diagnosed by a medical professional but I also have Raynaud’s in the hands–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  That’s fun. Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I see that exact same pattern. Raynaud’s, Hashi’s, and some type of either eczema or psoriatic skin condition is like super common.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, yeah, very common for them to go together.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And for listeners, Raynaud’s is just a condition where you get these vasospasms in the—typically in the extremity tips that can cut off blood flow in circulation and create that cold kind of feeling.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, it’s pretty freaky when you look at your hands and your entire fingers are white.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  From the base of the fingers to the tips. The first day that happened to me I kinda freaked out. I was on the bike and couldn’t figure out how to get the blood flowing in the fingers again. It was kind of scary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I totally hear you. And then talk about the Epstein-Barr in the—I wanna say mono or chronic fatigue that tends to happen from that. How are you diagnosing? What are you looking on lab work to pick up EBV?

Torea Rodriguez:  So I’m a big proponent of the Immunoscience’s panel. They’ve got a viral panel and if you want we can link to it in the show notes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  But they’ve got a really great comprehensive viral panel that you can run or you can ask your doctor to run the markers for you if you want, which will take a look at whether or not you’ve got past exposure or current exposure. Most people who are dealing with chronic EBV have had a past exposure, and my theory is that our immune system is just not as strong as keeping it at bay as somebody else. I mean EBV is so common that we think that nearly 95 to 98% of the population has been—been exposed. It’s just most of them can keep it at bay. So a lot of those types of symptoms are fatigue, feeling like you’re getting the flu but never really coming down with the flu, light sensitivity in the eyes, tinnitus in the ears, pain in the lymph nodes underneath the ears, those kinds of things, maybe a mild fever but hardly ever fever associated with it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, that is super common and the three major things I looked that—I just pulled up the Immunoscience panel and that’s exactly what I run, Viral Capsid Antigen, Nuclear Antigen and Early Antigen.

Torea Rodriguez:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  IgM and IgGs. Any IgM, that’s a sign of more of an acute or—potential active or reactive infection. And any IgG for the Early Antigen–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Is a sign of a potential reactivation. Is that kind of what you go by, too?

Torea Rodriguez:  Exactly. Yeah and you know, when I was first starting to look at this at myself I did this with my naturopathic doctor and we ran the whole lab, and while I didn’t have any IgM for active–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Infection, I have had in her opinion the highest titer she has ever seen for IgGs so I—I got the Gold Star award for that. So it definitely tells me that that’s something that my body has been dealing with for a very long time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely and what are you doing right now from a supplement or herbal standpoint with Epstein-Barr?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, so I am making sure that I stay as far away from sugar as I–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Possibly can because sugar will break down the L-lysine in the body and L-lysine–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Is the amino acid that we need to keep viruses at bay–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  At the most, which ironically now that I know that information is why after I eat a bunch of sugar I feel like crap for three days afterwards.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Torea Rodriguez:  And I take L-lysine as a supplement. I’ve also been experimenting on myself doing an n=1 experiment with using supplemental BHT.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And some people don’t like that approach. Some people love that approach. And that seems to be helping with the constant symptoms that I was having, and not as often anymore. Whether or not it is the BHT or the L-lysine, I don’t know because I’m testing two variables are once. But those are the two things that I’ve been doing and then just making sure that I don’t have a lot of stress, because stress will set me back faster than anything,

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love how foundational things are right at the forefront. That’s I think so important. I think a lot of people miss that.

Torea Rodrigue:  I think—I think we want to throw them in the back corner to be honest –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Right? It’s like we want the easy button sometimes, and sometimes the easy button is just making sure that you’re consistent with the foundations.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I see so many people that come in or have seen me before other doctors and they come in, we have a whole bunch of infections, and the doctors they previously were with just threw a whole bunch of things at them–

Torea Rodriguez:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Didn’t really get lifestyle changes dialed in. Didn’t really get the diet. Didn’t really get blood sugar. Didn’t really get the adrenals or any thyroid or hormone stuff. And they just went after the infections right away and they just shut down.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I think echoing on what you said the lifestyle piece and the diet piece, and even the hormonal—hormone piece before that is so important as a foundation so you can go after these infections and not create a healing crisis.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, absolutely. Like I see this quite often. Of course, everybody wants to end the pain, like I get it. I totally get it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  And you know, we want those results right away but I have seen clients do the same approach with other practitioners and you know, they get thrown a whole bunch of antimicrobials for example. Yeah, that practitioner didn’t look at the liver function and didn’t realize that there are liver wasn’t ready to process all those toxins that are created when we go after the microbes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  And yeah, and they completely shut down so that’s why I do a bunch of labs upfront so that I can see like what’s the status of the liver, what’s the status of the neurotransmitters, like let’s look everywhere and then figure out a strategy, and it does take time for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And you mentioned earlier, the butylated hydroxytoluene, the BHT.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Can you talk more about that?

Torea Rodriguez:  So yeah, so butylated hydroxytoluene which is a mouthful–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  BHT—that is the same BHT that used to be in breakfast cereal when you and I were young.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, is that–

Torea Rodriguez:  Like it’s the same stuff.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, it’s the preservatives. So there are–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It keeps it crunchy when it sits in the milk for a while, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  That’s right. Totally.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes, I noticed.

Torea Rodriguez:  Capt N Crunch, in fact.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Torea Rodriguez:  So it—there’s research out there that says that it’s a neurotoxin. There’s research out there that says it’s not a neurotoxin. And as you know when you read PubMed research you are always gonna find both sides of the picture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez:  But what they have found is that with lipid encapsulated viruses, so the herpes style-type viruses of which EBV is one. It’s actually herpes simplex virus IV. That it has a really good ability to disrupt that lipid bilayer of the viral body and help keep the actual attack of that virus down. And so you know, there—there’s a lot of research out there. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there that it works which is why I decided to do an n=1 experiment on myself and it seems to be definitely helping; whether or not I wanna do it long term, I’m not certain yet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I will.

Torea Rodriguez:  If I wanna do it long term. But that’s the only—the only negative of it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I will put a link to the show notes. So if anyone that wants to get more intel on that they will have that at their fingertips. That’s great.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah. I’ll also send you a link to include in the show notes. There is a PDF or an eBook out there called the—the BHT book I think is what it’s called, and it was written by a biochemist by the name of Stephen Faulks and he put together a bunch of the research on its effect on lipid encapsulated viruses.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I know Steve. He wrote the book on smart drugs, right?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, okay.

Torea Rodriguez:  He is also known for a—what is it? Aspartame, no, not aspartame. Araspid—araspertam?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh yes. Yeah, the—the various racetams. Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yes, those. Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup. Big—yeah, he’s a big fan of those. Very cool, awesome.

Torea Rodriguez:  Brilliant biochemist though and he really knows his stuff.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I met Steve over at the—I think it’s Smart Life forum down in Silicon Valley over at Palo Alto.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, he’s a big guy over there. He gives a lot of informative talks.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup, yup, really nice guy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. Now you’ve kind of alluded to something earlier. I’m gonna go back to it.

Torea Rodriguez:  Great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  My—my brain thinks. It kinda scatters a little bit, but I—it’ll all make sense at the end here. You talked about toxins and being able to check liver functions. So are we talking about just like in an ALT, AST liver enzymes on a blood test, or were you talking about organic acid testing for the liver?

Torea Rodriguez:  I use both.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  I wanted to take a look at both. So when I take on a client we do a full blood chemistry workup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And an organic acids, and a look at both. I wanna make sure that both phase 1 and phase 2 processes are functioning properly. If they’re not, then I probably won’t go after microbials or pathogens or environmental toxins right away because we want to make sure that the body has a—an appropriate way of clearing this stuff. We don’t want to just add a whole bunch of extra burden to the liver if we can help it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And what you’re cut off for the ALT and AST on your lab test?

Torea Rodriguez:  Umm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Less than 20?

Torea Rodriguez:  Pretty much, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, I wanna make sure that, you know, it’s—it’s not too high. We want to make sure that it’s working efficiently. So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   That’s exactly what I do. Now let’s pivot here. You mentioned in our pre-interview, you talked all about the organic acids. You talked about, and I love the organic acid test, I know there’s—I do the Genova testing in my office. I know you mentioned you do the—the GPL, the Great Plains Lab testing–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And he also mentioned about their tox screen, which I’ve—doing more and more frequently. I’m actually gonna be doing a panel of myself as well as the one for the Roundup, the—the glyphosate, too.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, yeah, yeah, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So—so let’s pivot there. Talk to me more about the organics and how you’re using it with your patients and then kinda stack on how you’re interchangeably using the toxic screen, too.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, sure. So organic acids, I was taught by another practitioner how to interpret organic acids, and I’ve—I’ve used the Genova as well as the Great Plains and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  The thing that I love about the organic acids is we’re looking at metabolites of various different biochemical processes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Torea Rodriguez:  And when there’s a problem with one chemical changing form to another chemical in that cycle–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  It will kinda spill over, just like if we had dammed up a reservoir; it kind of spills over and it gets into the urine and this is how we can see where there are problems in those functions in the body. And I think I love it so much because it’s one, simple collection for the client–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  And there are so many markers that look at so many different areas, so we can see bacterial overgrowth in the body pretty easily. It’s super, super sensitive for yeast. Whereas in any kind of stool test, like if you find yeast then you know you’ve got a raging yeast infection.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah. So I like that it’s super sensitive for yeast. You can look at neurotransmitter balance. You can look at–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup.

