Brain-gut connection, is your brain causing you GI problems? – Podcast #65

Brain-gut Connection – Anxiety and depression have been thought to contribute to gastro conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Experts explain that what’s going on in your gut could be affecting your brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand discuss the brain-gut connection via the HPA, HPT, and HPTHE axis. Find out how important it is to have a good feedback loop of communication. Discover how vital the enteric nervous system is as much as our central nervous system. Listen to this podcast and learn how you can get optimal HCl production and get some info on what chiropractic care can do for you when it comes to excellent brain communication.

brain-gut-connectionEvan shares his experience from previous gut issues that were eventually fixed. Dr. Justin further explains how some brain issues could potentially cause gut issues especially in the realm of trauma, but emphasizes that we need to focus on the gut to get things working again. In this interview, we also find out how we can get relief from constipation to avoid all the toxic reabsorption that’s bad for the body.

In this episode, topics include:

3:15   Gut-brain axis

7:29   Causes of system dysfunction

12:05   Intestinal motility speed tweaks

13:08   Laxative herbs

16:15   Chiropractic care







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Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s Dr. J here.  Evan, how’s your magical Friday doing?

Evan Brand:  Oh, it’s very magical.  I just had some bone broth mixed in with some of this specific organic chicken and wild rice soup.  So that’s my breakfast before you ask me.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Nice.  That sounds really good.  I actually just got a VitaMix–super, super stoked about it.  Actually made some awesome ginger tea this morning.  I’ve been doing that a lot.  Ginger is phenomenal especially if you’re having die-off reactions, you know, when you’re doing gut killing programs for infections or even if you’re sick.  Ginger has some amazing properties that it can help basically viruses that fuse to maybe your throat or a particular tissue in the body.  It can help those viruses off.   It’s also anti-inflammatory.  It’s anti-coagulative, meaning it keeps the lymph fluid moving.  It keeps the liver moving and it’s anti-inflammatory.  So it’s just a phenomenal herb and I just blended it up with some lime and added a little bit of honey in there and it’s–it’s pretty phenomenal.

Evan Brand:  So you just took a little chunk of lemon.  You threw that in with water and you squeeze lime juice in there or you threw a lime without the skin or how do you–how do you add each?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, the VitaMix is like a blender on steroids, so I just threw in like maybe a chunk of raw organic ginger from Whole Foods.  So maybe about the size of my fingers, threw them in there, added just a little bit of water and I threw–actually threw a whole lime in there, probably wasn’t the best bet, throwing a whole lime–I think you’re–I think you’re better off just squeezing the lime juice in there, because once you get the rind going, it’s a little bit tart.  But just squeezing the juice in there, blending that up and then I mix it in with some hot water on the stove, just enough to fill up a coffee mug and then pour it in, stir it up, add a little bit of honey, and I was good to go.

Evan Brand:  I think you just wanted to test the power of your new VitaMix.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yeah.

Evan Brand:  So you threw–so you threw the whole lime in there.  Total–total lime domination.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I know, I know, absolutely.  So it was good.  I enjoyed it and really good thing to use if you’re having a sore throat or you’re starting to come down with a cold or you’re on a gut killing program.  I recommend that to all my patients.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, it’s definitely a lot better than going and getting–I can’t even think of any over-the-counter remedy that’s–that’s crap right now.  Can you name one?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  For your throat?

Evan Brand:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I think they just have like some Robitussin kinda stuff.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s the only think I can think of.  That ginger is a natural tussin.  All tussin means is–it’s a anti-cough so to speak, so it helps kind of decrease that cough reflex.  But ginger’s great.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, if I were to boost that thing up, I would add like a half teaspoon of schisandra extract and like sneak an adaptogen in to that drink.  I bet it would be even–even better.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.  You know, I’m a huge fan anytime you’re sick, the medicinal mushrooms are powerful.  Just like the adaptogenic herbs, they have an effect on the immune system and the adrenals where the mushrooms really have a strong effect on the immune system especially Reishi or Shiitake, a very powerful medicinal mushroom.  And that’s it’s been used for thousands of years.

Evan Brand:  Yup.  I know we got a limited time today so I guess we should dig in.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Let’s dig in.  So we’re gonna talk about the gut-brain axis.  I had a patient the other day ask if we could dig into this and I said, “Let’s do it.”

Evan Brand:  Sure, so where should we start?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So anytime we talk about like an axis, like the HPA axis or the HPT axis, the HPTHE axis, all these abbreviations are just for different parts of your body and the various feedback loops that go downstream to upstream to communicate.  So like for instance, the big ones like the HPA axis.  What does that mean?  H and P stand for hypothalamic and pituitary–hypothalamus and pituitary, those are parts of your brain.  And then the A stands for adrenal, so it’s just that feedback loop of communication.  And we need this feedback loop so our body can adapt to stress and stress disrupts a lot of these feedback loops.  Now on that note we have what’s known as the brain-gut axis which is the brain talking to the gut and the gut then talking back to the brain.  Now everyone knows or everyone’s probably familiar with the central nervous system–that’s the brain and the spinal cord–the CNS, central nervous system.  Well, we also have a nervous system that has just as many neurons in the central nervous system in the gut.  It’s called the enteric nervous system and this is its own nervous system in the gut.  So we have this kind of cross-off between the brain to the gut, the gut back to the brain.  And it’s–it’s pretty profound.  Now I find a lot of people, they have a lot of dysfunction like let’s say you’re having memory issues, brain fog issues, mood issues–I find a lot of issues today area emanating from the gut and feeding back into the brain via inflammation, via dysbiotic bacteria, via infections, via the infection-like by-product such as lipo–lipopolysaccharide, LPS, or endotoxin, via food allergens getting into your bloodstream, via pesticides and junk in the environment, getting into your gut and into your bloodstream and affecting your brain.  So anytime we see fire in the gut, we see fire in the brain.

Evan Brand:  I absolutely had that when my gut was messed up, which got me into all this health stuff.  Depression was probably my biggest symptom.  It started out as brain fog, just feeling like I was looking at life through an opaque piece of glass and then eventually depression wrecked me and obviously I was working 3rd shifts at that time, too.  People go back and listen to my old episodes and–and complaints there.  But eventually after the gut got fixed, those symptoms went away.  So the connection is huge and I felt it first-hand.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it, yeah.  I mean, I see a lot people with gut issues and they don’t really equate their gut issues causing their brain problems.  Now there’s a doctor, Dr. Kharrazian, he’s a–he’s a good guy.  I learned a lot from him, took all of his classes and courses.  Now he’s a big fan because he’s a chiropractic neurologist that a lot of gut issues really emanate from the brain.  Now I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.  Now I do agree that some gut is–or some brain issues could potentially cause gut issues especially in the realm of trauma, you know, car accidents, head trauma, you know, bumping your head and such.  I do believe that type of trauma can affect the gut because the vagus nerve which is–it’s a parasympathetic nerve fiber that kinda makes its way from the brain, it’s the 10th cranial nerve in the back of your brain stem but also makes its way and has an effect on every single part of your body.  And that vagus nerve, again controls the–the rest and relaxation.  Now Dr. Kharrazian is a big fan of like the gargling and the singing to really activate that vagus nerve, but frankly, I think it’s okay.  I think it’s good.  It’s a palliative way to support parasympathetics, but let’s face it, if you have a gut issue and it’s underlying issue is primarily gut-based, you’re not gonna be able to sing your way back to a healthy gut and you’re not gonna even be able to gargle your way back to a healthy gut.  I really think depending on your history, as long as you don’t have this type of trauma that we’re talking about, you’re gonna typically have to be focusing on the gut primarily to get things working again.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, so let’s talk about some of the things that can lead up to this–the dysfunction on this system.  For me, I always go to low HCl levels first.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Low stomach acid, is that what you’re trying to say?

