Brain Health and Nootropics with Evan Brand | Podcast #203

In improving brain health, don’t take the quick fix. There’s more to talk about than just taking supplements. One must deal with diet, lifestyle, and digestion. More importantly, the more one helps the gut, and the more one’s going to help the brain.

Today’s podcast talks about steps in improving brain performance, natural nootropics, medicinal compounds, and pseudo pharmaceutical compounds to help improve cognitive function and brain performance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

00:46    Steps to improve brain performance

03:42    Get the gut right

16:07    Get the inflammation down

18:32    Focus on your diet

32:03    Resveratrols and alcohols

34:27    Pharmaceutical nootropics


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey! It’s Dr. J in the house. Evan Brand, how we doing today?

Evan Brand: Hey man, life is good. I’m ready to talk with you about the brain. I’ve been tryin’ to figure out if my brain is messed up, or what. So you’ve been giving me some good advice. We were reviewing lab results together off the air so, it’s always fun. It’s less fun when you have to dig into the trenches on your own but it’s still fun. So I– I appreciate your time this morning.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, absolutely. I’m really excited to chat with you about a whole bunch of things we can do to im— improve uhm— brain health as well as kind of natural Nootropics which are just– essentially compounds, medicinal compounds, even some kind of pseudo pharmaceutical compounds to help improve cognitive function and brain performance. So, you know, why don’t we dive in? So, off the bat, one of the first things we can do to help improve brain performance is decrease inflammation in the brain. That’s like the low-hanging fruit. The more inflamed we are neurologically, the more microglia cell activation we’re gonna have. And that’s gonna create brain fog. Mi– microglial cells are these immune cells in the brain. And the more inflammation we have, the more of these brain cells or these– more of these immune cells get activated in part of the side effect of inflammation in the brain. And this immune reaction is gonna be brain fog and cognitive issues. So the first thing, we decrease inflammation. How do we do that? We do it by cutting gluten, and refined sugars, and refined carbohydrates out. That’s gonna be the first thing. The inflammatory grains and or refined junk and trans fats. These things are gonna be more inflammatory to the gut. Inflammation in the gut is gonna cause inflammation in the brain. So the more we can actually help our gut, the more we’re gonna help our brain. And the second thing is actually decreasing dysbiotic bacteria. Dysbiotic bacteria is a compound called LPS – Lipopolysaccharide. Or another term for– it’s actually called endotoxin. And that can make its way through the gut into the bloodstream to the brain. It can create mood issues and cognitive issues as well. So– getting the inflammation in the gut, getting the stress out of a diet, uh– is gonna be huge for cognitive health.

Evan Brand: Yeah, I’m gonna take what you said just a step further ’cause people may have said– they may have heard, “Oh, woah, dysbiosis, LPS, brain, wh– what’s going on here?”. So basically what Justin saying is, there’s various infections you can pick up from the soil, the food, the water, the air, your partner, your spouse, your kids. You can pass bugs between each other. Justin and I have tested literally countless. Thousands and thousands and thousands–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-huh.

Evan Brand: –of stooling your intestine. What we find is that these gram negative bacteria– produce the LPS. So if you have bacterial overgrowth, whether you call it SIBO, whether you call it dysbiosis, whether you call it IBS from your gastro doc who told you you have that, it doesn’t matter what the term is, it matters is if there’s bugs in the gut, your brain will not function well. And so, when we talked about the topic of nootropics, which I was actually hired by a publishing company to write a book on this topic, which– which kind of cool. Uh– the thing is, you can’t go straight to the brain pills or the smart pills or the– the smart drugs. You can’t go straight to that if you just haven’t addressed the gut, and you haven’t addresses the diet like– you see some dude, you know, drinking a 5-hour energy, and is eating like a gluten-free cupcake, but he wants to improve his brain functions, like– you know, smart drugs and nootropics, this is like a– a level-301 course. Like, 101 brain health is the stuff you just mentioned. The gut, the diet, etc., and then you graduate your way up. But in society, we like the quick fix. So we straight to just buying these pills. Which– I don’t know, I’m not judging anybody. I’m just saying– you can spend more money on food first and get your gut fixed, then go to supplements.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. So first thing is get the food right, uhm— get the gut right. And the gut, whatever they’re saying, get– get the gut right. There could be SIBO, there could be infections, there could be some leaky gut caused by the above: by the food, by the gut, by the low stomach acid and enzymes by the dysbiosis, by the H-pylori fungus parasites. So get that in order first. That’s the low-hanging fruit. And again that’s the non-sexy stuff on the cognitive nootropic side because if you– look at any blogs or professionals to talk about brain health, a lot of times they’re not talking about the gut when they’re connecting the brain. Now, Dr. ___[04:14] recently called. I think the brain maker, we talked about like probiotics and these things. I don’t think a lot is addressed on infections. I think a lot is addressed on good bacteria and the bacterial imbalances, but not a lot is talked about infections. So that’s an important component. So once we have that right, and then we can work on– you know, other nutrients that dial things in. So, a low-hanging fruit for brain health is B-Vitamins. Now first off, are you low in B-Vitamins or do you need more B-Vitamins ’cause you’re in stress? Do you need more B-Vitamins because you’re not making your internal B-Vitamins because of dysbiosis? And or you’re not absorbing it well? So you gotta figure out why need them so–

Evan Brand: Explain that– explain real quick. That’s pretty mind-blowing concept for people. You mentioned– m– manufacturing B-Vitamins in your gut, and that being impaired due to dysbiosis.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so– healthy good bacteria actually– eat your poop or actually uhm— you know, eats. Let’s just say this: they eat your poop and they poop nutrition back. Bad bacteria– bad bacteria eats your nut– eats your nutrients then it poops poop back. So good bacteria takes no– not so nice stuff and makes nutrition out of it. Bad bacteria eats your– your good stuff, your– your– your vitamins and minerals and actually produces more toxins and the flip side like LPS, or are various things like that at all so it can disrupt your motility as well. So good bacteria will actually improve Vitamin-K, ex– exogenous production and it’ll also improve B-Vitamin production as well. So that’s really important so if you can tolerate and you can consume healthy fermentable uh– vegetables, uh– probiotic rich foods, that’s great. If you can’t tolerate it, it probably tells me there’s some SIBO or bacterial overgrowth that also needs to be addressed. But, on that note, the next component is, you know, adding some supplemental B-Vitamins can be very-very helpful. So, you know, I have uhm— a mitochondrial support that take that a lot of B-Vitamins in it. I’ll even take some stuff that have amino acids with B-Vitamins in it as well. I think B-Vitamins are great low-hanging fruit. And again this is a concept I hear all the time. People say, “Hey I take B-Vitamins and I noticed my urine gets really yellow, you know, I’m just peeing it a lot”. Well, number 1, you’re really gonna be able to pee out water soluble nutrients. So you’ll only gonna be able to pee out, you know, your– your B-Vitamins so to speak, right? Uhm– take maybe Vitamin-C– too much Vitamin-C will cause those stools. So if you’re taking too much Vitamin-C you’ll know it ’cause you’ll start getting loose stools. But with B-Vitamins, I wanna be peeing my B-Vitamins out. If I’m not peeing my B-Vitamins out, I’m not reaching saturation–

Evan Brand: Uhm…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –right? So, it– let’s say this is the amount of– of B-Vitamins my body needs; let’s say I take this much, right? I consume this much, right? So the spread that I’m gonna be peeing out will be this much. I don’t pee everything out, I’m just gonna be peeing out this spread, right? And the thing is you– you don’t know– you don’t know how much you actually need on the given day so, I’m fine, supplementally take maybe a little bit on the excess side, and then let my body deal with it. It’s not like it’s a big stressor uh– where it’s a fat soluble vitamin and it’s harder to excrete. It’s a water soluble vitamin. And we’re taking a minerally good forms you know, P5P activated– you know, uhm— methylated B-Vitamins. So they’re– they’re really good, you know, we’re not gonna take any folic acid, we’re gonna take activated folate. So I’m taking a re– you know, a reasonable amount of a high quality activated B-Vitamins supplements. I think it’s a great low-hanging fruit.

Evan Brand: Yeah, here’s the thing that’s kind of annoying with the whole methylation conversation is, people come up with their MTHFR genetic defect and they walk around with it with like some type of label, like a, “I’m MTHFR, oh my God!”. And they act like the protocol has to be so different. Justin and I basically treat everyone as if they have methylation issues. All that means, is we’re gonna use higher quality nutrients. We’re not gonna use a folic acid we’re gonna use to activated folate. Maybe you need a little bit higher amount. But so many people get a diagnosis where they look at their gene and they see one snip off, and then like, “Oh my God, can you work with me, I have MTHFR”. Like it’s gonna change much. How much percent do you think it really changes in the whole equation?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm– doesn’t change that much. I mean, a lot of the things that we’re doing kind of already a- b– are built in and around that, right? So of course a lot of the synthetic folic acid were making sure any supplements’ not gonna contain that, right? Or it’s not gonna contain junky B-Vitamins that you may see in like a 5-hour energy drink. Number 2, we’re cutting out fortified foods that are gonna have folic acid in it. Things like orange juice, things like your grains, right. These are the big fortified folic acid foods. Again the government found out a long time ago that, hey, you know, folic acid’s gonna prevent like these neural tube birth defect. Uhm– the problem is, you still have a– a large set of population that can– that’s still cannot activate that folic acid and con– convert it into you know, folinic acid to LMTH– LMTHF folate, and some can actually create some of these dangerous cancer-like metabolites. So, we wanna make sure we eat like, good quality animal uhm— foods that are gonna have good folate in there. Lots of good green-leafy vegetables, potentially egg yolks, these things that are really high in choline as well. So we’re gonna be getting all of our really good folate and then– we would supplement with additional high quality activated folate– activated B-Vitamins. If someone has MTHFR, we may look at supplementing, separating the folate, and the B-Vitamins out from the actual B-Vitamin complex. And we may do various other forms of B-12 like adenosyl or hydroxy B-12, typically sublingually to help bypass the gut as well. BUt, there’s 3 major rabbit holes in functional medicine. MTHFR is one. The other one is lyme, and the third one is mycotoxins. And the reason why is– because, any symptom– can be tossed in the basket of those 3 conditions. So if you have any condition– any symptom at all, someone could point you to one of those 3 areas.

Evan Brand: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And my thing is, this a rabbit hole for those areas, and im— y– you focus on one of those 3, you maybe missing the simple low-hanging fruit underneath, you know,  where we should be starting first. So I look at and say, “Okay, maybe we go down those avenues but we’re gonna deal with diet, lifestyle, digestion, we’re gonna look at your hormones, we’re gonna look at your gut, we’re gonna look at toxicity, we’re gonna make sure you’re infection-free, we’re gonna make simple changes. We’re gonna kind of write off all the foundational stuff and then we may look at doing testing down below to look deeper if we’re not seeing resolution. But I can’t tell you how many patients I see that– complaining of MTHFR or lyme, or mycotoxins, or mold issues. And they have multiple gut infections, their diet suck, they’re not digesting their food, they– don’t have good absorption of the nutrition, they’re not sleeping well, they have significant nutrient deficiencies, very poor neurotransmitter function, and they’re sitting worry about these little rat holes that, you know, you can go down. Not saying those little rat holes or rabbit holes and functional medicine aren’t legitimate. I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is– they need to be looked at later on. They’re not the low-hanging fruit. And because any symptom you have could be put in one of those 3 categories. It’s really easy to be jumped on that track.

Evan Brand: Yes. Well it is now sexy too, and, uh– one of our mutual friends and colleagues Jay Davidson, uh– he’s a chiropractor who func— focuses a lot online. He actually turned the corner and he used to just do lyme, lyme, lyme, lyme, lyme. Everything he saw was lyme. And all these protocols he did were all lyme protocols. So you know what, last time we talked, I interviewed him for my summit, he goes, “Evan–“, he goes, “You’ve been doing it right all along”. and I was like, “What are you talking about?”. And he goes, “Well treating lyme disease, I used to go straight after lyme“. He goes, “I don’t do that anymore, I go after the parasites”. Because it turns out if you just get rid of parasites and bacterial infections and you treat those, the lyme disappears with it. He said, “So here I was doin’ all these buhner protocols and these other protocols for lyme, but I should have just went after parasites and bacteria”. And now his success rate is even higher. So that just makes me happy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, and also a lot of the herbs we may use to go after some of the gut stuff, will have some anti-lyme effects as well. So cat’s claw is a big, you know, anti-lyme one. But it’s also really good for biofilms. Higher dose berberine and goldenseals, also helpful for lyme. Silver is also a really good  biofilm buster, also helpful for lyme. So the lot– you know, a lot of the uhm— adrenal supports like a lutherol and ashwagandha which are really good for the adrenals, also helpful for lyme. So a good functional medicine practitioner, you know, they’re gonna create a protocol that has a pretty good net worths targeted, but, you know, other things that were not going after specifically may still get help underneath that umbrella.

Evan Brand: I love saying that. I love saying like, “Hey, we’re gonna kill things that might not even show up on the test.” For example, like maybe we’ve got a false negative of a parasite, but we did this protocol to kill the bacteria, but the herbs to kill the bacteria also have anti-parasitic benefit, so maybe, we got rid of something that you didn’t even know was there that was affecting you. So that’s the fun thing. Now, let’s go back to the topic of the brain. You mentioned a few things. You mentioned the cat’s claw. Cat’s claw can be considered something that can help the brain. You mentioned ashwagandha, you mentioned adaptogenic herbs. You and I love adaptogens. Wo know, that whether we’re talking holy basil, or Rhodiola, or American ginseng, or, you’ve got like Korean ginseng, there’s a many-many ginsengs. These all help in terms of modulating cortisol. And– that’s course up your brain. If you’ve got levels of cortisol that are too high or too low, it kind of mimics the same thing. And this is why you don’t wanna guess because– you know, we’ve seen people where they– they’re exhausted, and we think, “Oh my God, this person must have low cortisol.” But then you test it and it’s actually high all day. And we’re thinking, “Oh, good thing we didn’t throw this person on a bunch of licorice because they’re cortisol is already so sky high.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Evan Brand: [crosstalk]… I was just gonna say but, if they read online– adrenal fatigue–  licorice, I mean it’s almost like a– it’s a– I mean it’s almost like a gut reaction like, adrenal fatigue, licorice. But if you don’t know that there’s a caveat to that, you could measure ‘self up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, it’s nice to know your pattern, especially if there’s reversed cortisol patterns that’s helpful because cer— certain compounds we may give when cortisol’s higher versus lower. So it’s nice to know that, so we can be specific. And– and also just to kind of highlight higher levels of cortisol can actually atrophy the areas of the hippocampus. And these are areas that are profoundly important for learning and memory. So, someone talks about stress and adrenal dysfunction, can that affect, you know, can I– you know, by supporting that improve my IQ? I would say, yeah. Dave Asprey’s done some testing on himself. Uhm– or he’s found his IQ’s gone up 10 to 20 points, by just improving, you know, inflammation in brain health. So I would say, yeah. If you’re brain’s inflamed huge– I know in college who would take me very long time to finish test cause I would have to like double and triple check all my questions. And– I would still eating some things back then, you know, 15 years ago, there was causing my brain to be more inflamed. And I was having insecurity in my cognitive re– you know, processes out, just double and triple checking, and just not feeling confident and just being slower in my mental processes. And I noticed that, as I tweaked my diet and got inflammation down and supported some of these brain nutrients, I was able to race through questions faster and– and be accurate but also more– more let’s just say succinct and faster going to these tests.

Evan Brand: Yeah, I’m always impressed with your brain, like your brain– I– I don’t think I’ve ever chatted with you where your brain wasn’t working properly like you’re always able to articulate well, you’re always able to like zoom in and zoom out. I’ve always like, looked up to you for that. It’s super cool to see somebody that has a good functioning brain because in society, we have so many people’s brains that don’t work like yours.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well I appreciate it and I think, number 1 for everyone listening, get the inflammation down, that’s number 1. Make sure your food’s nutrient dense choline, uhm— you know, lots of green vegetables that have a lot of good B-Vitamins and folate in there. A lot of your good essential fatty acids, that’s really important. And then from there, you know, play around with some of the other compounds that could be helpful. So for instance, medicinal mushrooms I think are great. I mean, right now, I– I do Reishi, and I’m doing me– uhm— I’m doing Reishi– is it Maitake–

Evan Brand: Yeah–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –Maitake.

Evan Brand: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’m doin’– I’m doing Shiitake and Reishi everyday. So I’m doing 46 caps right now, this good as getting a little bit colder. I’m around sick kids sometimes, you know, so I’m just– keep my immune system pretty strong. And then I met a pretty good high dose of ashwagandha, and then I bump up additional B-Vitamins on top of that. Now you can keep it simple. For me and for my job, I’m constantly having a progra— I mean no– you know, like, run through mental programs and thinking and troubleshooting– I want that high level of cognitive stuff. So, you gotta figure out where you’re at, how stressful your life is on a cognitive side. I mean, you can kind of dose at things in– uhm— you know, more steadily. If your– your job isn’t that stressful then maybe just a good diet and just a– a few supplements i— is fine. If you’re a programmer or you’re constantly problem solving then maybe you need more nutrients to the brain.

Evan Brand: I would even argue you could add in like some lion’s mane too. I’ve been having–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah–

Evan Brand: –really good e– experiment, it’s up and running, with like a mixture of the lion’s mane, the reishi maitake shiitake, and then a little bit of ginkgo, kind of a bonus just for the blood flow aspect. ‘Cause we know that you can help increase the blood flow in the brain with ginko. We also use a lot of bacopa, uh– you and I have used vinpocetine before which comes from the– I think it’s the periwinkle plant. Vinpocetine is a really good one and then I’ve got a couple formulas with like, wild blueberry complex in there, that’s really good. And then, there’s also uh– I don’t know if we mentioned huperzine, which comes from the club moss, huperzine is a good acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Evan Brand: People talk about dopamine and serotonin but– I think, just as much as GABA, acetylcholine is like a forgotten neurotransmitter, and people don’t talk about it. But they should because if it breaks down too fast, your memory won’t be as good. And if you take huperzine, you can keep the acetylcholine in the brain longer, theoretically improving learning and– learning and memory.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What other ways can we increase acetylcholine outside of taking it, outside of the– the huperzines, or the uhm— the other types of compounds you mentioned.

Evan Brand: I would say focus on the diet piece too, right? Like you could– you could– you could oversee supplement with like Alpha-GPC like the glycerylphosphorylcholine. But, as you mentioned I think earlier about eggs, you know, focusing on eggs is a good source of choline. I wanna say seafood. Don’t quote me on it but I wanna say seafood is pretty high in choline as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so you’re fatty fish, uh– your egg yolks, uh– your liver, uhm— avocado, these are gonna be your best things for– acetylcholine. Acetylcholine’s really-really important. Again, you have autoimmune conditions like myasthenia gravis where you have an autoimmune conditions to the postsynaptic acetylcholine neuron. And then you can get this kind of like, droopy eyes, droopy face kind of stuff. So acetylcholine is really important. And again a lot of that’s gonna be your meat-rich products. And again, uhm— there’s been research on acetylcholine, right; 800 milligrams a day is ideal, and they find that pregnant women who don’t get enough acetylcholine– there’s epigenetics that increase. That can create increased cortisol, and increase stress response in these kiddos, born in a– choline– acetylcholine uhm— poor environment. So that’s a–

Evan Brand: Ahh…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –really-really important cognitive function. And when you deal with MTHFR issues, making sure there’s adequate choline, and the diet is very important. Also building blocks for bile, like really having enough biliary support. Because bile is really important for keeping SIBO at bay, right? Bile salts or bile acids– the acids produced, when, you know, the acidic environment produced when bile is stimulated and secrete in form the gall bladder can really prevent a lot of SIBO overgrowth. That’s why with SIBO, it’s a common environment that allow SIBO to form is typically at enzyme low, hydrochloric acid low– low bile salts environment really is a driving factor for let– letting SIBO grow. And of course we know the nutrient deficiencies that can happen with SIBO, and then we can easily draw that back up to the brain, ’cause a lot of these vitamins and minerals are responsible for cognitive function benefits.

Evan Brand: Yeah, well we know, there’s a link to the thyroid too, you know, if you’re hypo– you’re under functioning with your thyroid, that can affect your brain. Also, I’ve seen some stuff about just– you could just– look at the link between hypothyroidism and say gallbladder issues for example, gallstones, occuring in a more hypothyroid environment. So if your thyroid is not working properly, let’s say you have antibodies going on. And those antibodies could always be rooted back in something from diet or gut. But, you know, get– getting some blood work could be helpful in this too. If you’re trying to figure out, “Hey what other things have I done? I’ve– I’ve worked on my gut, I’ve worked on my liver, brain’s still not working”, would you agree thyroid would be a good potential other step in this?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, anything if there’s a hormone imbalance that’s gonna affect energy typically, when energy’s low uh– focus and cognitive will be low. It’s very rare that someone is tired but has good brain function. Meaning, memory, retention, you know, verbal fluency, right, a– they’re typically connected. You need a baseline of energy for your brain to be functioning well. So if there’s low thyroid or low adrenal, that definitely needs to be addressed. There’s other herbs we can use, bacopa is another big one that helps modulate a lot of our dopamine, and serotonin neurotransmitters. We know dopamines’ really important for focus, right? Uh– it’s also can be burnt up, it can be converted downstream to adrenaline. So if it was adrenal stress you can burn up dopamine and convert it to adrenaline. Dopamine’s also needed for TRH release in the hypothalamus. TRH is the thyroid releasing hormone. It goes from the hypothalamus to the pituitary. The pituitary then makes TSH which is thyroid stimulating hormone which then talks to our thyroid to make T-4, little bit of T-3 and then T-4 gets converted periphery and add this– add the– thyroid receptor cells uh– ___[22:16] as well.

Evan Brand: Try to think of any other things I haven’t mentioned from a– from our supplement perspective. Did you mention the Omega? [crosstalk]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s the– the amino acid I think are really important just because of the fact that they’re precursors to all that I just mentioned. Like you just were looking to Omega-3s, great, because 1, uhm— DHCA’s really important neurological building block. The EPA fat is really anti-inflammatory so if we have inflammation or cognitive inflammation going on, EPA can be really anti-inflammatory as well.

Evan Brand: You say DHCA but you meant DHA.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: No, yeah– DHA. De– de– uhm— docosahexaenoic acid, that’s the 22 fattic— uh– the 22 fatty acid kind of compound. EPA is uh– Eicosapentaenoic acid, that’s a 20-carbon fatty acid compound. And then we have the– uhm— linoleic– lino– yeah, linolenic acid that’s like the Flax Omega-3 that’s in 18 carbon. So we go from 18 to 20 to 22, and– the higher up you go, uhm— the better.

Evan Brand: Yeah, we– super important for kids, you know, we got a lot of parents listening. We have a lot of– a lot of parents that bring kids to us, and lot of developmental, a lot of– uh– oh I guess I would call it cognitive performance issues at school. Gotta make sure the kids are getting enough Omega’s ’cause if these kids are doing like grass-fed steaks, I mean, look at the standard american diet for a child. I mean it’s like chicken nuggets and macaroni. I mean, these kids are getting– they’re getting no DHA. They’re brains are just not supported. So, you know, here’s–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh yeah.

Evan Brand: And then of course what is the doctor do, they put the kid on like vyvanse, or ritalin or some other pharmaceutical drug to try to fix the kid’s behavioral issues–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: I mean, Justin and I– [crosstalk]– Yeah, it’s not good. It’s not good. I mean, you’ve– you and I have seen so many cases kids, where like, I– I just actually saw a kids this morning, uh– a little girl, she’s 11 years old, she’s sort of put H-pylori, she had 4 different parasites, like 6 or 7 different bacterial overgrowth, she had candida overgrowth as well. An the mom’s like, “Well, where did all these come from?”. You know, of course we asked about antibiotic history and all that, but the kid can’t focus in school, the poops aren’t good, I mean, the behavior’s not good, they’re moody, it’s like, man! If we could just get every kid in the world, get their gut in shape, the world would be a better place. I mean, these things don’t discriminate. It don’t matter if you’re 2 years old, or– 200 hundred years old. You could still have bugs.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Now other compounds that are great. Ginseng is excellent, that kind of falls in the adaptogenic category. I’d also put ashwagandha, and rhodiola in that category as well– right? I mean they’re gonna have modulates stress hormones. Uhm– some of them have various glycoalkaloids in there that can be– immune modulating and can also be a little bit stimulating, or– adrenal modulating as well. So it’s stimulating where they– can bump up cortisol if it’s low. But if cortisol goes too high and some can have a modulating effect as well which is– which is nice. And if you look at some of the herbs like ashwagandha which is one of my favorites, it’s– you know, look at herbalists like Stephen Buhner, you know, he kind of gives up the thumbs up a– as a long term herbal approach. And it has some really good immuno-modulating qualities people with lyme can really benefit, or lyme co-infections can really benefit from. So we like that as well. And then you have your uhm— blood flow stimulating compounds like ginko is really good. Uhm– what else outside of ginko— I mean, you can do systemic based enzymes to help thin out the blood which can be really helpful for allowing to improve blood flow. Uh– Gotu Kola is really good like I mentioned–

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –on top of that. And then of course for inflammation like the uh– the– this– this– uhm— Alpha-GPC, these various choline compounds can be really anti-inflammatory to the brain, and then things like resveratrol can be excellent. I went to a conference where uhm— a coach is interviewed for one of the ma– major like uhm— football university, I think it was Oregon– Oregon State. We talked about that, a lot of the uhm— college players now are getting like diluted grape juice. Or– or diluted like gr– like juice grapes after practice ’cause they found that resveratrol and some of the modulating compounds in there can help in brain inflammation. So they’re starting to wise up to this stuff at the higher collegiate where brain traumas happen. I mean, I would– I would supplement that as well. I mean, these guys are more active so if there’s any extra sugar in there, that’s probably not a bad thing but– most people may do better which is the extract without all the extra sugar along with it.