Torea Rodriguez:  You can look at methylation, nutritional deficiencies, like there is so much information in the organic acids that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mitochondria.

Torea Rodriguez:  It’s just really—yeah. Mitochondrial function which is huge–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  For people without immunity like of course, you’re feeling fatigued because your mitochondria–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Huge.

Torea Rodriguez:  Are not generating energy the way that they should and they are the energy powerhouses of the cell. So you know, knowing that allows me to be able to fine tune somebody’s wellness plan so that they can start feeling better sooner in looking at those kinds of things. So I love the organic acids for that reason.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What major areas of the organic acid test are you seeing out of balance in your patients right now?

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, gosh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Just myself, I see them all–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But there are certain ones I see more frequently. I’m just curious just kind of like your intuitive guess.

Torea Rodriguez:  In the—yeah, in the last year there’s been a lot–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oxalate and yeast issues.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm. Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  I’ve seen not so much neurotransmitter imbalance but definitely mitochondrial malfunction.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Torea Rodriguez: And then the rest is the bacterial overgrowth.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah is really nice because it gives you that extra net to pick up gut issues outside of what you may miss on a stool test.

Torea Rodriguez:  Exactly, which is, you know, we were talking about that forest, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  And trying to find the bad guys in the forest, this gives us another way to do that with a different method which makes it a much better sweep of that forest.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally. And what about the tox screen? What kind of toxins are you seeing? How much Roundup, how much benzene, toluene? Whatever else you’re seeing there–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, I really like it. I mean, there’s 172 markers on the—the labs. So it’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Unreal.

Torea Rodriguez:  It’s pretty comprehensive but, you know, that is allowing us to not only look at what somebody is biologically infected with like a co-infection but the environmental toxins from everywhere. So if you are getting exposed to lots of gasoline or gasoline exhaust fumes for example, maybe your work is—maybe you’re the person that holds the construction sign on the highway, you know, and you’re breathing in fumes all day long, or you’re a dental hygienist in Europe being put in the face of chemicals all day long, like we get to see those things but more importantly we are seeing pesticides that are used either in the yard or in the garden. We’re seeing the chemicals that are used for cleaning in the house or you know, the insecticides, right? In the house and cosmetics. I have to say it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  Cosmetics and you know, self-care products, the shampoos, and the soaps, and all of that stuff that we put our skin shows up in this test. So I really love it because it—this is what hammers down the lifestyle piece of it, right? Making those changes to make sure that you’re not getting exposed to plastics for example.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and what are the top three toxins you’re seeing come back on that screening?

Torea Rodriguez:  Honestly, they’re all over the map. I’ve just started running it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And it seems to be a little bit different for everybody.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  So I haven’t seen something that’s very common. Now the glyphosate that you had mentioned–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes. The Roundup. Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, so that’s pretty much coming back on almost everybody.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I know. It’s scary. It really is scary.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup. And that one, you know, not only is it Roundup but that’s—you know, people hear about GMO versus organic food—GMO, 9 times out of 10 is a plant that has been modified to be able to be a Roundup-ready or Roundup resistant.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Torea Rodriguez:  Right. So they’re spraying it, like this is the whole deal with GMOs, is like there is spraying it with pesticides, folks, and you’re eating it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Tons.

Torea Rodriguez:  Like that’s what’s happening. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Like billions of pounds a year. I just got my—my whole lawn in my yard here in Austin replaced. We put down sod, and before they were saying, “Oh, typically the protocol is you know, we’re going to throw down a whole bunch of Roundup.” I said, “Nope. You’re just gonna—you’re gonna, you know, go and scalp it. You know use the bulldozer, whatever, do what you gonna do. No Roundup.” They say, “Oh, everyone does it. It’s innocuous. You know, turns into a sod, goes away.” But I’m seeing exactly what you’re seeing, lots of glyphosate or Roundup is found in people’s urine. So it’s obviously getting extracted or it’s coming out but the question is, I mean, “I’m not eating or—you know, pesticides and things like that. How are we getting exposed to it?” So it’s—it’s gotta be ubiquitous in the environment.

Torea Rodriguez:  It is pretty ubiquitous and I’ve talked to the folks at Great Plains and they’re seeing it in almost 100% of samples.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Scary.

Torea Rodriguez:  I mean, it’s—it is really scary.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  And thank you for putting in sod and not turf.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes. You got it.

Torea Rodriguez:  Thank you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You got it.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Try to be–

Torea Rodriguez:  Because I can only imagine the amount of plastic chemicals that I’m gonna find in somebody’s tox screen, then they tell me that they have a turf lawn.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I know and I called up the people over down here at—at Chem-free Lawns in Austin and I was talking to them about chemical-free fertilizers. They use a lot of probiotics or they’ll use–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Natural herbs. They’ll even use various Helminths or worms to kill various infections.

Torea Rodriguez:  Oh, cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And—and we were chatting about that for a bit and they were talking to me about the demand to switch away from these more carcinogenic conventional pesticides to these more natural ones, how it’s just the demand is out of this world, and I think people are catching on, you know, if you follow The Truth About Cancer series that was out again this last month, a lot of these chemicals are associated with various lymphomas and leukemias and cancers that are carcinogenic and hormone disruptors. So I think it’s great that people are—by and large are starting to get exposed to this information.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And it—you know, it’s one of those things that can—can contribute to autoimmunity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Huge.

Torea Rodriguez:  Because, yeah, it’s huge. So super important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, was there anything you wanna just kind of leave us with here? I’m gonna go onto my last question that I ask every guest, but is there anything else you wanted to share with the listeners that you find just really impactful or you’re just really passionate about right now that you wanna share?

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, you know, I think one of the things that I found in my practice that has been extremely powerful is not only is it diet, lifestyle factors, looking at the functional medicine piece of it, but it’s also really taking a look at your life and what’s important, and sorting through what matters the most, and once you identify what matters the most, like get rid of everything else that doesn’t because it’s just added stress, and we don’t need it, right? So really kinda coming—becoming clear with that, and I think a lot of times people feel like they are expected to have this career, do the—be the perfect wife, you know, all of those things and it’s—it’s really fascinating to determine that sometimes I end up counselling people through career changes–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Torea Rodriguez:  And relationship changes like those are really key parts of health so don’t ignore the emotional side either. That’s my point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I think that’s really important. Where can our listeners find out more about you?

Torea Rodriguez:  So they can go to my website which is We’ll include that in the show notes because that’s a handful to spell out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s only one R. T-O-R-E-A We’ll put the link–

Torea Rodriguez:  Correct.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  For it below. Anywhere else? Do you have a YouTube channel? Do you have a podcast? Do you have anything else going on?

Torea Rodriguez:  If they subscribe to my newsletter and blog, I do a video blog every week, so they’ll be able to get that in the newsletter, and then the other thing that I’m working on right now is the five-week course that’s gonna launch in January. That’s an environmental toxin course, so it’s five weeks to help clean out the home and the body without getting overwhelmed, and that’s gonna include that environmental tox screen that we talked about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Love it. I’m doing that more and more–

Torea Rodriguez:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got one on my test, sitting on my desk here that I gotta get done soon on myself, so I’m excited.

Torea Rodriguez:  Excellent.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So last question. If you are stuck on a desert island and you only could bring one supplement with you, what would it be?

Torea Rodriguez:  Supplement.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It could be like an herb. It could be like coconut oil. It could be like anything. Just supplement or compound or tincture or whatever you want.

Torea Rodriguez:  Well, the first thing that came to mind is what I’m gonna go with. I’m gonna say an avocado tree.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  An avocado tree, there you go.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, so essential fatty acids essentially.

Torea Rodriguez:  Essential fatty acids, lots of fiber, it’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Torea Rodriguez:  You know, it’s awesome. So I love avocado. That would definitely be it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it. Getting our monosaccharide fats going. Very cool.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And also fun fact about an avocado. Avocados have more potassium than bananas. Everyone thinks, “Oh, you know, potassium. Leg cramps, right? Grab a banana.”  Well, actually avocados have more and less sugar.