Evan Brand:  Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Evan Brand:  Because you’re just not gonna be breaking things down if you’re coming across some organisms in your food that shouldn’t be there, some bacteria or pesky things, if you don’t have enough HCl to kill those guys off and properly digest those foods, then that could create other issues downstream.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I’ll even go one step higher up.  I think low stomach acid but people don’t typically just have low stomach acid out of the blue.  There’s some type of stress that’s activating their sympathetic nervous system response, right?  Parasympathetic being that vagus nerve stimulation.  The sympathetic essentially is gonna be the branch of your nervous system that’s the fight or flight.  It’s the part of your nervous system that activates the adrenal glands.  That’s the, you know, when your adrenal glands get stimulated by adrenal rush, that little spidey tingly sense you get, that’s your sympathetic nervous system and if that response is activated prolonged, it really shuts down digestion, enzyme production, and hydrochloric acid secretion.

Evan Brand:  Great point, great point.  Yeah, so all those people out there listening to this podcast, driving, texting and eating a burrito at the same time, you are not giving yourself optimal HCl production right now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  Now some people with gut issues though, this is where it gets a little hairy because once you have a gut issue, so many other things start breaking down because we need minerals for all of our various metabolic processes in the body.  We need protein, right?  Protein becomes a building block for neurotransmitters.  Fatty acids and cholesterol become building block for all of our hormones.  So once we have gut issues, a frog–a frog came back and it’s actually–hold on one second.  I got my ginger tea so that will at least help.  So once we have absorption affecting all of these various nutrients, so many things can happen.  So one of the things we’ll see is we’ll see neurotransmitter dysfunction because neurotransmitters come from protein and once protein is affected, we can start to see neurotransmitter issues.  Now when we start supporting neurotransmitters, a couple of things can happen that can help motility, right?  Peristalsis which is big, because if we fix the neurotransmitters, mood gets better, sweet cravings get better, we can create better willpower so we’re eating better foods, but also we can affect motility and that motility can keep the stool particulate moving throughout the intestinal tract and help it evacuate in a timely manner so we’re not reabsorbing a lot of our toxins from the stool which can then affect our guts and they can affect our brains, right?  Because everything–our brains are basically bathing in this pool of blood and if we make toxic blood from reabsorption of the stool particulate, you can image your brain’s not gonna function too well.

Evan Brand:  It makes sense.  So are you alluding to the fact that constipation could contribute to some of these issues, too?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely and constipation is gonna be primarily driven by malabsorption, low stomach acid, low enzymes, followed by this dysbiotic/pathogenic infection overgrowth that disrupts peristalsis, or that’s–that’s the scientific terms–the layman term is you got like the toothpaste, right?  And you’re at the very end of the toothpaste, well, you start rolling it up to get that toothpaste out.  Well, that’s kinda what your intestine does with these various wave-like contractions to move that stool out and if we don’t get it out in, you know, a 20- to 24-hour time period, we’re gonna be potentially reabsorbing a lot of those toxic materials.

Evan Brand:  It’s amazing how many people have constipation.  I never realize the scope of the issue until I actually start talking to people about their poop and a lot of people, I mean, they’ll think it’s normal to go poop once every 2 days.  That’s not normal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, totally not normal.  I had a patient just the other day–I think she was going like, she’s using magnesium just to be able to go, and if she wasn’t–she wasn’t magnesium, it’d be like once every 5 days to a week.

Evan Brand:  Oh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Man, that’s just like, “Oh, my gosh, like your brain is bathing in that toxic sludge that’s gonna be floating around your bloodstream.”

Evan Brand:  To me that’s–that almost sounds scary, once a week.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It does.  Super scary.

Evan Brand:  So at that point, definitely magnesium citrate, the Natural Calm, that was my recommendation to the girl I was talking to yesterday, too.  She said, “I’m–I’m pooping, you know, once every 2 or 3 days.”  I’m like, “Whoa!”  Definitely up the magnesium.  And in terms of neurotransmitters stuff, I mean, what would we do to–to tweak that there.  Would you tweak serotonin or what else gonna work on that intestinal motility speed?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, serotonin is a big one for peristalsis.  So 5-HTP is gonna be very, very helpful for helping things move.  More importantly though because like 5-HTP and/or magnesium, a lot of these things are palliative–I mean, they’re better than the drugs.  They’re better than the enemas.  They’re better than, you know, even like the natural herbs like senna or cascara sagrada, right?  We gotta get to the issue and a lot of times it’s just getting enzymes and getting acid levels up makes a huge different because that kinda helps us process things better but many times we actually have to get rid of the dysbiotic bacteria, fungal, or pathogenic imbalances in the gut for that to help but off the bat, yes, magnesium’s a good one, adding an extra soluble fiber can be a big help, and potentially even using some of these laxative herbs if we need to, just so we’re not creating this toxic environment.

Evan Brand:  What are some laxative herbs?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I mentioned senna, cascara sagrada, those are a couple of ones that I use in naturopathic medicine.  Big fan of magnesium, and again, you can use it to tolerance because your body will start evacuating the stool at higher levels when you hit tolerance, that could be different for each person.  Higher dose vitamin C is a good one.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, as I was gonna say next, is vitamin C.  I’ve–I found out the hard way of–about vitamin C tolerance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, even ginger.  Ginger tea is phenomenal at helping things move because it’s an anti-coagulant and it keeps things moving and it’s anti-inflammatory and it’s also a biofilm buster, so it helps knock out the biofilms which are like the protective shields that a lot of these critters kinda carry so they can live longer if you will.

Evan Brand:  I wonder if the GT, that ginger–the ginger one.  I wonder if that would have enough actual ginger inside of it to be considered at a therapeutic level.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s a great question.  There’s also some saccharomyces boulardii.  There’s also some other acidifying compounds that may be beneficial, definitely worth trying.

Evan Brand:  Because I know it’s easy to be lazy when it comes to this stuff and a lot of people may be freaked out by going and grabbing like a piece of ginger and throwing it into the blender.  Don’t be scared.  But a lot of people are kinda skeptical I think of doing some of that raw hands on stuff and they’d rather just grab something pre-packaged and pre-handled, so that may be the introductory way to expose yourself to ginger.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, also you can get the ginger in tincture form. That can be really helpful, too.  It’s already in like a tincture, like an Herb Pharm tincture.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then you’d to take a couple of squirts of that and mix it with some water and just down it that way.  That’s–that’s really good, too.

Evan Brand:  That sounds good.  Okay, what’s next?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, if we’re having slow transit time, right?  Because I’m kinda just equating it back to the gut-brain.  So I have my bias that a lot of these issues primarily are gonna emanate from the gut first.  Now if we’re dealing with people that have had TIAs, you know, transient ischemic attacks, strokes, brain trauma, car accident issues, football, sports-related injuries–yeah, it’s very possible that the underlying issue is emanating from the brain and you may have to see a skilled chiropractic neurologist and have specific neurological stimulation on the brain, lasers on the brain that are parts of the brain that are inflamed or maybe there’s a lesion in the brain because of inflammation.  So you wanna kinda look at your history and if you kinda line up with any of these traumas, then you may need to really work on the brain.  But let’s say you have a brain issue, you’re never gonna hurt yourself by working on the gut, too.  In my clinical opinion, 99% of people I’m seeing, they have primary brain issues–I’m sorry, back up–they have primary gut issues that are affecting their brain.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So what we do is we’re fixing the gut, but we also look at the neurotransmitters just to make sure that if there is a brain issue on the neurotransmitter side, we’re at least supporting it.  So if there is something, we’re making sure that’s being addressed, so the brain from a neurotransmitter perspective is working well.