Evan Brand: I would agree, yeah, and it’s– uh– probably more purer in extract form–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: –versus like some conventional glyphosate sprayed grapes. You mentioned the fish oil, I mean–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly.

Evan Brand: –we could– we could technically probably say that fish oil would be something for the blood flow because it is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Evan Brand: –thinning the blood a little bit.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It is thinning the blood and then, your other anti-inflammatories like Curcumin as well I think are also very helpful because they help reduce inflammation and they can have some immune modulating qualities. So I like that, I mean, if you’re gonna reduce inflammation that’s gonna have a cognitive benefit. If you can reduce inflammation in the brain like some of these– uhm— choline compounds and or resveratrol, uhm— Curcumin compounds, that can also be excellent as well. Anything else you wanna highlight there?

Evan Brand: Yeah I would say CBD, kind of a dial. I use it almost everyday. I’ve given [crosstalk] to a lot of my clients–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Benefits, yeah.

Evan Brand: To– tons of good benefits kind of balancing out your CB-1, CB-2, uh– receptor sites, you have everywhere in the body. Now some people, you know, for talking like for pain perspectives, CBD alone doesn’t help that much with the pain, they may need a little bit of THC, but you’ve gotta be in a state where you can access the THC. There’s like a 30 different states in the U.S. with either medical or recreational– all of our Canada listeners, they just legalized cannabis completely. So, the doors are wide open now for people to get it and– you know, it may only take a small amount like a 20 to 1 CBD to THC ratio to really help with pain inflammation in the brain. I’ve had some people who they just get miraculous results. Now, it’s not a root cause, right? Like it’s not a deficiency–  

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Evan Brand: –with CBD oils. Some may argue there is such thing as an endocannabinoid deficiency like, we know cannabinoids are naturally in breastmilk so we could argue that we’re built to have these. But I still think the other root cause is you gotta hit those first, you know. If this helps you, great. But make sure you still like, fix your gut. I could’ve taken all the CBD in the world but I still had IBS ’cause I had gut issues.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, what about beta endorphin? How’s beta endorphin connect with CBD? ‘Cause beta endorphins kind of our natural anti– pain, anti-depressant, right?

Evan Brand: I don’t know if CBD modulates it like, when I think of beta endorphin being modulated I think of more like Kratom. But I don’t know if CBD can– can affect that. I– I won’t see it does ’cause I’m not sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so I’m looking here, and right now, it says THC has been shown to stimulate β-Endorphin production. And I imagine CBD may as well. So I’m looking at a couple articles right here, yeah–

Evan Brand: Or maybe CBD– maybe– [crosstalk]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –by triggering their release of β-Endorphin, yes.

Evan Brand: Oh, cool.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: There’s article– there’s articles on this, that CBD and THC. Now the problem with THC is, you know, you’re gonna have some cognitive stuff– uhm— I’m not a fan of using any THC before someone’s at least 25 years old. Because there’s an article came out last week where I can stunt brain development. So, m– males not gonna have their brain fully formed ’till about 25. A woman is more 18 to 20. So I’d be very careful in using THC with someone ben– beneath the age of 25. CBD is not gonna have the same quite effect. But if you look here, there is some research showing that CBD can stimulate β-Endorphin which is good. Now, here’s the thing– what is β-Endorphin made of? Right, that’s the next question. Uh– β-Endorphin, is actually made of 9– 19 different amino acids.

Evan Brand: Ahh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: People like ___[30:05] that really good benefits using DLPA–

Evan Brand: I love DLPA.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: — DL-Phenylalanine which is a– a– it is a– kind of isomer uh– Phenylalanine which is a precursor to the thyroxine that goes more down the β-Endorphin pathway. Yeah, I’m looking here: the CB-2 re– the CB-2 receptor agonist can invoke the trigger and release of β-Endorphin. So kind of a dial uh– compound. So, I think you’re seeing this increase in β-Endorphin which is a natural anti pain, anti depressant compound. We get β-Endorphin– the runners high, right? That’s β-Endorphin that worked out high, that’s β-Endorphin. Remember, that molecules’ 19 amino acids long. So we need protein to make it. So DLPA and or just good free form amino acids are gonna be important, good protein absorption, good digestion. And the CBD, potentially could help improve that stimulation. But again, I– I’m ver– when I hear the word “stimulate”, I’m very careful because– it s– stimulate what? So, there’s a building– it comes from something, right? So we wanna make sure the building block to make it are also present as well. I hear “stimulate”, Ithink whipping a tired horse, right?

Evan Brand: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Gotta be careful.

Evan Brand: Yeah you make a good point. Always go into the root. The amino acids are great. ___[31:19] is a huge–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Doing both is probably better, right?

Evan Brand: Yeah, I– I’m– I– I– I wonder if the THC maybe it helps β-Endorphin more ’cause like I said, some clients report as soon as they add in just a tiny amount. The pain relief is way better. So, maybe CBD does it good, maybe THC does it more, I don’t know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, the big thing is, with the THC, you have the– the psychoactive components there– uhm— you have a– little bit of decrease in memory– and– and motivation, and then you have a little bit slower reaction time. So you have some things, and there’s some research there to say, “Hey, you know, it can decrease cognitive development as well”. So if you’re gonna use THC, don’t use it ’till uh– if you’re guy until your late 20’s. And if you need something therapeutic, try m– moving more towards the CBD end– of the spectrum.

Evan Brand: Yup. So those are question here about, “Is it okay to get resveratrol from red wine or is alcohol ruin the benefits?”. I mean, it is so ridiculously silly that you can do that from wine. I mean, that’s like freakin’ marketing from the alcohol industry. There’s a study I’ve got here from PUBMED. They call it the analysis of resveratrol, in wines, and they’re looking in all these different types. For example most of the red wines tested, they were getting .36. This is 0.36 milligrams per liter of wine. We’re talking less than half of one milligram per– per liter of wine! I’m sure there’s some to have higher, but that was like the average. They found that– uhm— white wines, they contained an average of .5 milligram. So half of one milligram of resveratrol per liter. And when Justin and I use a resveratrol supplement, I mean, typically, we’re doing what, 500 milligrams? If not, more.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. And again, I mean, when they do this studies, they’re probably not testing organic wines–

Evan Brand: True.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –and they probably looking at the quality of the wine. So, let’s just say if you’re like– like– your companies out there that are– are lab testing they’re wine and– and tryin’ to make sure the– the quality is higher. So if it’s organic, and the alcohol content’s lower– so I know like Dry Creek wines, they do some lab testing where they choose lower alcohol content and it’s organic. You probably may have more of those compounds in it, but I wouldn’t say, hey, if you wanna have a glass or two– wine every now and then, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Just choose higher quality ones but I wouldn’t– say to yourself, “Hey this is gonna be the only place I’m gonna get this extra resveratrol”. I would probably supplement as– as well on top of that.

Evan Brand: Right. Like a– say, you were trying do a lyme protocol and sometimes we choose Japanese knotweed, they naturally contains the resveratrol. And we’re looking at 4 to 500 hundred milligrams. Let’s just say your wine was amazing and organic, maybe it’s got 10 milligrams of resveratrol per liter. And you’re not gonna drink a liter of wine. At least I hope you’re not in one sitting.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so I think you have a lot of food that have just negative uhm— toxins in there as– as well. And so that may negate some of the– that may be a confounding variable that prevents, you know, let’s just say, better findings from happening. So–

Evan Brand: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: –I would just say make sure we just have the– the quality aspect dialed in with the alcohol that you’re consuming.

Evan Brand: Yup, well I know we’ve got to run– we’re both uh– late for our clients so we should probably wrap up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, let’s just hear one last thing here.

Evan Brand: Okay.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s just talk about the– the pharmaceutical nootropics. So you– we have things like modafinil approach ___[34:32], which really is used for like uh– narcolepsy or like, just falling asleep during the day a lot, uh– that can be helpful on the cognitive side but it’s a drug, there’re some not so nice side effect. So you really gotta be careful, right? It can cause sore throats, headaches, vomiting, hallucinations, we gotta be careful with that. We have some of the– the racetam compounds as well, which can fit into that GABA kind of receptor site in the brain that can improve some cognitive stuff there. 5, 400, 800 milligrams a day can be helpful but again there’s some side effects. Uhm– it can interfere with blood thinning, it can cause insomnia, it can cause agitation anxieties, so you gotta make sure you keep an eye on that. And then we have things like uhm— you know, the– uhm— obviously the adderall the stimulants, the– the methamphetamines can be very stimulating and can also burn out your neurotransmitters but– acutely can be helpful but not the– the best thing long term. Then we have things like fenavit which also has a GABA like receptor quality to ___[35:29] acid somewhere to GABA, can help kind of relax the brain a little bit, turn on those inhibition or turn– inhibit the brain, turn on the inhibition centers where I can relax and turn things off. But again, there’re some addictive components there uhm— that can be a problem. Withdrawal stuff, addiction like stuff so you gotta be careful with that. We might try to use things like L-theanine and GABA, and Valerian root, and things that are more relaxing uhm— then– just use fenavit off the bat. Evan, any comments there.

Evan Brand: Yeah, I– I had friends addicted to fenavit so ii— it definitely can be very dangerous if you do too much or too often, so, yeah. It works great, I do carry it, I do use it on occasion with clients but you just gotta be careful. I’m glad you mentioned the potential for it, and I do prefer like you said, some of the other herbs instead.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s interesting because I have seen a lot of information online saying it’s not addictive, but then you see also–

Evan Brand: People saying it can be–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s your take on it, what did you see on your research?

Evan Brand: Oh, I don’t care who says that it’s not addictive. It’s freakin’ addictive my– my buddy who was addictive to it for a while. He was using about, you know, high dose of it. About a gram or 2 per day. And if he ran out of it, he did not sleep. He had panic attacks, he had uncontrollable shaking, I mean, when you hit that GABA receptor that hard, and then you pull out this phenyl GABA, you do not feel well. Anxiety, panic attacks, heart palpitations, etc. A mutual friend of ours Wendy Myers she’s talked about using fenavit or phenyl GABA for sleep. But, you don’t wanna be taking that every single night. I mean, you wanna just have good sleep hygiene and go to bed and be able to sleep. You don’t wanna have to depend on something like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah and if you need, just try to use some more of the amino acids, L-theanine or just GABA by itself first.

Evan Brand: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm– so that– that’s kinda your best first step. Anything else you wanna add here Evan?

Evan Brand: I– I would just say, you know, test, don’t guess. We talked about a lot of supplements, you could easily go on amazon and buy a bunch of crap that you don’t need. So we would prefer that you get yourself tested because– you’re not gonna– you’re not gonna find that– “XYZ’ is the miracle silver bullet. You know, you’ve got to work on the full body system. And then once you’ve a good foundation, then buy your supplements. And make sure they’re practitioner grade. ‘Cause you can go the whole foods or, you know, go to Walgreens and you could buy fish oil. But, I don’t know if that’s gonna be good enough, you know. So we always want you, just go quality over quantity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Wise words my friend. Well today was a phenomenal podcast. Appreciate the back and forth of you guys. Enjoy to give use the thumbs up, give us the share, we appreciate it, make sure you subscribe if you wanna dig deeper. Feel free and click below here to schedule consults with us if you wanna take that next step. Hey Evan, it was phenomenal chatting, you have a great day and best of luck with your patients.

Evan Brand: Take care. Bye bye.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care, bye.


Analysis of resveratrol in wine, from PubMed

Brain Health and Brain Performance with Cavin Balaster – Podcast #182

Welcome to another functional medicine video with Dr. Justin Marchegiani and the author of the book, “Feed a Brain,” Cavin Balaster! In this video, they talk about brain health and brain performance. They delve on healing from brain injuries and neurotherapies. They also talk about improving neuroplasticity and optimal nutrition for the brain in helping your brain work better.

Stay tuned for more knowledge bombs!

Cavin Balaster

Cavin Balaster

In this episode, we cover:

01:00   TBI: Severe Diffuse Axonal Injury

07:30   Videonystagmography and Vestibular Ocular Reflex

23:44   Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Gyrus Stem, Low-level Light Therapy

27:00   Ketogenic Diet and Brain Health

40:30   DHA and EPA for Neurological Health




Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there! It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani with Calvin Balaster. Really excited. Today’s all gonna be about brain health. Not only brain health and brain performance— Uh— Calvin’s got a very unique hi— history where he’s healed from brain— a brain injury himself, personally. So, we’re gonna get the nitty gritty of what he’s been able to do to heal, techniques. He also has a book that’s out called, “Feed a Brain,” and you can go to to check out his book, where he talks about optimal nutrition for brain and neurological health, increasing neuroplasticity, helping your brain work better. Calvin, welcome to the show, man.

Cavin Balaster: Thanks so much, Justin. I had to correct you, it’s Cavin, without the l—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I’m sorry. [crosstalk] Cavin. I alread— I want to go Calvin. It’s like calvin. It’s like…

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] Everybody does it. It’s a common fault. That is totally wrong.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …that missing— Yeah. Totally.

Cavin Balaster: [laughs] I’d had people be like, “Hey. Yo— You misspelled your name.” I’m like, “Oh, man!”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [laughs]

Cavin Balaster: “I’ve been doing that all my [crosstalk] life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: If you’re so smart— [laughs]

Cavin Balaster: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know.

Cavin Balaster: I know. Totally, man.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I knew it was Cavin. It’s just that like— you know. [crosstalk] Got it. Thanks for the correction. So, yeah, Cavin Balaster here. So, let’s dig in, man. Let’s start out with your history. You have a really unique history. What— 2011, you had a— a TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury. Is that true?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. A Severe Diffuse Axonal Injury, and if you go on Google and type in Diffuse Axonal Injury, you get source after source that all say 90% of patients with this injury [crosstalk] never regained consciousness.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. [crosstalk] I mean, yeah.

Cavin Balaster: And that the 10% that do most turn to vegetative state.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Unbelievable that you were able to thrive, and uh— I mean, you’re— you’re functioning at higher end. I mean, doing this kind of work. I mean, it takes a brain power. And to come from where you were— what, six or seven years ago, to where you are now is amazing. And you’re helping— you know— thousands of people. [crosstalk] So, that’s amazing. So, what happens? So, you had this fall, right?

Cavin Balaster: So, alright. So, I had from, like you said, like— First of all, I woke up, which is thank God. That’s the— I— I feel privileged, fortunate, lucky  uhm— purposeful-like, but additionally, I— I— I’m looking into what I was doing to protect my— my brain. And I think uh— Ketogenic style metabolism plays into it. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Huge.

Cavin Balaster: And the— And I—  I wasn’t like into nutrition at that point but I wouldn’t eat all day. You now— So, I wouldn’t eat all day. You know, so I was proba— probably enter and do a Ketogenic metabolism. But, that’s a whole nother story. Let me uhm— break down what happened. So, I…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …fell. I wake up from a coma. I didn’t eat, walk or talk for months. My left hands was totally flexed inward. I was breathing through a tube in my neck. I was…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Cavin Balaster: …receiving nutrition through a tube in my belly, and I got to put nutrition, air ports.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: We’ll come back to that, but yeah. The— the foods they give you are just loaded with corn syrup and soy…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …for protein.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Play out GMO too, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yes, exactly. Exactly. So, uhm— [pause] So, [pause] a lot played into my recovery. Uhm— As I regained my— my everyday in my normal abilities—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And when you fell, you fell head first, right?

Cavin Balaster: I hit my head on steel scaffolding. I was on the rooftop water tower…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …and I hit my head on the steel scaffolding on the way down.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uuh!

Cavin Balaster: And. I hit the back of my head on the concrete rooftop.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh my gosh!

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. [crosstalk] I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] Yo— You— You’re coming to, you’ve mentioned— Or say, so now like what? Walk us through like when were you like, “Okay. Here’s the conventional physical therapy path.” Like, when did you start to deviate and…

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …starting to discover these natural therapies.

Cavin Balaster: Awesome. Well, I— Actually, my— my aunt was getting into functional neurology. She is nurse practi— or, sorry…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …non-neurology functional medicine. She’s a— She’s a nurse practitioner, and she asked one of her colleagues. She told her that— that her nephew had sustained a Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. What— Where should he go? You know— And her colleague was like, I— I— you know— know exactly who I had to take you to. It was my loved one, but he lives all the way in Austin, Texas. And uh— my mother lives in Austin. My mom was like by my side within hours and stuck me through— through my five months hot— months hospitalization. And then, brought me to her home in Austin to recover.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Cavin Balaster: So, I was in Austin. And so, that’s where I started seeing a functional neurologist uhm— and he introduced me to a…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] What was his name?

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] …a special protocol. His name’s Dr. Thomas [crosstalk] Culleton.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Culleton, right? Yeah, I know Culleton. He’s great.

Cavin Balaster: I love Culleton. Yeah, he’s great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I see.

Cavin Balaster: So, uhm— see— Yeah, well, I’m seeing Culleton, and he uhm— he puts me on a— on nutritional protocol. And, uhm— again, nutrition wasn’t on my RADAR at that point, but I was like, “I’m doing whatever it takes to get better.” And if— you know— if I’ve been steered here, and he says, “Change your diet,” guess what I’m doing— you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely.

Cavin Balaster: And then I began seeing how much of a difference nutrition was making, and I was like, “Whoah! Alright.” And so, I dove into study. I began research. First, I was learning what had happened ‘cause I’d been a fog for almost a year since my injury— Total Brain Fog. And so I started going through medical records, text messages, emails like, deciphering what happened. And then, at the same time, why did nutrition makes such a big difference, and how could I optimize my recovery. So, that’s where I went down the a rabbit hole. I— I was studying like my life depended on it because it did. And this is a common story with anybody who w— who was uhm— hit with a— with a debilitating condition, where with something that just changes everything, guess what you do. You study like your life depends on it, right? And so, here I am studying, and then at the same ti— like I’m learning how to walk at this point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: But, we have the internet, and I’m able to reach people all over the globe that are doing things like you’re doing, and— and reaching people all over the place from their homes when they’re unable to go outside— you know. And— and that— So, I’m so thankful of what you’re doing, Dr. J. And—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, I appreciate that. I appreciate it…

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …and i love the stories, the inspiration, because there’s always someone out there, whether it’s someone that got a TBI from a car accident or a fall like yourself, or sports, or just they’re in a Chronic Brain Fog because of their diet and inflammation. I think the principles that you used to help you recover are gonna be at least a starting point for everyone. So, you hook uh— hooked up with— with Cullerton. He did some of the neurological work with you.

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Was he doing some exercises and was there any adjusting? What kind of— kind of therapies was he adding to his uh— to your protocol to help get you healed up? And then, we’ll deal with some of the nutrition and supplement stuff later on.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. He was doing— He was doing a lot of stuff up…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …particularly with my eyes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— And I was seeing a Neuro-Optometrist. So, one of the main things he did was uh— [stutter] One of them, like most pivotal things, to my understanding, that he did was that he put me in a uh— he gave me a VNG, which is Videonystagmography. Big words. Basically, you put on these goggles…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …that videotape your eyeballs. And then, he spun me in a chair. Because what happens when you’re spun in the chair is you have what’s called the Vestibular Ocular Reflex. So, your Vestibular System and your Visual System are very connected. So, if I— if like— If I look at you and I shake my head but I keep my I on you, I’m able to do that. Because, essentially, when you turn your head one way, the Vestibular Ocular Reflex automatically tails your eyes to move the other way. Even if your eyes are closed with no visual stimuli, right? So— So, it was really interesting. When I spun in the chair, my eyes barely moved. They slowly moved the other way, and then what would suppose to happen is, your eyes go the other way, then they kind of bounce back and forth while you have like two reflexes sort of battling it out. You have the Vestibular Ocular Reflex, which wants to move in the opposite direction that you’re moving, and then you have uh— you— You want to look straight, like your eyes want to continue looking straight. So, itt kind of boobles back and forth. Mine slowly moved over the one side and didn’t move. And so, there was— there was a problem with this— this very primitive uh— neurological reflex. I mean…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it.

Cavin Balaster: …every mammal has this reflex. [crosstalk] And I don’t have it anymore.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] So, what happened next? So he saw this reflex was missing. What was the next step?

Cavin Balaster: So, we started doing Vestibular Therapy, right? I— I actually began uhm— doing his— I have a— Have you ever seen a Gyrus stem?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: Or uh— some of the— some of the functional neurology equipment? So, he didn’t have a Gyrus stem but this is what’s cool. We can— We can mimic a lot of the— the same effects uhm— because I— I got to the point where I was in much better health, nutritionally. And I was able to do— I was doing Aquatic therapy, and I was able to do a backflip in the pool. So, i— he— it was— I mean, he told me. It’s like, “You do Aquatic therapy. Do you think you could do a backflip in the pool?” Not a backflip like out of the water. Into the pool…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: Although I do that now, but at the time like I would do it underwater, like just spin myself. Because I would activate the uh— semicircular canals, uhm— and affect my— my brain and affect my eyes, which affects your brain. Like, in fact, you have 12 cranial nerves.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: Four of those are dedicated to your Visual system. One-third of your cranial nerves— one-third of the nerves that are— that make up the output from your brain to your body are dedicated to these two little peepers.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: That’s amazing. So, that’s why your eyes are the window to your brain. We’ve heard, “The eyes are the window to the soul,” right? The eyes are— From a neurological perspective, you can see so much about how the brain is functioning, and how well it’s uh— interpreting the world through vision.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. we have our number six (6) cranial nerve. That’s uh— basically, controls the lateral rectus, eyes going out this way and this way. Abducens, right? We have the Superior Oblique…

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …which is gonna be down and in. [crosstalk] —the Oculomotor.  

Cavin Balaster: So, yeah. The Trochlear nerve, what you’re talking about, the— it’s a superior oblique.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep.

Cavin Balaster: That was what was partially damaged with me, and it’s very common with Brain Injury, uh— Fourth Nerve Injuries are very common because that…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …that cranial nerve actually wraps around your brain stem, whereas the other ones just kind of straight shot. So, it has more surface area to be damaged.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [breathes]

Cavin Balaster: And it’s pretty common.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, what were the top three exercises that— that Culleton worked on with you that really had the best bang for your buck? Like, you started doing these. These become part of your routine. What really moved the needle for you on uh—exercise stimulation standpoint?

Cavin Balaster: Uh— E— I mean, it’s— It’s very specific to—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …to different patients. I’m actually toured Revive Treatment Centers in Denver, which is a Functional Neurology uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, awesome!

Cavin Balaster: …Treatment Center. It’s awesome. I love it here. That’s where we got the uh— the spine over there. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. And uhm— So— So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I— And just a caveat for everyone, I know it’s gonna be 100% individualized for you…

Cavin Balaster: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …with your testing. But just— just for the listeners. We’re not gonna like lis— you know— people who are d— having a brain injury, go see someone and get tested…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …specifically. But I just want to know your pattern. What really moved the needle for you?

Cavin Balaster: I know. Honestly, if you want to learn more, about Functional Neurology…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …check out my podcast. I interviewed all sorts of brilliant Functional Neurologists. Uhm— It’s the Adventures in Brain Injury Podcast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We’ll put the link below, We’ll put the URL below.

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We’ll put it in the show notes. We’re also gonna put So, if you guys are listening and you want to access it, just click below in the description, ether on YouTube or the podcast, and you’ll see it there.

Cavin Balaster: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hope you—

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. And again, the Adventures in Brain Injury podcasts— I came into this from a brain injury, but we are going way beyond brain injury. Brain—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Alright. So, uhm— Some of the exercises I did, first of all, the backflips in the pool. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: That— That really helped uhm— get my vision back together to a large degree so, I still have Diplopia or Double Vision but to a much lesser degree than what I did have. And my— my eyes teemed better in my best ability, like, the reflex is better, and all that seems like, “Yeah. It’s your vision.” You know, like uhm— I mean, what I said is like when— when my mom started taking me to a vision therapy, I was like, “So, I’ll have to wear glasses for the rest of my life, big deal? It’s not like other people don’t have to do that.” She’s like, “We’re doing it.” And then, I was like, “I— I need to re— I need to learn how to run and— and— and relearn how to walk and balance, and all these stuff.” And she’s like, “We’re on a vision therapy.” And I am so glad she took me there because, again, your eyes lend so much to everything else when it comes to your brain. So uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: So, there’s a gem for you, like Neuro-Optometry and— and uh— Functional Neurology have to do with the Vestibular Rehabilitation, uhm— Balance, and then— and then, affecting different uhm— different uhm— modes and— and uh— [hisses inward] How do I say this? So, do you know Vibration Platforms?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Are you familiar with using ones?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. One right to my— right over here in the corner…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …of my gym.

Cavin Balaster: Nice. Nice. Yep. I have one as well. I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent.