Torea Rodriguez:  Avocados, awesome.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very cool. Awesome, Torea. Great chatting with you and well, look forward to have you back on the show soon.

Torea Rodriguez:  Yeah, thank you so much. Super fun.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Thanks.  Take care.

Detox course:
December’s Webinar on the course (06 Dec):
BHT Book:

Eileen Laird – Reversing autoimmune disease through diet and lifestyle – Podcast #81

Dr. Justin Marchegiani interviews Eileen Laird, the author of A Simple Guide to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, where they talk about everything you need to know about AIP or Autoimmune Protocol and Paleo in today’s podcast. Eileen has been successfully reversing her rheumatoid arthritis condition or keeping it under control through diet and lifestyle changes. 

Eileen LairdLearn more about what nutrient-dense autoimmune Paleo foods you can eat and what foods to avoid. Discover helpful supplements and what a healing diet looks like. Get information about transitioning from AIP and how to reintroduce different foods back to your diet.

In this episode, topics include:

2:01   Living with rheumatoid arthritis

6:03   nutrient-dense autoimmune Paleo foods

18:00   The mechanism of autoimmunity and leaky gut

23:24   Transitioning from AIP

26:03   Eating out on an AIP diet

32:50   Best supplements









Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there!  It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani.  We have a great podcast interview coming your way.  We have Eileen Laird.  She is an autoimmune expert and I’m really excited to bring her on because I see so many patients in my clinic that have autoimmune condition or autoimmune disease and her website is such a great reference.  So I’d to welcome Eileen to the show.  Eileen, how we doin’?

Eileen Laird:  I’m doing great and thank you so much for having me, and thank you for your kind words.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Thanks, you got it!  Before we start out, what did you have for breakfast?

Eileen Laird:  Homemade chicken soup.  It’s my favorite breakfast.  I make a huge batch of it.  I shouldn’t say me anymore.  My husband actually loves it, too.  So he’s taken over the making of the breakfast soup.  I’m pretty lucky that way.  But it serves us like 5 days a week during the work week.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Cool.  Awesome!  And I’m just curious.  How did you get the name of your website,

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, so for my–for people who don’t know, I have rheumatoid arthritis, and that hit my right–life like a wrecking ball back in 2012 and the pain was so intense and the disabling influence in my life was so overwhelming that I really felt like I was on fire and knocked down so hard I didn’t know if I would ever get up again and I was looking for images of hope and found the phoenix and really loved that idea–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-huh, yeah.

Eileen Laird:  Of rising above those flames.  So it remains a very powerful image for me and definitely the Paleo diet and lifestyle was the key for me rising above those flames, and then the helix represents DNA and our ability to affect our genes turning on and off.  So we aren’t just defined by the genes that, for example in me add up to rheumatoid arthritis that I can control to some extent how that manifests in my body and how much it does or does not influence my life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  So you kinda already gave us a little feedback about your life.  You were an RA patient, rheumatoid arthritis, and imagine you stumbled upon the autoimmune diet because the conventional medical options out here are kinda bleak, is that kinda what happened?

Eileen Laird:  Exactly, I mean it really did hit my life like a wrecking ball.  I was very–what I thought was healthy, you know, I was hiking for fun on the weekends.  The most recent trip I took, we had–we had done 10-mile mountain hikes everyday.  I ate what I thought was healthy, you know, it was organic, but it–it was nothing like Paleo.  I had gluten and dairy every day.  Just thought if it was organic, it was okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, and then, you know, it started with just a little bit of pain in my feet, very quickly spread to my hands and then body-wide and within 6 months, I was limping crossing the living room.  I couldn’t lift a dish to wash the dishes.  I couldn’t work.  I was exhausted.  I felt like I was 90 years old all day and that was my good baseline.  And then in the evening, the flares would hit so hard I would have to immobilize whatever joint got hit.  So if it was my wrist, it would go into a brace.  If it was my shoulder, it would go into a sling.  If it was my jaw, I couldn’t open my mouth to eat.  So it was very terrifying and–and as you know and your listeners know the autoimmune conventional treatment even though it’s necessary sometimes, just because life is so desperate, it’s not really a sustainable answer.  So I was hoping to avoid that and hopped online and thank goodness for the Internet, because 10 years before that, I don’t think I’d have known there were even alternatives and that’s when I did find out about the Paleo-Autoimmune Protocol.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I know, it’s like patients that go down this autoimmune type of path and like you being in the–having rheumatoid– rheumatoid arthritis, you go to a rheumatologist and they’re recommending prednisone and corticosteroid, things that are shutting down the immune system, maybe even chemotherapeutic drugs like methotrexate.  And it’s really a scary path because at some point, a lot of these medications’ side effects can even be worse than the autoimmune conditions, and I just had a patient just listening to my podcast on autoimmune lifestyle last month called me up and said, “Hey, I’m pain-free for the first time in 20 years following an autoimmune diet.”  And it’s just–I–I feel really fortunate to get that information out there but I scratched my head and say, “Why isn’t this first line in therapy in every rheumatologist or conventional medical doctor’s practice?”

Eileen Laird:  Exactly.  Because the statistics show, if you surveyed rheumatoid arthritis patients, you get very different answers than if you surveyed the doctors.  The doctors will say the drugs are so good that they’re miracles.  And if you survey the patients who are on the strongest drugs available, half of them still need steroids in addition to that, almost all of them need some level of painkiller at the NSAID level.  It’s they’re not living pain-free lives.  So the fact that the diet can be so effective either by itself or in addition, it’s just a shame that it’s not as well-known.  But I think, you know, I think that’s changing.  I think there’s a revolution going on and more and more people are trying it for sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I think so, too, and it’s fascinating that a lot of these rheumatologist as I talked to them in practice, they really don’t have an understanding on diet and how it can affect autoimmunity.  And it’s just like they have a very reductionistic approach, anti-inflammatories, immune suppressive pain-relieving medications, and that’s it.  And the diet piece is out of the equation and I’ve just seen so many hundreds of people in my practice get better.  So I think you getting the word out there, I know you have your book on the autoimmune lifestyle, which anyone that has an autoimmune condition needs to get that book.  That’s the simple guide to the Paleo-Autoimmune Protocol and I use all of these tenets with my patients and I’m in the trenches and these things work.  Like the simple action items that we talk about on the autoimmune plan, they work.  Cutting out the grains, the refined sugar, stabilizing blood sugar.  I know you talk about in your book, getting nutrient-dense autoimmune Paleo foods in.  Can you talk more about what your favorite nutrient-dense autoimmune Paleo foods are?

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, and I’m so glad that you brought that up and I know that you recommend that to your patients but I think sometimes when people first find the AIP, they’re very focused on the foods they remove–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  And they don’t focus on the foods they’re eating.  And if you’re not getting well on the AIP, that’s definitely one of the first things I’d recommend.  Like if you’re having chicken breast and broccoli and then tons of AIP desserts, that’s not really–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Totally.

Eileen Laird:   The best way to do the protocol.  So–so bone broth is a really nice one for people to start with, I think, because it’s not hard to make and it’s inexpensive and it–it’s such a good gut-healing food and if you just keep mixing up the variety of bones you get a lot of different nutrition into that and if you don’t like the flavor, you can turn it in to the soup and it’s not a very intimidating one to start with.  And then, yeah, we have to talk about organ meat, right?  So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Totally.

Eileen Laird:   A lot of people just automatically feel like “No, don’t tell me to eat that.”  But I never had it before I went AIP and I really like it now.  So my favorites are probably hearts and the–the chicken hearts are really easy to prepare.  They’re little.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:   I marinate mine for like, I don’t know, an hour in some olive oil, coconut aminos, a little powdered ginger–trying to think of anything else goes in there–I think that might actually be it, and–and then just fry them up in a pan for like 5 minutes and you’ve got yourself a nutrient-dense meal and they’re delicious.  And the beef heart, I think taste a lot like steak but you do have to face what a heart looks like, and I think that was interesting for me the first time, because I think when we eat meat, if it’s ground beef, we don’t really think about where it comes from every time we eat it.  And if you’re preparing a heart, you know where that’s coming from and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  I think it just increases your gratitude for–for what you’re eating actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, it takes life to sustain life.  And plant or I should say, animal matter, animal protein, animal organs, they really are a bioaccumulator of nutrition.

Eileen Laird:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And what’s your take on people that try an AIP but just do it from a vegetarian perspective?  Is that possible?  What’s been your observation?