Evan Brand:  Right, man, I wanted to talk about chiropractic for a minute just because everything that you’ve learned and built upon on top of that stuff is awesome, and we don’t talk about that very much.  So I mean, when you adjusted me, there were tons of symptoms that go away.  So maybe you can talk a little bit about how chiropractic care would be a good ancillary thing to get done on top of all this other internal work.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, on the chiropractic side, you can look for things known as hemisphericities and all this means is that one side of the brain, whether it’s the cortex, that’s like the–the big part of the–of the your–the brain like right above the ears so to speak–you have a right and the left.  And then you also have the cerebellum which is the brain stem, that bump right in the back of your head as you roll your hands down from your crown, down the back of your head, those little bumps there.  You have the right and left cerebellum.  And if you see one side more overactive or underactive than the other, well, you can do specific adjusting to help bring one side up.  You can do specific exercises, counting, singing, gargling, laser stimulation, adjusting, exercises, movement, so depending on those imbalances, you can have a specific protocol, eye movements, eye exercises to help address that.  And a skilled chiropractic neurologist will be able to put you through a couple of different examinations to figure that out.  Now also doing applied kinesiology is big.  I also check out the whole body on a chiropractic side when I’m seeing patients chiropractically and we’ll address where certain joints aren’t moving properly, because the brain communicates primarily to the rest of the body via movement and the rest of the body communicates through the brain via movement.  So if there’s not movement–there’s not movement, then the brain’s not gonna have that excellent communication, right?

Evan Brand:  That’s a great point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So one of the big areas that has a lot of stimulation is the atlas, so if that top part of the cervical spine is out of balance or isn’t moving properly then that provides a lot of input to the brain and it’s kinda like having bad software, right?  If we have a bad software with a bug in it, bad info in creates bad info out.  So if we can reset or reformat that software by providing the right adjustment or the right stimulation to the brain, that can make a huge difference.  But on that–on that standpoint a lot of chiropractors will provide the right adjustment and then their patient will go home and eat a whole bunch of inflammatory food, eat some gluten and still have a gut issue and they’ll think they made a difference, but there’s still a lot of inflammation coming in from other parts of the nervous system because they forget there’s just as many neurons in your gut as there are in your central nervous system.  So they forget the fact that there’s a whole other nervous system underneath the surface that is being–I should say rotting out because it’s being ignored.  So a good functional neurologist is gonna look at the structure, but they’re also gonna look at underneath and look at the gut and look at digestion, and even look at hormones and neurotransmitters, too.

Evan Brand:  Absolutely.  My wife, she was having a lot of headaches, just constant everyday headaches until she got her atlas adjusted and it fixed it for a while.  She still had some other symptoms going on and then as soon as we got her diet cleaned up, which now it’s pristine, all the symptoms are permanently gone.  So you know, if you’re getting these adjustments and you’re going back every week and still getting these adjustments but your ending right back where you started, then it’s time for you dig a little bit deeper into these other things that we’ve talked about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I totally agree.  So you gotta have a holistic approach.  So getting back to the gut-brain axis.  The gut has a major effect on the brain.  Always look at the gut being the primary indicator. Why?  Because we have too much sugar consumption.  We have antibiotics in our food, even just the conventional meat and such.  We have lots of pesticides and chemicals in our environment and we have lots of stress.  All of these things really screw up our gut and then it’s kind of sad but as we get more stressed, other things get worse and worse in our gut.  Low stomach acid, low enzyme production, imbalance in gut bacteria, so the problem gets compounded and worse over time.  So if you ignore the problem, chances are it’s gonna get worse each and every year, and I see it in my patient’s history.  The patients that act sooner get better faster.  The patients that wait, they accumulate more infections, more imbalances.  They stress their adrenals out and they have to eventually get that fixed for them to really get better.

Evan Brand:  Yeah.  Well, on top of that, if they’ve waited so long or maybe they’ve gone the conventional route, by this time, some of the people we helped have been suffering 10, 20, 30, even longer years and now there’s 5 drugs that have been added to the picture because these, you know, they’re not gonna get addressed.  These type of things we’re talking about are not gonna get addressed by nutrition and lifestyle and stress management and things like that.  They’re gonna get addressed by drugs typically.  So that’s just gonna throw a whole another spin into the equation that’s gonna most of the time make people worse or cover up symptoms.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  They’ll be on prokinetics or laxative or enemas and such, and that’s not a good way to do it because it doesn’t fix any of the issues and actually creates lots of side effects, too.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, so no Pepto-Bismol.  That’s not gonna help you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.  And there’s one deeper thing, too.  People forget about this a lot–is low thyroid function.  One of the common side effects of low thyroid, of hypothyroidism, is gonna be peristalsis and constipation, and I see that a lot in my patients.  We test their thyroid and we see low thyroid and we start supporting their thyroid and magically their constipation’s gone.

Evan Brand:  That makes perfect sense because if the adrenals and thyroid are gonna be tied together and they’re under all this adrenal stress, that thyroid is gonna slow down, too.   So it’s gonna slow everything down, not just your metabolism but your–your poop speed, too.  So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, absolutely.

Evan Brand:  That’s interesting.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Evan Brand:  It’s all connected.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You gotta get the thyroid looked at.  Yeah, absolutely.  And then if you get the thyroid looked at, you always have to get the adrenals looked at because every now and then I see patients get much sicker when they support their thyroid without their adrenals because their adrenals may already be low.  That extra bit of thyroid support they get can actually lower their cortisol even more and create more adrenal faci–fatigue symptoms.  So we always wanna get the adrenals and the thyroid looked at together.  So if we’re supporting the thyroid, you always wanna be supporting the adrenals.  I find more people get into trouble by supporting the thyroid by itself versus supporting the adrenals by itself.  People that support the adrenals by themselves, if they have a borderline thyroid issue, a lot of times that thyroid issue gets better.  If you support the thyroid issue by itself and there’s a low adrenal issue, that adrenal issue can actually be made worse by supporting the thyroid without the adrenals.

Evan Brand:  I had a lady the other day that was just rubbing herself with iodine every day for no reason.  Has never been tested for thyroid issues or anything.  She just takes iodine and just rubs it on her skin every day because she read in some book that it was good for her.  What would say to that person?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, I think it depends how or you know, what the motivation is.  If you’re just trying to get iodine in your body just for the sake of getting iodine in your body, you’re better off taking it orally, swallowing it.  But again you wanna find out and make sure you’re not autoimmune.  First, you wanna make sure you actually need it.  Again, a lot of my female patients that have fibrocystic breast disease, where they have, you know, cyst in their breast, will actually rub iodine topically on the breast tissue so we can get the iodine into the breast because iodine has an amazing effect at helping to break up cyst.  Iodine is big at helping to metabolize estradiol into estriol which can really help affect fibrocystic breast and even fibroids in the urinary, too.  So topically it’s really good on the breast tissue if you have fibrocystic breast, maybe not the best thing if you’re trying to get iodine in your body systemically.  So you’d wanna do something to–you wanna support iodine ideally with a really good liquid solution with iodine and iodide.  Iodide primarily goes to the thyroid.  Iodine will go to the breast tissue and the prostate if you’re a guy and such.  So you wanna make sure you’re supporting it right and then you also wanna make sure that if you are giving iodine, make sure you’re not autoimmune and make sure you’re supporting the selenium and the vitamin C and the other minerals, too, because iodine in the body can create a whole bunch of hydrogen peroxide as a metabolite which is inflammatory.  Selenium comes in there, pulls off one of the oxygen molecules, mix it with water so it decreases the inflammation from iodine metabolism.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.  Yeah, that was what I was worried about.  I was thinking, “Man, everything she’s saying sounds like autoimmune and yet she’s been doing all this iodine.”  So it’s a little bit–little scary what people put themselves into, what situations they get themselves into because they–they read and read and read and self-diagnose and self-treat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, just wanna make sure you get the thyroid full tested before you do anything like that, get the antibodies looked at, and then get everything else dialed in first before you go into the iodine because you can easily have a–a Wolff–Chaikoff effect or a Jod-Basedow effect where too much iodine can actually cause a hyper or hypo-like symptoms especially if you go too much, so you’re always better off starting low with a couple hundred mics and working up to, you know, the lower milligram level.  But you gotta make sure you’re working with a skilled practitioner and you gotta have some labs ahead of time so you’re not exacerbating a thyroid autoimmunity.