Cavin Balaster: I actually got a Vibration Platform so that I could work with it everyday, because uhm— your balance is so important as well. That’s vestibular, right? And, for many brain injury uhm— Many people that have brain injury or any nerve degeneration, or anything, they have trouble telling where they are in space and time. So, for example, me. Uh— Dr. Culleton said, “Put your feet together, stand up and then, close your eyes.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: And I did, and I like, “Tuub!” Toppled over. Right? Like, just started falling. And he caught me and all that, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: But then, he uhm— and— and he’s like, “Yep. Let’s try putting you on a Vibration Platform and do it.” And did there, and I was able to stand. And, the reason why is because—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: More input.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, more input, right? And your body keeps on getting, like everything is firing…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …and telling your brain like, “Okay. This is happening over here.” So, that was part of the rehabilitation that was really important.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, the Whole Body Vibration stuff. Are there any specific exercises you’re doing daily that— Do you do any Cardinal gay stuff? Were you following Effinger? Or do you do any of the— Were you following the red and white strips, the— the OPQ—

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …kind of O— OPK Strip? [crosstalk] Uhm—- Is there anything else that you’re doing? What’s your daily routine looking like from an exercise, a neurological exercise standpoint?

Cavin Balaster: I really love that you know uhm— of— of most of these uhm— most of these [crosstalk] modalities.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Techniques.

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] A lot of…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That’s great.

Cavin Balaster: …functional medicine doctors are not aware. I was like, when I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think it’s important. Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: I think it is so important, and I really love like how ahead, of uh— of a lot of times, you are, and I’m— I’m hopeful that a lot of your listeners are as well. And I— I love being able to promote and then spread this information so that we can help more people…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it.

Cavin Balaster: …in our lives, positively. [crosstalk] Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it.

Cavin Balaster: So, all of it was great. Uhm— I— I tend to be extremely busy with things so uhm— So, I— I tried to consolidate my therapy exercises.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s hear it. [crosstalk] How did it look?

Cavin Balaster: So, one of the things I do is a Brock string…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yep.

Cavin Balaster: …which basically, you tie a string, you have some beads on it, and you bring it to your nose and you look at the beads. And what happens is your eyes focus on a spot. And, it’s so hard to explain this. And you see like two strings. They go into the dot you’re focusing on, and then go out. And uhm— May— Maybe, you put that in the notes or something because uh— I have been trying to explain that in the way that like most people understand, but most people look at me like, “What the hell are you talking about?” So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I get it.

Cavin Balaster: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. I do that uhm— some uh— you know— and then the rest of the— of uh— and no nose as well. Like as I’m going down on that. As I’m like going up and down on the beads so that I’m testing these different gazes, and I change my gaze a little bit. The whole point is if I didn’t keep my gaze, if I didn’t keep uhm— things single uhm— wh— where I— from whatever gaze, which I am unable to do. But, that’s what I’m working to be able to do because vision lends so much to attention. And attention is everything.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You may benefit from I actually got—

Cavin Balaster: I’ve heard of BrainHQ.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I got this website from a— from Tom Brady, not personally, but in his book. Tom…

Cavin Balaster: Cool

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …was a— you know— famous quarterback from the New England Patriots. Huge Brady fan.

Cavin Balaster: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: —is this for Visual Acuity, looking off receivers, you know— being able to look…

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …across the field. So, it’s basically computer program that involves things moving. And you look in the center and then you pick up and you count.

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh— You can download the app for [crosstalk] your own—

Cavin Balaster: I had actually— I just remembered, I’ve used BrainHQ. Uhm— I was part of a uh— a study for the University of Pittsburgh, where I had my brain scanned with High-definition Fiber Tracking, uhm— which is just an amazing technology. Basically breaks down the uh— neurons and axons fibers into 2.4 millimeter cubed voxels or three-dimensional pixels.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow.

Cavin Balaster: So, we can see where neurons start, where they ends, or where were these groupings of neurons. Because, who want a 4-millimeter cube to super uhm— it’s— it’s super high-definition. However, we have 86 billion neurons in our brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: So, each one of those has like thousands. But, you know, they get damaged in groups so we cannot— We can see so much with them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] So, I’m just listening to some of the things you’re saying right now. Just to kind of break it off the people at home, I think Vibration Therapy I think is great. Have you had access to a Vibration plate? I think using some of the BrainHQ applications uh— are doing similar with some of the exercises you’re doing at home. So, that’s just two off the bat. Exercises that I’m just trying to give people that are listening at home, things that they could do…

Cavin Balaster: Hm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …maybe just help. Uh—Anything else you want to add, or do you want to add to the BrainHQ stuff?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. So, BrainHQ, I used it for a bit. It was cool, uhm— but it’s also a— It wasn’t very specialized and it wasn’t uhm— It wasn’t as useful as some of the— the tools that I’ve seen out there, and that I’ve actually uhm— used uhm— myself, like, even apps that you can download for free. I used [crosstalk] one.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Which ones _____[20:15]?

Cavin Balaster: So, I— I used one called Elevate…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …which is great. Uhm— Also, just to keep my brain sharp after my injury, I began doing uhm— Khan Academy type things, where— So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Khan Academy was great because it walks you through Math from whatever place you are, and then moving up and up and up. And uh— And I began taking like SAT Questions on my phone as well. So, there’s different aspects of neurological recovery because the thing is, what you want to do to— to keep your brain sharp or to improve your brain— Yeah. To improve your brain or to rehabilitate your brain is basically if something’s difficult, that’s what you need to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Correct.

Cavin Balaster: And I— I think of it like uh— like— you know— What you’ve been doing all your life, you’ve— you’ve basically— It’s a pathway that you’ve been do— using for so long that that pathway is now like a six-lane highway. And when you want to do something else, if you want to choose a different route, you need to go through the woods, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: And so, it’s— [stutter] You need some like motivation to go through the woods as well. And with that uh— That‘s a whole nother uhm— a whole nother book that I’m working at actually. It’s about finding motivation and the— the mindset, you need beyond recovery. But to like, for an optimal mind, uhm— using— using your— your brain and your tension, and your uhm— emotions to your benefit, to bring about the outcome you earn for.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I love it. And what are some of the things that you’re trying to accomplish at the Neurological Center up in Colorado…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …this weekend?

Cavin Balaster: So, I’m actually out here uhm— on my way to L.A. to speak for the World Congress on Brain Mapping and Therapeutics.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cool.

Cavin Balaster: And I’m actually going to be bringing up some of the neuroimaging that I did in the University of Pittsburgh, uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, great.

Cavin Balaster: …because they skin my brain uhm— in October 2016 and then again in uuuh— Ma— May? Yeah, May of two thousand— No, July of 2017. And so uhm— And so— We have a company.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s okay.

Cavin Balaster: So, uhm— [laughs] So, yes uuuh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 2016, you got the mapping done. And then what kind of uh— plasticity changes uhm— have you seen since then?

Cavin Balaster: Well, so Dr. Okonkwo over at uhm— uh— University of Pittsburgh, he said to me— He was like— you know— “We saw— There were places in your brain that felt out of normal range on— in the first scan. And here in the next scan, we see them within the nerve— the— the normal range.” So, I’m really excited. I’m actually working on getting the actual like scans to present. And it’s kind of been a little uh— a little tricky but remember…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cause I— I remember— We— We talked, like maybe three years ago, one of the PaleoFX’s and I can see over the years you continue to improve. I can see with the eye [crosstalk] and then with the speech, it continues to…

Cavin Balaster: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …get better and better and better  so, there’s definitely neuroplasticity that’s happening year after year. So, that must be really exciting for you huh?

Cavin Balaster: It’s great. It’s awesome. You know uhm— So, what I’m doing that revived is— is TMS, which is Transcranial…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …Magnetic Stimulation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— HBOT so I prepared Oxygen therapy, uhm— Gyrus stem. So, like the backflips on the like on steroids with the adult-sized Gyrus Scope. Uhm— We’re doing a Low-Level Light Therapy uhm— so— so, Cold lasers. Stimula—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: We do it over the area here you hit?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah, and over the area that’s damaged. What’s really cool is that I— I— I have neuroimaging to actually see where there’s— where there’s structural damage uhm— and— And so, it’s— it’s really cool to be able to affect change with this.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Have you done any SPECT Scans at all, like— like Dr. [stutters] Dr. Ayman [crosstalk] does?

Cavin Balaster: Right. No, I haven’t, actually.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Have you done any of the uhm— any of the Neurofeedback Scans that Dr. Andrew Hill does?

Cavin Balaster: I have not. No.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve been curious. [crosstalk] I’m really capable of— imagine those probably on your list. You got a lot of things…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …that— that are really queue, right?

Cavin Balaster: If you want to uh— make an introduction or anything, that’d be great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh!

Cavin Balaster: Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely, man. I think with your podcast and everything— you know— it’d be great promotion to get you in there, and it’d be— you know— be awesome to share your experience on the show. So, yeah. I mean if— Let me know. I can get you connected with Dr. Andrew Hill. That’s awesome. I would love…

Cavin Balaster: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …to see that. Uhm— Whichever collea— uhm— Oh, what’s his name? Ben Greenfield…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …just did something with Dr. Andrew Hill last year with some of the brain mapping stuff. So, I would love to see you connect because I think, with your injury and then the healing process, I think it’s great to see the healing happen over time.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. And uh— I was just on uh— uh— Ben’s podcast, not too long ago.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, cool.

Cavin Balaster: And it was— It was fantastic. Yeah. I really like that guy. And thank you so much for what you said about— about uhm— seeing my improvement.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh.

Cavin Balaster: You know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s— It’s night and day.

Cavin Balaster: Nice. That’s exactly what Michelle uh— Norris says.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh.

Cavin Balaster: She—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: To—

Cavin Balaster: She—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally night and day.

Cavin Balaster: Then, yeah. She’s seen— seen me going through all this. And what uh— you know— As far as the diet goes, like I was troubleshooting my dietary protocol for a long time, trying to find what was going to optimize my recovery. And uhm— [coughs] And, you know— As— As I figured it out, they were definitely bad days where I’d be like, “Oh, that didn’t work.” And like for…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: …example, PaleoFX. Like I’m totally guilty of getting a bunch of Paleo junk food.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, totally.

Cavin Balaster: Ain’t going at it, right? Uhm— And I think that’s— that’s like uh— a piece of the whole like— you know— People thinking, “Well, this is healthy because Paleo.” Well, no, not necessarily. Well, this is— uh— not necessarily, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Uh—

Cavin Balaster: —for you if it’s healthy…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Uh— Paleo tree is definitely better than going full-on out Gluten and stuff, but yeah. We got…

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …to keep it within the 80-20 or 90-10, you know— what— whatever that percentage is for you. So, what’s your diet looking like right now? Are you kind of a Keto, Paleo, really trying to get the therapeutic levels of ketones up?

Cavin Balaster: So, yes. I think ketones are awesome.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: However, my book does not require a Ketogenic diet at all because, really, ketones— Well, Ketogenic metabolism— a lot of people aren’t prepared [crosstalk] to metabolize ketones, and to go on a strict Ketogenic diet, it will screw up their adrenals, it can screw up their thyroid…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …like— There’s a lot of things that— There’s— There’s some new ones that you need to be careful of.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: So, the Feet-to-Brain Protocol makes room for Ketogenic diet and helps you like move into it, because, essentially, what I did is I learned about a Ketogenic diet and I tiptoed into it, and slowly moved and saw how it felt like got my body used to metabolizing fat, bit by bit. And, when I was able to get to a therapeutic uhm— ketone level. Like, now— now, it’s like I very, very, very rarely eat grains. Like, I only eat grains uhm— as a treat like you were saying, right? Uhm— I— I keep an eye on my blood sugar— you know— what— But I pretty much know what my blood sugar is like, based on how I feel…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …because I’ve measured so many times. So, actually, I want to tell your listeners like, that one of the best things you can do for your health is monitor your blood sugar.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmhm—

Cavin Balaster: And uhm— I— I have an article on my website—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I got my Blood Sugar Meter right here.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] You tell me you have over there too.

Cavin Balaster: Nice. So, uhm— lays out like what the deal is with blood sugar, and yeah, I— I— I uhm— level. I actually used a level device uhm— for breath uh— ketone analysis. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, cool.

Cavin Balaster: And that things like medical grade uhm— and— and— They had me testing it out. I actually brought it here to revive, and we’re— we’re testing the ketones and seeing how— how uh— how my metabolism is doing as we go through things. So, yeah. Uhm— But as far as— As far as Ketogenic goes, it’s extremely neuroprotective, but your brain health is so dependent on your overall health. So, you— So— So, when transitioning to a Ketogenic diet, it’s not healthy for your brain to just— to— to be super [pause] Ke— m— Keto when your adrenals are shutting down, you know. Uhm— So— So, be careful tiptoeing into it, but yeah. I’m a huge, huge proponent of— of Ketogenic metabolism.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, give us a rundown. What’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner looking like? And I also want to dive into of how you apply fasting or intermittent fasting.

Cavin Balaster: Uhmhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know there’s some great benefits with the Cellular Autophagy, which is kind of cleaning up some of those damaged cells. So, let’s go into your diet. What’s breakfast, lunch and dinner? And then, how are you applying fasting if you are?

Cavin Balaster: Nice. So, breakfast is— Breakfast means “break fast.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Break fasting.

Cavin Balaster: So when— It’s really— So, every night, we’re fasting, right? We fast for at least however long we sleep uhm— and usually longer, like hopefully, eight hours at least, right? Uhm— And then we break that fast. A lot of people are so caught up on that breakfast foods need  to be break— or breakfast needs to be breakfast foods. So, it got to be uh— So, it got to be cereal or oatmeal, or pancakes, or bacon…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Peptides.

Cavin Balaster: …or eggs, or pop-tarts— Right! Or whatever— you know— fruit salad or whatever uh— general meals says I should be eating for breakfast, right? And uh— [pause] uhm— [pause] And so, yeah. My breakfast is usually— It’s usually grains with uhm— with proteins like uh— fish or like a coldwater fatty fish…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …hopefully, live-caught, uhm— or steak. I’ll often have steak for breakfast.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, really good protein and fat, and you really jumped— [crosstalk] You’re really getting the fat in there, too?

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely, yeah. Protein—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, full fat meats?

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely, yeah. Some days I’ll— I’ll also incorporate some— some uh— heavily-buttered uhm— drink, or— or…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course.

Cavin Balaster: …I— I actually use Ghee ‘cause I— I react to— to [crosstalk] low-fat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The Casein and Lactose, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Yeah. So, I—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So like— Like kind of a bulletproof coffee kind of thing, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: Somewhere there. Right. And— And the whole point is just to get that to like uhm— stoke the fire with some—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Get the ketones.

Cavin Balaster: …with some like wood— with some like heavy wood…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …to— to— to build that fire, instead of throwing kindling on it, which is what general meals wants you to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. That— That’s my— I’ve been using that analogy for a decade [crosstalk] with my patient—

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] It’s a great analogy.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: —like you got the fire, the wood is— that’s the protein and fat. And then, the more refined the carbohydrates go, the more it goes from twigs to paper to gasoline, which is…

Cavin Balaster: Nice.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …like alcohol refined sugar.

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, yeah. I— I think that’s— I think that’s— I think that’s really good. And then, imagine uh— lunch and dinner kind of the same thing: good meats, additional fat, full fatty cut, veggies. Is that— It’s kind of the— the gist.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— And, as far as produce goes, I actually uhm— I separated to three different types of produce…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hmm—

Cavin Balaster: …uhm— that— that I make sure I get. So, dark leafy greens…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …colored and sulfur-containing— the three different types of uh— of produce you get. And then, also, seaweed and organ meats and coldwater fatty fish. I— I have this like a real deal superfood and probiotics, or fermented foods.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, that sounds like you’ve been listening to— to Dr. Terry Wahls, with the— with the three areas. Is that correct?

Cavin Balaster: Yes. Dr. Wahls uh— played a huge part of what it means to feed the brain, absolutely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— I really, really, really respect her research, and just who she is as general. I love…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …her work.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. I was on a— I was on a panel with her at PaleoFX, maybe…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …three years ago. He’s— She’s great. That’s awesome. Alright. So, we hit the diet, and then just kind of things like— Some people, they may have blood sugar instability, whether it’s Adrenal Dysfunction, or Thyroid issue. They may not be able to do as much fasting. Simple things for the listeners, everyone should be able to do at least the 12-hour fast. So, whether your last meal is at 8:00 PM, you can have breakfast at 8:00 AM the next day. That could be an easy 12-hour way to get some of that Cellular Autophagy recycling. I’m just curious, how are you applying fasting to your— your brain healing program?

Cavin Balaster: Perfect. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I also eat one or two meals  day. Usually, two meals. Uhm— and— you know— I— I— Breakfast and dinner, usually. So— But then, sometimes, I’ll— I’ll uh— I’ll fast. And— And here’s the deal. With— When I fast, I fast when I don’t feel like eating— you know—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Like, “You know, I— I don’t think I need a meal right now.” Like, “I’m just gonna drink water.” And uh— And that’s how— That’s how I’ll fast. If I feel like eating, you better believe I’m eating, you know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And you’re making sure you’re getting enough nutrition during the day as well. So, those meals— if you’re doing two meals a day…

Cavin Balaster: Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …they have to be big meals.

Cavin Balaster: Big meal

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They’re not like— And they got to be very purposeful with— you know— lots of phytonutrients, lot of good fat, right? So, you really got to make sure you get enough calories…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …i.e., nutrients, to sustain yourself, right?

Cavin Balaster: Yes, absolutely, especially, the produce. Uhm— Produce and Protein, I mean, all that— Like, for the brain health, I will— I will have just a massive salad…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …or like two or three of them, with— with some nice healthy uhm— uh— grass-fed, pasteurized or wild-caught protein meat— you know— And then, lots of fats and oils on there…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— That’s— That’s what I’ll— I’ll— I’ll do. And, I often do a Bone Broth Fast…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great.

Cavin Balaster: Yes, it’s great. Here we got the electrolytes. We got the protein in there. And it’s just— It’s— It’s a nice uhm— nice like cleansing. Uhm— It feels great. You’ll— You’ll notice. If you do a Bone Broth Fast, especially, if you add in some— some uh— fats and oils to that, it really— it feels— it feels great. I— I have great clarity from that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s awesome. And then, do you uhm— take any extra Hydrochloric or acid or enzymes to help with the digestion, or do you feel like you’re able to process everything really well.

Cavin Balaster: I don’t, but some of my clients do. Uhm— I— I— I— I’m— I’m pretty good at this point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you working with a lot of patients now?

Cavin Balaster: I am. Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, great.

Cavin Balaster: Actually, I’m out here uhm— in one of my— one of my clients uhm— Her— Her son is I revived. And so, I— I just happen to be coming through and I was like, “This is great. I’ll be able to like see you and meet your family, and hang out with you guys. And it was— [stutters] It’s so good to see them and then to see how we can optimize their— their recovery because honestly— I mean, honestly, one— Like, this is a family that is going to the best— going to the best Neurorehabilitation Clinic in— in— in the world that they could find but it happened there. Well, the— One of the best in the world, and it happened to be uh— Shirley Ryan in uhm— in Chicago. And…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …that is one of the best, according to the old model of Neurology.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Cavin Balaster: [stutters] And, what we’re doing— what I’m trying to do is— is improve the standard model in Neurorehabilitation. And—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I mean, the standard model of rehabilitation, it’s like you got a brain injury. I mean, uh— I mean, it’s like, sit in the corner i— you know— turn the lights off, wear some sunglasses. Like, what else is there? I mean, they don’t really do much in the mainstream medical system for brain injuries or concussions, or even that matter of fact. I mean, I’ve talked with uh— Dr. Russell Teames, who works with Dr. Brandon Brock…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. [crosstalk] Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …there probably with the Karakin. You know, we talked about the— to just comparing the two models. And you don’t have many options on the conventional side, but there’s a ton of models, where we— you know— all the neurological exercises that you mentioned, all of the diet and lifestyle strategies, and then, all of the supplementation, whether you’re doing supplements to help with— with the Nerve II pathways, whether it’s Green Tea, or Resveratrol, or— or Acetylcholine, or various antioxidant extracts to help with Mitochondrial recovery. So— S— So many more options, so many more tools in our toolbelt, right?

Cavin Balaster: Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s so much we can do. And, I mean, that— you know— they weren’t catching his hormones or pituitary function, or a l— a lot of things that we—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: …we can test for to see like where we are in the pathways because, you know, all is discoursed to weak like let’s— Let’s put him in more physical therapy. Well, he’s not— And this is just an example. Like, well, this patient isn’t— isn’t producing human growth uh— hormone. Right? So, like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right

Cavin Balaster: …we need to fix that if— Well, like we’re gonna exercise until the cows come home, but we don’t have the ingredients. It doesn’t really matter.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, right? We need— We need Oxygen, we need stimulation and we need, essentially, blood flow to— to make everything work, right? And if you’re chronically inflamed, and the nervous system that read that— that connectivity is weak, then, it’s gonna hard to get all those muscles communicating, right? So, that totally makes sense, what you’re saying. And if people want to get a hold of you, Cavin, because they— you know— they have some kind of issue they want to work out and they want to work with someone that’s been on the trenches like you, how can they reach you?

Cavin Balaster: So, you can go to my website, or, uhm— and you can email me at uhm— consult at “Feed a Brain” or “Adventures in Brain Injury.” And just let me know what’s going on, and then, if uh— if I think that we can— we can uhm— We can have uh— a powerful chat together…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …you could discovery call, I’ll send you a calendar link and we’ll— we’ll schedule a free consultation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think that’s great ‘cause I think people need hope that someone’s been there before. And then, if they’ve been there before, they can help you navigate through, which I love. I think that’s great. And I want to get a sense. Number one, I want to just know what are the some of the supplements that you’ve done on the neurological side to improve your brain and performance. And last but not the least, if there’s anything else that you’ve done that we haven’t been able to touch in this conversation, what’s that next thing that you did that was a big needle mover.

Cavin Balaster: No, man. There’s a lot there. [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I know.

Cavin Balaster: So—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Let’s start with supplements first. I’ll— Then, I’ll come back to you…

Cavin Balaster: So, yeah. So, supplements. I actually have a handout on like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great.

Cavin Balaster: …it’s around in the middle of the page.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm— Get uh— five supplements that— that uhm— I take and uhm— I’ll— I’ll tell you what they are also so we have uh— Omega-3, specifically ones high in DHA and EPA, uhm— and especially EPA, or— Sorry. It’s actually DHA, just confusing.

Cavin Balaster: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, EPA’s gonna be the 20 Carbon. That’s the— The eat— That’s the one that’s gonna help with inflammation…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …and you’re saying DHA, the Docosahexaenoic, that’s for the neurological health, right?

Cavin Balaster: Right. You’re right. And I mean, if you have— if you have inflammation in our brain, you definitely want EPA. And, of course, they come together and they work synergistically. So, if you have both, it’s awesome. So, uhm— And— And that— That comes mostly from— from fish oils. I mean— But if you get a fish oil and look on the back and it doesn’t tell you what the EPA and DHA ratio uh— amounts are, that’s not what you want.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Are you using the one from Apex?

Cavin Balaster: I’m not. No. I’m uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Which company? Carlson’s or—

Cavin Balaster: No, I’m not. I’m using— Right now, I’m using Xymogen uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup. That’s a good product.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. It’s good.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent.

Cavin Balaster: The— The DHA one. I really like the ones—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s next? What’s next…

Cavin Balaster: Uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …on your list?

Cavin Balaster: Next, uh— organ meat supplements.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Cool. Love it.

Cavin Balaster: Because— Because organ meats are awesome if you have a taste for them. Or— you know— But ho— honestly, I travel all the time and uhm— and it’s hard to get organ meats or— or like it. I’m staying with a friend. I’m like, “Hey, I’m gonna cook some organ meats.” And they’re like, “You’re gonna do what?” [laughs] Not hear you huh? So— So, I get supplements. So, there’s this company uhm— called uh— called Ancient Nutrition uhm— or no. No. I’m sorry. Ancient supplements. Ancient Nutrition is like— is like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. [crosstalk] Ax— Access company. Yup.

Cavin Balaster: [crosstalk] …buy Ancient Supplements. Uhm— And, you can go there. You can use coupon codes FEEDABRAIN for, I think ten or 15% discount…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, cool.

Cavin Balaster: …on there. And then, may [stutters] They have all sorts of different organ meats because a lot of companies are— The companies that do this usually do beef liver, and that’s it. And the fact is we evolved eating all of those organs— you know— like— So, getting a variety of different organ meats is really important as well. So, I really like what they do. They have— They have different kinds for the meats and they also have one that’s like a blend. Uhm— So, that’s— That’s another one. Where— you know— if you dn’t eat organ meat every day, that’s a great option.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love it. And then, with the organ meats we’re getting what? We’re getting B12. We may get some extra Iron in there. We may get some fat-soluble vitamin, Vitamin A in there. What other powerful nutrients are in organ meats outside of those that you said?

Cavin Balaster: You’re also getting Choline…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, Choline?

Cavin Balaster: …which is…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Cavin Balaster: …super important for— for all sorts of neurotransmitters.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Egg yolks are great for Choline. What else?

Cavin Balaster: They are. They are. Uhm— Uridine as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm—

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— And Uridine is— is— is also one of the nutrients for synaptogenesis that I’m talking about in the book uhm— because in during each created in the pathway can be created from Choline. But it’s kind of limited. Uhm— we include Uridine monophosphate. It— It just enhances neuroplasticity a great deal.   

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. I think that’s also a building block for your RNA, too. Right?

Cavin Balaster: Yes. Yes, it is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [crosstalk] Great. What’s next?