Eileen Laird:   I don’t–well, I will say absolutely not possible just because you’re not gonna get enough nutrition if you are really talking vegetarian.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:   Like a lot of my friends call themselves vegetarian and they eat seafood, and that’s totally a different thing.  So–but if you’re a vegetarian and you’re not eating any kind of animal products or any kind of seafood, you’re usually you’re getting all your proteins from eggs, grains, and legumes and soy.  And all of those are removed on the paleo-autoimmune protocol.  So you’re definitely gonna be protein-deficient.  But you can do it as a pescatarian, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:   Seafood is wonderful.  I’m sure you’ve talked about it a lot, but it, you know, Omega 3 rich fatty acids, the–some of the seafoods also has vitamin D, and then the shellfish is–is sometimes as nutrient-dense as organ meat.  It’s like I hear that oysters are right up there with liver in terms of their nutrient profile.  So–so if you’re eating seafood, you can do it.  But you do need to eat some type of–I don’t know what you’d–you know, seafood or animal I think to do it successfully.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, it’s difficult.  I work with some vegan-vegetarian patients.  Well, we’ll add in some at least freeform amino acids.

Eileen Laird:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I’ll talk them in to getting some liver in capsules at least because they can wrap their head around, “Oh, well, it’s in a pill, it’s like medicine, right?”

Eileen Laird:  Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   That’ll help and then pea protein, clean pea protein.  It’s not the most ideal I guess.  I wanna get your take on that in a second.  Clean pea protein can be a good happy medium and then even beef protein as well can be a good source.  What are your take on some of those supportive proteins for people that may have a harder time with the animal proteins?

Eileen Laird:  I can see where you’re going with it because I imagine you’re doing that for people who will not consider the alternatives.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Exactly.

Eileen Laird:  So that gives them a gateway in, and so it’s–it’s like I would say I think the pea protein wouldn’t be actually strict AIP but it’s as close AIP as you can get.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:  I always prefer whole foods to supplements, and I’m sure you do, too, so that’s why I would encourage people to baby step their way into that idea but it’s a process each person has to go through on their own and there’s a lot of reasons people come to vegetarianism.  What’s interesting in the AIP community is some of the largest, like most famous names you know used to be vegetarians, so Terry Wahls was a vegetarian for I believe it was 20 years–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Wow.

Eileen Laird:  Before she started–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  Eating meat again and Mickey Trescott over on Autoimmune Paleo was vegan.  So it’s a lot of people have been through that before you as what I would say to any listener, you’re not alone on that and I have an article on my blog called Can You Do The AIP As A Vegetarian? where I talk about the steps you can take to kind of baby step your way into it and a lot of that advice I got from Terry.  She just said, “You know, sometimes it’s the smell and texture you have to get used to so you start off with the broth and then you do pureed, you know, vegetable soups with just a little bit of meat and go ahead and puree it up so it just kind of seems like a thick savory soup, and then from there, add a little bit of chunks if you can, and–and kind of move your way forward,” and she said, “Wait, it’s a grill-less steak until you know further down the road.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, that makes sense and you find a lot of people are reluctant to add some of the meat back in if they are coming from a vegan-vegetarian standpoint.  Do you feel like?  I feel personally it’s more like an emotionally type of thing.  They’re wrapping or–their head around the fact that, “Oh, it’s a cute animal, this and that,” but they’re not looking at it from the perspective of scientifically there’s nutrients.  There are things that our cells and body needs in there.  What do you–what do you feel most of the reasons are for people not adding meat into their diet typically?

Eileen Laird:  I think if they’re coming at it from an ethical perspective, it’s harder.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  The health perspective is just a matter of education, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:  I think that mainstream media still promotes vegetarian as meth–as healthier and so it’s like a shock when you’d think that you realize Paleo is healthier.  But when it comes to ethical, I think that one thing that helps is there’s a book out I believe called The Vegetarian Miss.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:  And it talks about how many animals are killed in the–in the farming of–of just plant agriculture which would really be eye-opening for a lot of people to read and the truth of the matter is, like you had just said, I think you said it takes life to make life, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:   So there really is no way to be alive on this planet as a human being without some sacrifice happening on your behalf and the more gratitude you can put forth for that sacrifice and the better choices you can make to make that sacrifice worthwhile.  Like as you know a lot of vegetarians are junk food vegetarians.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:  I mean they eat the prepared and fast foods and frozen foods and some of them don’t even cook and some don’t even eat like many vegetables which is kind of crazy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Exactly.  I feel like a lot of people, they are so willing to throw meat in just one basket and lump all meat as bad–

Eileen Laird:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Which we know that there’s different, you know, that’s like saying the grass-fed steak from the farmer down the street is in the same category as the McDonald’s burger on the Dollar Menu.  No one would say that, but you know, but the same time, we wouldn’t say all vegetables are the same, which maybe it’s soybean grown at–grown in pesticides and GMO versus some kale grown in your background, right?  We wouldn’t say that about the vegetables but we also have to have that same type of criteria for the meat as well.

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, exactly.  And I think the Paleo community is great about that in terms of being mindful about–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Quality.

Eileen Laird:   The quality, the life of the animal–the animal lived beforehand, you know, and–and so you support the local farmers.  I–I buy from my local farmers all the time and those animals lived a beautiful life before their lives were given to become food for other people and I wouldn’t be comfortable eating any more now that I’m educated, you know, the CAFO beef and the–those chickens that are so crowded together and the–and you see some awful things on those food documentaries and I know that not everyone has access to perfect foods so we can get into some food perfectionism things here.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:   But I think just being mindful about our choices and making the best choices we can is a good idea and it’s good for our health like you said, it’s very different, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, I love that.  Now what percent of people do you find–and by the way are you seeing patients?

Eileen Laird:   No,

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Okay.

Eileen Laird:   I’m just–I’m just kind of a–a person in trenches with everyone sharing what I’m learning along the way.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   But a lot of people come to you with questions about the autoimmune diet and transitioning, correct?

Eileen Laird:   Yes, I would say I’m–I would I’m an expert on the protocol and anytime anyone wants medical advice I refer them to people like you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Okay.  Got it.  So I see a lot of patients that are Paleo and they’re just like, “Yeah, but do I really have to go AIP?  I have some of these autoimmune symptoms.  Is it really worth?” Now I’ve seen a lot of patients where just cutting out nightshades or nuts has been a game changer.  What percent of people do you see that are Paleo and they just go from Paleo, good, you know, a good Paleo, not a junk food Paleo–

Eileen Laird:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   To an AIP level–what percent do you see have a really big improvement and what percent of people are just, you know, okay with it, nothing much?

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, I don’t know if that I–if I have the statistics but I think it is absolutely fine to try Paleo first and just see what it does for you.  Because I’ve known people who have gone into remission on Paleo without needing to do any AIP.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:   And they–primal which kinda blows me away because I can’t have nightshades or dairy so I’m jealous of those people, but I’m happy for them, you know.  So I–I do believe our diet should be as expansive as they can be while still being healthy for us and I’ll say that I stair stepped my way in also. I started with more of a–it was a nutrient-dense Paleo template when I first approached a healing diet, and it–I improved as much as I could at that level and then when I plateaued I was feeling a lot better.  I wasn’t in crisis anymore but I wasn’t healthy and I still had pain everyday.  It was just manageable and so that’s why I went AIP.  It was to see if I could take it to the next level and it made a big difference for me.  So yeah, if people wanna see where Paleo takes some first step makes sense, and then if you’re not getting the results you hope for like–like for me I went from let’s see, regularly Paleo took me from daily excruciating painful flares down to moderate flares a few times a month.  And I no longer limped going across my living room but I couldn’t walk more than a mile before my feet would start to hurt.  So that was where I plateaued.  Way better, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Way better.

Eileen Laird:   But not–not as good as it could be.  Now if it had put me into remission, I–I never would have done AIP.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I know.  It’s one of those things people really don’t get behind it unless they see the results, and for myself when I have patients come in, they always start the first 3 or 4 weeks on AIP and then we start following the progression of adding certain foods back in.  And I have some patients that have already–that are already Paleo for a few months and we cut out the nightshades for the first time and it’s like, “Whoa!”  Their joint paint is gone.  And I know you being an RA patient–

Eileen Laird:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Rheumatoid arthritis.  What kind of improvement did you see cutting out the nightshades?  The–

Eileen Laird:   Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers.