Evan Brand:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So anything you wanna summarize with Evan regarding the gut-brain axis?

Evan Brand:  Yeah, well, definitely my–I’m biased.  So I’m always gonna say that stress is gonna be key.  So any way that you can reduce stress whether it’s your nutritional stress in terms of getting in inflammatory foods, you’re still eating gluten or you’re still sneaking that bagel or pasta, things like that.  Getting the nutritional stress out of–out of the picture.  Emotional stress, you and I were talking earlier about EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, and how helpful that is.  I love it.  You use it as well.  So definitely work on the emotional stuff and then just making sure that you actually have a solid connection between the brain and the gut.  So I’ve actually taken some hypothalamus before in supplement form just to turn that system back on because I was getting some testing done like some different reflex point testing like the Bennett’s and–and such, and I was not–I was not pulling any numbers.  Like I was just numb to these sensations and so I added some hypothalamus-pituitary extract in in a supplement form, just put a little bit on my tongue and then all of a sudden all these receptor sites were woken up.  So I don’t know what the–the take-away action there is, that may be for another podcast, but definitely a lot of people have some level of dysfunction going on with this system so it’s definitely important to try to get it straightened out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  So the common sequelae is really simple.  Stress–emotional, physical, chemical stress that creates a lower stomach acid and enzyme environment, increase in food allergens, increase in dysbiosis because food’s not being broken down, lower immune function, compromised immune function, infections, leaky gut continues to get worse along the way, more immune stress, potential autoimmunity, and then more brain inflammation due to the all the stresses in the gut making their way into the bloodstream.

Evan Brand:  Yeah, I would say how household toxins would be my other like side note to add to all this stuff.  Getting a good HEPA air filter and making sure you’re filtering out as many toxins that you’re gonna be taking in that way.  That’s kind of another hidden source of inflammation that people don’t talk about much as their home health so if you  have good weather, open up the windows, get that fresh in there, get the crap out, whether you just have new paint or new carpet, new upholstery, new furniture–Dr. J got a new couch.  He can fumigate this office now, things like that. So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You got it.  Absolutely.  Awesome, Evan.  Appreciate the call.  Hope everyone got some good take homes from it and we’ll talk next week.

Evan Brand:  Alright, take care.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Bye.

Evan Brand:  Bye.




Thyroid nutrition for optimal thyroid health – the adrenal, gut, brain and thyroid connection

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

There are certain nutrients essential for thyroid health, yet often times doctors are not checking to see if they are a root cause of a person’s thyroid issues. Today’s talk is going to be on nutrition for your thyroid, how important nutrients and nutrition are for healthy thyroid function. We’ll do a brief overview of how the thyroid works in case you haven’t seen any of my past videos on the thyroid. Just so you’ll have some foundational info so you can see how healthy thyroid works. And then know what you need or what maybe you’re missing that’s preventing your thyroid from functioning optimally on the nutritional side.

Overview of Thyroid Hormone Production

So let’s outline how the thyroid hormonal cascade or domino rally works.  The first step we have is really the brain signalling down to the thyroid.  This pathway is known as our TSH or our thyroid stimulating hormone.  Our TSH is coming from the brain particularly the pituitary and it’s telling the thyroid to make thyroid hormone.

Now from there, our thyroid then spits out some T4. About 20% of that T4 actually gets converted to T3 at the thyroid and about 20% and we’ll review some of the nutrients that we need to help that conversion.  So 20% actually happens in the thyroid gland. The other 80% actually happens peripherally.  So we look down at that 80%, 60% of that 80 actually happens at the liver.

What do we need for optimal thyroid function?

Liver Health

Healthy liver function is very important.  So if we’re getting toxins in our food, chemicals, various plastics, we’re not getting enough sulfur-based amino acids or antioxidants in our diet to run those pathways. Our liver maybe burdened and that may affect our body’s ability to convert and activate thyroid hormone.

One of the enzymes that’s responsible for thyroid conversion, the 5-deiodinase enzyme–you break it down 5-deiodinase. De-i is taking an iodine off.  So the T and the number 4 stands for how many iodines there are.  The 4 stands for the number of iodines.  So where de-iodinate something, we’re pulling an iodine off and that’s why it goes from T4 to T3. It’s because we’re pulling 1 iodine molecule off it.  We’re doing it with that liver-based enzyme known as the 5-deiodinase enzyme, which is selenium-based.

So things like egg yolk, seafood, nuts, seeds–things like that are going to be very rich in selenium. We’re going to need these for that liver enzyme to work.  And selenium is also a strong precursor to glutathione.  So selenium also helps with our detoxification. It also supports the liver.  Liver is very important for thyroid hormone conversion.

Gut Health

We need good, healthy gut bacteria because about 20% of conversion is responsible in and around the gut with acetic acid or the various sulfatase enzymes. And these enzymes are important at taking inactivated T3 and activating it.

So if you have dysbiosis or imbalances in gut bacteria from various infections, pathogens, or even small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, that can throw off the balance of your gut bacteria. In addition, it decreases your gut’s ability to activate thyroid hormone.

Adrenal Health

The adrenals are profound. It’s very, very important for activation of thyroid hormone. Mainly because of the fact that if we’re under adrenal stress, that can increase our reverse T3 levels.

So really simple, I count the adrenals as being a 20% contributor of activating thyroid hormone.  It does it a couple of ways.  If the body is under too much stress, cortisol is too high and if we have high cortisol. We’ll have more reverse T3s. And reverse T3 is inactive T3. If we have our receptor site for the thyroid hormone and reverse T3 molecule gets in it, that does not have the same metabolic effect of the T3.  The T3 can’t make its way into the receptor site because the receptor site is blocked.

So that’s kind of how reverse T3 works.  It’s like taking a gun and putting bullets in the magazine to that gun that are blanks.  So you got to fire that gun and the effect that you’re looking for is that bullet to come out. But then all you hear is the noise. You don’t get the actual end result. Metabolically, we see a hormone in that receptor site.  But it’s a hormone that doesn’t have the same type of stimulation that thyroid hormone does at the nuclear receptor site level.

Are you worried about your thyroid condition? Click here to get help.

Thyroid nutrition


We need healthy levels of cortisol for thyroid conversion to happen. So the adrenals are also affected because of high levels of cortisol, stress, etc. This can actually affect TSH. TSH levels can go off with extreme amount of stress via cortisol. And if we’re depleted, if our adrenals are so dysfunctional where cortisol levels are now low, like at a stage 3 adrenal fatigue person, then we’re not going to have enough cortisol to make that conversion happen. And we need cortisol to really activate that thyroid hormone.

Thyroid Temperature Assessment

When we do thyroid temperature testing, we’ll see the following:

  • chronically low temperatures: low thyroid function
  • aberrations in temperature greater than .3 degrees Fahrenheit: adrenal stress
  • straight low temperature: thyroid dysfunction
  • low and aberrant: thyroid and adrenals dysfunction
  • normal and aberrant: adrenal dysfunction

So that’s a great way that you can use temperature to assess whether you have a thyroid, adrenal issue, or both.

Nutrients for Thyroid Hormone Activation

Now that everyone has a good background of how the thyroid gland is converting a lot of these T4 and T3 into active hormone, let’s talk about some of the nutrients that are involved for activating thyroid hormone.

Vitamin A, Zinc, Amino Acids

The brain needs vitamin A.  It needs zinc, it needs B vitamins, it needs protein, asparagine, the various amino acids to make our TSH.  That’s the signaller.  So TSH is an inverse hormone.  It goes high when thyroid hormone is low and it goes low when thyroid hormone is high.