Cavin Balaster: alright. So, uh— Organ meats— Oh! Sea vegetables. So…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Iodine.

Cavin Balaster: …sea vegetables, yeah, for your Iodine. right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Because the majority of the Iodine Americans get are from Iodized salts, which uhm— which isn’t really an optimal. It’s— It’s not very close to food, right? Uhm— So, we can do so much better with— with uh— with sea vegetables. And switching up what sea v— what kinds of sea vegetables you get is also really cool. So, I actually suggest two different supplements. One is  a Cho— a Kelp supplement, one is a Dol supplement, and I recommend alternating between the two.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. Excellent.

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Anything else?

Cavin Balaster: Neeeed Probiotics. I like…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.

Cavin Balaster: …Probiotics, as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Probiotics for gut health, right? ‘Cause remember uh— you know, right? The gut’s the second brain. I’m just curious. How much success did you have healing your brain by focusing on the gut. What did you notice?

Cavin Balaster: Extreme. Extreme. You know, when I said the nutritional protocol that Culleton put me on, that was a leaky gut protocol. So, I was supplementing with leaky gut healing uhm— compounds, like uh— Glutamine, and Marshmallow root extract.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: And then, I was also uhm— sidelines in a little bit for my brain with like Alpha-GPC and— and some other uhm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Cavin Balaster: …and some B, D Vitamins to support my brain health, and then, an elimination diet to heal my digestion. And that’s when I regained clarity. That’s— That would— That changed everything. It [crosstalk] changed everything. So, the—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And I saw on your— on your Feed a Brain website, you interviewed Dr. Kharrazian, and…

Cavin Balaster: Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …Dr. Kharrazian lectured before talking about how brain injuries can actually create leaky gut. So, I imagined…

Cavin Balaster: Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: …by helping the brain, you also have to fix the gut, ‘cause you probably developed a leaky gut with the brain injury, right?

Cavin Balaster: Do we have time for— for me to uh—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: …to write…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Go ahead.

Cavin Balaster: …analogy here?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Cavin Balaster: So, alright. So, what— Yeah. A— absolutely right about brain injury screwing up digestion. I mean, basically, your brain’s the puppet master, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhmhm—

Cavin Balaster: Everything is a puppet, [laughs] right? So, your brain controls everything in your body, and so if you— if you bucked your head and you— you screw up the communication between your brain and your gut, like now we’re having some problems with digestion. So, intestinal permeability or leaky gut is extremely common with brain injuries or any neurological condition, actually. And, Alzheimer’s they said can be— can be uh— uh— what does that— Constipation is so common with— with Alzheimer’s. It’s one of the— like— biggest telltale science of— of neurodegeneration.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. Great information.

Cavin Balaster: Awesome. Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Is there anything else you wanted to mention? I didn’t hear you mentioned like too many like antioxidant compounds. Uh—

Cavin Balaster: Hm—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What’s your take on those, like Curcumin, or Resveratrol, or the Green Tea Extracts? What’s your take?

Cavin Balaster: I’m a huge fan of them. Uhm— In— In stages when you need them. Uh— I— I prefer to get my antioxidants from diet at this point from my food uhm— by eating— you know— produce and antioxidant-rich foods.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course.

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— But of course, yeah. Uh— Resveratrol is great…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: What moved the needle for you? ‘Cause I get there’s a lot  of theoretical things. Which things did you incorporate into your protocol that helped or that you saw maybe a palpable improvement on?

Cavin Balaster: Uhm— Well, I— I— Uh— At what point are you talking about?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would just say over the— you can just be very broad in it. You know, early on this helped but what long-term this has been better.

Cavin Balaster: Alright. Uhm— Let’s see. I mean, overall, healing my gut was fantastic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course.

Cavin Balaster: And then, moving towards Ketogenic and moving towards a healthy uhm— version of a Paleo diet, because Paleo is a great template for me. But I wanted to go further, because as we talked about there’s a lot of Paleo junk food. So, narrowing in on— on the nutrients and really writing the book uhm— really gave me an— a really clear idea. I— It helped me to solidify exactly what I was doing to optimize my brain function. And, you know, the book really— really just is— it is the resource that I wish I had— you know— as I was going through dietarily to figure out what I could do to feed my brain optimally. So— So, it’s— It’s hard to say like one or two things to the book. [laughs] Check it out.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome, man.

Cavin Balaster: Yup, feedabrain, first letter of the alphabet.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh—, and then, we have your uhm— podcast, Adventures in Brain Injury. We’ll put the links below, everyone. Cavin, is there anything else you wanted to add before we wrap up here?

Cavin Balaster: Man, uh— You talked about my interview with Dr. Kharrazian, so that was for the Feed the Brain Interview Series, which was a dream come true for me. I get to interview the— the— like top brain nutrition experts of our time. Sorry. Some of the top brain nutrition experts…

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: …of our time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally.

Cavin Balaster: I don’t want to offend anybody.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nah, no.

Cavin Balaster: [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. It’s just great information out there. Anyone listening, that— that’s dealt with any of these type of issues and wants to— to walk with someone through their journey and— and Cavin’s could be a great fit for you, so reach out to him. Cavin, amazing having you man. Are you gonna be at PaleoFX this month?

Cavin Balaster: Yeah. You know it, man. I’ll be there. I’ll see you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Alright, man. Hey, I’ll look you up. It was phenomenal chatting with  you. You have an awesome night and uh— have a safe trip back to Austin, too.

Cavin Balaster: Awesome. Thanks so much.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care, man.


David O. Okwonko, MD, PhD | Neurosurgery | University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Terry Wahls,, www.feedabrain/bloodsugar,,

Neurological Assessments – Brain Health and Other Issues | Podcast #173

Dr. Justin Marchegiani welcomes Dr. Russ Teams, a functional neurologist who practices in Arizona’s leading chiropractic center for Functional Neurology and Functional Medicine. Join them as they engage in a very informative conversation about brain health and the conditions affecting it. Learn about the assessment process, diet, nutrition and find out how the brain is connected to the gut.

Gain valuable information as Dr. Russ Teams drop some knowledge bombs and answers the listeners’ questions about vitamin D and how it helps the brain, medical marijuana, and brain concussion.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani

In this episode, we cover:

11:05                        Self-assessment and tools

11:46                        Diet and Brain

21:12                        Nutrition for brain inflammation

27:51                        Nutritional Debt

32:02                        Brain and Leaky Gut Connection


Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey guys, it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani here. Welcome back to Beyond Wellness Radio. Fabulous Friday here down in Austin, Texas. I have a good friend Dr. Russ Teams— Dr. Russ Teams. I actually went to Chiro school together. So blast from the past. Great to see you again, Dr. Russ. Again, you do a lot of functional Neurology brainwork. Your website Will put the link in the show notes. You also have an excellent coaching functional neuro- program at so more information about some of the things we’re gonna be talking about can be grabbed at those sites. Will put the links below in the show notes as well. Dr. Russ, welcome to the show, man.

Dr. Russ Teams: Hey, Dr. Justin. Thanks for having me. It’s good to see you again. It’s been a while. I feel like we’re old men now.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [laughs]

Dr. Russ Teams: Five years out. So you gotta be like what, six or seven and?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Yeah. You got it.

Dr. Russ Teams: I’ve been following you a lot. So, thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Well, thank you. And anyone listening, feel free to chime in with questions. Try to keep it pertinent more to the functional neuro- brain stuff. At the end of the show, we’ll take a few minutes at the end and roll through your questions. So if you guys are liking the content, feel free and chime in. So, Dr. Russ, tell me a little bit about what you’re seeing kinda on average every day in your clinical practice. What’s the typical patient looking like? What are they coming in with? What’s their presentation?

Dr. Russ Teams: So a lot of people that we see are kind of actually going through the gamut. They’ve already been here. They’ve been here. They’ve seen the specialist.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: And—and I’m sure you notice it a lot. Those specialists just look here. This specialist just looks there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm.

Dr. Russ Teams: This guy is a big toe on the right foot kind of specialist. And so what we try to do is we bring it all together with brain help, the whole brain, plus the functional medicine side of thing and nutrition to make sure that we’re really understanding all of the components and systems so that they all work well together.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. So what are those typical symptoms? There are people coming in the brain fog, anxiety, depression. I mean obviously there’s probably people that have already had like neurological damage maybe like a stroke or have autoimmune conditions like Parkinson’s and MSO kinda like—kinda give us the rundown. Someone comes in uh— ADHD, OCD versus maybe uh—a more progressive, generative condition like MS. What are those treatments look like how are you working them up? What does it look like?

Dr. Russ Teams: So, everybody that comes in has a brain, right? So what we do is, we first start off with just evaluating their brain. It doesn’t matter what diagnosis you have, it’s gonna show up in this evaluation and history. So starting from a young age, we—I’ve been seeing a lot of genetic diseases lately uh— where the system doesn’t get a chance to really activate. And so my job is to and activate that system so you get functional or functionality from the baseline.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: Like vagal nerve activate, ocular motor and vestibular stuff, uh— through ADD, ADHD. So you’re looking frontal lobe which means focus, attention and inability to sleep, can’t remember stuff, so working memory uh—so moving on to adults, you’re looking at more __03:09

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: Which lead to brain-gut dysfunction, right? So once you’ve opened up that brain-gut access, I mean, really, anything is possible. Autoimmunity, chronic pain fatigue, uh—open up to infection. I mean, you name it. You deal with a lot of this stuff, too. So, uh—I mean we can go off on a deep end on this, but—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So—

Dr. Russ Teams: It’s anything— anything out there.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. So what are like the some of the neurological testing you’re doing, right? I know you guys do a lot with the eyes, you know tracking, things like that. So give me a rundown. Someone comes in—what are the first couple of tests that you’re doing to assess what’s happening?

Dr. Russ Teams: So the three things that we do right out of the gate are autonomic testing, which is blood flow, blood pressure, heart rate, uh— respiration. So all those centers are located in the lower brainstem, which is kinda like where that brain-gut access and vagal nerve is. So we— we assess that and then we go to a full balance test, where you do, eyes open, eyes close and you put them on a surface that’s a little wobbly. So it challenges them. And we actually do what’s called the cervical challenge where we put their heads in different positions uh—kind of mimicking some vestibular activity and seeing how well—how much the neck is involved. And then we assess the entire eye or oculomotor system. All the eye movements that we can have— fast, slow, stable, uh— quickly moving, repetitive and then we put people on the dark and we rotate them so that we see how their system is working when there is no other activation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. And what are you typically seeing with some of these patients? How are they presenting with some of these test?

Dr. Russ Teams: So often—everybody— not everybody. Sometimes people are super good but they have major neurological symptoms. When their symptoms or when their exam is normal, that’s when we know we need to do all functional medicine immune base control or uh—management. When we see breakdown, we’re gonna see sleep patterns where people are moving forward, backward, side to side and because they’re moving, they’re firing motor patterns differently and so they’re having pain, typically. Low back, neck. This chronic pain that is coming out with these neurological or uh—you know, this instability in their system. So just a slight difference from side to side over time that tends to build and then we build things like a shoulder or head tilt or uh—flexed posturing and that presents in pain a lot of times.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. And how are you incorporating a lot of the adjusting that you’re doing? Like someone comes in, let’s say you see some—some deficits with eye or our muscle tone. Like you’re a chiropractor, so you’re doing current chiropractic work. You’re also doing neurological work, maybe exercises, different things. So, how are you prescribing adjustments? How are you prescribing some of the exercises or some of the auditory stuff? How are your prescriptions based on what you see?

Dr. Russ Teams: Well, first, I must say that as a chiropractor, I don’t just see something and do something because I have that tool. I have to assess and think, “Why is this here?” “What is the root cause of this problem?” So, in an adjustment situation, I may do—if I see a right-sided cerebellar problem, which is gonna be eyes closed the nose, eyes closed, touch the nose. If you’re off on one side, my right hand, then I might do an adjustment in the neck or low back or foot or hand to try to stimulate that area. So just—the adjustment is so powerful, sometimes it can be too much in some cases. So talking about brain health and concussions, sometimes I don’t even adjust anybody for the first month or two until the brain becomes stable enough to receive an adjustment.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. So, when you’re looking at brain function, right? We have like cerebellum—just kinda back part of the brain by the brainstem area which helps to balance. And then we have the cortex kinda the higher function of the brain. Can you just kinda differentiate the cortex and the cerebellum for?

Dr. Russ Teams: You got it. So, the cerebellum is considered the little brain. I talked about cerebelIum like an old school switchboard with cables going in and out. You know, you got somebody, “Hey, you need to talk to this guy and move here, move everything here?” So it’s constantly calibrating everything that’s going in and out of the brain. Thoughts, emotions, eye movements, head movements, vestibular activity, motor control, autonomic tone, so blood flow. All those things are helping to be controlled by the cerebellum. That cerebellum sends information to the parietal lobe, which is where we basically feel and receive all information. Then that information is sent to the front lobe. That frontal lobe creates a response or motor activity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: Blod flow, thought, emotion, actual physical movement and then the cerebellum make sure that that is very coordinated. If the cerebellum’s off, you’re gonna get things like movement or dysmetria, things like that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, Got it.  And then when you and—can you kinda talk about some of the— so when you adjust, you’re—you’re helping the opposite brain, right? Because the brain tends to cross paths, right? So an adjustment on your right side may help bring up that left cortex and vice versa on the other side. Is that true?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yes. So, yes and no. So, in some cases, like the diversified technique—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: You will contact one side and then you give a quick rotation in the opposite direction. So, yes, you’re adjusting the neck on that side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: Based on muscle spindle activity, as the muscle shortens, you’re getting an increase in information; as it lengthens and you activate, you know, GTO, for you and I –

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: Basically, if you inhibit a muscle, it decrease hold in the tendon. More information, less information. But here’s the – here’s the kicker. As you rotate your head, you’re actually activating the opposite side, vestibular system. So you’re getting a bilateral effect. The technique that I used is—is called Coupled Reduction. So it’s a lateral bend. And that bend is only in one side the majority of it. There’s no way you can do just one little piece, but the majority of inflammation is a little more specific from one side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. So if someone has let’s say a—a weak cortex on the left versus the right or right versus the left, what kind of symptoms would they see or express?

Dr. Russ Teams: So the left brain is highly associated with language, with numbers, with letters, with speech, with logistical and logic motor-based planning. So a lot of these folks tend to be—also it’s kinda the go side. So the right brain is the opposite of all those. Creativity and whatnot. So you may see some lack in understanding like dyslexia is a very common left brain issue. Uh—you may have focus and attention issues. You may have some gargling up of words, you may have some issues with, you know, articulating words and things like that. You may have some changes on the right side of the body with sensory issues. You may have issues with memory with face and other things of learning new objects versus understanding who that is kind of thing even though you’ve met them before. So, lot of different things can be in that left brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Then how about if you’re having issues with the cerebellum in the back?

Dr. Russ Teams: That cerebellum is going to be highly associated with the coordination, right? So you may sway to the right side when you close your eyes. You may have a little bit of a tremor in that right hand. You may have an issue knocking things over. If you’re gonna grab your phone and then you knocked it over or a glass or a beer for that matter.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: You may bump into things on that right side as well. You’re gonna have changes in muscle tone on that side. Meaning like chronically uh— rolled ankles. You’re gonna, you know, stab your fingers, stab your toes. And you may have an increased startle response from that side coz you’re not really sure if where that right side of your world is.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. So if someone’s listening at home right and they’re like, well, I am thinking about going to see a functional neurologist, someone like yourself, what are some things that people could do just on their own right now to kinda help with overall brain balance? Are there any self-assessments or tools that they can utilize?

Dr. Russ Teams: Sure. There’s a really good test is—put your feet together, close your eyes and see if you can stand still. You could try one leg versus the other, right? A good—that’s a really good test to count down immediately. There is a research project that says if you can’t stand on one leg for 15 seconds, your gonna have an increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disorder, which is cerebellum to front lobes. So all this activity is brain-based. Uh—finger to nose. Just close your eyes and try to touch the tip of your nose right here, right? So bringing that to the tip of your nose, if you’re off a little bit, or if you hesitate or you poke yourself, that’s a problem in the cerebellum on that side.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. And let’s talk about the diet component. How much does the diet affect the brain? I mean, we know gluten, protein and wheat barley and rye and other types of cross-reactive grains has major effects on antibodies in the brain. Whether it’s gangliocytes or myelin or increasing antibodies, what’s your take on diets and we can even go into blood sugar imbalances on health.

Dr. Russ Teams: So, in our clinic, we see a lot of concussion. Usually, it’s post concussion syndrome. Now, the reason that these people got to this post-concussion status is because their brain was in a state of unhealth or disease, so to speak. So, it wasn’t all healthy to start with. And so there is something wrong with the gut. There’s something going on in the brain. There’s inflammation. There’s a bad diet. So many different things go into it. So when you look at that presenting to my office, go on gluten-free, go on dairy-free. That’s the easiest thing to do.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Foundational. Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: Foundation. So, we don’t need to beat that horse anymore. But the things that I like to do right out of the gate, are decrease blood sugar by decreasing carb loads so that promotes what’s called autophagy, right? You increase your health fats, decrease your blood sugars or carbohydrate intake and food and in drink and that helps to promote autophagy. Autophagy is a big word for bring the garbage trucks in, clean up all the junk, and move on, right? That’s why a lot of people feel so good with this ketosis or ketogenic diet. Not necessarily long-term because you need glucose to fuel those cells eventually, but in the short phase, we almost always do like a ketogenic type of diet uhm along with some other similar—I’ve got a whole bunch of supplements that that we use to promote brain health after the fat. But you can always do them before the fats as well.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Right. So the brain is really important uhm—you know, when it comes to blood sugar and insulin resistance, we know the insulin degrading enzyme it’s partly responsible for degrading insulin and breaking down insulin. It is also responsible for cleaning up a lot of the plaque and the inflammatory kinda proteins in the brain. So if you have a lot more insulin in the system because your— your carb load’s much higher and you got insulin resistance, that enzyme is gonna be too busy over here cleaning up insulin versus mopping up the plaque. It’s like having one janitor where the mess you kinda need, too, right? So that’s why getting that insulin resistance, getting your cells more sensitive to insulin makes a difference. Is that the true?

Dr. Russ Teams: Absolutely. And one of the things you said, basically, when there’s too much junk and there’s too much insulin, what does that create? It creates free-radical activity and inflammation. So once you develop inflammation of the brain, there’s something called microglia cell. They’re like the janitors, right? All the sudden, it’s like there’s 10 times as many janitors in the brain as there are neurons. So when these __ got ticked off, they clean up everything. They’re taking trophies out of school.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: They’re taking the trophies, the pictures off the wall, the chairs out of the room. They’re ripping apart stuff. So they’re basically cleaning up anything everything in their site and that starts to break down other neurons. So that inflammation is what we as clinicians and you guys as—as patients need to start thinking about. The more inflammation you have, the worse your brain is gonna do. So, right out of the gate, we get people on turmeric and Resveratrol. I like turmeric with black pepper for—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: ..better absorption.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Better absorption. Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: Unless they have sensitivity to black pepper. I’m actually seeing that in a lot of cases. So we have options for simply turmeric or we hide those other things as well. So Resveratrol—great antioxidant to help keep free radicals from __ 15:24 things up. Right after head injury and long-term, you’re gonna lose blood flow by about 70%. So we use a—a component or a nutrient called Vinpocetine or vinpocetine, which helps to improve basically capillary perfusion. So, you start immediately getting more blood flow to your brain. On top of that, omega-3 fatty acids, right? It’s probably gonna be like that’s every patient should be on those unless you have sensitivity or you can’t tolerate fats. That’s another issue altogether, we can address that separately. Uh— you know, I usually use anywhere from 3 to 5000 mg a day, personally. I’ve heard dose as high as 10,000 mg or 15 in in severe cases. Uh—glutathione or N- acetylcysteine, uh—Glucoraphanin is a product that I use in one of my lines that we use in the office.

Uh—it’s phenomenal. Uh—let’s see, what else? Oh! Mag Threonate or __16:24 I use Hydrogen__, but uh—it’s a great, great product. Mag Threonate helps to keep your brain from over firing so you got this cell that wants fire on its own. I just goes, “boom” and each cell around that cell starts to go “boom” “boom” so you get this was called spreading cortical depression that’s seizure like activity. So, when you get symptoms that show up for no reason, you’re having a seizure activity occur. And so one of the things that can help stop that overfiring is that Magnesium Threonate and it is phenomenal. We use Mag Threonate coz it passes the blood brain barrier.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. It makes sense. I know the Kynurenine pathway or the Quinolinic Acid pathway, which is an inflammatory pathway in the brain gets dampened by higher magnesium. I know Magnesium Threonate is one of the Magnesiums that can cDr. Russ Teams the blood brain barrier, so that makes a lot of sense. And when someone is having kind of a seizure episode, what’s actually happening in the brain? I know ketogenic diets have been recommended since 1920 by the Mayo Clinic to help with seizures. So we know there’s a blood sugar component. How it—what’s the mechanism happening with the brain that’s causing the seizure? How’s the blood sugar or maybe the increasing ketones? How is that stabilizing the brain?

Dr. Russ Teams: So, essentially every brain in a simplistic form, you need multiple things to make a cell work.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: Glucose, proper amounts of glucose, oxygen inactivation. All three of these things help to create ATP or energy, right? So ATP is our energy source think of it as, I mean, just oxygen in this case. If we don’t have oxygen, we’re toast. So that ATP consider it like a lifeline and so all these things have to be in proper amounts in order to make proper amounts of energy. When you start having excessive firing of these cells, you start using up your glucose, you start firing randomly. So ultimately, it lets too much calcium in and that starts popping onto cell. So that’s why we do magnesium and actually magnesium is that— is a little plug that plugs that that receptor that allows too much calcium. That’s why magnesium is so important in that case. Blood sugar instability as you as you drop too low, you start to starve and the cell start to fire up to try to survive. So that’s where blood sugar stability comes in. If you have too much, you develop insulin resistance so fuel can’t get in. If you have too little, you don’t have any fuel so the cells start gasping for air essentially and it starts popping off and firing off saying, “Hey, somebody help me, I’m gonna die.” And that’s what happens. As they fire off, they release excitatory neurotransmitters, which are called glutamate or cytotoxicity.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: So you excite all the other cells around you and if those are unstable enough, they will fire off to the point where they die, too. And so you actually get dying of cells and fatigue of these cells so then you lose your ability to talk, you lose your ability to balance, you lose your ability to have a proper emotional response to somebody asking a simple question, you can’t sleep, right? All these things, all these symptoms come from, many times, unhealthy brain tissue.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally makes sense coz we have this kind of Goldilocks effect with high blood sugar, you know, it decreases enzymes in the brain that cleanup junk and then you have this decrease in cellular autophage or autophagy, pronounce either way. And then you have the low blood sugar side, where blood sugar drops and that can create increase in interleukins and various cyto_. Interesting fact, though, you mentioned that the magnesium—coz when that cell needs the contract and that action potential happens, where that nerve impulse, that, there’s a release of calcium. So that makes sense that magnesium kinda keeps that down so it decrease decreases the excitation in the cell. Is that what you’re saying there with the magnesium?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Cool. And then also, couple other things, too. You mentioned, you mentioned the magnesium component. Let’s go back to some of the antioxidants. So we have things like Resveratrol and turmeric which kinda, they’re like in these nerve to pathways which really helped clean up brain inflammation.

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I was at the seminar last weekend where, there was a couple of strength coaches at a major university. I think it was University of Oregon and they would— their players would come off the field, they would actually make their players consume grape juice. And it is interesting because it makes sense because the grape juice is very high in resveratrol. I think they could probably do better with the supplement without getting all the— the excess glucose in there. But what’s your take with some of these nutrients and— and the nerve, too? Just cleaning up brain inflammation, let’s say your kid is an athlete in they’re involved in contact sports, what can they be doing to help with that?

Dr. Russ Teams: Two parts.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Dr. Russ Teams: There’s—people who like sports like for me, I was playing every single day. I know there are lots of kids that are going from one practice to another. So there’s this such thing as overtraining, right? The—the difference in building versus breaking down. So, you have to really watch that stress response, your adrenal glands, your changes in blood sugar, that—that fatigue rate and keep an eye on your ability to make energy. So, number one, just watch out for overtraining and especially young kids and especially things like triathletes, okay? So, when we get into, what where you after or you will do prior to these contacts is number one, you got to make sure they have good, healthy blood brain barrier and a good healthy gut, right? If you just focus on those two things, the majority of your inflammation will probably be taking care of, right? So, having somebody on probiotics is excellent. You’re gonna be having—you’re gonna be promoting you know, multiple strains, not all of them, but a lot of strains that are— that are supposed to support gut. You can use things like Glutamine or Aloe Vera to help impair— repair that gut lining to make sure that these—you know, you’re not having too many of these critters coming in uh—that are you know, you can breakdown all your foods so you don’t have to be exposed to a lot of these gluten stuff and food sensitivities developing all that. Uh for brain, you’ve gotta have your omega-3’s, you want to have turmeric at least covered at all times, right? And then your gonna wanna have something to make sure your blood flow which is that__22:49 as well as—honestly, the three products that I’m on or four products that I’m on, all day long, every day of the week are uh— is __ form of omega-3, monoglyceride in the delivery system so it’s a little easier for me to get that. It’s a little more effective. __23:09 which is a Mag T or Mag Thre as well as uh—some B vitamins and what else do I got? Uh—T__ So it’s another form that helps promote dopamine activation keeps your frontal lobe firing and building. So it’s a D1, D2 activator. And then I use—you just mentioned it. I’m just gonna show this, Nrf2 Activator.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: Though I’m not promoting any products there, but that’s what I’m—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s okay.