Eileen Laird:   It’s huge for me.  So what I will say, too, and I did the regular Paleo template because I have RA and that RA-nightshade connection is even kind of known outside of the Paleo community.  I removed all of the vegetables but I kept eating the spices because I thought there were such a small amount, it wouldn’t matter.  And so that was probably why I did improve on Paleo.  I wonder if I had kept eating potatoes and tomatoes and peppers, I don’t know that I’d have improved it all.  But that might have been why I plateaued.  So when I gave up the chili powder and the paprika and the curry blend that had the peppers in it, then my flares stopped altogether.  So for me, it’s a huge trigger.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  And I wanted to shift gears into the mechanism of autoimmunity.  There’s been a lot of people talking about leaky gut, which is nothing more than the tight junctions in our–in our digestive system kind of unzipping so to speak, and those undigested food particles kinda getting into the bloodstream and creating this immune response, and it’s kind of ironic if you will that a lot of the pain-relieving medications that are out there, especially in the rheumatology world, they will actually increase leaky gut and increase digestive issues.  So can you touch upon leaky gut and just kind of your thought process around how it’s increasing autoimmune conditions?

Eileen Laird:  Well, yeah.  So I think that modern life creates leaky gut, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh–uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:   Just because of–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Stress.

Eileen Laird:   Of, you know, stress and then–then all of the, you know, fake ingredients in our foods that I’m sure have that influence and so we’re–we are all kind of set up to be vulnerable to begin with.  The AIP is a great diet for–for trying to heal and seal those junctions which is wonderful.  The tricky part with autoimmune disease is my understanding and the research is that once you have it, it will attack your gut as well as whatever part of your body is being attacked.  So for me, it’s my joints and my gut.  For some with Hashimoto’s, it’s the thyroid and the gut.  So–so it’s trickier for us to heal it as in the past tense but I think everything we do to improve our autoimmune condition also improves leaky gut.  And–and going to the root cause instead of symptom management.  That said, pain is a really serious issue and pain causes leaky gut, so I definitely believe in relieving your pain, at the same time, I don’t think avoiding all painkillers.  If nothing works, that’s an alternative.  You–you just gotta kind of find that balance if you can and I know that’s kind of tricky and gray area and it’s not as black and white as a lot of people might like to hear, but I do find the longer I’m in this community, the more varied results are in the AIP.  So like everyone seems to improve, actually pretty dramatically, but not everyone goes into remission.  And so if you’re not in remission, what’s left–I think functional medicine like working with you–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  To keep on trying to get as closer and closer and closer as you can get to remission, but in the meantime, you might need to take some of those medications just to make it through your day.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.  And then what’s your take on people coming from an AIP?  Go–going into an AIP perspective, they’re eating more proteins and fats, and now for some people that have digestive issues, that may intensity because of low stomach acid and low enzyme levels.  What’s your experience with utilizing more enzymes and more HCl for people that have a compromised gut going into an autoimmune diet?

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, so I think that’s definitely something to keep in mind and I think my understanding like with HCl is it’s–you really want someone to guide you through that process, right?  Isn’t it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  Kind of tricky to do on your own?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, you don’t wanna overdo it because you don’t wanna cause more gut lining damage but that’s why having HCl and enzymes separate for me is important with these patients because we can up the enzymes which are less abrasive and we can be really ginger with the HCl and be a little more gentle with it.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, and what I often tell people to do when they’re first starting out is to go ahead and use some like food-based–what would you call them–that increase your stomach acid naturally like little apple cider vinegar and water with your meal or some Kombucha with your meal or you know, you can chew on a piece of ginger and it kinda gets the digestive enzymes flowing and see if that’s enough for you because for some people whose digestion isn’t as compromised, just the food-based solutions will be enough.  But I think you’re right.  I think for someone who–well, first of all, if they’ve been vegetarian for a long time, that’s something that they may not–they’re–they’re very likely gonna need some supplements to get through the transition just because they haven’t had to break down that type of food for a long time.  Same for someone who is maybe on like almost a non-fat diet for a long time like you said, so just help body adjust to that transition.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Exactly. And I see you’re a big fan of ginger tea as well.

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, yeah, it’s such a–well, it tastes good and it’s lovely, and it’s anti-inflammatory and promotes digestion and it’s–if you can’t have your coffee anymore, that’s a nice substitute for it because coffee’s eliminated on AIP at least temporarily.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   That’s good and then where does fermented foods fit into the AIP?

Eileen Laird:   You know, I think it’s important to try them.  It’s a tricky area–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  Because some people do have difficulty with them but I think they’re such a powerful healing food if you do well with them.  I do very well with them and I love them so I make my own sauerkraut–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   That’s great.

Eileen Laird:   And I make my own Kombucha.  I do recommend you make your own actually if you’d eat them because, otherwise, they’re crazy expensive.  But–but I’m sure you run into this that some people who again maybe are dealing with some gut infections–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, histamine issues–

Eileen Laird:   They’re gonna have trouble.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, but that’s I guess in some ways that’s kind of diagnostic so if you start the AIP and you incorporate fermented foods and you’re not tolerating them well, that would be a good time to call Dr. Justin and have some testing done because if you don’t have gut infections, usually you tolerate those well.  Because I think even histamine sensitivity, they’re finding is often rooted in either gut infections or hormone imbalances.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes, yes.

Eileen Laird:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Totally agree.  So if you’re taking someone that’s been on AIP, they’ve been there for a few weeks, and this is where your–I think your guide is so great.  How do you transition them off?  Just kind of like what are the first, you know, 5 steps or so?  You’ve been AIP.  You wanna start re-introducing foods.  What’s the order of operations in your opinion?

Eileen Laird:   Sure.  Well, the first thing I would say is to decide when you’re ready.  So you need to have some–enough improvement in your autoimmune symptoms that you have a good baseline for reintroduction and so some people do get that faster than others and so 3-4 weeks is fine.  We usually say it’s 30 days is the minimum, but some people it takes a few months before they get that improvement so you–because if you haven’t improved at all, there’s no way to know when you retest the food whether you’re having a reaction because you’re still having too many autoimmune reactions.  So I tell people that and the other thing I tell people to consider though also is the psychological component is some people do the AIP and they’re really good at restriction and it just doesn’t bother them and luckily, there are like literally thousands of recipes available now.  So you really can eat delicious varied food on the AIP.  It was more boring when I did it a few years ago.  But other people, like it’s stressful, that we are attached to our food and–and giving up our favorite foods, we get kind of cranky about it and angry about it.  And if that’s getting worse, that might be setting you back, and so that’s a good time to start reintroductions.  But in terms of what–what to start with, you can go 2 ways.  Sarah Ballantyne has like a 4-stage chart in her book and it starts with things like oh, the seed-based spices like cumin and coriander and the fruit-based spices like black pepper.  Most people get those back so that’s an easy kind of reintroduction that automatically adds some more flavor to your food.  Egg yolks are often recommended as one of the first ones because they’re so nutrient-dense and most people who are intolerant to eggs, it’s the white, not everyone but most people.  Some of the nut-based oils and like sesame seed oil or walnut oil are good ones to start with and then move your way up from there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Great and then if you’re going out to a restaurant.  I’m going out to eat tonight and I’m gonna try to eat–I try to be AIP 60-70% of the time and then Paleo in general 95-99% of the time and if cheat, it’s–I still never get gluten in my–my diet.  So when I go out to eat tonight, I’m gonna get a steak.  I’m gonna get vegetables.  I always tell the–the maître d’ or the cook or the–the waiter.  I am–I have celiac disease and I cannot do any grains.  So any flour substitutes will not work and I–I’m very crystal clear that I don’t use the word sensitivity.  I use I have this disease and I cannot do it, so I’m just curious how–what’s your take on it?  Maybe it’s not quite as drastic as mine.  How do you and navigate a restaurant and communicate with the people that re serving you about your food intolerances?

Eileen Laird:  You know, it’s similar.  I use the food allergy word because they take that seriously.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Mmm, yup.

Eileen Laird:  They don’t take food intolerance seriously–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   No, they don’t.

Eileen Laird:   At all and the other thing I do which seems to really help me is when the waiter or waitress comes to the table, I smile and I say, “I’m just gonna let you know that I’m a high maintenance customer but I’m a really good tipper and I will make it worth your while.”  And they usually laugh but then they take good care of me and I make sure that I tip them well.  And that you tell them that in advance so they’re not annoyed by all the extra–extra questions you’re asking.  Because what I’ll usually do like you, I’ll eat something often very similar, the steak and vegetables.  Usually I’ll look through the menu, see what options are available to me.  I’ll pick two that I think are the most likely to be fine and then the foods that I know that can kinda get hidden in the meal without my realizing it is if it’s gonna be cooked in butter and if there’s any nightshade in the spice mix.  So I’ll them go back and just ask the chef if I can have that food prepared without those things and which one they’d recommend for me, and then they do.  And that seems to work fine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, I also–if I’m doing vegetables, I can do butter, but let–let’s say you can’t.