If I’m yelling at someone and I’m not getting their attention, I’ll have to raise my voice louder until I get their attention.  Think of that as what TSH is doing.  The brain is yelling down to the thyroid to make hormone. If it’s not high enough, it will increase the amount of TSH. This is a very bad indicator to use for thyroid dysfunction because it’s so late stage.  It comes on so late in the game, 5 to 10 years down the road, we really want to be looking at the actual active hormone downstream, the T3 that’s activated down here.

This is much more important and much more indicative of an early stage thyroid issue. And a lot of times people may have fine levels of TSH because T4 feeds back into the brain better than T3.  We could have normal levels of T4 but have low levels of T3. And it may not even be reflected in the TSH.  I see that all the time in my patients.  That’s why we got to be very careful.  We actually have to look at TSH, T4 free and total, T3 free and total. Maybe even look at reverse T3 as well, and the thyroid antibodies.

Gut issue

We talked about the nutrition, vitamin A, zinc, various B vitamins, and protein for healthy thyroid hormone function knocking that first domino over which is TSH.  If we have a gut issue, you can see nutrition isn’t just given.  If we take in nutrient-rich foods, but we have a gut issue and a malabsorption and low stomach acid and dysbiosis and infection, you can see how that may impede the absorption of these nutrients, thus causing deficiency even though we’re having a really good diet intact.  So keep that in mind, we always got to look deeper at the gut, deeper at the liver, and deeper at the adrenals.  We can’t ignore these three body systems.


Iodine is an important nutrient for thyroid hormone creation.  So the process known as iodination involves iodine and tyrosine being cleaved together.  The T actually stands for in T4 or T3, it stands for tyrosine. That’s an amino acid.  The 4 and the 3 stand for the number of iodines.  So we don’t need too much iodine to have this healthy conversion and this activation.  There’s a lot of debate out there that we need more high milligram range.  Some say we only need the RDA, a couple hundred micrograms, 250 or so to be exact to make our thyroid hormone.

Iodine and Hashimoto’s

Again, we got to be careful because iodine can be a strong stimulator of autoimmunity.  There’s a great deal of research showing that excess iodine can actually stimulate Hashimoto’s.  It activates TPO or thyroglobulin antibody that can increase thyroid destruction.

Iodine and Selenium

A lot of people say that the reason why iodine’s a contributing issue with autoimmune condition is because people also are very, very low in selenium. And when iodine is being fused to thyroid hormone via this process known as iodination, what happens as a result is hydrogen peroxide gets kicked out.  This hydrogen peroxide can be very inflammatory and can cause our B cells to come up and infiltrate and start attacking the thyroid tissue.  So that’s why if you’re giving any amount of iodine, you want to make sure there are adequate levels of selenium there. Because selenium comes in and it actually neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide, pulls an oxygen off it and makes it H20 which is water, which is very benign.

You can see giving iodine and not having selenium there by its side can definitely be a recipe for destruction.  So with iodine, be very careful of it.  Make sure you’re working with a functional medicine doctor.  Also, make sure you’re not autoimmune or have any autoimmune symptoms before you give iodine at higher levels.  A couple hundred mics will probably be okay, but double check with your functional medicine doctor.

Again, you can see iron is really important.  If you have a microcytic, hypochromic anemia, that’s going to be a major issue.  We need iron to make thyroid hormone but we’d also need iron to help carry oxygen throughout our body.

B Vitamins

B vitamins–B6 is super important because B6 helps with dopamine activation. And if we go up one stream here and we look at the hypothalamus, which is the top part of the brain, we actually need dopamine from the hypo–dopamine production to actually stimulate the hypothalamus to make TRH.  And TRH is important at stimulating TSH. So dopamine is essential and a lot of people may have neurotransmitter issues that need to be fretted out doing an in-depth organic acid test.


Summary of Nutrients

Iodine, Tyrosine, Iron

B Vitamins

Your B vitamins are really important for energy, for making the Krebs cycle go around.  I did a video on the mitochondria recently.  Take a look at that video to get more info on B vitamins.

Vitamin C

This is a really important antioxidant and helps the adrenals as well.

Vitamin D

This is really important for immune function.  A lot of people with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroid autoimmune issues tend to have a vitamin D polymorphism at the receptor site of the vitamin D receptor and they need higher levels of vitamin D, 70 to a hundred.  Be very mindful if you have an autoimmune thyroid.  Make sure your vitamin D levels are up at 70-100, just to make sure you have that therapeutic immune balancing effect.


We already talked about the nutrients needed for our T4 to T3, that selenium is essential, also for the autoimmune effects of helping to neutralize the hydrogen peroxide into water.


Zinc is important for thyroid conversion. It is also essential for sex hormone production, esentially for making testosterone. And then also it’s an important building block for making hydrochloric acid.  If we don’t have hydrochloric acid levels adequate enough, we won’t keep a nice low pH in the stomach.  So if we don’t have that nice low pH, we won’t be able to break down protein and fat adequately. We’ll have a harder time ionizing minerals.  And we need to ionize minerals and hit them with hydrochloric acid, so then we can then take them in our blood and they’re not like rocks floating in our bloodstream.  We actually want to ionize them so they’re absorbable.  So that’s really important.  If we have issues with these nutrients, we may see other problems in the thyroid hormone chain that could be happening as well.

Have your thyroid checked and get it tested now! Click here to get a free functional medicine doctor consult.

Thyroid Testing

Like I mentioned, a thyroid autoimmunity is a big issue–40% of people that test for thyroid autoimmunity actually test–they are a false negative.  They may come back negative but they may still have a positive thyroid.

So make sure you get your thyroid looked at either palpation-wise and/or if you need, get an ultrasound run just to make sure there are no nodules or inflammation in the thyroid that could be caused by Hashimoto’s.

Outside of that, if you have a thyroid issue or nutritional issue or neurotransmitter issue that could be affecting your thyroid, and you’re not quite sure the next step to take, click on screen.  Again schedule a consult with me, subscribe to the videos, and get my Thyroid Hormone Balancing Series for more information how you can get your thyroid back into balance.

Brain Gut Connection – Enteric, Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous System – Podcast #39

Our nervous system is the control center of the body. Healthy nervous system function influences digestion, energy, movement and performance. Many people’s nervous systems are working on over drive as a results causing hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. Our digestive system has a nervous system unto it’s own called the enteric nervous system. Most people don’t realize that our digestive tract has just as many neurons as our brain and spinal chord. Watch this video to learn more about your nervous system.
brain gut connection

Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Baris Harvey discuss everything you need to know about how the functions of our nervous system and what you can do to keep it working great for overall health and fitness. Find out more in this podcast.

In this episode, we cover:

09:19   Building a robust nervous system

13:00   Sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

22:25   Applied kinesiology and muscle testing

36:33   Problems with most chiropractors

46:14   Enteric Nervous System







Podcast: Play in New Window|Download



Baris Harvey:   Welcome to another awesome of Beyond Wellness Radio.  Before we go on today’s show, I want to tell you guys about our newsletter.  So make sure you go and hit the button that says Sign Up To Newsletter.  By doing this you will never miss out on an episode.  Be the first one to hear it as it’s sent out to your inbox each week.  You guys want even more?  Click on Just In Health link and go straight Dr. Justin’s page and get direct access to Dr. Justin himself.

Having any thyroid issues?  He’s got your back.  Hit the link that says Fix Your Thyroid and by signing up to the newsletter, you get a free video series that’s at all step-by-step enabled just by Dr. Justin himself.  You can also find my site and my information at the top of the Beyond Wellness Radio site.  So if you guys have any questions as well we have all that there, so we appreciate you guys coming on and listening to the show.  So thank you guys for coming on and let’s start it off.