Dr. Russ Teams: And then uh—MemorAll Supplement. All the stuff is from Xymogen. MemorAll has Huperzine in it which helps with memory. It’s a __ And then __

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And what pathways in the brain acetylcholine is hitting?

Dr. Russ Teams: Uh—temporal lobe and hippocampus. So the memory component which is what breaks down in Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Interesting. So if someone is doing contact sports, you gave some of those nutrients that can be helpful. I’m going through Tom Brady’s book the TB 12 Method and he’s— he’s all about pliability when it comes to lifting weights. So really interesting coz he’s trying to get his muscles to be as pliable as possible. His kind of theory is that the muscles get, you know, more dense, harder. The training is you know, contributing—creating concentric contractions. And the problem with that is the muscles are harder and they— they have less eccentric capabilities so they have less ability to absorb. So his thing is he’s trying to make the muscles softer, more pliable so they absorb force. And that I know, I’ve looked at the supplement regimen, he’s doing a lot of green tea, Resveratrol, probiotics. He’s doing a lot of curcumin uh— pre-and post workouts ors pre-and post games. So, I think he’s on top of this stuff, too.

Dr. Russ Teams: Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I think he’s also doing potentially some O2, you know, uhm—O2 chamber stuff and maybe even some laser stuff, too.

Dr. Russ Teams: Sure. Oh, laser. Glad you brought that up.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: It’s right here, actually. [laughs]

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, great. Erchonia Laser—wonderful.

Dr. Russ Teams: Erchonia Laser—if you guys don’t have any—do you got—do you have a laser over there? Do you use laser therapy?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I’ve done in the past. I do not currently. But I think it’s phenomenal. I think if you’re—If I was letting my kid play sport that is contact related, I’d have all those nutrients on board and I would also have some kind of a laser therapy on board to help with the inflammation. What’s your take? Would you let your kid play contact sports without utilizing these techniques?

Dr. Russ Teams: Absolutely not.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: No way. I mean—I’m considering them getting into a sport where the contact is not involved in every play. I don’t have a kid, but moving forward, I’m a golfer, so, the odds of you sustaining a concussion in golf—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [laughs]

Dr. Russ Teams: You know, you’re not playing fast enough, but uhm—you know, in football and soccer and baseball, I’ve been knockdown in baseball before. The risk is always gonna be there no matter what sports you’re in. But if you choose to put your kid in a sport where they’re hitting bodies every single play, I mean, what do you expect the outcome to be? Honestly—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Exactly.

Dr. Russ Teams: I always—my job is to educate not to make decisions for people. So, so that’s kinda— I don’t like to speak out of turn but, for me, that kid is going to be on certain products, nutrition everyday of the week and it’s really all about promoting brain health and gut health because any people that I see, and this is a clinical thing, anybody that I see that has had gut issues, anxiety issues, leaky blood brain barrier, leaky gut, autoimmunity, long-term standing chronic illness prior to hitting their head, those are the worst cases that I have seen. Meaning that nobody can help him them until we address all of these different things together and we have the brain on top of it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hundred Percent. It makes sense. And again, most kids today their diets are absolute crap.

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Here’s the analogy—I’ve kinda built over the last few years. It makes a lot of sense. A lot of people look at food as calories and that it’s like going to the gas tank and you just put fuel in your gas tank, it doesn’t matter what fuel you get. The difference is when your engine starts running on low, when you’re driving that car, your car doesn’t start metabolizing the bumper or the seats for fuel.

Dr. Russ Teams: Right.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: The difference is our body will do that. And it’s also not looking at calories which is just a measurement of heat, right? It’s also looking at the micronutrients and we, today, we can have a whole bunch of calories with very poor micronutrient levels.

Dr. Russ Teams: That’s true.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Meaning low minerals, low vitamins, low amino acids and plus when you’re having excessive in the carbohydrates primarily refined, when you throw that fuel into the Kreb’s cycle and glycolysis, it takes B vitamins and minerals and magnesium to run the system. So if you get less than what the system cost to operate, then you actually go into nutritional debt. Can you talk more about that?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yeah. And that’s what I was talking about with the—that overtraining.

So the thing—and I’m kinda getting divert and then come back to it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. Totally.

Dr. Russ Teams: Stress is one thing that I feel has to be addressed in every single patient. Stress cranks up your cortisol, cranks up blood sugar, starts sending those cytokines you talked about. They start lighting up the areas of the brain which is essentially the fight or flight area, the midbrain, right? That area is what keeps you awake at night, it’s what keeps you from focusing, it’s what—it’s what leads to basically depression and anxiety. And so all those things were you’re not firing optimally, right? Optimal firing would be here. This is where we wanna be. When we go here, not so good. So when we go to blood sugar and all the things that you’re talking about, uh—it’s— it’s really— you just have to address everything. I hate to say like that, but you really a look at every different system and how they interact.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So we kinda have like the chiropractic side, where its’ working on stimulation and kinda giving one side of bump or—or you know, a knockdown. And then we have nutritional side, which is really getting rid of the inflammation and then providing extra nutrients to support healing. Uh—the laser, kinda of the same way. You’re really helping those cells, you’re stimulating those cells in a way to help with recovery and reduce inflammation coz a lot of these wavelengths are very anti-inflammatory, which is— which is great. If someone gets head injury, I know some the therapies are kind of a low-calorie fast for a day or two to help increase that cellular autophagy. Some will say, you know, even some progesterone uh— maybe 50-100 mg a day even for guys can be helpful. I mean the turmeric, the Resveratrol, those kind of things. What else would you be doing if someone had a concussion or head injury? How would you be treating that therapeutically outside of just a laser and maybe O2 therapy?

Dr. Russ Teams: Tahough it works, so outside of that acute everything that you just mentioned.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: We’ve already been talking about.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Good.

Dr. Russ Teams: Glutathione, Omega-3’s,__, Resveratrol, uh—you’ve got your Turmeric. You can go right into blood brain—I’m sorry—gut support and rebuilding the gut because—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Probiotics.

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup. There it shows that if you injure your brain within minutes to hours, you develop a leaky gut. So you have to not only fix the gut from nutritional side, but you have to fix it from a brain-gut axis. So, typically, what we’ll do is—we’ll wait—we’ll get going on the nutrition and bring people in for laser only. If they’re—if they can tolerate it, we’ll run an exam and evaluation at first day and then we’ll say, “Hey, come back about a week and then we’ll check you out again.” Coz most concussions should heal in 2 to 4 weeks, but we like it a baseline so we know that in four weeks if they’re not healing, we’ve gotta—we can show how well they have healed, right? And so, that’s the stuff you need to be doing in the acute phase. Uh—hyperbaric chambers, if you can do, more so in the acute phase. They seem to do better. The chronic phase is kinda the, you know, the injury is still out on them. And then chronically, basically, the whole system is involved because you developed that leaky gut, you start to ramp it up— inflammation— you start breaking down the blood brain barrier, microglial cells are going crazy, you know, all your neurontransmitters are off, now you’ve got the HPTA, you know, uh—hormone access. All these stuff is starting to fall apart. So ultimately, once you get into that chronic phase, you just gotta start evaluating. Especially when it comes to hormones in women. You’ve gotta—you’ve gotta lab, you’ve gotta look at your—all the, you know, comprehensive metabolic stuff, which is all the labs that we run uhm as well as you can do specialty testing. So, I mean, you really gotta— if you’re not seeing, if you have that stuff going on, like a concussion or post-concussion syndrome and doctors that you’re seeing are not running these labs, you’ll find somebody who will.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Can you talk more of the mechanisms? I seen this so often where there’s an incredible stress response. We know cortisol can break down areas of the brain especially in the hippocampus, which is involved in the memory. And we can see that then creates a leaky gut or we see it, a head trauma like a car accident and then we look at their history and then from that point onward things spiral out of control with other digestive issues and then more autoimmune stuff. What’s that mechanism? Why is the trauma in the brain? How is that causing that leaky gut? What’s the mechanism there?

Dr. Russ Teams: So I’m gonna draw this out—kind of—Can I draw this? Is there a way to do that?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Of course. Yeah. Uhm—not sure. But if you’ve got any paper, just draw it out and hold it up on the screen.

Dr. Russ Teams: So this is just super quick. Alright. If I have a whiteboard, this would be so much easier. Okay. So right here—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yup.

Dr. Russ Teams: It’s kinda where we’re looking at. Right brain, left brain. This is our brain stem. So this is the midbrain we talked about. The pons and the medulla. This part here is the parasympathetic part. This part here is the parasympathetic part. This big guy right here in the middle, he is the sympathetic dominant guy. He gets lit up in head injury. Everything else starts to break down. Now, it’s interesting is basically through here, is a major conduit of—I’ll call it like a freeway. All information that gets from the brain to the body has to go through this brainstem. And this is the area that gets hit the hardest in concussion. So these two big lines the vagus nerve, that’s part of the conduit or that freeway system. So as you get whacked, immediately inflammation goes up, decreases your sympathetic tone, I’m sorry— decreases your parasymphatetic tone, increases sympathetic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: And fight or flight, your not gonna worry about digestion, right? So, right away that’s what starts breaking down your gut.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That makes sense. So the blood flow starts going more towards the extremities away from the organs.

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup. It’s basically saying, “Hey, you need to survive. Run. Get the heck out of here.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That makes total sense. Alright. Interesting. And then you said the area right in the middle part of the sympathetic. So when that gets lit up and that basically decreases the parasympathetic tone, couple people on the chat here wanted to know ways to help increase the parasympathetic tone. I mean, in the functional neurologic—Do stimulators like singing or kind of a gag reflex kind of thing. There’s obviously you know, breathing to the nose, right? Coz of the olfactory nerves. Uhm— Obviously eating an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle can help. What else? Is there any other more nuanced things that you’re working on patients with?

Dr. Russ Teams: Absolutely. So gargling. Gargling is probably easiest and most cost effective way that isn’t like gagging yourself. That’s still effective, too.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: Though anybody who needs more parasympathetic tone, they start gargling. It’s as simple as taking to drink of water [gargling sound] Gargle as long as you can, as hard as you can. If you can go like one or two seconds, that vagal tone or that parasympathetic tone is dampen. So we need to get better at it. We’re gonna practice at it. And then you can do things humming and singing which activates the back of the throat. You can do what I call tongue push-ups. Push tongue into the side of mouth. So that’s cranial nerve 12, it’s right below the vagus area. Uhm—any sensory stuff, so, take in your toothbrush, tap in the back of your throat. Best way that I found is actually push down on the back your tongue, don’t jab yourself back in the throat. Uhm—and then, what you can do—well, I’m not gonna give away neuro- rehab because it would be inappropriate for me to give somebody an exercise to do..

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: You know, not specific to them. But we use what’s called the vagal nerve stimulator. And so it’s got two prongs, we can use it in the ear on the vagal afferent here, on the conchae. We can also use it on the SCM to the point that the muscle actually contracts a little bit because the vagus nerve runs right along that SCM. We personally stay on the right side of it because it has more to do with rate of the heart versus rhythm. You don’t wanna disrupt the rhythm per se, but if that’s what the evaluation indicates, then we go ahead, go very cautiously with a pulse option on finger.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Now if we don’t have the low-hanging __. Like this person is, let’s say consuming gluten, poor sleep, blood sugar instability, just doing some gargling won’t be enough to overcome all of the sympathetic habits and the other side of the fence. Is that true?

Dr. Russ Teams: True. It won’t fix the problem, but it will start activating that pool of neurons to—it’s like—if you like going to the gym and eating like crap—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Great analogy.

Dr. Russ Teams: And so, at least you’re getting some type of brain activation. Sorry to interrupt. Meditation.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: Meditate mindfulness. De-stressing yourself. Huge.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Makes a lot of sense. That’s excellent. And then regarding the gut component, right? We didn’t really talk much coz you talked about the brain and then you talked about that could cause leaky gut. We also have leaky gut and leaky brain starting from the gut. We can have H. pylori or dysbiotic bacteria with lipopolysaccharides, but then open up those tight junctions in the gut and then those things can get past the astrocytes or the blood brain barrier. Can you talk about gut to brain issues? We just addressed brain to gut and then what percent of our brain are microglial cell? Which are the immune cells. Is it 20% or is it higher?

Dr. Russ Teams: It’s higher. Well, let’s put it this way. I don’t know the exact percentage, but you have 10 times as many microglial cells as you do neurons.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Neurons. Perfect.

Dr. Russ Teams: So, there’s a lot. Uhm—when we talk about the gut-brain, let’s say it’s more than likely gonna be from an infectious side or a food side because that vagal nerve, if that’s not firing well, you are going to break down your gut anyway. So you’re talking about that brain-gut axis kind of as a general assumption, right? So, let’s say we got out of town, we’re feeling great, we get a parasite. Or we get an infection, right? That starts to cause up internal inflammation, down regulates and crowds out all your good bacteria, starts screwing with everything. Inflammation shuts down your motility. Motility means how well we move stuff through our system. So we started constipation and/or mixed diarrhea, right? With H. Pylori, it’s kind of a little bit of both. And so when you have this break down of the gut, you start to develp that leaky gut. What’s interesting is the blood brain barrier is the same type of connection including zonulin these tight junctions. So, the stuff that breaks down the gut is the same stuff that breaks down the brain. That’s what will fight you. So, leaky gut equals leaky brain or gut on fire equals brain on fire.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. Excellent. And how many people are you seeing, just in general. Where you are seeing the neurological issues are starting from the gut versus starting from head trauma? Is it 50-50 or you’re seeing more on the brain just because your your market is a neurologist. What are you seeing?

Dr. Russ Teams: Okay. This is gonna sound weird. I’d say 50-50, but a 100%.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: Right? So, if it starts from the gut and it’s like there’s an emotional trauma early in childhood, you’re gonna have that that uh— sympathetic stress-related response, which is great going to break down your gut. And that’s gonna open it up for opportunistic infections if you’re eating poorly, leaky gut-leaky brain. If you’re super healthy and you’re able to travel the world, you expose yourself to more infectious stuff, right? So that’s always part of the history is, you know, when did this start? Where did you go? Did you emotional trauma at that time? an injury? An infection? Whatever it may be. So, on one hand, it’s like 50-50. But on the other hand it’s like a 100%.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great. Awesome. So, I’ll ask one more equals. Any other key kinda concepts or issues you want to get across to the listers? If not, I’m gonna go into rapid fire mode. Anything else?

Dr. Russ Teams: Oh, man. Just take care of your brain. Seriously, it’s the only one you got. If you know somebody with laser and it can handle the side of nutrition just like you do—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm. Uhm—you also know somebody who can fire the right parts of the brain at the right time at the right frequency, then you’re gonna be in pretty good shape. So, if you’re struggling with any of that stuff, you need that holistic approach. So people can work on all these systems at the same time. Not one system this week, one system next week, you know..

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Awesome. Great. So, I’m gonna go into rapidfire mode here. So, if you can try to answer everything like 1 to 2 sentences, maybe 3 max, we’ll roll through it.

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So, vitamin D, how does it help the brain?

Dr. Russ Teams: Uh—it helps with—basically helps with immune system balancing. So, T- regulatory cells, you gotta have it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Marijuana—Do you recommend it? And then, THC versus CBD for brain.

Dr. Russ Teams: I personally don’t go into that because I don’t know stuff changing every day. I know, anecdotally, some people do well with it, other people feel horrible on it. So, I’ll refer to another practitioner for that.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Got it. Uhm, let’s see, here another one, here—x intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, is that the foundational diet you recommend?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yes. So, I do it probably two – three days a week. I’ll do an intermittent fast. I’ll go through breakfast so I won’t, you know, eat dinner, won’t have anything after. I’ll go through breakfast and I’ll try to have a high-fat, uhm, good quality fat. Lunch, I’ll try to carb up, you know, sometimes you’re just in a hurry and then it happens, but uhm, I’ll go past 1 sometimes. I know, Dr. Barry, the guy I work with, uh, phenomenal physician and he does a 24-hour fast once every three weeks, I believe. I haven’t gotten enough courage and I’m sure that my staff will hate me for it, so, uh, so there’s that. Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool. Can you lose use fine motor skills and be dizzy without an injury like showing a clean CT or MRI?

Dr. Russ Teams: Uh, after a concussion?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I would say, well, I would say after in general, this person has you know, they went to the ER and they got these neurological test on but they still have these fine motor issues.

Dr. Russ Teams: Sure. Absolutely. You can have it at anytime. If the brain breaks down in anyway, frontal lobe and cerebellum, you’re gonna have issues, you know, with dexterity, fine motor control, dizziness. If it’s a cerebellum, vestibular thing. If you just— if you have—if you break an arm and you don’t move it for six months, you might develop a dizziness problem because you’re losing feedback from your world. That’s one way. Another way is inflammation in the gut, you can develop sensitivities, you know, gluten, you can get TTD, TTG G6 and neurological autoimmunity and that can cause dizziness. You can hit your head, that causes the symptoms we’re talking about right away. You don’t have to hit your head to get a concussion. It’s like flexion-extension whiplash injury. You can have a concussion without heating your head based on the neurochemical result.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right. It makes sense. Yeah. We don’t have a seatbelt holding our brain in place, right? You see like a woodpecker outside kinda banging their head against the tree, so to speak. They actually have ligaments that actually hold the rain in place. We don’t have that. So that makes a lot of sense. Uhm, regarding TCE Traumatic Chronic Encephalopathy. That’s the concussion issue. Uh, what’s your take on it? And what’s your take on the new test that can supposedly test the TCE protein within 20 minutes after injury.

Dr. Russ Teams: Uh so, well, I guess technically you’re probably looking at more of the inflammatory response with that test. So that’s gonna tell you if you have an injury or not. It doesn’t tell you what you need to do nutritionally, right?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: So, getting a diagnosis is important. I always assume that there’s a concussion, if there’s any type of impact. I just—for instance, I just had a patient chemically concuss two weeks ago when they got infection. They got this run-of-the-mill, cardio—uh like a lung infection and it ended up with __in my office. So, you can chemically re concuss yourself. So, you don’t have to hit your head. And, I mean, really, it what it comes down to. So, CTE is a major problem because—and it’s obviously in the spotlight right now. Do all these things that we’re talking about nutritionally, fire the brain the right way and you’re gonna make a better connection with those neurons that you have left so that you can improve your quality of life.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Do you think microglial activation is part of the mechanism with TCE?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup. Hundred percent.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Excellent. And then regarding—also, some of these injuries too could be autoimmune. They could be on the lower kind of subclinical autoimmune side, too. And you could have to start these neurological issues. It may not even be a chronic—a trauma, right?

Dr. Russ Teams: Right. So, what’s the root cause autoimmunity?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Leaky gut, gluten sensitivity, blood sugar infections.

Dr. Russ Teams: So, this CTE and brain-based dysfunction is really not that much different in the process of autoimmunity, right? You develop CTE, you have all this other stuff whether it’s chronic traumatic. I mean trauma can come from emotional trauma.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm. Like I see people that have had one concussion her whole life and it was a minor one, and their brain has shrunk to the size of like a grape versus an orange, right? I mean, they have all these atrophy and then your nerve just inflamed, they got anemia, everybody, all the doctors are saying, “Oh, it’s no big deal. You just take iron.” Well, it’s a B12 deficient anemia. So, you gotta have somebody that’s gonna look at this stuff.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Totally. Makes a lot of sense. And then regarding—we talked about the marijuana component, you talked about leaky guts. Uhm— when people get a concussion, do you make them stay up the whole next day. What’s the mechanism with making someone stay awake and not letting them go to sleep essentially.

Dr. Russ Teams: So, honestly I’m getting to the point where ICYA or I covered my ass.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: I sent people to get a CT in the acute phase. A couple of hundred bucks to to make sure that you’re not bleeding is the number one thing, right? So that’s—if somebody’s like, “Hey, I just hit my head.”  “Alright, go get an image.” “Well, it’s just this symptom.” I’m like, “ Hey, that’s up to you.” My recommendation is to go get that image. So if you’re still experiencing these weird symptoms a week later, they’re probably gonna run an MRI, okay? Now, if everything is clean, then you’re gonna rest a little bit. But we need to actually get that body moving, start doing some of these nutritional stuff right away. And start instituting some of these uh—some of these supplements and nutrition pieces. One thing you don’t want really do right away and it kinda goes 50-50. We go back and forth with this, honestly. Depending on the presentation, you may not want to dampen that microglial response right away because you want them to clean up junk.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: You want to over clean stuff up. So, most of the time, I do nutrition, glutathione, Omega’s, Vinpocetine, Resveratrol. And then based on the symptoms, as they start to improve, then I’ll start hitting the uh—the turmeric in heavy dose like firehose, so to speak.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That makes a lot of sense. And then regarding the staying up, is it just because it’s a sign there there there’s not a bleed happening where they could they could be asleep and you don’t know if they’re passed out because of the bleed. Is that the main reason why?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yes. So, a lot of people, I mean, you can have a slow bleed that takes two weeks to really create a life-threatening symptom, right? So that’s what I just—I just default to that, CYA. And make sure instead of guessing, right? I’d rather run this and be wrong than not run it and you know what I mean?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And in the conventional medicine, I mean, they really don’t have much. It’s like keem them up for 24 hours and then wear some sunglasses, right? I mean that’s pretty much the conventional medicine treatment, right?

Dr. Russ Teams: Yup. Yeah. So just watch and wait. That’s—they’re like, yeah, watch and wati and learn to live with it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow. And then with progesterone— we talked about that as having some really good effects outside of just fasting. What’s the dose of progesterone you like? So that’s actually one thing I was talking to you uh—my business partner before this. Uh— we don’t— currently we do not give progesterone. Although in the research, it has show to be neuroprotective. You’re not sure what— where that person’s progesterone levels are, especially in women.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Russ Teams: It’s all based on where their cycle is. If they’re at a certain place and their progesterone is low, and they hit their head, they’re gonna have a way worse response then if it’s elevated.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Right.

Dr. Russ Teams: Though—when it comes to hormones, based on that H—HP H, I guess, hormone axis.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah.

Dr. Russ Teams: Uh, we don’t do that. We have lab for it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay. Got it. But if it’s a guy that does not have a cycle, is there  a 20 mg dose? 50 mg dose?

Dr. Russ Teams: I’ll tell you what, I’ll follow up with you once we—once we—once the verdict is out on that. In the notes—

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Perfect. That sounds great. Well, Dr. Russ, is there anything uh—that you wanna highlight?

Dr. Russ Teams: Sorry, can you repeat that?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. No problem. Is there—that answers all of our question here. But if there’s anything else you want to highlight that maybe you missed that you want to emphasize?

Dr. Russ Teams: Uhm—yeah. You know, if you have—if anybody out there is looking for a functional neurologist or chiropractic neurologist, feel free to either post a message here or contact me directly uh— through the website. Either or and I’ll try to get you in contact with somebody in your area. Uh—if you can’t—if we can’t find you anybody close, we do intensives all the time or we get like six weeks of treatment in in one week. Uh—try to get just good as possible and then we return you home to somebody who can manage your condition at that point.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Do you work with any patients over Skype or a computer?

Dr. Russ Teams: Uh—we do uh, a lot of times, it’s over the phone. Like right now, I’m talking with somebody in the London. I’m getting him set up with some nutrition and some uh laser therapies. So we’re actually, they’re getting to the point where they’re gonna buy a laser because they can’t travel very much. Uhm, we see people— we we have more people fly in for the neuro- rehab component, uh, than we do the nutrition over over the phone. I mean, just stuff like this, is invaluable, too. To be able to get this information out there like we have.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s awesome. Dr. Russ, thank you very much. He’s got health coaching for various doctors. WE’ll put the links below. Dr. Russ, thank you so much for coming on the show and dropping some serious knowledge bombs. We appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

Dr. Russ Teams: Well, last thing.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.

Dr. Russ Teams: We have a seminar coming up next weekend in San Francisco. Saturday and Sunday. Dr. B, myself, Dr. Barry and Dr. Jared Siegler from the Living Proof Institute.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, great.

Dr. Russ Teams: We’re gonna be hammering autoimmunity, brain-gut axis, so, expanding on everything we just talked here today. So, you guys, if you anybody or any doctor you want to know uh more about this stuff, we’re happy have them.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s great. And Dr. Jared was supposed to be on the podcast last week. I had to reschedule him. He’ll be on here really soon as well. Well, thanks for sharing that. Dr. Russ, we look forward to connecting soon.

Dr. Russ Teams: Okay. Sounds good. Thanks, Dr. J.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Take care.


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Top Anti-Aging Foods

Top Anti Aging Foods

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Everyone ages, the question, therefore, is not will you age, but how will you age? Will you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation, develop diseases such as dementia, diabetes, and cancer, lose your mental capacities or your ability to walk and run? Or will you remain in good health with good posture, retain a great state of mind and mental clarity, keep balanced hormones and healthy relationships?

The truth is, the choice is yours, and it is exactly that: a choice. If you are determined to live a long life with your body and energy at their fullest potential, you can do so! However, there are no magic creams or pills that will prevent you from showing signs of aging. The secret to aging gracefully and successfully lies in a series of healthy diet and lifestyle choices which we will outline below.

What is Aging?

What is Aging?