Eileen Laird:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   I would just tell them to steam vegetables and bring a side of olive oil and I’ll put the olive oil on so then you’re the one adding that–the fat on there.  So the steaming can be helpful and then obviously salads and if you can get an olive oil or maybe an apple cider vinegar and some–some lemon juice that could be a good substitute, too.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, I’ve been brought in some of my own spice blends because sometimes you can get kind of–because I can’t have the nightshade spices and–and gluten and often between those two things, most of their mixes in the back like you can’t have or their dressings, so–so I’ll bring in an AIP-friendly little spice blend in my purse and shake that on my vegetables or on my salad or even my steak if it needs a little boost.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, that’s good.  And when I do sushi I’ll also bring out the–my coconut aminos–

Eileen Laird:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   And MCT, and I’ll do that instead of, you know, soy or even the tamari gluten-free soy which is better but for someone, you know, you’re gonna do better with something that’s totally AIP-approved, right?

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Cool.  Any other tips?  Any other cool tips that you have for going out and being successful on it?

Eileen Laird:  Being successful on the AIP in general do you mean?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, yeah, just while you’re not eating at home.

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, I–I mean, I would say be vigilant and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  It’s–it’s not the way it–what can I say?  You need to be 100% on this.  I don’t have the relaxing experience in a restaurant that I used to have, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:  Before I realized–before I contracted RA.  So it’s a different experience for me now but I take it seriously just because I know for me personally, the results can be pretty severe.  So if I get exposed to one of my bad foods, I’ll be in pain and–and sometimes it takes me a few weeks before I feel back to normal.  So it’s–that–that kinda depends, too.  I think once you’ve been doing AIP a while and what I mean by that is it becomes personalized AIP, you’ve re-introduced some foods.  You know which ones are your worst triggers.  You know where you can, like you said cheat a little bit and you know where you can’t.  You know, that’s the goal we all wanna get to, is know our bodies well enough to know what we need to do to take excellent care of ourselves and where we can be flexible, and so then when you go out you can find that line.  I’d like how you talked about it.  You know what foods you absolutely can have and then you know which ones that it’s okay.  I mean, it may not be optimal for you but it’s not gonna set you back.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Absolutely and I think it’s important that everyone finds out what their kryptonite is.

Eileen Laird:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   And like yourself, you know what your kryptonite is and you can kinda weight out the–the risk, reward, you know, benefit, you know, is it worth having this food that will set me back two weeks?  Probably not.  But if someone’s already been AIP for a month and they’ve added certain foods back in.  And maybe they have some butter and it’s not a problem or if they have some potatoes, maybe they just have a little gassy for the night, well, then your own risk-reward analysis on that but some people like yourself, Eileen, you’re gonna have that severe reaction, so I think it’s good that everyone figures out what their kryptonite is and I think it’s great that everyone here and you–you’re creating this self-awareness so people can figure out what is their kryptonite.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah and just to be optimistic, too, for the people who–who may be are just thinking about AIP, and so I’ve only talked about the foods I couldn’t get back but I mean, I got eggs back completely so that’s been really nice.  I can eat them–I can eat any kind of egg. I mean, at home I eat–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:  Pastured, organic, fabulous eggs.  But if I’m traveling, I can eat conventional eggs.  It’s not ideal but they don’t hurt me and that’s nice to know.  I can have chocolate which is just a nice joy for my life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Oh, that’s great.  That’s great.

Eileen Laird:   So, yeah.  I do well with those, and then nuts and seeds I can have in moderation so that means like for me, if I’m at a restaurant I can choose something that has nuts in a salad and–and seriously not worry about it.  It’s only a problem for me if I eat them every day.  So yeah, getting to know yourself, it’s really–it’s really kinda cool to know yourself that well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That is great.  And what’s your take on butter or ghee?  Are you able to personally add ghee or butter back in?

Eileen Laird:   No.  And it’s interesting I ended up writing an article about that because it’s not the way it’s advertised to be and it just made no sense to me.  I was like, “Why if there’s no really protein levels remaining in the ghee like what is the problem?  Why–is it in my head?  You know, is it just me?” And so I interviewed tons of people in the AIP community and what was interesting is it seems that people who can tolerate ghee can usually also tolerate butter, cream, and sometimes cheese.  And people who cannot tolerate butter cannot tolerate ghee.  So I think what it is is the autoimmune is more sensitive than other bodies.  That’s all.  Because I do know people who’s–who are friends of mine who do not have autoimmune disease who do poorly with other kinds of dairy but they do fine with ghee.  But they don’t have an autoimmune trigger reaction.  So I wish I could eat ghee because it’s nutrient-dense and delicious frankly.  But no, for me it’s a no go.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  Have you ever tried the Mt. Capra’s Goat Ghee?

Eileen Laird:  You know, I have not tried that but I have tried other goat dairy.  So I did try–I tried raw organic goat’s milk homemade kefir.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yup.

Eileen Laird:  When I was reintroducing dairy just to try and get the best quality of everything and I reacted to that also.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  How about–

Eileen Laird:  So it seems like dairy is dairy for me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   How about MCT?  Can you do that?

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, well, that’s coconut, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah and that’s coconut.  And then can you do coffee as well?

Eileen Laird:  I don’t like coffee but I bet I could do it just fine just because I’m–I seem to be fine with chocolate and–and nuts and seeds in some quantity.  But I–I actually have never liked the taste of coffee so I can’t say.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  Got it.  And then based on your experience because you’re a living example of having an autoimmune condition and basically reversing it and keeping it under wraps and under control, what are then the best supplements for you?

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, that’s a good question.  So curcumin–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  Is–is really helpful for me.  What I did find is that it’s–what’s interesting with supplements and you’ve probably found this, too, that during my experiments like in the beginning, I said, “Well, if it worked–if it worked for me at a little level, then the more I took, the more it should work.”  And that didn’t seem to happen.  Like a supplement either worked or it didn’t once I found the right dosage but it wasn’t like taking 3 or 4 times as much made a difference.  But I take curcumin everyday.  I take it actually before I get out of bed, I–before I wake up in the morning I’m usually kind of slowly becoming more alert and it seems to work better on an empty stomach for me.  I take T–I think it’s called TOA Cat’s Claw.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yup.

Eileen Laird:  It’s a special–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yup.

Eileen Laird:   It’s an immunoregulatory herb and that really helps me and so those are my two favorites.  I also take some krill oil for the Omega 3s.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:   What else do I take?  I do take a little of Boswellia.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, Boswellia. Yeah. Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Frankincense.

Eileen Laird:   That’s anti-inflammatory.  Yeah.  It’s a subtler reaction.  It’s not as strong as the curcumin but it does help me a little bit and how I feel is anything that helps me that’s healthy for me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:   I-I will keep taking, so I think that’s my whole–my whole list.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   How do you respond to collagen or glucosamine sulfate or chondroitin sulfate for the joint stuff?

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, the glucosamine chondroitin didn’t help me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  So I don’t take that all.  Collagen, I do get in my bone broth and I have tried–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Sure.

Eileen Laird:  Taking it.  I’ve bought the–is it the Great Lakes green can?  That’s collagen.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:   Right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:  So I tried adding that like to my tea everyday, just–I have green tea everyday.  And just to see if that would make a difference and I couldn’t really tell a difference so I thought well, maybe it’s just that I’m getting enough anyway.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  And then how do you square adding in curcumin?  Because I know turmeric off the bat is a spice and the active ingredient’s curcumin and for autoimmune patients, some people say we had to cut that out off the bat.  How did you square that adding it in?  Did you put in right away or did you go AIP first and then add it in supplementally second?

Eileen Laird:  Well, turmeric is on the list of AIP-approved spices.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Okay.

Eileen Laird:  So you can have that but here’s the trick.  My understanding and you probably know this way better than me, is it’s not very bioavailable.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right, 50%.

Eileen Laird:  So–yeah, so you need something to boost the bioavailability.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:  Black pepper is something that usually–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  Does boost it but that’s eliminated on the AIP and I also think when you go to supplements, almost everyone that’s bioavailable has a non-AIP food in there, and so frankly, for me, I–my supplements, I take–what is it?  It’s a Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin.  It’s one of those BCM-95–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, I think it’s the one by Meriva.  I think that’s the one.  Is–is it the liposoma curcumin?

Eileen Laird:   No, but I’ve heard of that one and that one has the soy in it you’re not supposed to have.  The one I take has ricin that you’re not supposed to have.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.

Eileen Laird:  Another will one will have black pepper in it that you’re not supposed to have, but–but it was helping me so much I just couldn’t give it up.  And I trusted my body to tell me that, like if I took that supplement and it made me feel better instead of worse, you know, it’s logical to me that that’s a silly thing to remove.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Eileen Laird:   I realize that’s not AIP standard but that’s my–how I do it.  I’m all about the self-experiment.  N equals 1.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, there’s a curcumin that just came out that’s gonna be in a liposome of MCT oil versus the–

Eileen Laird:  Ooh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Soy phosphatidylcholine.  So that’s a good–a new one that could be beneficial for you.