How’s it going, Dr. Justin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Baris, it’s going great! I’m actually hooked up to my emWave right now.  It actually has me red turning to blue, so I’m trying to do the whole podcast today in green in coherence in a parasympathetic state as well–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Talk about here in just a bit.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, it’s funny when you mentioned that, “Oh, I’m pulling out my emWave,” as soon as you do that naturally, for some reason it turns red.  It’s like it knows it’s being looked at, I’m like, “Wow, you guys are looking at me.”  Same thing happened to me right when I pulled it up.  I’m also doing that, so for people out there who’s wondering what the emWave is, it’s a way to track your heart rate variability and to actually train it so that we can get it in coherence with–so that way the communication with your heart and you brain are communicating appropriately.  So that way, you’ll be thinking with your brain but also thinking with your heart, and following like your true purpose.  So if you guys are having any stress problems.  This is a great tool and Dr. Justin does have the hook up so go to him and he will make sure that you get a nice deal on it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, and regarding the emWave, I just kinda wanna make sure people know what’s going on.  So the whole idea of coherence really is that communication between the heart and the brain because they found that 70% of the fibers in the heart are actually the same fibers, the same neurological fibers in the brain.  So there’s a strong connection between the heart and the brain even just beyond an energetic type of spiritual thing, but more even just a scientific, nervous system kinda thing.  And also, when we deal with coherence the whole idea of coherence is basically heart rate variability is a marker of parasympathetic tone, right?  The more parasympathetic, the more rest and digest, the more repairing we do with the less breaking and the less stimulation.  And the whole idea is with heart rate variability is the more uneven your heart beat is, right?  Heart rate and variability, the heart rate is variable from beat to beat.  It’s a great sign of overall health.  The best, most healthiest people, the Navy SEALs and our military and such, they have great, great heart rate variability, so it’s an excellent marker for health and it’s really just the unevenness, right?  The variability between your heartbeats, not having the exact heartbeat at the exact split second, but slight bit of variability from beat to beat.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah.  Like Darwin said, it’s not just about–I know people’s take his words out of context and say you know, survival of the fittest, and not just about being the fittest, it’s about being the most adaptable, right?  And that’s why having a varied heart rate is important.  It keeps your body kind of ready and adaptable, and like you said in the healing parasympathetic state–I don’t think we need any too much extra sympathetic stress, huh, in our society right now.  So trying to do some extra things that are common healing to the body will be so that’s super important especially if you’re type A personality, putting this on and actually getting a reading of feelings, right?  I think it’s kinda hard you can’t necessary measure feelings, but this is like it’s the best tool that I can think of that would do something of that sort that kinda detects your stress before you even notice that you’re stressed out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, yeah.  And one of the things I do to get up in the morning is I activate my sympathetic nervous system.  One of the things I do is I start out, get outta bed, and I do push-ups to failure.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I start off then with a foundation training series by Eric Goodman, it’s just two minutes where I just go and get my extensors working because we’re just so much in flexion all day.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then one of the things I do is I end my shower with about one to two minutes of really, really cold shower.

Baris Harvey:   Oh yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The cold shower basically stimulates my nervous system to adapt and what it does is it just starts stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and here’s a really cool study I have here.  They actually looked at adaptive cold showers as a potential treatment for depression in the journal, Medical Hypotheses.  And I just found–

Baris Harvey:   Wow!

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Two to three-minute cold shower had a significant analgesic effect and helps alleviate depression.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It helped increase beta endorphin levels.  It helped increase noradrenaline levels and increased synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain so–and it had an antidepressant effect.  So I always start my day with a cold shower and push-ups to failure, and a little bit of foundation work just to get my extensors in because I really wanna have good posture and I wanna be ready to go and then I go downstairs.  I’ll typically then put some coffee on, some butter and MCT coffee in my French press.  While that’s brewing for 4 minutes because I don’t wanna waste time, I put a podcast on while I do a 4-minute Tabata.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I do that empty stomach because then I’m really tapping into fat, right?  Because I’m exercising on an empty stomach but it’s not so long of a duration of exercise where I’m getting catabolic but it’s just enough to start tapping into fat and to revving up my metabolism 10 to 20% over the next couple days to really just increase my body’s ability to burn fat and also put on muscle.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  And so we’re diving into this pretty quick.  People are like, I didn’t even know what the topic is yet.  So today we’re gonna be talking about building a robust nervous system and Dr. Justin is already getting into his daily routine and speaking about your daily routine, what did you have for breakfast today?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, today is kinda my standard Friday.  I know, but it’s kinda the same every Friday.  Collagen, 4 raw eggs, butter-MCT coffee, and then I’m just hyped up right now on adaptogenic herbs.  I feel like adaptogenic herbs should be in everyone’s routine.  The Russians did tons of research, spent tens of millions of dollars on it, immune benefits, stress-modulating benefits, right?  And I think you mentioned the–I wanna say Sigmund Freud, not Freud but–

Baris Harvey:   Darwin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Darwin.  Darwin, yes.  Darwin talked about, you know, survival of the fittest and we really are taking that to adaptation and–

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  These are things that you can put into your body, adaptogenic herbs. It’s right there.  It’s adaptogenic.  It’s helping your immune system, your nervous system adapt.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Your hormones adapt.  So again, healthy lifestyle, healthy habits, and then healthy supplements to take your body to the next level of adaptation.

Baris Harvey:   Yeah, especially because taking adaptogenic herbs, that’s kinda like the–even if you didn’t know exactly what you’re doing, that’s a good starting point just because it’s not like, “Oh, it’s gonna put it, increase it, or decrease a certain hormone,” because it’s more of a modulator.  It goes in there and says, “Hey, this is out of balance, let me kind of–you need more of this.”  And it’ll crank, you know, the knob this way.  Or it will say, “Hey, you’re overly stressed out, you need less of this.”  And it kinda just modulates it and puts it back into balance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  So, yeah, definitely.  And it’s almost like, like it just–I mean, look at the pictures of some of these like plants and take like a deep look at–especially like, if you look at like some of like reishi mushroom.  You can tell by the way it’s formed, it seems like a pretty imbalanced kind of plant.  It knows what it’s doing.  Plant power, people.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.  Absolutely, I totally agree.

Baris Harvey:   So let’s talk about–anyway, so we started talking about some of the chemical like structures that will help us, when we’re talking about building a robust nervous system.  But we know that, talking about our nervous system, it’s almost like a highway of information, right?  Our nervous system is basically like, like computer wires and if we look at–we’re currently trying to map out the human genome and we know that currently there is no computer that is smarter than our–or has that many connection or neural than our brain does.  Unfortunately, it seems like, you know, many of us today have been fed foods that don’t allow us to really explore our own brain.  I think we should and that’s kind of our goal is to allow people to feel their bodies and their brains at a fuller capacity and with that being said, we know that if there’s an accident on the freeway or there’s construction, it really slows down communication and, you know, I can’t–if I’m supposed to travel to Dr. Justin’s office and he’s down the street.  If there’s a roadblock, I can’t–hey, I can’t deliver the mail to you, right?  So what’s happening if our bones and our posture are out of balance.  What’s happening there?  And let’s talk about how to build our nervous system, you know, by–you said you do the foundational exercises every morning.  Let’s talk about why it’s so important to have a strong posture.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, posture is excellent.  I mean, it’s really important.  Anyone that’s had a few drinks one night and played the game, Jenga, right?

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You know, right?  Just that Jenga table that just like sitting up straight, you can put like a bowling ball.  You could put like, you know, 3 or 4 maybe even 5 45-lb plates when that thing is just straight up and that’s gonna hold.  No problem.