Disease, dementia, cancer, loose saggy skin, slowed brain function, slow and weakened body: these are NOT predetermined signs of aging! These are the consequences of the Standard American diet (SAD) and lifestyle that have been normalized by our society. Recent discoveries have shown that inflammation, the shortening of your telomeres, and  mitochondrial deterioration are what control the aging process.

Click here to schedule a consult with a functional medicine doctor to determine your personal causes of inflammation and illness!

What Causes Aging?

What causes aging?

Inflammation causes the diseases and health decline that are hallmark symptoms of aging, which can eventually lead to autoimmune disease and cancer. This can be combated by finding the root cause of inflammation (commonly diet-related) and taking steps to prevent it.

Telomeres sit at the end of our DNA, and their length is related to our biological age (different from our chronological age, which counts birthdays, your biological age is how old your body is in relationship to your health). Telomeres are shortened by unhealthy habits such as smoking, and eating inflammatory foods.

Our mitochondria produce 95% of our energy, in the form of ATP, but the byproduct of the energy production is harmful free radicals which cause damage to the mitochondria. Science has shown certain foods, as well as the enzyme CoQ10, to be powerful in defending against free radical damage.

How to Age Successfully

How to age successfully

We are able to curtail disease, wrinkles, and a general decline in health through taking proper care of our bodies. A big part of preventing disease and deterioration as you age is dependent on your diet. The following foods are just some of the many healthy options we have that are full of the nutrients and minerals vital for good health and longevity:

Bright colored fruits and veggies provide beta-carotene and vitamin A, which protect against cellular damage and premature aging. They are also great for your skin and eyes, meaning less wrinkles and better vision. These include: bell peppers, carrots, sweet potato, and broccoli.

Leafy greens, such as spinach, collard greens, lettuce, and kale, contain several top antioxidants. Lutein and zeaxanthin have been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and sulforaphane are cancer-fighting antioxidants present in leafy greens. The folate in spinach improves your short-term memory and might even lower the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. Vitamin K1 is found in collard and salad greens, which is linked to vascular health, strong bones, prevention of heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and can treat certain cancers.

Eggs also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, making them an unexpected friend of your eyes. They are a natural source of vitamin D, as well as choline, which protects your brain, nervous system, and heart. Be sure to buy organic, pastured eggs for all the benefits they have to offer!

Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidant power. By fighting oxidative stress, blueberries can help neutralize the damage caused by free radicals. They help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and arthritis while boosting your vision and immune system!

Citrus contains vitamin C, which helps your body produce collagen. Collagen is responsible for healthy joints as well as tight, healthy skin. The quercetin in citrus has anti-aging properties and also helps fight inflammation.



You are what you eat, so if your goal is to be healthy and thriving in old age, the food choices you make today need to be healthy ones. Luckily, these foods are not only dense in important nutrients, they are also delicious!

Click here for a consultation with a functional medicine doctor and a personalized health plan!


Dr. Andrew Hill Interview on Meditation, Neurofeedback and Brain Health – Podcast #31

Dr. Andrew Hill talks about neurofeedback/biofeedback as a way to improve brain health. We also talk about meditation and brain supporting nutrients including piracetam, oxiracetam, and PQQ. Listen to this podcast or watch the video to learn how to improve your brain, learn how to meditate, or learn how trauma hurts your brain.

Dr. Andrew HillThis is a very informative podcast on neurological health and how we can use it to help repair from injuries, recover from injuries, and just perform better at our daily lives. Find out about the different EEGs and brain training and how much it costs. Dr. Hill also describes how brain training works in this interview. He also shared with us what he thinks a good diet in conjunction with supplements look like.

In this episode, topics include:

4:30   Using biofeedback or neurofeedback

14:05   Biofeedback and EEG devices

25:35   Psychostimulatants and ADHD

33:37   Nootropics, racetams, and compounds

1:00:00   About meditation and techniques








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Baris Harvey:  Welcome to another episode of Beyond Wellness Radio.  In today’s show we are talking about brain health.  We have a great interview coming up for you.  But before we dive into the show, let me tell you about our newsletter.  If you go to, you can sign up for the newsletter.  There’s bright and orange, a newsletter sign up feed.  Signing up to the newsletter will give you the quickest access to all of our information.  We send you a newsletter every time a new episode comes up.  Also there are links to mine and Dr. Justin’s websites.  If you go up to the top, there’s a link for Just In Health and that’s where you can contact Dr. Justin directly and–and work with him virtually.  You can also go to my site, and to get information and work with me virtually.  We work in our independent locations, but we work with people all across the globe, so technology makes that possible and it’s super awesome that we could do that.  And for one more thing, make sure you guys go to iTunes and leave a review.  You guys can also send us any questions that you guys have straight through  So with that being said, how’s it going today, Dr. Justin?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Baris, it’s going great, and I’m actually really excited for this interview and going over–

Baris Harvey:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And going over some of the really key points in neurological health and how we can use it to help repair from injuries, recover from injuries, and just perform better at our daily lives.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely, so we do have Dr. Andrew Hill on the phone call today.  How’s it going?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Great, gentlemen, Justin and Baris, nice to be here.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Thanks for having me.

Baris Harvey:  Very well.  So, one of the–and so you have like this giant bio and I–I don’t wanna mess it up like you–you’re doing some awesome–because you’re–you’re the lead neuroscientist at the company, truBrain, but you also–you–you received you PhD in cognitive neuroscience from UCLA and you also teach courses there, right?  Like to just–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I do, yeah.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, everybody a brief like–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sure.

Baris Harvey:  A quick, yeah, exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So I’m a sort of a geek brain health guy.

Baris Harvey:  Yes.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I–I operate in that space across many different sort of activities.  As you mentioned I’m the lead neuroscientists for truBrain.  truBrain has developed a couple of products that blend different nutraceuticals, nootropics, brain health promoting supplements together.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I’ve helped them architect their blends as well as doing research on the products we develop to sort of see what effects we can validate it and that’s more of a sort of consumer product if you will.  I also teach at UCLA, courses on psychology, neuroscience, gerontology, and then I run a–the Alternatives Brain Institute.  I’m the director of the Neurocognitive Services in Beverly Hills and then that’s a peak brain training center that does lots of things but in–now broadly speaking it helps you get the best brain you can get and that might mean–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Helping you train away the ADHD or the depression and the anxiety or you know whatever else is going on in your brain.  So we sort of do individualized evidence-based brain training where we assess what challenges you’re experiencing and then help you resolve them using sort of high-tech biofeedback and mindfulness.  You know, high and low teach sort of approaches at the same time.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, it’s funny that you mention the–the high and low tech at the same time.  I don’t know if the listeners notice like how–how giddy I was because I–I was rushing to travel to get back home but also I was so excited to get on this interview like I was–I was like missing my words.  I was oh–so right as you were speaking, I–I took a deep breath in just in to relax real quick, like “Okay, I know–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  You’re excited to talk about all these you know, brain geekery stuff,” but yeah, just like you mentioned, there are some–some low–low-tech techniques, too, but there’s also, you know, the really high end stuff that you can do to kind of get yourself to that place a lot quicker, right?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, certainly.  You know, using biofeedback or you know, specifically neurofeedback which is–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:   Simply biofeedback done on the central nervous system, you can make very rapid changes to stress level, attention level, sleep regulation, all kinds of things.  You know, many of these same changes can be achieved using meditation and mindfulness as a practice over you know many weeks or months, but the biofeedback process is very rapid.  You know, within a handful of training sessions, people experience shifts and you can produce, you know, improvements in attention, sleep, stress level very quickly, and with–within literally a few sessions of training often.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Definitely.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s very cool and Andrew, this is Dr. Justin here talking as well, and again just pre-interview everyone, we just found out Dr. Andrew and I went to U-Mass, fellow alum together so that was kinda something that was very a–very much in common that kinda shocked me a little bit.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  That’s right, now I don’t wonder why it sounds like we have that Massachusetts’ accent so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  We both escaped it.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yup, yeah, exactly.  It comes out from time to time but no doubt in that.  And one thing that was really–let’s say I’m on your sites right now.  I’m looking at some different things that you’re doing and I was actually doing some research because I live in Austin and I have a clinic here in Austin as well, and I was looking for–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I was looking for various biofeedback and EEG devices and you know, friendly with Dave Asprey and he’s a big fan of this program called 40 Years of Zen.  I think Dr. Hardt puts it on.  It’s called alpha brain as well.  And it sounds like some of the biofeedback that you’re doing is in the same–same realm.  Are you familiar with the 40 Years of Zen?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I’m–I’m, I know the program.  I believe Dave Asprey flogs the neuro optimal system, which–

Baris Harvey:  Oh yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Is actually my least favorite of any possible option out there.  It’s the most expensive and it’s the most proprietary.  So I–I tend to think that, you know.  In the field of biofeedback on the brain, you know, neurofeedback–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Technology is proliferating–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Dramatically and when, you know, I got involved in the field about 15 years ago, you know, it cost at least $10,000 to get set up and we were doing individual, you know, one or two channels on the scalp of training–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And nowadays that there, you know, both lower cost systems you get into it for much less–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Expense but there’s also sort of the other end, you know, where there’s this elaboration technology where you can buy incredibly complicated high-end system supposedly, but no one really knows that the–that they work any better than the simple one or two channel EEG trainings we we’re doing.  And so there’s this rush to sort of com–city in the field that I think is a little bit unnecessary.  One thing that we do here at Alternatives that I do a lot for the research for truBrain is what’s called a qEEG, a Quantitative EEG.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And that’s sort like, you know, Justin or Baris, you guys sat down and wanted a brain map, I would have you sit with your eyes closed for several minutes and then your eyes open for several minutes and I would take that sort of resting baseline data and compare it to a normative database that has thousands of brains in it and out of that, we would get a statistical sort of map about how your brain differs from typical–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  From average and a whole bunch of different waves and then based on what statistical sort of unusual pattern showed up, we would start narrowing down, you know, what physiology was driving things you care about.  You know, disrupted sleeper or stress level–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Or inability to sustain attention or whatever it is you, you know, you would wanna focus on improving will show up as a statistically unusual, if you will, pattern in these brain maps.  And that does a few things.  It keeps the biofeedback process evidence-based. You know, we’re training based on your brain, not based on some–some arbitrary heuristic or clinical lore.  And that’s one thing that I think is very critical is–is keeping it evidence-based, always going back to literature, always going back to what brain patterns the person is demonstrating, and making your decision about what needs to be changed based on–on that.  Now, the literature has not yet caught up with biofeedback–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  All that well, I mean, we can do all kinds of things to the brain in the clinic that are powerful and provide–there’s only a few things that have been well-validated in the research literature for biofeedback.  One is ADHD.  One is seizures.  One is migraines.  These things all appear to be very tractable.  In fact, for things like attention management or ADHD when it’s bad–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It looks like for the most part you can eliminate symptoms in 20 to 30 training sessions in most people, you know, about 90% of people, and the effects you get are largely permanent.  So you can take this, you know, some are hyperactive, they’re really distractible, or has a really hard time sustaining attention as they get tired in the afternoon and sort of fine tune the resources, build more strength, build more attending if you will–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Add some inhibitory tone and very quickly within a few weeks you can take somebody with dramatically dysregulated attention and help them, you know, get more control over which mode they sit in, a sustained attention mode or a focus mode.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And literature is very robust now for attention management.  There’s been plenty of double-blind placebo-controlled studies done.  In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics which releases sort of, you know, state of the treatment reports every couple of years, they moved biofeedback up to what they call level 1 best support in 2012 for ADHD and the only other thing at that level is–is psychostimulants, you know, Ritalins and Adderalls, and things.  So they now consider neurofeedback or biofeedback a frontline intervention if you will and for other things, you know, the literature is very, very intriguing about what it can do to the brain and this is not simply cognitive health.  A colleague of mine in Torrance, California, Gary Schumer published a paper last year on some research he did about 20 years ago looking at HIV positive individuals and showed that doing some relaxation work and biofeedback could raise the T-cells, the CD4 cells–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Back up to–back up to typical levels, you know, average levels and these were, you know, HIV–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Positive men with fairly profoundly impaired T-cell counts and this was sort of before the antiretrovirals hit the market.  So these were guys who were coming in essentially living under a death sentence, you know, 20 years ago and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Many of them, I mean the statistics are fairly beautiful in the paper and it is a published article now showing that with this alpha training, relaxation training, you can really bring the T-cell counts back up, and so it works for all kinds of things.  Attention management, sleep management, immune status, you know, PTSD, OCD, major depression and anxiety, and these are all, you know, from my perspective–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Viewed a little bit as sort of regulatory issues.  I mean, I don’t think of ADHD as a problem with, you know, as an illness or a disease–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I think it is a tuning problem, you know, and some of this is informed by my perspective as a neuroscientist, as an educator, I tend to teach Psychology and Neuroscience from the perspective that everything that we have going on between our ears is largely a–an evolutionarily valid–like there’s a reason that we developed these things, the, you know, evolution is very costly and developing certain resources or abilities, it was usually done because of the pressures in the environment not because it was just some random thing.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And you know, attention in that metaphor we needed people who could sit and weed and really pay attention to the small plants in front of them and we also need people who could scan the environment and–and notice the tiger or notice the small, you know, red berry that was hard to spot.  So we need people or we evolve, I–I believe, to develop sort of human brains that have abilities to sustain attention as well as ability to sort of scan the environment and notice everything that’s novel, everything that’s, you know, dangerous or interesting.  Nowadays in a modern, if you will, society we only really were reward the type of brain that can sustain their attention, sort of the cubicle mode as it were.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And we don’t reward the person who can process everything in sight and, you know, gets pulled off by every interesting idea or interesting thing in the environment.  But it’s not a very dramatic different brain ultimately speaking, you know, every–even the most distractible person in the world has moments where they can sit and sustain.  So you’re not unable to sustain, in fact, I would argue that, you know, frankly speaking ADHD, you know, the deficit of attention is not really deficit in the amount of attention.  It’s sort of a truism that the average ADHD teenager can sit and play video games all day long.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  So it depends on what–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And that’s attending, that’s to stay in detention, you know.  It’s highly stimulating and they’re very motivated but you know, you have a kid who can sit and play video games 7 hours straight, it’s a little hard to conceptualize that as a deficit of attention.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Of resources.  It’s more about control of those resources.  So a lot of what we’re doing is giving you more control about which mode you sit in.  Oh, it’s important to stay attentive now at this classroom or to not interrupt my colleague in this business meeting.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so we add a little more sort of, you know, control, inhibitory tone, and that mostly gives people just a little more ability to direct their your mind or thoughts, their attention.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And on that note, you mentioned certain biofeedback devices or EEG devices out there.  Some are overpriced, some aren’t.  Which one in your opinion would be like, you know, one of the best units that could buy as like a lay person or maybe even a professional–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  To get the benefit.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So–so for a home consumer or a power user, I mean this stuff isn’t trivial to use but it’s also not, you know, it’s not rocket surgery.  It’s–it’s a–

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

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You can stick wires to heads and measure brain waves, it’s–that’s not the hard part.  Knowing what to train, you know, what frequencies you want more of or less of, or where of the head you want to train is actually not trivial and you know, I do recommend folks that wanna home train to sort of take an approach where they, you know, find a professional, get a brain map, a qEEG to get a starting place, figure out–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  What brain you’re really working with and get some candidate protocols from that, you know, clinician and then in terms of low-cost, there’s really only one game in town for low-cost hardware–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  That actually works.   I mean, this–there’s many, many more things out there recently that are being–flooding the market.  All these forehead dry sensors, all these headbands and things.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And unfortunately, none of those things actually work in my experience.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, the dry electro–or the forehead sensors–A, the forehead’s the wrong place to measure almost always for biofeedback into the regular quality signals in these very cheap sensors, so–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  There’s a company out of Australia, oddly enough–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Called Pocket Neurobics.  N-E-U-R-O-B–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Pocket Neurobics.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Pocket Neurobics, yeah.  And it’s a small wonderful little company that makes interesting devices, interesting EEG devices and EEG–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Dot com

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  For everyone listening.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yup, exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Cool.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And he actually sells kits in–and call this build your own, BYO kits.  And he sells 2-channel EEG devices, 4-channel EEG devices, HEG which is infrared blood training, blood flow dynamics and things, but I think he has a device currently called the Uwiz, which is his lowest cost device, add some electrodes, add a copy of BioExplorer which is a software to process this stuff and you can probably get yourself up and running for, I don’t know, like $1300, $1400.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That’s great.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Is about where it starts to come in and this is all PC-based software, too.  So you need a decent Mac–PC, not a Mac unfortunately.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.  And I–I know, Baris is itching to ask some questions.  I just wanna–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Get your take on–I’m a patient, right?  I’m coming in.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Let’s say I have anxiety or ADHD.  How does this work?  So I–I–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Sit down in a chair and–what’s role as the doctor?  What’s my role?  How does this work?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, you can almost think of me as sort of like a coach or a personal trainer, but I’m a personal trainer in a–in a realm where nobody may have ever seen the muscles you’re trying to work on, you know.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Or the–the training gear you’re working on has to be completely built anew for every person’s specifics, you know, gains they wanna make.  So let’s say you have–you walk in, you say, I mean a very common cluster, if you will, of symptoms is “I get too anxious, I got some ADHD or distractibility, I’m not sleeping great.”  You know, those–those three things are often–come together.  And I would say, “Okay, great, let’s see.  Before you tell me too much about yourself, I don’t wanna get biased, we’ll look at your brain.”  So before we even really talk, you know, let’s–let’s do an assessment and I would sit you down, do qEEG, develop these maps, these patterns of activity that are statistically unusual, and then we’ll sit down and I’ll say, “Okay, look, this pattern here can mean hyperactivity or impulsivity, is that true for you?  I mean, do you have that experience?  This one here can mean hypervigilance.  This one here can mean a reactive mind.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  “This one here can mean some experience of rumination.”

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  “This one here looks like sleep onset issues.  This one here looks like sleep maintenance issues.”  And we sort of figure out of the 9 or 10 patterns that show up, you know, which ones are valid from your perspective, you know, subjectively.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And usually the reason I don’t do a–a large clinical history before talking about the results with a client is because I want to be biased and it’s also kinda impressive to sort of do a cold read on their brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And describe them mostly accurately, I mean, of–of the 9 or 10 things that I’ll find, usually they’re almost all–some of the client goes, “Yeah, how’d you know?”  And so once we figure out the–the big outliers in their brain statistically, what they really wanna be working on, what their goals are, then folks come in, sometime between twice a week and five times a week.  So let’s say, you came in, Justin, sit down.  I say, “Hey, how have things been? How’s your sleep, your stress level, your attention? Okay, great.”  Put a couple of clips on your ears, put one electrode on your head, maybe two, and then you’ll sit and watch a video game.  And whenever your brain is sort of trending in the right direction, the game will run and whenever your brain is trending in the wrong direction, the game stops running.  What I mean by trending is we’re making all these different brain waves.  Things called alpha, beta, delta, gamma, theta–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Theta, but we’re not making them as some static amount, you know, we’re not making X amount of theta all the time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  We are making all of our brain waves all of the time.  People sometimes don’t–don’t know this when I start explaining the brainwave EEG landscape.  You know, delta we’re making a lot of when we’re deeply asleep and not dreaming.  Slow wave sleep is delta

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  We’re just not making other waves, even when you’re deeply asleep, and when you’re awake, you’re making all of the waves in various amounts moment to moment.  And so simply you sort of set up a measurement threshold and when the things you want to drop drift down, you make the game, you know, a Pacman eats dots or a spaceship, you know, flies to the sky or something happens.  And whatever your brain naturally normally drifts in the wrong the wrong direction, let’s say, you know your slow brain waves, your theta goes up, I make the Pacman stop.  And the next moment it drifts down, then the Pacman starts eating dots again. And then it goes up, then the Pacman stops.  And over, you know, half an hour of training, the–the session length, you might have a few hundred of those events of stopping and starting rewards or things happening on the screen or for audio events, and after a few sessions, usually 3, 4, 5 sessions in, you start experiencing some subjective shift, you know, they’re very–it’s very subtle.  We aren’t zapping the brain.  We’re simply applauding or withholding our applaud, if you will.

Baris Harvey:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Applause.  For–for changes in the right direction and after several sessions, the brain is starting to go, “Hey, wait a minute.  I want input so I’m gonna start making, you know, more of this brain wave and less of this brain wave because that makes the game run a little more smoothly.”  And we start getting different experiences, either the beta drops, you get get more crystally attentive.  As your, you know, midline beta drops, you sleep better.  As your posterior eyes closed beta drops, you are less anxious, less hypervigilant.  And so we just kind of, you know, figure out a game plan based on what we see in your brain maps and what your experience is of having a brain and then from there we just slowly iterate and fine tune and, you know, it’s like going to the gym or physical therapist.  Most of my clients do about 30 sessions to stop–to start, and that’s, you know, between about 6 and you know, maybe 16 weeks after the whole training session and many clients at that point have made enough changes in their brain that they’re done.  You know, especially for things like attention, sleep, anxiety, the changes are–are largely permanent.  It’s where you make a change and the brain is now always sort of practicing its new mode, so there’s no real need to go back and train more for many people.  If there’s–if there’s an active disease process, you know, schizophrenia, HIV positive status, something that’s keeping things sort of awry, Alzheimer’s, you might make really good changes in someone’s experience but stopping training will often cause sort of a, you know, a wearing off of the effect.  But for things where it’s not an active disease process, you know, anxiety, ADHD–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Major depression, I would even call it a tuning issue versus a major disease.  All of these things seem to resolve pretty, you know, reliably, you know, I would say the range of sessions is probably between 30 and 100 across the various types of things we work with and you really can, for the most part, eliminate ADHD, moderate anxiety, sleep issues, or anything else that is sort of, you know, a moderate regulatory feature just by training a few times a week for a couple months.  So, you know, in terms of clinical and making massive tailored specific interventions that one person needs, you know, that’s what we do, it’s the–it’s the biofeedback.  And then of course, I also do a lot of alternative therapies and training folks to meditate and, you know, help them and stay in shape, meditation and mindfulness practices which also builds brain health pretty dramatically in some folks.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, that–that’s seems pretty awesome especially the fact like–like you mentioned when we started that the neurofeedback sessions can help get you to a certain prompt quicker.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  You–you mentioned, meditation and mindfulness can help and probably after these sessions, like if someone came in and might have–like for myself, if I’m–have mild ADHD and I come in there, I’m like saying, “You know what, I have a difficulty time–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  Trying to meditate.”  Right?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Right, absolutely.

Baris Harvey:  And either probably help me get there a lot quicker, and then now I can have that  practice and that can, you know, like you mentioned the 30 sessions sometimes for someone with–someone with ADHD, someone like that.  Maybe now for maintenance, all they need to do is have that–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Is meditate, yeah.

Baris Harvey:  Mindfulness practice, exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  For ADHD, I would say 20-30 is about average and in that time–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You can usually eliminate all or most of the ADHD.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  In a way that is largely permanent.  Across, you know, all presenting complaints, I say you’re talking between 20 sessions, you know, and then some things have been active disease process or active sort of, you know, more dysregulated brains, you might require more ongoing training.  But for the most part, it’s sort of a–an intervention that gets you back on track and you–you do it for a limited amount of time.  It’s not like therapy or, you know, anything else where you’re doing it for very, very long time.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-huh.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So I’m–it’s kind of odd, I work with–work with clients for, you know, 2, 3, 4, 5 months and then they go on and, you know, live with their new brain and then I often don’t see them again unless I pull them back in for assessments, you know, after the fact which I do sometimes but–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.  Yeah, definitely.  Because one of the things that I’ve always thought, as–as soon as I started to get into the–like the health when I–when I was younger, when I started getting into the health field–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  I noticed that they were always classified as disorders, not necessarily the diseases–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  And so it always made me think like well, we should be to–to change these and–and there should be certain things and of course, now we have the technology to–to do a lot of powerful things and you mentioned a–a home device.  What are some–alright, because I know, right now currently what usually happens to the people is we give them a type of molecule, a chemical, to–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  To change their behavior, a psychostimulant, but are there any–are there are any of that you think are safe or are there any exchanges that may be if someone has more mild, I know you work with truBrain and of course, it’s a supplement that I–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  That you recommend, but what are some of the–the alt–I guess it’s a load of questions, here’s 2 questions at the same time.  Are there some safe drugs out there and maybe certain people need them and if not or if so, what are they and what can they replace them with?  There you go.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.  I–I don’t think that most of the drugs used for attention management and they’re almost all psychostimulants or some sort–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I don’t believe that any of them are safe.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Because they mostly–A, I don’t believe that ADHD is–again, I’m not a medical doctor or psychologist, I’m a neuroscientist, my perspective–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  May not be, you know, necessarily the same as everyone else’s–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But I–I don’t believe that it’s–it’s a–it’s a disorder.  I don’t believe it needs to be medicated, you know, ADHD per se–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Except in the most extreme cases, you know, where it’s getting dramatically in the way of life.  But beyond that I think that, you know, you can do a lot with scaffolding, with building in some accommodations in life, task lists, and calendars and things like that.  I also think that teaching people a 20-minute a day meditation practice will actually do more to support their attention long-term than psychostimulants will do.  And those effects start showing up within a few weeks.  Now getting an ADHD kid to start meditating is, you know, a hard ask sometimes.  And so getting over that initial hump of, you know, not–not knowing how to do it or not sure you’re doing it properly is–is a very big deal.  But I would say that I don’t really think that there’s a lot of good drugs out there that support attention just like there’s no drugs out there that make you go to sleep.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, all the sleeping meds are not–actually sort of in this weird sedated state and then if you’re tired ideally your brain takes over with the sleep reflex then you go to sleep, but there’s no drug out there as far as I know still that actually causes sleep.  It just kind of drugs you up until you then, you know, fall asleep.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, I know.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And if you asleep, you actually never get into those deeper–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  REM, you know, stage 3, stage 4 sleep where you’re really repairing and healing the body.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Exactly, yeah.  I mean and we’ve discovered, there’s a study out last year that, you know, the brain is sort of washing itself with cerebrospinal fluid and all that–all the sort, you know, metabolic end products and toxins and things are being removed from the brain through this washing like a car wash at night and that only happens later on the second half of sleep.  You know, you need to sort of be in that deep slow wave sleep for that to really happen.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, it’s funny that you mentioned that because I remember–I think it was Dr. Kurt Parsley I think his name is–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, Parsley, yup.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, I remember he–he mentioned something very similar saying, you know, you would never, you know, see someone in a UFC fight get knocked out and say, “Oh, he’s asleep.”