Eileen Laird:  If you ever remember that when it comes out, send me that link.  Because people are always asking me for an AIP-friendly one and I feel badly that there’s not any really available unless you just get one that’s just curcumin and then as you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Absorption.

Eileen Laird:  It doesn’t absorb well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  I’ll put that in the show notes for you.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   And then also with my patients, I’ve always allowed turmeric to be added in.  I’ve seen some places where they say don’t.  But some people are really, really hardcore, like the major spices I don’t allow are any peppers, paprika, seed-based spices, fenugreek–

Eileen Laird:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Seeds, celery seed.  Are there any other key spices that people tend to miss and add in that you wanna mention?

Eileen Laird:   I really think the nightshade ones are the biggest triggers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Right.

Eileen Laird:  And then the seed-based and the fruit-based I think are more just to be on the cautious side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  And some people seem–I think the ones who have more trouble with those are kind of slightly hot spices and they maybe have more digestive–either leaky gut or if they have say ulcerative colitis or something like that.  Maybe their digestive tract is more sensitive?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  But I do find most people don’t have as much trouble with those.  It’s still recommend you–you eliminate them but I really think the nightshade ones are the biggest issue and what I will say for that and you–I think you named it off is people forget which ones are nightshades and paprika is in everything.  If you were trying to buy–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:   A packaged meat, like hotdogs or sausages or deli meats, almost every single one is gonna have paprika in it so when you’ve given up paprika you–you–you have to shop very carefully for anything like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Totally.

Eileen Laird:  Until you can find out if you can reintroduce it, and some people can reintroduce that one better than the rest because it’s a milder nightshade.  I can’t but–but some people can.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Got it.  And in your book, I k now you talked about it–we touched upon earlier, infections.  What was your personal experience with infections being a part of your autoimmune condition?  Did you see a connection there or for you was it just more food-based?

Eileen Laird:   Let me see.  Well ,when I started, I started with a GAPS-Paleo hybrid, which is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  A low starch diet designed to cut back on pathogens and then by the time I got tested, I didn’t test positive for anything.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Uh-hmm.

Eileen Laird:  So I think I had kinda starved it out so I don’t know what it would have been like if I had tested at the out–outset.  One way I’m lucky is I haven’t had a lot of obstacles to healing, so like what I’ll say to people who are doing the AIP and it’s been a few months and they’re not getting any better, there’s likely an infection getting in the way, right?  Whether that be–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:  H. pylori or a parasite or something else.  For me, the challenge is more recently have been hormone issues and like we talked about–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yes.

Eileen Laird:   In my podcast, but I’m 47 now, so that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   You’re in that–

Eileen Laird:  Things really start to change and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Mmm.  You’re in that–

Eileen Laird:  So I’ve been–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:   Doing all I can to balance that out, but I might be giving you a call myself if–if I can’t keep doing that.  With autoimmune disease, you just gotta keep your eye on the ball and you know, adjust as you–as you–the life changes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, you’re in that perimenopausal kinda time–

Eileen Laird:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Frame, 47 to 51-ish, so as you–

Eileen Laird:   Yeah, things just go a little crazy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.  Yeah, as you start to rely more on the–the adrenals for that hormone output, things can definitely fluctuate if that autoimmunity has been stressing your adrenals which again, inflammation, your adrenals are gonna help put out the fire so it makes sense and I know on your supplement list, you mentioned you did really well on the Samento or the–the TOA Free Cat’s Claw.

Eileen Laird:   Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   And I always think–when I hear that I’m always thinking infection because I use that a lot in my clinic for lower immune function, infections, even Lyme condition.  Conditions do great with that.  Did you have any other co-infection experience you wanna mention?

Eileen Laird:   I haven’t tested positively for anything and I don’t seem to have any symptoms that indicate that.  Like am I understanding like especially with like the Epstein-Barrs and all of that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:  Is–is once they’ve been reactivated, you–don’t you usually have like fatigue, lymph node issues–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Mmm, it can, yeah.

Eileen Laird:  Some things like that, more brain fog, et cetera?  And I–I haven’t had any of that, so could just be that I started that supplement very quickly once I started the Paleo diet and so maybe it’s just kept things under control. I don’t know if there’s anything still hidden under there.  Might be worse, you know, doing the battery of tests just to see if there’s a low-grade thing that I’m not kicking completely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, one thing I see with RA is mycoplasma infections.  Have you ever gotten that looked at?

Eileen Laird:  No.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah, that’s one that I see.  I know doctor–Dr. Brownstein’s talked about it, a couple of other physicians, a lot of research on it and I see mycoplasma can be present in some of those patients but–

Eileen Laird:   Hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Something to–to look at and I know Cat’s Claw is helpful with it so that’s why I’m kinda just connecting the dots and see maybe if you’re hiding some potential infection just accidentally with the Cat’s Claw.

Eileen Laird:  Yeah, is fascinating to hear you say because I remember when I interviewed you, you said when you do your patient history with people, what has worked and what hasn’t is diagnostic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:  It’s fascinating to see how that works.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yeah.

Eileen Laird:   Once you have the knowledge like you do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.  That totally make sense.  And now looking at your book, you have so many great things that, you know, everyone that has an autoimmune condition should be aware of.  Is there any other key topics or key points on your book that you wanted to highlight that everyone should be aware of?

Eileen Laird:   You know, the one thing I’d–I’d rather do is just kind of highlight the book overall so that–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Yeah.

Eileen Laird:  I think until now there–you can be overwhelmed when you do research in–into the AIP because there’s so much information on the Internet, some of it’s conflicting.  The Paleo Approach is an awesome.  It’s on my shelf, but it’s almost 500 pages long and it’s a textbook and so that overwhelms a lot of people especially if they’re not very science-oriented or if they’re experiencing brain fog.  So what I wanted to do was write a book that you could read in a few hours that was written like a conversation with friends, where by the end of that hours you understand what the protocol is and when you’re ready to do it, you can just get started.  So that was–that was the intention behind the book and that’s the feedback I’m getting from people is that that’s how it’s working for them.  And the other thing that’s cool about it is people are buying it for friends with autoimmune disease who they want to consider the AIP and it’s a non-intimidating introduction to the protocol.  And then the other thing that’s happening is people are giving it to their family members so that hopefully their family will be more supportive and understand what they’re trying to do. Because it can sound crazy sometimes when you tell your–your parents or your partner or your kids or whoever, your bestfriend, what you’re doing, it can sound extreme if they don’t understand why you’re doing it.  And so the book kind of explains it for you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, absolutely.  And we’re gonna have the link for the book.  Guys, the book’s 8 bucks, 9 bucks on Amazon. Great buy and I’m going through it right now, and it’s a great review and a great reminder even at the physician level.  So anyone out there, check it out.  We’re gonna put the link on the show notes and the transcription, so anyone going to read it will have that accessible.  Is there any other kinda key–key important things you wanna leave our listeners here, Eileen?

Eileen Laird:   What I will just say is you’re stronger than you think you are.  Like if you haven’t done this yet and you think it’s too hard for you, I really think autoimmune disease is one of the toughest experiences in life and if you are living through that and you’re making it through everyday even if it’s a tough day, you are an incredibly strong human being and you deserve better.  You deserve to feel better and so that’s what I would say to you, is that it’s worth doing this thing that seems hard to make your life a lot easier in the long run.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great and if people wanna find more–find out more about you, where’s the best place?

Eileen Laird:  So that’s P-H-O-E-N-I-X-H-E-L-I-X dot com and I host an AIP recipe roundtable every week on my blog so that’s a great way where you can usually get about 15 new recipes a week to keep yourself from being bored in the kitchen and if you’re familiar with an AIP to kind of see how delicious this food can be.  So that’s wonderful and then I also as we’ve talked about it a bit because I interviewed Dr. Justin on it, but I have a Phoenix Helix podcast.  You can check me out on iTunes and it’s 100% focused on autoimmune healing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   And I love that name.  There’s so much hidden symbolism in it.

Eileen Laird:  Thank you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   It’s great.  And then last question, if you were stuck on a desert island and you only could bring one supplement with you.  What would it be?

Eileen Laird:  Oh–oh, my.  You’d make choose between the curcumin and the Cat’s Claw.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Okay.

Eileen Laird:   That would be really hard.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:   Okay.  Well, you know–if you want we could just say it’s a–it’s a tie for first place between both of those

Eileen Laird:   Okay, yes.  Yes, those are the two.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Awesome.  Well, thank you so much, Eileen.  You’ve really just put so much information out there.  We’ll have to listen to it twice and look forward to having you back some time soon.