Baris Harvey:   Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You start pulling one or two out, I mean, just like–just breathing on it could knock it over.  So what does that mean?  That means that structure is really, really important to absorbing force.  Force obstructions.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So this is really cool.  So when it comes to structure.  Simple things we can do.  Like Dr. Mercola has talked about this in his new book called Effortless Healing, is having good posture.  So standing, having a standing desk is super, super important.  Actually what I’m gonna do right now is I have a stand desk.  I’m gonna go from seated into a standing position right now.  So if you hear it get a little mechanical on the background, that’s what’s happening.  But I try to stand about three-quarters of my day.  So like–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  5 to 7 hours I am standing, which is absolutely huge for health.  There’s a couple of things, right?  One, we’re activating our extensors.  Our extensors tend to be more parasympathetic, while when we go into that fetal position, it tends to be more sympathetic.  Alright?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So let’s–before we go into posture, let’s break down the nervous system first.  So our nervous system basically is just how our body communicates.  It communicates via nerves.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It also communicates via hormones, and the nerves and the hormones work together.  So in our nervous system, we have our peripheral, right?  These work go to the extremities, right?  Hands, feet, and then it even goes to the organs.  And then we have our central nervous system.  This is like our brain and our spinal cord.  So they tend to communicate together.  So let’s focus on the peripheral.  Now, we have what’s known as our autonomic nervous system.  Our autonomic basically, to substitute autonomic for automatic, meaning you don’t really have much control over it.  It’s automatically happen, like you’re not thinking about breathing, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  You’re not thinking about being startled.  You’re not thinking about, you know, having to go to the bathroom typically.  It’s just–it happens, it’s on automatic.  Now, in that automatic, autonomic nervous system, we have sympathetic, the sympathetic nervous system and then we also have the parasympathetic.  So I hate these big words because medicine just uses them to confuse people.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I call it fight or flight and rest and digest, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Fight or flight is the sympathetic.  Fight or flight.  It’s the part of the nervous system that gets activated when you get startled, right?  When you’re either gonna fight, right?  Are you gonna attack or are you gonna run, alright?  So it’s when you get super stressed, you’re in traffic, right?  You’re gritting your teeth.  You may be flipping off the guy next to you, it’s like, that’s the fight or flight.  And then the parasympathetic is when you’re like deep belly breathing, maybe you’re finishing that yoga class and you’re in Shavasana or corpse pose.  Or you’re sitting there–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  In meditation or you’re next to your wife or partner and you’re just like feeling this really great contentment and great connection, that’s the parasympathetic nervous system.  Parasympathetic–

Baris Harvey:  You’re gonna put me back to sleep bringing back yoga’s thing, I was just like, “Uhhh,” at the end of yoga.  I’m falling asleep.  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s my favorite pose, corpse pose.  I am the best of that pose.

Baris Harvey:   Exactly.  So parasympathetic is bringing everything inward, right?  Parasympathetic tone takes blood, brings it inward to the organs to nourish, to bring nutrition inward, and also helps with digestion, right?  Parasympathetic is rest and digest.  Blood’s going inward, repairing or increasing DHEA and testosterone and progesterone, or healing.  Where sympathetic is shuttling stress hormone output, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The sympathetic nervous system whips the adrenals into action to make adrenaline or epinephrine, right?  Same thing.   That epinephrine then stimulates cortisol and the job of it is to mobilize sugar so the extremities and the arms can run and fight and flee, where the parasympathetic is driving inward and trying to help repair.  So linking that back to

posture, sympathetic tone is always going into flexion, right?  Tight hip flexors, going into that fetal position, flexing over, that’s the sympathetic.  So trying to go outward by getting your body into extension, opening your chest up, pulling your head back, pulling your shoulder blades back, keeping your external auditory meatus, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Big fancy word again.  Your ear hole–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ear hole over the middle part of your shoulder, over your hip, over your ankles and your knees.  So just kinda having a really good kinda plum line type of alignment, that’s gonna be really important and got kinda tying the analogy back to Jenga.  When that Jenga is perfectly straight, you can put like 200 pounds on that Jenga piece, it’s not gonna go anywhere.  You pull 1 or 2 out, it’s shifting a little bit forward, just breathing on it will knock it over.  So I’m gonna take a deep breath there, Baris.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Go ahead and talk–

Baris Harvey:  I got a new analogy and I think it’s funny because we were talking about how we make up analogies but isn’t that the point to trick us info–like knowledge is really power and when it’s in a different language sometimes it’s like, it’s like a hieroglyphics, right?  What is the parasympathetic nervous system?  It doesn’t make sense to me, so by connecting with something

we know that make sense to people, it starts to fire off those new neurons and you start to build new knowledge and it connects and it sticks.  So since we’re talking about, you know, developing a robust nervous system, I go, “Hey why not through analogy so that way we can, you know, have some neurogenesis and to create some new connections today, and I thought about a good one.  A way to kind of think of how the nerves and hormones work because they’re both sending information and basically things to do.  You can think of the nerve cells and the connections almost like email or phone call, you know.  Even though Dr. Justin’s in Texas, I can say, “Hey, you know, I need this or this, or hey, we need to get this done, blah blah blah.”  You know, he could do the same thing to me or send me an email and it’s there instantly, right?  I got the connection at the speed of light and/or the speed of techno–whatever the speed it travels.  And then hormones are more like, you know, the postal service where like, for example, I recently got some Zen frames from Dr. Justin and, you know, made a phone call and sent email, “Hey, could connect me and give me a pair of these?  I’ll go ahead and send a payment to you and, you know, put it on an air flight and got it, you know, 2 days later.”  So the nerves fire instantly, whereas the hormones are a little bit more gradual but when they do hit, they do have a strong effect.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  I mean, they are certain hormones that are fast, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  The sympathetic nervous system will stimulate adrenaline, norepinephrine in like split seconds.

Baris Harvey:  Oh yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  But cortisol comes to the show minutes later, right?

Baris Harvey:  Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cortisol is not a fast one but your adrenaline is super fast, right?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then we have like our brain, right?  Our brain has an effect on the parasympathetic.  We have these things called cranial nerves, right?  The big ones there are parasympathetic are 3, 7, 9, and 10.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Don’t really have to worry about it, but again eyes, salivation, right?  So these are really important, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Taking in good sight, seeing good things, chewing, breathing in through the nose, nasal stimulation.  These are all things that are activating the parasympathetic nervous system.  That’s why when you eat, chew your food 30 times or so.  Don’t be anal about it.  Chew your food to about like an oatmeal-like consistency, you know?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  When you walk in nature, look far away.  That stimulation to the eyes is very important.  Lots of studies with long distance viewing while in nature will help alleviate depression, okay?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Breathing in through the nose will stimulate parasympathetic fibers and put you more in a–into a coherence parasympathetic state.  So these are simple things you can do with the brain.  Now on top of that, we have this really cool nerve called the vagus nerve.  It’s cranial nerve 10.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the vagus nerve does all kinds of stuff.  It affects the spleen.  It affects the heart and it affects the stomach and the pancreas, and the intestines and this is the nerve they get stimulated when the parasympathetic is really activated.  It affects digestion.  It affects all of your organs.  So that gets shut down when we get into a stressed out state.  So just think when you’re getting stressed out, you’re, you know, cutting off trip to vagus so to speak.  You’re cutting off that vagus nerve.  So if you wanna go to vagus, you really wanna be working on doing things to keep your body in that parasympathetic state, breathing, you know, the emWave, right?  5-second breaths in through the nose, chewing your food really well.  These are all great things that you can do to help get yourself into a parasympathetic state.  And then also, you know, avoid eating inflammatory food.  You’re gonna keep yourself totally locked in a stressed out state if you’re eating food that’s inflaming you day in and day out.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, yeah.  And well, like you said, whereas like the nervous system is working a little bit made quicker and you do have some hormones that work quicker, you know, 2-day express mail, right?  When you have like the foods working on a chemical, like it kinda has a prolonged delay effect, like you eat a food, you know, it takes a couple of minutes then it starts kicking in, like if you eat a jalapeño, like you don’t instantly just sweat but give it a minute or two and it starts to compound and you start to sweat and you start to notice those effects but they do have like a delayed response, too, as you digest it, like it will stay in your system for a couple days depending on whatever the substance is, so if you’re continuously–even if it’s a every other day thing where, you know, you don’t eat a burger every day but you go to McDonalds every other day, well, it’s gonna have a negative effect on your health in your body because you’re still, you know, it’s still lingering so by the time it’s finally–those inflammatory response finally start to end, and like, “Okay, we can relax, you guys.”  It’s like, “Oh, here, he’s eating another burger.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup, exactly.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.  So there are things that you can do to get like to tap into your nervous system.  So I love chiropractic medicine.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Very passionate about it and one of the things that I use is a window into the nervous system is applied kinesiology.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So applied kinesiology is really cool because when we talk about the nervous system, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We talked about the automatic nervous system, right?  The autonomic, well, on the flip side of that is the somatic, okay?