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  You realize, you know, he’s knocked out here–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  And it’s the same thing with the drugs.  You don’t say, “Oh, that person’s asleep.”  It’s like, “No, there’s just unconscious.”

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, they’re sedated.  Exactly.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And–and to some extent if you flip the metaphor, the same is true for drugs that–that are “attention drugs”.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  They’re–they’re not really improving your control of attention.  They’re just ramping the gain up, so you have more sort of pressured attention.  You’re–you’re–you’re attending more.  But you don’t necessarily have more control and it’s not necessarily without consequence.  The psychostimulant class of drugs almost all have fairly significant side effects.  They suppress your appetite.  They’re habit-forming.  They–if you abuse them and a lot of teenagers and college students are abusing–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ah, yeah!

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Psychostimulants now, you know, high levels of psychostimulants leads to psychosis in some people.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And a lot of these medications, too, aren’t they just methamphetamines?  Your Strattera, your Adderall–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, well, the–the methylphenidate like Strattera and Ritalin are not methamphetamine.  They’re–they’re another molecule but Adderall has a molecule that’s very similar–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  To methamphetamine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s a very low dose and so yeah, these–these are doing all kinds of crazy things to the brain.  They’re mostly given to kids and adolescents and at least some of the drugs out there in this class seem to change developmental trajectories, make your brain grow less or less quickly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And many countries, the US doesn’t have this anymore but many countries, a lot of the psychostimulants carry what’s called a black box warning.  You know, Canada and the UK for instance, because kids suddenly fall over dead on psychostimulants.  The heart, you know, they have cardiac side effects and they have a heart attack and just–or the heart just stops working.  And so you know, there’s lots of side effects and anyone who’s tried a psychostimulant,  they don’t feel like you, you feel altered on them.  You’re–you’re pushed.  And that’s exactly the thing we’re trying to get rid of in ADHD.  It’s the feeling of being pushed, being out of control.  So I don’t–I don’t think that the–the psychostimulant class is very useful unless you are somebody who has massive, you know, sleep-wake issues, you know.  And then you’re probably better off with things that aren’t stimulants.  Things like modafinils and–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.  Provigil–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, narcolepsy drugs–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I–and by the way, just the record, I hate Provigil.  I hate modafinil.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Okay.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s used a lot in self-hacking, biohacking circles as–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  A nootropic.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I would argue it’s not a nootropic because it has side effects.  It’s not a nootropic because it has been very, very mild support for cognition and the–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Side effects are non-trivial. I am–personally got the side effects you get from modafinil, ended up in the hospital for a while with a head to toe–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow!

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Hives and my skin threatening to peel off, my lungs threatening to close up.  And this was taking it as prescribed, once a day for two weeks.  At the end of that time, I basically had a systemic histamine, you know, storm that cause major, major life–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Wow.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Threatening issues, and you know, not that common to have side effects on–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Modafinil–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But they happen and, therefore, you know, if you’re in this space of nootropics, which means, you know, cognitive support–supporting compounds, drugs, supplements, whatever, you know, the–the threshold for cost-benefit should be very high.  You–you should–you should only entertain the risk of side effects and drugs if you’re trying to fix a problem.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  If you’re trying to just help yourself be more, more attentive, sleep better, more stress, more learning, whatever it is, then you shouldn’t tolerate any side effects.  The risks are just not there for small incremental improvements long-term.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so I really encourage folks to think of this definition of nootropics or  brain compounds, one of the very important part of that definition is not having any side effects or having very, very low or manageable–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Side effects.  And psychostimulants don’t fall into that category, neither does Modafinil, neither does caffeine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know?  I’m a big fan of coffee.  I think there’s lots of things in coffee that really, really help the brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, I’m somebody who wakes up in the morning with too much blood in my caffeine stream.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And on that note, with the coffee,have you–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Have you tried the Bulletproof coffee where you’re adding the MCT and the butter in there, what’s your take–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  In that?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I tend to add grass-fed butter and coconut oil, a little bit of coconut oil–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Oh, great!

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I don’t–I don’t think there’s any need for refined MCT–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I think coconut oil is a fine version.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, I don’t–I don’t use Dave’s, his beans, his Bulletproof beans.  I’m not–not a big fan of them flavor-wise.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I also think that the mycotoxin reason for his beans is somewhat a manufactured issue.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I don’t think it’s a real issue in this country.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hmm.  Interesting.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so, I’m–I’m more about finding, you know, small batch, single origin–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, where–where I know where it’s coming from–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Where it’s a small number of steps between the grower and my cup that can go in for a big change–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And hopefully organic without the pesticides.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  They’re mostly gonna hurt your–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So I–so I–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Nervous system.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So I, you know, I have small roasters in LA that I work with or I have a couple up in Portland that I, you know, personally that send me coffee every so often and so I just make sure that my coffee is high quality.

Baris Harvey:  Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I’m not concerned about toxins and things, but yeah, I, you know, I–I drink way more coffee than is probably all that health–healthy.  But I keep a nootropic compound on hand to take the edge off the caffeine.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You’re–some of your listeners may know of a compound called L-theanine.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:   GABA which is a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea leaves.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And if you’re a tea drinker you’ve experienced this–this interesting combination of both calm and focus–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  At the same time.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And that’s a combination of caffeine and L-theanine, or the caffeine pushing up adenosine for the alertness–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And the L-theanine pushing up the GABA–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  GABA, right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so I keep some L-theanine, you know, at hand in a bottle so when I–when I overdo it and get up above a gram of caffeine that day–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I can sort of, you know, downregulate but we also put L-theanine in the truBrain blend for the same reason, sort of buffer the over arousal effects you get when you’re seeking high performance states sometimes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I’m looking at the ingredients for that right now and you have some really–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Good things in there.  Now in my experiences, I’ve used piracetam.  I–I do it with my coffee, MCT, and butter in the morning sometimes.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-huh.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  About 800 milligrams.  I’ve gotten good experience with that.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I’ve used aniracetam which is fat-soluble–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yup, that’s similar.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I noticed you have oxiracetam–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I haven’t heard too much of that.  Can you talk about these racetams?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Are they–are they an–an essential nutrient and–and what’s your take on it in general?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Well, they’re not essential nutrient.  That–that sort of means the body needs it–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But can’t manufacture it and these are really needed by the body per se.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But the–the racetam class in general which was first synthesized, I think in the early sixties or late fifties, were synthesized from GABA.  So GABA, the neurotransmitter–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Is the only universally calming or inhibitory neurotransmitter, all the rest sort of, you know, are excitatory, inhibitory depending on which circuit they’re in specifically–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But GABA is always is inhibitory, always making cells less likely to fire.  And–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  GABA has this sort of very characteristic structural ring called the pyrrolidine ring and all of the racetams have this ring structure kept intact and so initially they were synthesized from a natural compound, if you will, GABA.  Nowadays, of course, they’re synthesized and piracetam was the first one.  It’s has the best study.  It has the longest story, the safety, and such it really why we picked it for the truBrain 1.0.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Any racetam I experimented with, I mean, actually at the truBrain ingredients where sort of a personal experimentation path for many–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Many years before Chris Thomson and I came together to create truBrain the company and then you know, now–now there’s 20 or 30 people sort of always working, you know, everything from supply chain to research on–on new blends.  But–but way back when I was just still have self-experimentation and giving stuff to friends and family and any racetam I tried and any racetam has a very short window effect, like 90 minutes or less–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And it’s also anxiolytic, more calming than most of the racetams and for me it was too calming.  It made me feel almost blue, you know, almost like–like I had no energy.  So because it didn’t act very long because it was sort of little bit anxiolytic, too anxiolytic–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right, too calming.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  We–we, yeah, we–we, or piracetam initially, and then oxiracetam is a very similar compound in terms of effect to piracetam.  They’re probably the two racetams that are the most similar and the biggest difference is that oxiracetam tastes sweet–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  While piracetam tastes like battery acid.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Got it.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so when we–when we–substantiated truBrain as a drink, as a liquid format, which we call think drinks.  This little 1 oz tear off packets, the–the first iteration of the think drinks were piracetam-based and have a sort of, you know, energy drink flavor–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  The sort of bitter, weird, chemically flavor–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I was also drawing a hard line.  I–I did not want us to include artificial sweeteners.  I didn’t want us to include too much sugar and those are hard things to do with horrible tasting things and we managed to make an okay flavor even with piracetam.  And then in–in the truBrain formulations, we always have it sort of a day format, I’m gonna boost our turbo, it’s a little bit different for those extra long or you know, extra week–weekend days or something where you need a little extra boost.  And we made the–the boost flavor of the drinks oxiracetam-based and the flavor was actually good.  It actually tastes fairly palatable and so we’re switching over time over the next few weeks, all over the drinks of the think drink formats are gonna be oxiracetam-based because the flavor is just so much better.  It’s also a bit more soluble.  I think oxi is one of those ones that’s both fat and water-soluble and ani–aniracetam’s fat-soluble and piracetam is water-soluble.  So I think oxi gets us both of those.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Now regarding the oxiracetam, I don’t think there are many research studies like you mentioned as piracetam.  What’s your take on that and do you feel like it’s–if it was studied as much as piracetam you’d have the same kind of results?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I think you would because subjectively, it’s very, very similar and the molecules are very similar, too, you know, like–like some the–some of the racetams are little bit unusual in configuration and the effects are very different.  The best example is probably levetiracetam which has a brand name Keppra, and it’s actually an anticonvulsant, a seizure drug.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Ah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And it does not feel like taking piracetam or oxi or ani or per any racetam or–or anything else.  Those are all gently supporting attention.  We which think there’s a–an acetylcholine, you know, because of how it makes you feel checked in and visually–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sort of attending but Keppra or levetiracetam makes you sort of sedated.  It’s do–it’s doing what a–a seizure drug does to try to make the brain less likely to fire.  So similar molecules, same derivation but very different effects.  So we’re–we’re in the nootropics space operating in all these, you know, supporting compounds we think it’s gonna improve your cognition, your memory, your attention, your learning, but we still don’t 100% know and you know one other things that truBrain is trying to do that’s a little bit different I think for most, you know, supplement or nutraceutical companies–is we’re trying to–we–we can’t be a–a big farm.  We can’t drop ten million dollars on a, you know–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Clinical trial.  That’s just not the space for it.  We don’t have the money.  We’re still a startup, you know, 2 years in.  It’s still, you know, a little lean.  We–we don’t have vast, vast amounts of money to do huge amounts of research but what we can do is say, look, everything we’re putting in these blends has decades of safety and efficacy in the literature, so we’re making good choices for you.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sort of the–the curation play if you will and then secondarily we can actually do novel research on this blended compounds and sort of look at the actual brain effects that are being supported by truBrain and that’s the pace where we’re really sort of, you know, putting a stake in the ground to try to determine what the brain effects are of many of these nootropics.  So–

Baris Harvey:   You think that–that using something like a truBrain while–and of course, this would be something that you would have to test and be–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  Really save in doing so, but doing something like where we talked about the EEG and the–and the testing your brain and training it, could you think that this would enhance it by using–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, I do actually.

Baris Harvey:  Supplements by truBrain.  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, piracetam certainly.  I mean, some of the things in truBrain also have some neurotransmitter effects.  The tyrosine is a precursor for dopamine which is learning and salient–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Signal.  The choline in truBrain is a precursor for acetylcholine involved with memory attention.  Piracetam appears to work broadly and help cells be able to–sort of flexible and the mitochondria works better for more energy.  But in general it looks like it helps things work more piracetam per se.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, a lot of the work we have done with testing the blend, testing truBrain is looking at EEG effects of people’s brains on versus off truBrain–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I’ve done this, you know, with a little population of convenience, some interns.  We brought in–last year we brought in 25 stock traders from New York City and did a double-blind placebo-controlled version of on task activity.  They were doing training simulators and I’ve also done several case studies on individual people who, you know, took truBrain or did a baseline brain map and then took the truBrain for a few weeks then a baseline again.  And in all cases I’m seeing the same EEG changes.  There’s increases of fast alpha which is sort of a flow state rhythm and–as well as low beta which is sort of a visual attention and concentration and memory and things.  In the parietal and temporal lobes, so the areas involved with visualization and memory and drafting your attention are all slightly enhanced we think.  You know, it’s exciting to be doing this research with truBrain which is why I’m am working with the company because they–they do have this science first focus unlike, you know, any other supplement of the company that I’ve, you know, heard about.  But you know, it is still early on in spite of some these compounds having decades and decades of, you know, literature on their safety and efficacy.  You know, no big company has spent billions or millions determining how magnesium works in the brain per se.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, because they can’t make money on patenting magnesium.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So they don’t.  So, you know, I do feel that we’re–we’re adding some value to the space and our existing user base of truBrain subscribers, they’re getting the benefit of the stuff because we do iterate.  We do make subtle changes.  We improve ingredients, you know, so the folks who have been with us for the past 2 years have slowly been getting, you know, a better and better nootropic blend or stack as they, you know, continue to engage with our sort of cutting-edge blends.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That make sense and I was actually surprised to not see in their–I wanted to get your take on this–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  It’s the compound PQQ because I know that’s one of those mitochondrial enhancing, even mitochondrial repairing compounds.  What’s your take on PQQ?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  My take is it’s too new to know much about.

Baris Harvey: Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:   And then you have to understand with truBrain specifically, we–we have to really balance what we’re putting in it with efficacy and dosages.  I mean, we couldn’t put a gram of every high end compound in there because that would either be–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Expensive.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  A double handle of fifty pills you wouldn’t wanna swallow–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Or too expensive.  And so the way most supplement companies finesse this is they put tiny, tiny, tiny amounts of buzzword compliant ingredients in the blend and then they hide the amount behind the word that says proprietary blends.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I know.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I was very anti–I mean, in–in–in the supplement world that’s called fairy dusting like, you know, Tinkerbell flying by and dusting your buttock.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I–I made sure that–that was not our approach.  We’ve worked really hard so that the anti-snake oil, and that’s a very snake-oily thing to do.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, it–because oftentimes–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so–

Baris Harvey:  You’re–you’re taking in a bunch of like rice flour.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah exactly or–or little, little tiny amounts but without knowing how much it is, you think you’re getting, you know, what’s–what’s a useful amounts of stuff–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Not therapeutic.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s not therapeutic and truBrain, you know, capsule format definitely in some of the liquids, too, had to decide, well, you know, what are the ingredients and how much of each.  And I only have, you know, 7 or 8 ingredients in the product because of that.  Because to get enough of the racetams, enough magnesium, tyrosine and theanine, carnitine, you know, and other things.  We had to only have a handful of ingredients.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  So I–so it was it–that was very much a strategic decision not to make every single, you know, interesting compound be part of our–our blend just because it was in the news or just because it, you know, one biohacker had been flogging it, you know, more aggressively than other.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And looking at here, I mean, I–I understand a lot of the nutrients there.  We have carnitine which is bringing fat to the mitochondria.  We have theanine that’s–that’s upregulating GABA.  What are the–the main, just to put it in layman’s terms so everyone gets it like with the truBrain, this product here we’re look–we’re talking about.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What’s the main mechanism?  Is it more neurotransmitter?  Is it more mitochondrial?  What’s happening?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s–it’s a mix.  It’s a mix.  I’ve really–I mean one other things you’ll find if you dig into the nootropics space, all these self-hackers, there’s a lot of fairly broad variability in how people seem to respond to the racetams.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so I did a lot of, you know, head-scratching and digging into the research and tried to figure out why that might be.  And the sort of heavy lifters if you will in truBrain are really the racetams, you know, piracetam or oxiracetam–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And the choline source, which is either CDP choline or alpha GPC.  And that’s the one-two punch of a good nootropic stack to start for most people.  But then everything else is modifiers if you will to sort of make those work better, or–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  To sort of support other ancillary issues in attending and to–through them tyrosine helps bring up dopamine–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So you feel like you’re more attending.  CDP choline not only helps with acetylcholine but helps the cell membrane build phosphatidylcholine so it’s really helping the membrane health.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Piracetam makes cell membranes much more fluid and flexible so signaling goes up.  Both magnesium and–and–and theanine are there to buffer the high end, the over arouse that you might get when you’re slamming down too much caffeine, you’re stressed out–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Because you’re, you know, you have too many balls in the air.  The carnitine again for mitochondrial health–you said.  And then DHEA in the–in the capsules, you know, fish oil initially was the product of DHEA.  Now we’re using an algae form so it’s a vegan-friendly form of DHEA.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  That’s just Omega 3 fatty acids and, you know, we–we cut out the middleman or the middlefish in this case.  We’re getting DHEA from algae, I mean, if you wanna get it from fish oil, fish get it from krill, and krill get it from algae.  So you’re just eating, sort of 3 steps up the food chain when you’re getting DHEA from fish.  And to avoid the mercury and also the environmental impact of fishing, and you know, the–the issues we have with deep sea water fatty fishes these days, we decided for many reasons to go after an algae form in the product.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So, you know, it–it’s only 8 things in the capsules and, you know, 7 in the liquids because we didn’t include the Omega 3s in the liquid for shelf–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Stability reasons.  But we think that if you had to pick a starting place to get into this space and you do any research at all and you realize, okay, there’s all kinds of strange strings of letters and numbers and research chemicals and lots of conflicting information out there and not everything’s safes, not everything is truly a nootropic, you know, there’s a lot of drugs and other weird compounds out there.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, this is–this is the good starting place, is really our goal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And looking at this, if you’re gonna combine it in with diet.  So, you know, we have–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Supplements.  Supplements aren’t replacements.  They aren’t there to replace a great diet and lifestyle.  So let’s say, we have this and we have a good diet on board.  What does that good diet look?  Is there good amounts of fat in there?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yes.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Proteins?  Can you-can you go over–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  How that looks on a–on a practical standpoint?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I would say the broad strokes are decrease or eliminate sugars–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  In your diet, especially starches and grains are among the worst thing you can do as a human.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Totally agree.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, I–I would say no grains, no starches, and no fruit sugars.  Maybe only get your starches from vegetable formats–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, it’s a safe way to get–to get starches coming from veggies.  And I don’t mean potatoes and corn, I mean, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Vegetables.  But otherwise, you know, it’s about getting enough fat.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  High-quality fats and enough Omega 3 fats and minimize Omega 6 fats, and beyond that, you’re fine.  I mean, you’re gonna get enough protein if you’re eating sufficient fat.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:   But I would say fat is the–is this essential nutrient.  If you don’t eat carbohydrates, you have no problem.  Your body adjusts to it.  If you don’t eat fats, you die.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And it sounds like your approach, Dr. Andrew, is you’re really going more to a ketogenic type of approach, is that correct?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sort of.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Sort of?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I would call it sort of, you know, it’s primal or Paleo or keto–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But I don’t think you actually need to be in ketogenesis to reap all the benefits.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I just think you need to avoid spiking your blood sugar.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so I tell folks when they ask for specific numbers.  Okay, I don’t have any more than 20 grams of carbohydrates at any one sitting and keep your overall carbohydrates to about 75 grams a day, and if you’re an athlete to about a hundred or a little more a day.  But basically don’t spike your blood sugar ever and that keeps the insulin system sensitive and signaling, and then you don’t really have to worry about all of the inflammation issues, all the oxidation issues, all the insulinogenic problems that come.  I mean, a lot of the diseases of aging are insulinogenic.  You know, cancer, diabetes.  These things can all be sort of managed by managing high-quality fats and keeping sugars out of your, you know, system and this is true of not even the–the, you know, the big ones like cancer and diabetes, but there’s at least some evidence Alzheimer’s is mediated by blood sugar issues in the brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Really.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  A type 3 diabetes if you will.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yes.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so, you know, it’s really, really critical to, in my opinion, avoid spiking your blood sugar and get enough–enough high-quality fuel sources that really means fat.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I would say, you know, if you’re concerned about the quality of your fats and it’s too much to think about to do this kind of diet, then simply draw a hard line on carbohydrates and in the absence of any excess sugar, even low-quality fats won’t do that much damage, you know?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You could probably be eating highly saturated fats, nothing but bacon all day long and if you had no sugar coming in, I don’t think you would cause any issues with like, you know, heart or–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Anything else, or even cholesterol.  I–I think it’s really the sugar that’s that, you know.  In the 70s, we–we vilified fat.  Everything became, you know, low-fat diets–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  From that point and if you plot the low-fat diet incidents in this country and the incidence in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and other problems like that, the curve overlap perfectly just about, so it was essentially a poor marketing message that got into public minds by a couple of, you know, poor doctors in the 70s and 80s and we’ve been paying for it ever since.  I mean, I think the cost of–on Western health has been in the billions because we’ve been avoiding fat.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I think we made the wrong, you know, it was the wrong choice.  It was the wrong villain to paint and we would–we should have really pointed at sugar as–as the culprit and now we’re just starting to correct that, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next 10-20 years we see a big drop in the metabolic syndrome that Westerners tend to have, so–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, definitely.  So we–we went over like some of the training modalities, some of the chemical substances you can use such as the truBrain that you guys offer and know there’s some other things that the diet–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  I know that one thing that we talked about before was possible recovering from–from different disorders.  But what about brain injury?  So for example, I play college football.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  I get hit in the head way too often.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  It’s probably not making me any better–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s not, yeah.  It’s not good for you.

Baris Harvey:  I’m pretty–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Just–just laying it out there.

Baris Harvey:  I’m pretty sure just–just, if I grab the computer and shook it around, it probably wouldn’t fix things.  Things can probably can go wrong.  You–you have people that go in there and receive benefits, can you re-wire it, could you fix the problems that are caused by some of these–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I have worked–

Baris Harvey:  brain injuries?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  With–I have worked with traumatic head injuries before, close head injuries and things, you can make changes in biofeedback and neurofeedback, absolutely.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s a longer road, you know.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Your–your–it’s not 20 sessions and you’re done.  It’s more like like, you know, 60, 100, 120 and you’re working on the individual things like the fatigue that shows up in the afternoon and some of the, you know, maybe if it’s–if it’s frontal damage and the executive function stuff.  It’s a little bit more of a slog through sort of dysregulated tissue and you have to work a little harder, you know, more sessions, longer, but yes, you absolutely can make pretty big changes in brains that have received some injury, but just for you, let me–let me give you some advice here.  In terms of the concussions or getting your–your bell rung–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Upon playing sports.  Getting a concussion, a mild concussion, or you know, having a mild injury like that, it’s not the worst thing in the world the first time.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  The danger comes from the next one.  You really need–because this is–there’s sort of inflammatory cascade in the brain and everything gets sort of, you know, inflamed and swollen and the damage that can then be caused is greater.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so, I forget–I forget the number of weeks is but I think it’s like 4 or 5 weeks after a–a concussion, that’s the danger window.  It’s at least 3 weeks long.  So, really–

Baris Harvey:  Wow.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  After getting even a mild concussion–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You should not expose yourself to risk of impact for another few weeks.

Baris Harvey:  It’s funny because the concussion protocol, really if you have a concussion that they often do in sports especially football–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  Because I’ve had team mates that have concussions, and you’re supposed to sit out for at least 1 week but then of course next week you’re totally fine.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Right.

Baris Harvey:  And–and so–so that–that’s a scary thing.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But your brain is still swollen–

Baris Harvey:  Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And that hit you get in practice 2 weeks later–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  That doesn’t like concussion, just did more damage than–than the concussion did, one that did you received.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, it’s almost like, like breaking–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And that–I mean, this is long-term major, major, major damage if you’re a sports person, you know–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  If you’re a fall guy receiving hits, you know, twice a week for many years.  You are going to be impaired–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  In 20 years significantly and you’re probably gonna have some very, very major drawbacks.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And I think that’s a really–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  If you receive–uh-hmm?