Eileen Laird:  Okay, thank you.  It’s been really fun talking with you.  I appreciate you having me on.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Same there. Thanks. Have a great day.

Eileen Laird:   You, too.


Leaky Gut Syndrome and the Autoimmune Disease Connection

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Leaky gut syndrome (gastrointestinal permeability) is a phenomenon that occurs within the intestinal tract where the epithelium tissue’s tight junctions open slightly, allowing undigested food particles and potential bacteria (endotoxin) to make its way into the bloodstream. These compounds are typically only found in the gut, so our immune system goes on high alert when it starts seeing new and unusual things. Our immune system reacts by creating various immune cells called antibodies to inspect what’s going on (and potentially attack)! These antibodies are equivalent to our navy, marine corps, air force, and army; their job is to tag these various particles for destruction. When our immune system attacks some of these foreign proteins (antigens), various organs can get caught up in the scuffle. This accidental tagging is a case of mistaken identity, or the scientific term molecular mimicry.
leaky gut and inflammation

How Does Molecular Mimicry Work? 

There are amino acid sequences on these antigens (foreign particles) that are similar to other tissues in the body. Our immune system reads these antigens by the sequence of its surface proteins. It’s kind of like getting pulled over by a policeman that is out looking for a similar make and model of the car you drive because a suspected criminal was seen driving the same car earlier that day. Foods like gluten can easily cause your immune system to start attacking the thyroid gland, brain, intestinal tract (celiac, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis), or other nervous-system tissue based on similarity and genetic predisposition. There’s a good deal of research showing that autoimmune disease cannot occur without a leaky gut. This is why people with a chronic illness need to have their gut checked. Click here to get your gut checked!

Gluten and Cross-Reactivity

When these proteins have a similar shape to other proteins, cross-reactivity can occur. These proteins have the ability to bind into other receptor sites, just like with casein and gluten. As you can see by the picture below, the shape of the antigen can be enough to confuse the immune system.

cross reactivity

Foods containing things like casein from dairy products can cause the immune system to start attacking the pancreas. Casein can also cross-react with gluten too! Cross-reaction is where the immune system starts responding to other proteins as if they are gluten. This is the reason why some people who only remove some grains from their diet may not recover fully. The consumption of other cross-reactive foods outside of gluten can be enough to prevent your thyroid from healing.

It All Comes Down to Genetics

Wherever the weak link in your genetic chain is, may be the deciding factor regarding what autoimmune condition you express. The tighter you pull your genetic chain, the increased chance those weak links will be exposed and break. The tightness is equivalent to the stress in your life, while the weak link is symbolic of your genetic susceptibility.

genetic predisposition

Some people may get Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroid condition) while others may develop multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease. There tends to be a genetic link regarding what condition you may express. If Parkinson’s or Hashimoto’s runs in your family, this may be a good indicator of what you are predisposed for.

Genetic predisposition is not a death sentence but merely a strong warning you need to heed. I personally have an autoimmune thyroid condition and also have many other autoimmune conditions that run in my family. Because of this, I pay close attention to my diet, emotional stress, physical stress, and chemical stress. The stressors, or allostatic load, in your life have a huge impact on your epigenetics. Your epigenetics control what genes your body expresses, kind of like turning a light switch on or off. So in other words, you have the ability to control what genes you express or don’t express.

So if you have a predisposition toward chronic degenerative autoimmune conditions, it’s really important that you develop other healthy habits that keep those genes from expressing themselves. The more our immune system is fired up, the more inflammation occurs in our body. The additional inflammation and undigested food proteins put additional stress on our detoxification system, causing our liver to have to work harder to filter out all those extra antigens and toxins in our blood stream.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Inflammation is the underlying cause of leaky gut. Below I will talk more specifically about what the underlying drivers of inflammation are.


Food allergens

All grains, especially gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, and Kamut, can be hyperallergenic. Other foods can also cross-react with gluten, such as dairy products (especially milk products that are higher in casein) and legumes (soy, beans, and peanuts). Butter, heavy whipping cream, and ghee tend to be OK. Some people who are autoimmune need to avoid everything but ghee. Many of these allergens tend to be a little controversial.

Most people think of allergies as the kinds that close up your throat, like when someone who has a peanut allergy eats peanuts. That type of allergy is known as an IgE-mediated immune response, or in the above peanut example, an anaphylactic response. We tend to know about these allergens in childhood because of some type of traumatic experience that may have included a blocked airway, itching, and/or hives. The allergenic response I am talking about comes from a different part of the immune system. Essentially, a low-grade inflammation that occurs because of a cross-reactivity or an IgA–, an IgG–, or a T-cell–mediated immune response. These types of immune responses can cause leaky gut and contribute to thyroid imbalances, adrenal fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, and other digestive symptoms.

Low stomach acid

We need HCl, or stomach acid, to help break down our proteins and ionize minerals. If we don’t have enough stomach acid, we can’t break down and absorb zinc. If we don’t have enough zinc, this can affect our immune system, sex hormones, and our ability to make stomach acid. As you can see, a downward spiral is occurring that causes our body to break down even faster with no end in sight!


With inadequate stomach acid, we are also prone to gut infections (bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Many of these infections produce biotoxins/endotoxins that can affect hormone metabolism and nutrient absorption and can contribute to fatigue of the thyroid and adrenal glands. Chronic infections tend to play a role with autoimmune conditions as well as leaky gut.

How Do We Fix Leaky Gut?

When getting to the bottom of leaky gut, it’s essential to incorporate a 5R program (remove, replace, repair, remove, and reinoculate). Just like baking a cake, the order in which things are done is very important to making the recipe tasting great. Just like when addressing chronic leaky gut autoimmune conditions, the order and how we address the underlying cause is important to preventing relapse as well as to feeling as good as you possibly can during the process. Again, I want to stress that it’s very important to address underlying hormonal imbalances, including adrenal, thyroid, and female hormone issues, before getting to the chronic infection.

I personally find that patients will fall apart during the treatment if this isn’t done. This is dependent on how long the person is sick and how sick the person is, and there are exceptions to every rule. If the person’s hormonal system is not supported adequately when removing the infection, the chance of a die-off reaction is higher. Die-off reactions may feel something like fatigue, headache, nausea, and/or chills. Some people may notice nothing when the infection is being removed while others may have significant die-off reaction symptoms. There are various techniques and herbal medicines that can mitigate die-off or Herxheimer reactions.

The 5R program follows:


This part’s pretty simple. Remove the foods that are creating inflammation. Some people may need to be on a stricter autoimmune Paleo type of diet. Some may need to remove FODMAPs (a group of carbohydrates the small intestine has trouble absorbing). For others, a clean Paleo diet may be enough. An elimination provocation diet is the easiest way to be specific and avoid expensive and sometimes unnecessary allergy testing.


People with chronic stress can have low stomach acid. When there’s low stomach acid, there is typically low enzyme and bile salt production as well. It’s always good to work up to a patient’s stomach-acid tolerance so we can ensure the patient is breaking down proteins, fats, and minerals optimally. We need to make sure the building blocks are present, broken down, and absorbed so the person can heal.


Depending on how stressed or inflamed a patient is, adding additional healing and/or soothing nutrients can be helpful. Sometimes just making the above changes is enough to help facilitate healing. Others may need additional compounds, such as L-glutamine, slippery elm, zinc, aloe vera, and deglycerized licorice.


This is the place where we remove the infection. As you can see, the infection is one of the last things we address. This helps prevent die-off reactions from overwhelming the detoxification system, immune system, and lymphatic system. I find that removing the infection at the end tends to be the most effective.


This is where we add the probiotics back in. Many people have a dysbiosis (or SIBO) in the gastrointestinal tract. This is when there is an overwhelming amount of bad bacteria in relationship to good bacteria. Adding in probiotics when there is a high amount of bad bacteria can cause problems, such as gas, bloating, and gastrointestinal pain. Removing the infections and bad bacteria first, allows the good bacteria to flourish. The analogy is weeding the garden before you plant the seeds—you never put seeds into a garden full of weeds.

Hidden barriers

Chronic infections can encase themselves in the slime known as biofilms. These biofilms are resistant to antibiotics; therefore, the conventional approach to treating these infections tends to not be as successful. Working with a skilled functional-medicine doctor that can combine the right antimicrobial herbs for your infection with some well-known biofilm busters is an important ingredient to removing the infection in the long run.

What Should I Do Next?

If you’re suffering from an autoimmune condition, fatigue, digestive problems, and/or hormonal imbalances, there is a good chance that leaky gut is playing a part. If you want to take a closer look into what’s causing your health issues, feel free to click here for a complimentary consultation.

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.