Baris Harvey:  Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the somatic is just another word for the muscle nervous system.  So I’ll be so much more convenient if they just named it the automatic and the muscle, but yeah–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I already said, they keep you confused, so don’t understand your body, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So if we can use our muscles as a muscle testing, applied kinesiology muscle testing is a window to how the nervous system is functioning.  So I can come in there and I can test someone’s psoas and get a window into L4, L5, S1 muscles so I can test their shoulder, their deltoid, and get a window into C5.  I can test their tricep and get a window into C7 and vice-versa.  So I can, you know, put force into someone’s muscle and the goal isn’t going to see how strong they are like you’re benching 300 pounds.  I’ve had a gold medalist Olympic athlete said I could literally press down their rectus femoris muscle with one finger.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now if you would have put that guy in a gym he’d be ridiculously strong and fast but it’s not about that, it’s about applying a set bit of force and seeing how fast they can adapt to that force.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And the slower they adapt, that means the higher risk of injury and also the less ability they’re gonna have, the decreased ability–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They’re gonna have to generate force as well.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  And then so, the terms for that, again you said applied kinesiology and it’s also muscle testing, I know some people get like, get kinda weirded out, like “Oh, how can you muscle test?”  But you mentioned that our muscles are basically just kind of conductors of electricity, right?  Like we have–you yourself have and myself as well have different machines that stimulate these muscles just simply with electricity, and we can show, “Hey, and yeah, they respond to electricity.”  They’re–we are bio-electrical chemical beings.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, exactly.  And we’re doing muscle testing.  This is on a direct link.  It’s a direct muscle test, meaning–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  We’re looking at the somatic nervous system, right?  Just google somatic nervous system.  What you’ll find is the branch of the nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, meaning outside at the central nervous system that controls voluntary movements, okay?  We have afferent, right?  Afferent nerves go from the muscle into the spine.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And then we have efferent nerves that go from the spine out to the muscle, so if you move your muscle, right?  You’re using efferent nerves to then stimulate the movement and if someone touches your leg, the interpretation of feeling of that–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Back in your brain that’s going to be more afferent.  Afferent is going up.  Efferent is exiting.  E for exiting, A for entering.

Baris Harvey:  Hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So that’s kind of a good thing.  So we have a direct window into how your nerves are functioning with applied kinesiology.  Now this is different like if you have someone that muscle tests for supplements, that’s getting more into an energetic type of realm–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Where you’re putting maybe a supplement on your chest, that’s getting more energetic because you have to have energy from the bottle go into your, you know, you’re nervous system–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And there is some validity for that for sure but it’s not nearly as scientific as applied kinesiology for the body because we’re looking at the somatic nervous system myotomes directly.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  There’s a direct indication for that.  Now if you wanna test supplementation and even more direct way to do it–

Baris Harvey:  Isn’t it usually under the tongue?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, put it right in the mouth.

Baris Harvey:  Where you hold it for a little bit?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Put it right in the mouth because then it’s hitting your lingual nerves, now that’s direct nervous system test because it’s going into your nerves.  Your nerves to then going from the–let’s see that’s the olfactory and I think the cranial nerve number 5 is taking that up to the brain and it is telling it, “Hey, you know, what’s going on?”  The brain is sensing it and reading it for nutrients or for toxins or whatever and you’ll either get a strong or weak test.  So that’s more of a direct muscle test.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Nervous system-wise when it comes to nutrition.  So if we were talking energetic stuff, that’s not what we’re talking here.  That’s what I call, more indirect.  We’re talking about direct muscle testing.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So when I work with my professional athletes or college athletes or people that are just trying to get better from an injury, we’re going in, we’re testing all their muscles because that gives us a window into their nervous system.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And by getting a window, we see nerves–if we see those muscles aren’t working, we know the communication to those muscles is impaired.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And when we know it’s impaired, there’s a couple of things we can do.  We can apply a specific adjustment to get movement into that joint which will help the communication, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’ll get the nerves communicating so it’ll help that afferent.  It’ll help the communication going in–

Baris Harvey:  And let me cut you off real quick.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What?  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  Because I think you brought up a really, really good point that I want to make sure that doesn’t just slide past you real quick.  And this is gonna sound irrelevant right now, but it’s gonna make sense, okay?  So our gut bacteria is a community of cells and different bio-organisms that are basically kind of change how our mood and our body, and they communicate with each other.  The same way when we eat plants, they send a direct message to us or we just animals or–and they could be a good message or bad message.  They can benefit us or negatively affect us by the same way if someone’s diabetic and their foot is numb, they’ve having poor communication.  At the end of the day, we have to remember that all of these processes are just a form of our bodies of–it’s kind of having to have–you have to have some kind of holistic view to fully understand this or even believe what I’m sayin’.  But it’s just a form of our body more as an organization, as an organism, and not just a one static thing and that everything is just trying to get into homeostasis and basically communicate with each other.  So if you have impaired communication on any level and you’re not–the same way if you get a misinterpretation with, you know, your wife or your girlfriend or something like that, you might have an argument and be like, “Oh, well, my phone didn’t receive you call.”  We have a missed call and bam, there’s issues the same way with your body.  So I just want to make sure you that you pointed out like you had a gem in there and you started to talk about like impaired communication.  That’s I think super big, so go ahead.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s awesome.  Awesome.  So where chiropractic is phenomenal is that the body, especially the spine and the joints they communicate via movement, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So if that afferent communication isn’t coming in, right?  Is that old adage in programming, crap information in means crap information out.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So if we aren’t getting communication because things aren’t moving properly or because the muscle is shut down because of an adhesion or a trigger point or scar tissue, we’re putting crappy information into the system which is almost kinda guarantee crappy information out.  So as a functional medicine doctor, I apply applied kinesiology as a window into the nervous system and then we can test, “Hey, is it by having them touch certain places on the spine, on the joints, or on the muscle tissue?”  We can see how it gets stronger, right?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So the body is amazing because if we bring awareness to something, we can actually–

Baris Harvey:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Get a window into how the body functions.  So if I touch my back, let’s say my psoas muscle is weak.  So if I put my leg out at a 45-degree angle and I press down that shows weak, I could have my patient then touch their lower back where those nerves are and if that strengthens, that’s the body or the nervous system telling me this area wants more input.  It wants more communication and we can provide that by adjusting that joint–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Or if I touch the muscle–if touching the muscle strengthens it, what my nervous system is saying, there’s an adhesion or trigger point.  There’s something in the muscle that’s affecting the communication and we can do a soft tissue technique like ART or myofascial release or Graston technique or a muscle spindle technique and we can reestablish communication to those feedback loops.  So this is like direct science and if any, if every doctor knew about this, we could be preventing injury.  We could have–

Baris Harvey:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Our patients performing so much.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, and that’s our goal.  So slowly we’re surely get our–get this out to the masses because just like we mentioned earlier how it’s just like a highway of communication and you don’t want your muscles to be like LA traffic.  You want a steady flow, you know what I mean, and it’s the same thing.  And then so we’re talking about the muscles in the spinal system and the importance.  I know it’s a big thing with people is like low back problems and even myself, you know, at a younger age I

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