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, I think that’s a really important thing that I wanna just highlight there, Doc.  I think that we’re seeing a silent epidemic with a lot of these contact sports with football and I want you to comment–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  This in a sec that, you know, people out there, league officials are saying, “Hey, it’s not a big deal,” but these–these guys, they’re–they’re bigger, they’re faster, they’re stronger, they’re hitting–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Each other harder, and we have to remember, people listening about half of your brain are immune cells.  These microglia cells–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That when you get turned on, it’s very hard to turn them off.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  So I want you to touch upon the–the microglia, the immune cells and also about this–the epidemic of these athletes and the head injuries.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Can you talk about that?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Well, I mean, it’s really–it’s–it’s–it’s true, it’s real.  There is an epidemic of teen athletes who then end up sort of impaired in college and–and, you know, professional athlete who are then impaired in later life.  I would say the NFL is very aware of this.  Yes, coaches have been saying, “Not a big deal.  Not a big deal.”  But for the past few years, there have been studies showing that. “Okay, actually it’s a big deal.”  The NFL has a, you know, business incentives to not recognize it as a big deal.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Absolutely.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And in fact there’s this organization that sort of helps players sue for money–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  When they’ve been injured and I believe, I–there’s a–there’s a football player whose name escapes me who actually is an adviser to a brand new neurofeedback company that does some really nice, you know, technology and I–he was giving a talk at the big neurofeedback conference called ISNR this last fall and he said, “Okay, look.  In the NFL when a player sues, the NFL organization just delays, delays, delays, delays, and the strategy of delaying for years until the person dies.”  Because these guys with head injuries die young.  You know, die at 45 and 50 and 60, not 80.  And so there’s been a strategy and how.  It’s just simply delaying those legal battles until the person dies.  And you know, I–I would–I would argue that the NFL is–is being forced to face the massive epidemic of head injuries and this is being discussed, you know, at–at high school sports levels, too.  They’re talking about maybe making college a–a touch or flag sport at the-at the high school level or even college level.  So I think they we’re becoming more and more aware of what’s happening with repetitive head injury like that, but I don’t think it’s yet, like you said, yet fully gotten into the, you know, acceptance because if a person gets a concussion playing football, they should set out for a few weeks and that’s not happening, right?  So–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And also the conventional responses, “Oh, put on some sunglasses and sit in the dark.”  Where it’s like, “Hey, like, maybe we can do some high dose, you know, nutrients to help attenuate the inflammation?  Maybe we can add in some curcumin or some turmeric or some fish oil.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yup.  Yeah, very possibly.  Very possibly.  I mean, of course, we’re now in the medical space but there’s lots of things that are anti-inflammatory.  There’s lots of things that can be done.  And I think in general when you talk about the brain, when you finally deal with an issue, you nee to, you know, be aware of the idea that the more interventions you bring in, generally the faster changes happen.  So there should be a diet intervention and a neurofeedback intervention and anti-inflammatories, and and maybe specific drugs to shut down the inflammatory cytokines and post-concussion states.  So, you know, many things are often useful to bring to bay are not simply, you know, monotherapy is when talking about the brain.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Definitely.  It–it’s funny because if Ali were to–to break their leg, you went in just like, “Okay, you’re–you’re about good, run on it, and then, you know, jump on it again.”

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  And all of a sudden, yeah. And then the second time comes around it’s much, much worse or it’s very sensitive but because we can’t directly see it–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  We can’t see it.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right, exactly.

Baris Harvey:  People push it under the rug.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And this is also why we don’t, you know, treat people have mental illnesses very positively.  “Oh, you know, you’re depressed, get over it.”

Baris Harvey:  Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Well, if you have a broken arm–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You wouldn’t get over it, it would be like, “Hey, let’s take care of you.”  But in terms of, you know, dramatic ADHD or anxiety or PTSD or depression or even just mild, “I’m having a day.”  You know, there’s this lack of understanding that there’s real physiology behind that and that you can do things and, you know, just like you have oral hygiene, brush and floss your teeth.  You kinda need mental hygiene.  You kinda need to be developing a meditation practice or, you know, other, you know, kinds of things to keep your brain health up, so to speak.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  I think what you just hit there, doc, but–with the meditation.  So we get people at home that get a little bit confused with how to meditate or what the best way is.  There’s a cool app–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Out there called Headspace which kinda really makes meditation really simple for people.  Check that out on the–at the iTunes store.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sure.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  What’s your–what’s your take on meditation?  Like Meditation 101, t his is my first time doing it–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yup.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  How do I do it?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Okay, so yeah, meditation, you know, what it’s not is getting to a mind to a blank state.  Folks often think that, “Oh, you know, meditation, it’s about being blank-minded, about having no thoughts.”  It’s not the goal nor is it the practice.  It’s true that as you learn to do it and become better at meditating, your mind does become a little more spacious, but the practice of meditation is actually attention-training and by that I mean you pick some object, some–something static like the sensation on your upper lip as your breath passes it or your belly rising and falling with your breath or so–a spot of color in the wall or the sound of, I don’t know, car passing by out the window.  Whatever it is, you pick some stimulus and you hold your attention on it.  So I would–I would say as a definition that attention is paying attention–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Sorry, I would say as a definition mindfulness is paying attention in a specific way to the present moment on purpose and operationally, the active meditation mindfulness is simply picking something to focus on and focusing on it, holding it in your attention and then when you notice that you’ve gotten distracted, you know, you have a mind, so it starts to fantasize or dream or wish or want, whenever you notice you’ve drifted away from your focus as in the meditation object, you put down the distraction and bring your attention back to that object and–and that is simply the rep of meditation is, “Oh, I’ve gotten distracted, back to the object, back to watching my breath or back to watching, you know, a spot of color or thinking of a sound or something.”  It doesn’t really matter what the object is per se, and if you think about sort of classic forms of meditation, historical forms, then you can kinda correlate or, you know, a translate modern versus ancient techniques and they’re all just attention-training.  So focusing on the present time, sort of like a fluid, you know, watching the breath rise and fall.  That’s just present time awareness or Vipassana classically.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Also known as insight meditation.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Samatha which is single point awareness, would pick a more–a very narrow focus, and where Vipassana is helping you train up the flexibility of your attention.  Samatha or single point awareness helping you train the stability, the–the precision, the focus aspect of your attention.  Now the classic technique called Metta is loving-kindness and that’s about picking a feeling tone, an emotional state that you’re focusing on.  But in all of these cases, you’re really just sort of training your, you know, stability, flexibility, concentration of your attending resources and getting more control over what is normally for many people more of a reactive process internally and making yourself, you know, the–the phrase I use is more intention, less momentum–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Internally.  But it’s not getting your mind to a blank state.  That comes a little bit as you learn to do it but the rep, the practice is attending, noticing when you’ve distracted and then re-attending.  It’s not as you have to sit in, you know, an ashram for 6 months at a time to get the benefits here.  20 minutes a day is probably sufficient to reap the vast majority of benefits that are showing up in the literature for–for meditation, and those benefits start to show up within a few weeks.  So, you know, 15-20 minutes a morning, in a few weeks you’re gonna have a different brain.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And when you do it, doc, are you just sitting there and breathing and just focusing on the breath or–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, when I do, I am–and the way that I often teach, and if folks go to the Alternatives Brain Institute website, I have a cheat sheet on there with this instruction.  But what I do is I set a timer for 20 minutes.  It plays three bells at the beginning and the end, and one bell at five minutes and I sit upright with my back unsupported, so nice and balanced, I’m not gonna fall sleep or anything, and I watch a very narrow sensation of breath crossing my upper lip.  I don’t follow the sensation into the body.  I simply feel breath tickling the little hairs in the upper lip, you know, and watch that very narrow, very precise point, and I do that for about 5 minutes, and then the single bell rings.  When that bell rings I switch my attention to a more open focus of Vipassana where I’m watching the rise and fall of the belly.  And what I often do for the belly or for Vipassana is I’ll sort of breathe in, breathe out, and then count that cycle one.  And then again, holding my attention on the sensation of breathing, I breathe in, I breathe out, two.  And I continue that as long as I haven’t gotten distracted but the moment I notice I’m, you know, dreaming, wishing, planning, fantasizing, getting hungry, whatever it is, I go, “Oops,” I put down the distraction, go back to the breath and I start my count over again.  And it’s rare that I can get to 10 by the end of about, you know, 20 minutes of meditation.  So, it’s–it’s work, you know, it’s–it’s effortful control of the attention, that’s really what I’m trying to accomplish, not getting to any particular state.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That makes a lot of sense.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  That makes a lot of sense.  Baris, do you have any questions you wanted to follow up with?

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, I wanted to redirect to one specific question.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  And I–I don’t know if you’ve done any–anything with this but there might be a possibility being that you are in California, correct?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yes.

Baris Harvey:  So I wanted to get a quick take and I know there are some stigma in–in political views behind the use of–of cannabis.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  But have you had the chance to measure that maybe what’s happening at the time cannabis is being used with the work you’ve done?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s funny we’re actually about to launch a big research study here at the Alternatives Brain Institute looking at cannabis users.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  One of the really strange things we discovered in neurofeedback–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Is that just a few sessions of neurofeedback abolishes the tolerance to cannabis.  It’s just gone.  Like done, like–like you’re a teenager again with your first joint.  And a lot of people in California, Southern California especially are, you know, hard-core recreational, you know–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Users.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Mmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And I tell them, “Hey, be really careful, we’re now returning your brain.  You’re gonna have no tolerance.”  “Ah, I don’t believe, I don’t believe, I don’t believe, you have an expert, leave me alone.”  And they come back the next day, “Oh, man, you weren’t kidding.”

Baris Harvey:  Oh, yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know, so this sort of making the brain more flexible, more plastic, it really rolls back all the tolerance you’ve–you’ve acquired.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But yes, I have looked a little bit of brain activity.  When you smoke weed, your brain goes into alpha and alpha is used for lots of things in the brain.  There’s really 4 or 5 different types of alpha functionally.  But we think of it in general as an idling rhythm.  You know, the other cars in the driveway, it’s running great but not going anywhere.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  If you’re trying to be in neutral, that’s wonderful, you know.  But if you’re trying to drive down the highway, not so good.  And so with your eyes closed, the brain also produces lots of alpha especially in the visual cortex because there’s no input, it’s idling cortex.  When you open your eyes, that alpha should get suppressed and be replaced with beta as your processing stuff coming in through the eyes.  If you stay in alpha mode when you open your eyes, we call that inattentive ADHD.  But it looks identical to me subjectively for folks that are long-term chronic stoners.  That–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-huh.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Like a half a beat slow, a little checked out, slow detention, hard to shift into gear.  The brain looks the same.  I can’t really tell the difference between an inattentive, you know, ADHD person and a long-term chronic stoner–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Without asking them, “How long have you been like this?”  Because if they’ve been like this since birth then they’re inattentive ADHD, and if they’ve been like this for the past 3 years they’ve been smoking pot, then it’s an acquired issue from cannabis.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So, you know, I–I do see some negatives in that way of producing a, you know, an executive function sort of deficit, almost an acquired ADHD a little bit, in many people.  But I also think there’s many, you know, there’s good reasons people use it as well.  I don’t vilify the substance per se, and I certainly don’t vilify people’s use of substances.  People have used substances to alter brain since we have had brains.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  You know?

Baris Harvey:  It’s part of being human.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, it’s about how you get control.  You know, I–I haven’t mentioned this in the podcast yet but we have another half of alternatives that does non 12 step outpatient work.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And we actually teach people to drink.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah,

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So if you’ve been somebody who’s been abstaining from alcohol because you don’t think you can control your behavior, we actually will help you reintroduce it in a structured fashion and get control of behavior.  We haven’t done that in California for cannabis because it’s not legal recreationally for cannabis.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But you know, there’s some things you can’t abstain that are hard sometimes to have a relationship with.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Food is one.  You know, you can’t abstain from food.  I would never say, “Oh, you’re an addict,” you know, because you’re eating food.  No, no, no, no, no.  You got a problem with your relationship with a substance.  It can be food.  It can be sex.  It can be cannabis.  It can be alcohol.  It can be anything.  Your use of the substance or whatever it is, as my business partner here Dr. Kern says your magic elixir–doesn’t really matter what the elixir is that you’re using to alter yourself.  If you’re using it to avoid, you know, handling your–your reality, that’s a problem.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  If you’re using it to enjoy yourself at the end of the day, you know, I think it’s–that’s a human thing to do to some extent and I–I think that we need to not, you know, brand you as an addict just because you have a substance, you know, routine as long as the relationship with that substance is not compromised.  And you know, cannabis, yes, it has some drawbacks, but it’s–as substances that humans use go, not all that dramatic.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I mean, your judgment is much less impaired on cannabis than alcohol, let’s say.  You know, no one’s ever died of liver failure from cannabis.  In fact, I don’t think anyone’s ever died from smoking cannabis, period.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And how many people died last week from smoking, alcohol?  You know, it’s–it’s a fairly dramatic difference.  So yes, I–I do think there’s things that can be done.  You know, but–but I wouldn’t worry too much about the–the healthy, moderate recreational or medical use of these things.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I don’t think they’re necessarily anti-brain health.  It’s when you get outta control either in the amounts sort of changing your brain dramatically or you get outta control in why you’re using them.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.  Why that would be–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  To escape pain, boredom, you know–

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, that–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  That’s–that’s a problem.

Baris Harvey:  That–that–that–that’s a big issue, it’s the why.  I–I guess one more follow-up question.  Would it also be due to like the–because there’s so many different breeds of it and I know, in today’s age, people like stoners, they just enjoy that kind of idle feeling whereas some people want more pain or more–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Uh-hmm.

Baris Harvey:  Help with.  Maybe some of the things I’ve mentioned before like the anxiety and ADHD maybe that’s–for some people, that might just be a small-term solution.  Could it also be some of these that they breed, they breed in a lot higher THC content than they did before in the past?  In the ratio of–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  What’s your–Yeah, and–and you know, this is a big deal.  I mean, I was having my technician, my lead tech here go through the literature on cannabis to help design our new study and a lot of researches on the 70s and it shows, okay, you know, the brain activity effects of smoking pot lasts about 40 minutes, and we look into this data and it just didn’t make sense based on what we know about pot and people’s subjective experience, and we dug a little bit deeper and most of the studies in the 70s use cannabis with about 2% THC.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I don’t know if you’re aware but in–in the average dispensary now–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  15 or 20, isn’t it?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, that’s the average, is like 15–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  But there’s been plenty of high end 20, 21, 22% strains.  So we’re at the point now where the average recreational user can use pot that is 10 times as much THC–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  As the–as like our parents did, let’s say in the 70s.

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And you know, it’s much more prevalent because if you were a pothead in the 70s you were still kind of a fringy person.  And nowadays, you might be a Grandma who has glaucoma, you know?

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It’s not necessarily as the same relationship with society as it did, you know, 40 years ago.  So yes, major differences, we don’t really fully understand I think what’s happening with all these new strains and the effects in the brain, so Alternatives is definitely gonna do some work this spring on trying to quantify what those changes are in the brain.  And we’re gonna do full head EEGs, while people are smoking weed–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  To see what happens and see how we can affect their tolerance and try to have them, you know, do several weeks of neurofeedback to look in how their–their sense of being altered changes because, you know, for the most part, it’s a pretty innocuous drug.  It does seem to have some drawbacks the way people use it–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Specifically smoking.  You know, smoking’s not the healthiest thing in the world.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  No matter what you’re smoking.

Baris Harvey:  Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  It does look like, you know–

Baris Harvey:  Burning something, right?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, the carbon and coal and tar, whatever else, I mean I call the tar and other resins, now there’s something in cannabis that appears to be anti-carcinogenic even when you smoke it.  So it both causes the lung changes you get from burning things and re–and reduces the risk of them turning into cancerous cells.  So it’s a bit of ahead.  So it’s not as bad as smoking nicotine or, you know, anything else.  But it’s still not great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Yeah, right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so, you now, talking to a dispensary here and they were like, “Yeah, man.”  You know, some–some users can only go after the absolute highest and most strong strain because they’ve been using, for like–

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  The medical reasons.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  For so long that they have incredibly high tolerance.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Tolerance, right.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And you know from my perspective as a substance abuse professional, getting someone to reset their tolerance is key in helping them learn to become moderate in use.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah, that seems like the–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  And so we’re trying to validate this new technique for dropping this, you know, new technique for dropping tolerance for cannabis in the future.

Baris Harvey:  Yeah.  That would be–that would be awesome, because then you’re gonna have someone, like you said, too, smoking isn’t good, like if they can somehow, you know, maybe vaporize it and then have–if they had–went back to I guess the quote would be being a rookie again or lower their tolerance–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah.

Baris Harvey:  And then you’re now gonna have–

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Maybe you smoke 10% as much and you know, we get, you know, one-tenth of the smoke-inhaled or whatever, you know?

Baris Harvey:  Exactly.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  So–

Baris Harvey:  Exactly.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Well, excellent, doc, and we really appreciate the interview here.  There’s some great information for all of our listeners.  Can you give us some websites at where our listeners can go to get more about you?  I think you also have a free trial on–on the truBrain products.  Can you talk about that?

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Yeah, sure.  It’s the truBrain.  T-R-U brain dot com.  We have 2 products, the original which is capsule.  It’s a regimen.  You take it twice a day and it’s sold on a subscription because it works better and better the longer you do it.  And then we have drinks, little 1 oz liquid drinks for folks that didn’t wanna swallow pills.  The other companies I’m involved with, Alternatives Behavioral Health.  The best place for your listeners to check that out is probably and you can sort of get more information about neurofeedback and EEGs there, about what I do.  And the folks who wanna check me out on social media, ask questions, you know, give me a hard time, whatever you feel like.  AndrewHillPhD at Twitter is my Twitter handle, @andrewhillphd.  So you can find me on Twitter, probably the easiest one to remember, and I’m happy to answer questions about brain health, neurofeedback, meditation.  You know, I’m sort of, I–I guess I’m the science guy who’s a brain hacker in the space now.  Most of the other brain hackers or biohackers out there are really interesting guys who’ve done a lot of work on themselves but–

Baris Harvey:  Uh-hmm.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  I think I’m kinda coming out of from the other perspective of doing the science validation, and I’m–I’m always happy to hear what people’s, you know, own bio hacking or, you know, brain fitness strategies and successes are.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  And Dr. Hill, thank you so much.  We appreciate your time and everyone listening, feel free and go to to get this episode as soon as it airs.  Thanks, Doc.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Great.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Appreciate it!

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Thanks, guys.  Appreciate it!  Nice talking to you.

Baris Harvey:  Thank you.

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Thanks.  Bye now.

Dr. Andrew Hill:  Take care.




Gluten Sensitivity and Brain Health

By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

What is Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS)?

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a functional condition, not a disease. NCGS could, however, progress into a pathogenic disease.

Imagine a scale with 0 being optimal health and 10 being disease. NCGS may fall in the range of 5 to 8 as it progressively climbs down the scale toward disease.

Researchers have finally started to accept NCGS as a real condition, and they are talking about some of the scientific mechanisms that are driving this functional condition toward a pathogenic disease.

NCGS vs. Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is gluten sensitivity and it is a pathogenic condition. Gluten sensitivity is your immune system reacting to gluten. In testing for celiac disease, we’ll find  elevated levels of antibodies such as endomysial and transglutaminase. In NCGS, we may not see those immunological markers.

We may take the NCGS patient off of gluten entirely, and the patient may get better. Even though the patient isn’t showing the celiac markers, he or she is improving when gluten is removed. The article findings, referenced at the end of this post, concluded that if the NCGS patient doesn’t address the gluten issues, the patient will continue to progress into a disease state.

We can prevent this type of disease from occurring by recognizing that the patient potentially has  NCGS and providing strategies, such as avoiding gluten. This is to fix the gut and reverse the process.

Gluten Sensitivity and Brain Health

Brain Inflammation and Gluten

Gluten has been shown in multiple studies to decrease blood flow to the brain. Our carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the brain. So when blood flow decreases (the  main issue we see in a person consuming gluten that’s sensitive to it), we’re going to see results such as brain fog and maybe even migraines. So there is a connection between brain inflammation and gluten—the literature already supports this.

How Does Gluten Get to the Brain?

The brain talks to the gut and the gut talks to the brain through what’s known as the gut-brain axis (GBA). This happens via the sympathetic nervous system’s fight-or-flight mechanisms and the parasympathetic nervous system’s vagus nerve stimulation.

In the parasympathetic nervous system, when the brain is talking to the gut and sending good vagal stimulation, it’s telling the gut to rest, relax, repair, absorb, digest, and assimilate nutrition.

In the sympathetic nervous system, the brain is telling the body to send blood to the extremities (the hands, the feet, etc.) or to fight or flee. If you get scared enough, you may even have enough stimulation to wet yourself. So different scenarios could result based on how much stimulation you have.

We want more of our parasympathetic nervous system working during the day because we want to be able to utilize all of the nutrients in our diet.

The gut-brain axis is bidirectional—it goes both ways—so if we have dysbiotic materials (bad bacteria, infections, etc.) in our gut, that can affect the signals going back to the brain and create inflammation. Garbage in, garbage out.

The gut has its own nervous system called the enteric nervous system. So stress in the gut can affect stress in the body because the body’s going to release cytokines and inflammatory compounds, and even toxins, from the various pathogenic bacteria in the gut. This could affect the overall nervous system function. So inflammation in the gut causes inflammation in the brain and, because it’s bidirectional, potentially vice versa.

Click here if you feel like you are having brain fog, losing your memory, and you want it fixed.

brain health

Bacterial Balance in the Gut

Bacterial balance in the gut is important. We have commensal bacteria in our gut, which can potentially be beneficial bacteria or pathogenic bacteria. What instigates that switch from beneficial to pathogenic will be things like sugar consumption, stress, insulin resistance, and previous or current infections.

If the bacterial balance is heavier on the pathogenic side, it may result in the following:

  • Dysbiosis
  • Vasovagal dysfunction
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)
  • Diarrhea

NCGS Treatments

The article addressed medical treatments for NCGS, and I’ve included natural treatments here as well.

Vagus Stimulation

Dr. Kharrazian’s book, “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?” states you can do the following to stimulate your vagus nerve: gargle hard for a couple of minutes each morning, stimulate your gag reflex by touching the back of your tongue, and sing really loud.

In my clinical opinion, this is palliative, or supportive, and is not going to be enough to address the underlying issue. As much as I wish we could sing away our disease or our NCGS, there are things higher up on the hierarchy that are driving these issues.

A7NRA (Alpha-7 Nicotinic Receptor Agonist)

The article addresses these as medications that act on the acetylcholine receptors. Some natural ways we can activate, or stimulate, the A7NRA would be to take compounds such as alpha-GPC or L-carnitine.

CRFR1AA (Corticotropic-Releasing Factor Receptor 1 Antagonist)

This compound is stimulated in the hypothalamus to make adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The pituitary makes ACTH, which then goes to the adrenals to make cortisol. So this antagonist (medication) is trying to block that receptor and dampen the cortisol response. In the natural-medicine world, we would use things like phosphorylated serine or adaptogenic herbs to get the hypothalamus and pituitary to cool down.


We may use soil-based probiotics or probiotics with specific strains, such as saccharomyces boulardii to increase your IgA. Some people may have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and may not tolerate some probiotics as well, so they may have to use specific strands that are less sensitive.


Antioxidants that have been beneficial in the literature include turmeric, curcumin, and resveratrol. These are beneficial at dampening brain inflammation.

Click here if you want to heal from the damage non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) has caused!


Daulatzai, M. A. February 2, 2015. “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Triggers Gut Dysbiosis, Neuroinflammation, Gut-Brain Axis Dysfunction, and Vulnerability for Dementia.” CNS & Neurological Disorders—Drug Targets. (

Why Is Your Brain Starving?

Why Brain Is StarvingBy Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Alzheimer, dementia  and other neuro-degenerative diseases are on the rise with no real end in site.  Many people aren’t aware that you don’t get Alzheimer, Dementia or neruo-degenerative disease in your 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  These are conditions that start in your 20’s and 30’s, and once enough damage and degeneration has occurred, the tell tale symptoms finally begin to manifest.

There are a few underlying patterns that tend to exist with conditions of this nature.  The first being insulin resistance, and in some circles it has even been refereed to as Type III diabetes.  The second being auto-immunity driving neuro-degeneration in the brain. The third underlying factor is environmental toxicity including heavy metals like aluminum, mercury and lead.  Most of today’s blog will be on the insulin resistance component.

It is a scientific fact that the brain only represents about 5% of our body weight yet consumes nearly 25% of our nutrition and oxygen.  As we consume excess carbohydrate and refined sugar past what our bodies can handle, our brain becomes less capable of being able to utilize the glucose in the carbohydrate for energy.  The insulin resistance that builds up from the excess glucose essentially keeps the glucose trapped in the blood stream where the cells can not receive it, which then causes our brain to starve over time.  If the brain is starving for glucose, the fuel needed to power our higher brain function is no longer accessible.

Optimize brain health by clicking here.

I know what you are thinking, we just need more glucose, glucose is good, right?  It’s important to remember that it is the excess glucose that has caused this whole problem.  Excess glucose in the blood causes (advances glycation end products) AGES, which are free radical magnets that damages our DNA and sets us off in the fast path for accelerated aging (AGES causes wrinkles too).


What the most up to date research is showing is that our brain can adapt to burning fat or ketones for energy. Essentially 80% of our brain can run off of ketones, so other areas that were perhaps starving, now have access to a new fuel that can bring to life parts of the brain that may have been a sleep.  One of the most popular fats that are being used are MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) which are abundantly found in coconut oil.  These fats are unique because they are easily digested and converted into ketones which become brain food rather quickly.

Next time your sitting down to a meal, it’s a wise choice to avoid the excess sugar and refined junk and eat organic whole foods especially vegetables, healthy fats and proteins.  The solid portion of your brain is 70% fat, so make sure you get an extra serving of healthy grass-fed meat, wild salmon and coconut oil.  This will help your brain function at the highest level possible and help prevent the occurrence neuro-degenerative disease in your future.

Click here for more ways to improve brain health and functioning.

Ways to Improve Brain Healthand Function

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.